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Marylee’s story: A singer, then a talker after stroke

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: Jeff Ash

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Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound of Marylee Radtke’s voice as she recovered from a stroke.


When Marylee awoke after being treated for an ischemic stroke in September 2020, she couldn’t speak.


So Dr. Ziad Darkhabani, the Aurora BayCare interventional neurologist overseeing her care, asked her to sing.


Marylee broke into “Amazing Grace,” singing it clearly, much to her surprise and her family’s surprise.


“This is a phenomenon that we sometimes see as the brain is healing,” Darkhabani says. “Marylee could sing but not speak full sentences at that time.”


Marylee, who is in her 70s, became ill at her home near Peshtigo. She got up during the night but couldn’t walk. All she could do was shake her head yes or no.


Marylee’s husband Gary immediately suspected a stroke. It took about 15 minutes for Gary to rush her the 11 miles to a hospital in Marinette, where a doctor confirmed Marylee’s symptoms and had her transported to Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay.


Aurora BayCare Medical Center is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, offering the most advanced stroke treatment available and providing the highest level of care for stroke patients in northeastern Wisconsin.


Darkhabani was waiting for Marylee when she arrived. He evaluated her condition, then performed a thrombectomy procedure, removing a blood clot that had caused the stroke from the left side of her brain.


Even though Marylee could sing, speaking remained an issue. That can happen after a stroke. Following several months of speech therapy, Marylee regained her voice.


“I have, I have,” she says. “Oh, you can tell by talking to me. I’m a talker. I talk all the time.”


Ziad Darkhabani, MD, sees patients by referral in Green Bay, Marinette and Oshkosh. To request an appointment, call 920-288-8044 in Green Bay or 855-819-9935 in Marinette or Oshkosh or do so online.


Marylee Radtke talks about her recovery from a stroke.

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