When an undiagnosed brain tumour led to a seizure, Joanne Wood was left unable to talk.
Over time her speech returned, but she still regularly sees a speech and language therapist to help her improve.
"Sometimes my words slur and mix, sometimes they disappear altogether," said Joanne.
But after joining a creative writing group, Joanne found a new way to express how feels when spoken words fail her.
Her poem 'Who' talks about the challenges of coming to terms with the lasting effects of her brain injury.
Who is this person I see, looking back from the mirror at me?
She looks so very similar to me, but something different, not meant to be.
Some change, is it fear I can see in her face? A worried look, I no longer fit in this place.
The joy and fun has disappeared for a while, from my face, it’s gone that smile.
Full of doubt, fear and pain, nursing a poorly and broken brain.
I don’t understand why this would happen to me, why God, a brain injury?
Is it to learn a lot in this time of trouble, gosh it’s burst my happy life bubble.
Everyday fear, worry and pain, my world is changed, I’m not the same.
I always am looking for what is good, but there’s this worry of being misunderstood.
A brain that’s mixed up, is hard to live with, questions, thoughts going round, what if?
What’s this tumour doing in my brain, why can I not just, stay the same?
Was I too busy, am I to blame? brought on this tumour, oh the shame.
Well I’ve been stopped in my tracks, looks like there’s no going back.
Learning to live now in a different way, adapting everything in every minute of the day.
I still have determination to take me far, there’s setbacks, tears, shouts of arghh!
When I’m tired the speech goes, slurred words just won't flow.
Embarrassed my words are all mixed up, can you understand me, am I abrupt?
Sometimes the filter goes from my brain, I say things I regret like I am in pain.
I hate this vulnerable person I’ve become, but then realise I am so more blessed than some.
Because I am surrounded by people who hold me strong, they’ve made me feel, I still belong.
So every step I take along this hard way, I know I am being championed on everyday.
This is a massive blessing to me, as I discover what’s meant to be.
I can’t say that this, is , or will be ok, but I can say, I’ve been loved and encouraged in a very special way.
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