I am Parnasi Shingala, a teenage stroke survivor,who regained use of my affected side tremendously with the kind help and guidance from Dr. Rajul Vasa and rigorous application of VASA CONCEPT. I suffered a stroke in April 2005 at the age of 14.I had an AVM burst in the right parietal lobe.I lost all power on my left side of the body from head to toe. My mouth had deviated to one side making my speech extremely slurry.Brain surgery was performed on me bya leading neurosurgeon of the city who explained this was done to remove the AVM and the clot in the brain.I was discharged from the hospital after about 10 days post-operation. Within four months I had frequent vomiting. My neuro-surgeon thought I had eaten bad food and never considered post-surgical infection causing encephalitis and increased CSF pressure. After six months of first surgeryI had to undergo another surgery to insert a VP shunt. My parents and I were not warned about possibilities of developing infective encephalitis from post-surgical infection. At timesI ponder whether the first surgery was truly inevitable and whether other non-operative options could have been explored. I feel it is imperative to have a debate specific to each patient before taking any drastic measures like opening the brain in surgery. At the time of my stroke no doctors or physiotherapist explained to my parents the gravity and seriousness of the situation. I distinctly remember the doctors saying that I should be up and about walking in around one-two months. Everybody seemed so casual about it that I was delusional that the stroke would not have any lasting effects. I started with regular physiotherapy almost immediately following the surgery at the hospital and then at home.Initially, a physiotherapist came home every day and did a forty-five minute session of passive exercises with me. Later, I started going to the therapist’s clinic four times a week for an hour each. I was made to do lots of passive movements. My leg had regained some movement after a month of my stroke but it was very abnormal movement.After six months of my stroke I had not yet regained my balance and I couldn't take weight on the leg making it impossible to walk. As the movement of my leg was abnormal and was going circular, I was made to wear foot drop splint to be able to walk as an exercise practice to improve walking ability. This made my walking more worse. My heal tendon became very tight. Within the shoe and splint my heel remained up and didn’t stay on the ground when I walked; I was walking on my forefoot. My knee used to go into recurvetum also giving methud at the knee while walking and abnormal walking pattern. I was also made to wear two hand splints, one for my arm for subluxated shoulder and the other for my fingers. Whenever I wore the splints my hand would stay open and get straight but as soon as they were removed it would bend from the elbow, come up to my chest and fist. My fingers stayed in a fist almost all the time. Opening them would be very
difficult. Therapist applied a lot of force to open my fingers but fingers did not budge to open. The weight of the splints was very much. Despite exercising muscles atrophied in my shoulder. Also there was use of a vibrator on my body every time before a therapy session. They thought it would help muscles to relax. This was done even before I had developed spasticity. The use of the vibrator aggravated the Paraesthesia.I had also developed the queer sensations of hyper and mostly pain sensations all over my left side. The sensations on my left side were very heightened and exaggerated with pain as a pre-dominant sensation. A simple touch on my left hand would feel like a knife cut. I wouldn’t be able to bear any cold at all. Even the breeze of a fan running on low speed would be difficult for me to bear. The pain was constant and every slight touch would cause it. Once an ice cube touched my left hand and I felt so much excruciating pain that I thought it was a knife. This was accompanied by numbness all over. I also developed a lot of spatial neglect towards my left side. This means I would keep forgetting about my left side and kept disassociating with it. Once while getting out of a car from the right side door, I forgot to take my left hand out before getting out fully and I banged the door shut on my left hand causing injury. I had forgotten to take my left hand outside the car. Other examples would be my forgetting to pull my shirt down on the left side, etc. I would have to “see” where my hand is to actually “know” where it is. While walking I would keep bumping into objects such as door frames on my left side even though I could see it. I’d forget to clean the left side of my mouth after eating, keeping food partials still sticking to my mouth but I would not feel it. I would not use my left hand for any purpose whatsoever. It would be just like a piece of flesh hanging from the side of my body.Thus it became almost impossible for me to live like the normal teenager that I was just six months back. I had also met two of the top Bobath school physiotherapists from America who were attending a child disability conference in Mumbai in December 2005. They also said the same thing that I was told all this while. I was told to do the same things I had been doing for the past few months. I was also suggested to do couple of alternate therapies (that did not make any sense to me or to my parents) and get Botox injections.At that moment it struck me