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Douglas: 'Stroke made me a better person'

By:
Feb 24, 2010 | 5:15am EST

The Spartacus star fell ill in 1996 and had to re-learn how to talk after the brain condition affected his ability to speak.

But the 93 year old insists his health battle had a positive outcome - because it forced him to appreciate life and to make an extra effort to help others.

In a posting on his Myspace.com page, Douglas writes: "It affected my speech. I couldn't talk. Now talking is something we take for granted. We think of something and we say it. We are not concerned with all the mechanisms that are involved in speaking, we don't appreciate it. Like so many things in life, we don't appreciate what we have.

"My first reaction to my stroke was to say nothing. It was too much effort to construct the words, the muscles in my tongue, my teeth, I couldn't coordinate them properly to say a word. It was easier just to say nothing. But to say nothing is to withdraw from life. I was not ready for that. So, like a child I learned to speak again. It is still difficult and I still have many moments when I want to give up, but I fight against it. The most important thing is that I find that my stroke has made me a better person. I don't take so many things for granted. I appreciate more and that leads me to care more about others."

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