Randy Travis, a country music artist, has revealed a potentially life-changing medical condition.






Everyday Health spoke with the country music artist and his wife about how he is managing a disease that severely affects his speech and how he finds hope through singing.
Randy Travis, a country music singer, went to the ER in July 2013 complaining of congestion. The 54-year-old was juggling tour dates with an acting role in a forthcoming TV pilot.




But everything was put on hold. Travis was admitted to Dallas’ Heart Hospital Baylor for treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) caused by a viral infection of the heart. DCM causes the heart chambers to expand and fail to adequately pump blood.

His heart stopped totally at one point, and medics rushed to place him on life support and into an induced coma, which can help protect the brain.




When Travis awoke from his coma 48 hours later, doctors discovered that he had suffered a stroke that had impacted the whole central part of his left brain. Doctors hypothesized that the trauma was caused by a blood clot that developed in his heart and went to his brain.

Select Randy Travis, a country music artist, has revealed a potentially life-changing medical condition. Randy Travis, a country music artist, has revealed a potentially life-changing medical condition.




During Travis’s second coma, when his lungs had collapsed and he was placed on life support, doctors advised his then-fiancee, Mary, that he had a 1% chance of survival and that she should consider withdrawing him from life support.




“I went to his bedside and asked him if he wanted to keep fighting,” Mary, Travis’s wife since 2015, said. “A little tear fell out of his eye, and I knew he wasn’t ready to give up.”Mary turned to the physicians and pleaded with them to keep him alive. They succeeded.




Travis now spends the majority of his time at his ranch with Mary, and he attends a weekly Bible study class in a nearby town. Mary remains by his side most of the time to help him communicate because the stroke has severely restricted his capacity to speak.




Travis is also dedicated to assisting others in overcoming similar difficulties. He and Mary founded The Randy Travis Foundation, which provides assistance to stroke and cardiovascular disease patients. Travis’ book, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life, highlighted his challenges and his hope for the future.




Even at his worst moments. Travis noted that he was motivated to get healthy and return to the things he enjoyed doing in life.

“I’d weathered many storms in my life and had frequently faced overwhelming odds, times when others advised me to give up.” “I hadn’t quit back then, and I wasn’t going to quit now,” he wrote.

The Return to Health






Travis endured three bouts of pneumonia, three tracheostomies, and two brain surgeries in two hospitals during the period of five and a half months. Medical attention paid off in the end. Travis was finally allowed to return home for the holidays in 2013.

For the following two and a half years, he committed four to five hours per day to rehabilitation in order to regain control of his right side.




He suffered from some cognitive issues connected to his stroke early in his recuperation. Certain everyday goods, such as a remote control, a television, and a toilet, didn’t make sense to him when he first returned home from the hospital.




“He didn’t understand what they were or what to do with them,” Mary explains, “but he gradually regained all that understanding.”

To make matters worse, Randy experienced eye problems throughout his first six to nine months at home.

“He had trouble focusing and seeing, but everything came back to normal,” Mary adds. “It’s just a test of time.”




Trying to regain Randy’s ability to talk has been one of his most difficult challenges. According to the National Aphasia Association, aphasia is a communication issue that affects 25 to 40% of stroke survivors.

“Aphasia is basically a short between the brain and the lips,” Mary explains. Randy’s experiences with the disease are detailed in his book:




“In my case, my brain was working, and I understood what Mary said to me, but I couldn’t respond in anything resembling a sentence.” When we initially got home, I couldn’t say anything. We went to speech therapy for three months before I learned to utter the letter ‘A.’ After approximately a year and a half, I was able to say ‘yup,’ ‘nope,’ and ‘bathroom.’ I could also say ‘I love you’ and a few more sentences, but that was about it. All of this was tremendously upsetting for me; I felt trapped inside my body’s shell.”




Mary describes the procedure as relentless repetition, gradually recreating linguistic elements with the assistance of a speech therapist. “It was very tedious, but Randy has a great will,” she recalls.

Relearning to Live

After two and a half years of challenging rehabilitation, Randy started to feel blocked and would collapse during sessions.



“He was just finished with that part of therapy,” Mary explains. “I think it gets to the point where it can be counterproductive, and you have to seek out other avenues of learning.”

Randy defined this as interacting with others and living life. He began spending more time in mundane activities, such as socializing with his wife and friends, caring for his dogs and horses, roaming about his ranch, and attending concerts.




“Every day, there are new words that come out, and I think it’s just being exposed to living life,” Mary adds. “The sooner you can get back to normal, the better, and I think that’s as good as any therapy.”

His wife, family, and friends’ support have raised his spirits and given him strength. Mary recommends that other caregivers be patient, encouraging, and never give up.




“Aphasia patients do not want to be treated as if something is seriously wrong. They want to do the same things they used to do in life. Randy is the first to get ready and go somewhere – to dinner or to see friends. He makes my job very simple.”

The Healing Power of Music

Randy Travis, a country music artist, has revealed a potentially life-changing medical condition. (1)




Travis has liked country music since he was a boy, particularly the songs of more traditional country musicians such as Hank Williams, Lefty Frizell, and Gene Autry. He began playing guitar at the age of ten. He had difficulties with drugs, alcohol, and the law as a youth, but his musical skills led him to a better life.

By the age of 26, he had signed with Warner Bros. Records and was quickly racking up No. 1 hits. His debut album sold over four million copies, and he followed it up with a streak of chart-topping records.




Given his love of singing and songwriting, it’s no wonder that music is an important part of his rehabilitation.

Travis discovered he could remember the chords to his songs while receiving rehabilitation at Select Rehabilitation Hospital in Denton, Texas, about 35 minutes away from his ranch.

Despite the fact that music was not an official component of their program, a lady called Tracy who worked in the rehabilitation center’s marketing department played a keyboard for Travis during her lunch break.




Tracy attempted to encourage Travis to sing along to “Amazing Grace” because it was one of his favorite songs.

“I wanted to sing, and I tried, but the words and melody would not come together in my mind,” Travis said in his memoir.

Tracy, on the other hand, refused to give up. They reached a breakthrough after months of practice and encouragement when Travis sang an entire song from memory.




“There are some who can barely say a word but they can sing,” explains Carol Persad Ph.D., head of the University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP) in Ann Arbor, who utilizes Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), a music therapy approach established by past research, with some of her patients. “Music is one way to return to words because it engages a different part of the brain than speech.” That’s why Travis can do ‘Amazing Grace.'”




“With Randy, every fiber in him is music, so being back in and around music is very healing and encouraging for him,” Mary explains.

He startled the crowd in Nashville in 2016 when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame by singing some of the words to “Amazing Grace.”

Randy is now on a mission to “pass out hope” and show others that there is life after a stroke. He and his wife encourage survivors and their loved ones to be optimistic and to investigate the various choices that may aid a patient’s recovery.




Travis’ Randy Travis Foundation contributes to music and entertainment education for at-risk youngsters because he believes so strongly in the power of music. In addition, the organization spreads awareness about stroke and cardiovascular disorders.

“Life doesn’t come with an instruction book, and people don’t have an owner’s manual,” Mary explains, “so just love each other to pieces, be patient, and keep fighting the fight.”



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