was why should I do the same again if I have been doing it for six months without any result??? Also by now my body had developed particular abnormal patterns which were very difficult for me to change. Even if I wanted I could not walk with my leg moving straight. I could only bring in forward in a circular movement. Spasticity had also set in and my body was very tight. My hand would remain a fist and come up from my elbow all the time. I was very depressed and took out my anger and frustration on my family. Being a teenager, I did not understand and became a very difficult person to deal with. In retrospect, the previous therapy not only seems a complete waste of time, energy but it seemed like I missed thegolden opportunity of quick recovery and instead itworked in a reverse direction by developing abnormal movements abnormal sensations spasticity settingin and all wrong patterns fixed in the brain. Soon thereafter (around after seven months of my stroke) I was extremely lucky to meet Dr.Vasa, a fairy sent by God, whom my father found while surfing on the internet. My mother pursued Dr. Vasa continuously for several weeks before she agreed to see me. Dr. Vasa was the person who told me that 100% I could be helped but warned me that this will require at least 6 to 8 hrs of exercise every dayfor which I should be ready. (This is the reason Dr. Vasa prefers to ensure commitment on part of the patient and the family before readily agreeing to see.) Dr. Vasa also advised me to stop wearing all my splintsand also to stopGardinal, the anti-convulsion medicine that I had been prescribed to take for life. Dr. Vasa’s motto which is "brain learns here and now" struck me the most. The results were instantaneous. I and my parents were able to immediately connect with Dr. Vasa and developed tremendous confidence as we saw immediate results by following her therapy and advice. My body started staying very relaxed; I could walk much better that too without any help. Earlier I would always walk with a fear of falling, so I would walk holding walls and any thing that came to hand. I now walk independently and confidently. My fingers hand has also started to function. Dr. Vasa has a razor sharp and analytical mind with strong memory. Under her guidance, I started building power, stamina and body control by performing various exercises that she would prescribe from time to time. All the exercises that I did were active and weight bearing exercises active exercises as against passive ones under the previous therapist. I soon realized that passive exercises were an utter waste of time. I now firmly believe that VASA CONCEPT therapy is the only solution in this world to recover sensory-motor speech functions post stroke and achieve normalcy. With Dr. Vasa’s guidance and exercise regime all the hyper sensations or paraesthesia slowly began to fade away. Slowly I started becoming more comfortable and at ease in different environments. The cold sensation came back to normal. I can now hold ice with my left hand now without feeling any abnormal discomfiture and with the same sensations as with my right hand. My studies continued uninterrupted and I have been able to pass various examinations including my school board exams and higher secondary board exams with flying colors solely due to this recovery by working under Dr. Vasa’s guidance and following her advice of immediately stopping Gardinal, the anti-convulsion medicine prescribed to me for lifetime. It used to make me sleepy and drowsy that I could barely focus on my studies. I am now studying in a very well knownlaw school and I am on my path to becoming a good lawyer and determined to contribute to the cause of stroke and young stroke victims. I used to have a fear of going out of the house. I would get apprehensive of crossing the roads and even travelling by public transport.I used to be scared what if I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side fast enough or would fall on the road and get hit by other car. Similarly I would have a fear of falling down from the trains. Now I have overcome all that. I can cross the roads with ease and I travel almost daily by train to get to college. I would like to share with you one of my experiences while travelling by train. I got on the train in the afternoon from my usual station to get home. What I did not realize is that particular train was going to the yard for service. As soon as the train started moving one of my co-passengers on the train pointed it out. I did not jump out on the platform when the train was moving as I deemed it to be unsafe. The train stopped ahead in the middle of two station and the only option
was to jump off and walk back to the station. I jumped on to the tracks from the train and walked back to the station on the tracks. The train is at a heightof about 5-6 feet from the ground. I jumped landing on my feet. My leg did not twist nor did I sprain my foot. I was very confident in walking back on the tracks to the platform and not once did I stumble or falter walking. Now my hand movements have become very quick and automatic. I don’t have to think to do any bilateral actions. They just come naturally. In the monsoon opening up my umbrella with two hands at the first drop of rain became automatic. Holding heavy objects and carrying them with both hands is something I don’t have to think too much about. In summer of 2007 I went on a family holiday to Hong Kong, Bangkok and Pattaya where I participated in various