Aphasia from Moyamoya Disease at age 26

Aphasia from Moyamoya disease caused 26 year-old Jill to have a stroke. Unable to say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for a year, she’s worked hard to someday return to work as a cosmetologist. She discusses how aphasia has negatively affected her life, but gives some advice and hope for others struggling with aphasia.

‘m Jill Julien and from St. Louis, Missouri. I’m 28 years old.

I had a stroke 2 and a half years ago, as a result of Moyamoya. Moyamoya is a 1 in a million cardiovascular disorder. Vessels are blocked at the base of the brain. Moyamoya means “puff of smoke” in Japanese. It’s caused by the blockage at the base of the brain which resembles a puff of smoke.

How has aphasia affected your life?

How has aphasia not affected my life? I couldn’t talk for three months, and then I learned to say “yes”, “no” and then I learned how to say “maybe”. There were a few other words. For a year of my life. It was hardest thing I ever had to go through.

Now, due to my hard work and the people at The Aphasia Center, now I am here, talking in front of you. I still have loads of work to do, but I’m thankful and grateful.

What challenges do you foresee for the future?

After I leave here, I see no problems. Hah! For real, I see word finding being an issue and occasionally my organization, too.

What advice do you have for other young people with aphasia?

The advice I have for people is not to give up and keep learning.