Australian Woman Wakes Up With Uncontrollable Irish Accent After Surgery

Although it's obviously true that most people wouldn't want to contract any kind of disease, those who end up with a particularly rare ailment are in an even more unfortunate situation.

Because while there are common and well-understood diseases with fearsome effects, we can often find there's at least an encouraging outlook on treating it because doctors aiming to do so have a wealth of research and historical options at their disposal.

But not only does that research shrink and those options become more experimental when a disease is rare, but it's also possible to have a condition that's so uncommon that doctors are split on whether it even exists.

Those factors are making the jarring situation that one Australian woman found herself in even more complicated and frustrating.

On April 30, An Gie Mcyen started a TikTok account after waking up speaking with an entirely different accent.

According to The Belfast Telegraph, this occurred shortly after she had undergone tonsil surgery and her accent shifted from her Australian one to an Irish lilt.

This was despite the fact that she had never been to Ireland.

In the video we can see here that was taken on the second day after this occurred, she was disheartened to learn that this new accent hadn't gone away.

Mcyen's case is an example of a rare and often unpredictable condition known as Foreign Accent Syndrome.

According to ABC News, there have been just over 100 cases of FAS since 1907 and they usually arise in cases of traumatic brain injury, strokes, and other neurological damage.

Nonetheless, it's not unheard of for cases to develop after surgeries that shouldn't have much to do with the brain as at least two cases have appeared after dental surgery.

At first, Foreign Accent Syndrome might not seem like such a big deal but it's a very serious matter for those who live with it.

For one thing, such a dramatic change in speech is often a sign of a stroke and requires immediate medical attention. But even when this isn't the source of the change, it can be responsible for a great deal of mental anguish.

As Sheila Blumstein from Brown University told the BBC, "Think: you go to sleep, wake up and no longer sound to you like the person you really are –and there’s nothing you can do about it. That has a very profound effect on the patients."

Unfortunately, this seems to be the case for Mcyen, who posted a tearful video six days after her FAS developed in which she came to terms with the gravity of her situation.

As she said, "I feel different. I'm surrounded by other people who speak Aussie, I guess but I don't sound like them. I feel completely alienated."

And since her condition is so rare, Mcyen has struggled to find a neurologist who feels equipped to help her.

As Dr. Toby Yaltho of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neurology Associates told ABC News, "It's such a rare condition that neurologists don't believe that this is a real condition."

When he spoke about a patient he has treated for FAS, he said, "The big thing is to know that she's not faking it."

As we can see in this video posted on the 13th day of this new reality for Mcyen, she not only has had difficulty finding anyone with experience in dealing with Foreign Accent Syndrome, but even in finding someone who knows a colleague who could help her.

As she said, "In terms of how I am coping, I am definitely still in the third stage of grief, and the last two days were not pretty."

In between consultations with neurologists, Mcyen said in a more recent video that she's in the process of booking speech therapy sessions and may need to attend acting school to relearn how to speak as an Australian, which is likely to be expensive for her.

According to ABC News, medical literature seems to indicate that speech therapy, behavioral therapy, and anti-anxiety medication tend to be go-to treatments for FAS cases and some patients have managed to recover their natural speech patterns in this way.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether Mcyen will turn out to be one of these patients.

h/t: Belfast Telegraph, ABC News,

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