outdoor activities including various rides in amusement park, parasailing and sea-bed walking without any difficulty. I enjoyed this and did not miss out any fun activities. I could enjoy Disneyland to the fullest without having any fear and physical limitations. In May 2009 I had been invited to a friend’s elder brother’s wedding in Navsari which is in the State of Gujarat. I travelled with one of my friends. This was my first trip without my parents after my stroke. It was also my first long distance train journey. I was very scared and apprehensive about being able to get down on the station and also manage my luggage. But I managed just fine. I was also able to get dressed up in all the wedding finery all by myself. By this time, I had also learnt to wear my contact lens on my own which was a huge achievement for me Recently in May 2010 I attended a two week study seminar in Delhi. This was also my long trip alone without my parents. Before this I had been on study trips to Goa and Aurangabad but these were shorter trips. The Trip to Delhi boosted my confidence by leaps and bounds. After coming back to Mumbai it seemed like I turned into a different person. I started participating more in college extracurricular activities, taking part in public speaking competitions and having a general positive outlook on life. I must share that Dr.Vasa is not only a world class Neuro-motor control scientist but also very kind person, full of love& compassion. I have been extremely lucky to find such a very rare person indeed! Dr. Vasa has been treating me and so many other deserving patients with utmost care and guidance. I was very amazed and astounded to learn that Dr. Vasa has not charged any children and other deserving adult patients from the beginning of her career and has been kind enough to treat me similarly. I am very confident under guidance of Dr. Vasa I will be achieving complete normalcyand I need to stay focused, put in the required hard and intelligent work. UPDATE: JANUARY 2013 Over the last couple of months I have been working extensively on my left hand, aiming to achieve finer motor control over my fingers. I have improved a lot. I am able to find joy in the simplest of things which I could not imagine I could do earlier like making tea for my family on a laid back Sunday afternoon and not having to call somebody to bring the tray full of tea cups
out to the living room as I can now carry it out myself using both my hands. To openmy umbrella myself on the first drops of rain. My left hand is now so much more functional and even its dexterity has improved a lot. The day does seem near when I will achieve 100% normalcy. All of it is credited to Dr.Vasa and her guidance for which I am eternally grateful. In the summer of 2011 I undertook my first trip abroad all by myself. I visited London for around five weeks to attend an academic summer program. This was an advanced study program which I undertook. I stayed by myself in the University student accommodations which was a first for me. Managing a trip with all the packing shopping, preparation was a wonderful experience that taught me very well. Adjusting to a new environment was a challenging experience which I managed quite well. I was able to enjoy this trip solely because I had no worries about my physical abilities or any fear complexes. This confidence that I had was only because of the Vasa Concept. On one of my trips in the countryside with a few friends, we came across a couple of caves while sight-seeing. These caves were open to the general public to explore. I mustered up some courage to go in. I did assume them to be easy caves as they were open to public and as I had also seen an elderly man go in before me. But to my amazement, the caves turned out to be quite treacherous once in. It was full of very narrow winding paths and low ceilings. There was quite a bit of climbing which was okay but the constant low ceilings meant that I had to stay bent from my waist almost all the time which made the climbing a bit difficult. If all this was overwhelming for me, at the end there was also a pool of water to be crossed. It turned out to be only thigh-deep water but I was a little afraid of slipping and/or losing my grip. But I managed through all that. It both amazed and astonished me at how easily I could cross the cave. This was by far the most physically daunting but also exciting experience. Recently, I also tried sitting behind a scooter with a friend riding it. Getting on the scooter without any assistance looked difficult because of my height but once I tried it, it happened so easily. I could sit behind and even enjoy the ride without the fear of falling off. Even maintaining my left leg on the side pedestal was something that I did not have to actively think about. Academically, I have been able to write all my exams at length and also sit in class for over 6 to 7 hours every day. I admit I was apprehensive about it earlier but once my classes began I was so engrossed in my studies that not once did I even think of any physical discomfiture at all.I have also done internships at law firms across the city and have been able to train myself professionally and put in my best to the tasks assigned. I can now see bright future for myself which was something unimaginable after my stroke. The beacon of hope guiding me to this new life has been Dr.Vasa, my Mom and my Dad. I am eternally indebted to her for everything she has done for me. Thank you Dr. Vasa!!