Janet Botting – Music Therapy JanetBotting-Musictherapy

Music is a universal language, and when you’re recovering from a stroke and trying to regain your speech, music therapy can help to convey your thoughts into words.

This unique program helped Janet Botting communicate and redevelop her ability to speak after two strokes in the fall of 2012. In consultation with her speech language pathologist, Janet was introduced to Tomoko Okumura, the music therapist at the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) and the two began working together once a week for a half hour session.

Music therapy is the use of music in order to enhance the quality of life. Through a variety of musical activities such as singing, playing instruments, listening and creating, patients can reflect on their issues and express their feelings and thoughts.

Musical interactions with a therapist and other participants convey a sense of being understood, connected and accepted. This 100% donor-supported program has helped thousands of patients and their loved ones since it was introduced in 2007 at the BCHS.

“It’s beautiful to be able to use music. Music has always been a big part of me,” Janet was able to communicate.

“I love music. What would I do if you weren’t here,” she said to Tomoko.

Each session started with Tomoko playing the guitar and together, the two of them hum different sounds to help with Janet’s practice.

Janet, an accomplished musician, had written a song called “So Loving, So Loved, “ that was dedicated to her mother. Tomoko learned this song to practice it together in the session. For Janet, this became both a process of re-learning the song and a process of re-visiting her memories in support of her stroke recovery journey.

When Janet is speaking, she often gets caught up in her words. She knows what she wants to say, but she can’t get it out verbally. Her verbal communication is very irregular and family is often left to fill in the blanks and piece together the messages Janet is trying to share with them.

Janet’s daughter, Courtney Buck, often attended sessions with her.

“It is amazing when she sings, compared to when she speaks,” said Courtney. “The progression is so noticeable and flows through song.”

Janet’s husband Dave is also impressed with the difference.

“Each time it blows me away; she is much louder and better able to project,” he said.

“The stroke hasn’t affected my happiness,” said Janet. “I have my moments, but I can’t be myself if I’m crying.”

Janet’s sister, Pat, noticed one afternoon that Janet was having a bad day. She was sad and teary and wasn’t communicating much. But after her session with Tomoko, when the two of them talked about her feelings, Janet left the session singing and smiling.

“Music has always been a great part of Janet’s life and growing up her voice was always the strongest. It still is,” said Pat.

Janet is proud of her improvement and what she has been able to accomplish with the help of music therapy.

Janet’s story is a part of the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign.

The equipment supported by donor dollars isn’t all ‘nice to have’ — it is critical, much-needed medical equipment required to perform daily diagnostics and care for patients.

As Janet has learned first-hand, when crisis or illness impacts you or a loved one, the Brant Community Healthcare System is here to offer you exceptional healthcare in your time of need. Now is the time to make a difference, please consider making a gift TODAY that is meaningful to you, and support a strong healthcare system for our community.

Your involvement, through a donation of any size, will allow the BCHS Foundation to purchase patient equipment not funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, provide essential resources to maintain the exceptional level of compassionate patient care, and invest in new and innovative technology.

To make a donation, click here or call 519-751-5510.

This holiday season, give a gift that could save a life and be a part of the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign.