SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — May is National Stroke Awareness Month a time to focus on this so-called “brain attack” that affects nearly 800,00 Americans each year.

Strokes can be deadly and cause multiple disabilities. Those health problems can be physical impairment, cognitive issues, and language difficulties.

A stroke survivor from Scranton is sharing his journey to overcome, among other things, speech issues.

The ability to read and speak is something 61-year-old Ken Levandoski does not take for granted after suffering a stroke in February.

Two times each week, Levandoski undergoes speech therapy at Allied Services to improve his ability to speak.

The stroke he suffered caused aphasia, the loss of ability to either speak or understand, and dysarthria which weakens the muscles needed to speak.

Speech-Language Pathologist Danielle Burrier has been working with Levandoski since his stroke.

“His speech is not as quick as it once was as far as his rate of speech and it sometimes does, he does have, take a few moments to find all the words he wants to have in conversation. It is typical,” stated Burrier.

“The cards you’re dealt with are what you have to deal with,” said Ken Levandoski, stroke survior.

“Somebody with aphasia might go to say something and they have difficulty getting the word they want to use whether that word is labored to come out, or if it doesn’t come out for a few seconds or another word that they didn’t mean to use would come out,” Burrier explained.

Overcoming stroke-induced speech issues is challenging. Though the words don’t always come easy, Levandoski does make one thing clear about regaining what a stroke took away.

“I’m very determined,” expressed Levandoski.

Levandoski hopes to regain all of his speech, and his strength, and be able to drive a car again. He considers himself lucky to survive a stroke and encourages others to learn more about it.