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Giffords speaks, asking for toast with breakfast

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has recovered enough from a bullet to the brain to ask for toast with breakfast.

Few details are available, but Pia Carusone, Giffords' chief of staff, confirmed that the congresswoman made the verbal request on Monday when hospital workers at TIRR Memorial Hermann brought her a meal.

"Yes, that's accurate," Carusone said in an e-mail.

She is now speaking "more and more" since she uttered her first words several days ago, spokesman C.J. Karamargin said on Wednesday. He said he didn't know what her first words were and couldn't say how her voice sounded, since he hadn't spoken to her himself.

Karamargin said Giffords is undergoing regular speech therapy as part of "aggressive" daily rehabilitation therapy for about six hours each day. Doctors are pushing Giffords, but, even more, she's pushing herself.

"Don't discount the grit and determination of this particular patient," he said.

Though small, the request for toast first reported by Politico marks a milestone for the congresswoman, who was shot in the head in a Jan. 8 shooting spree in Tucson that killed six and injured 13.

In a Facebook update on Tuesday, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, said that Giffords is eating three meals a day and enjoying it, "even though it's hospital food."

Doctors at Giffords' Houston rehabilitation center, one of the top five sites in the country, on Tuesday said that she's recovering well and that they hope she can make enough progress to attend her husband's space shuttle launch in April.

Kelly is scheduled to command the space shuttle Endeavor on April 19, when it leaves for a two-week mission to the International Space Station. It remains unclear whether Giffords will be well enough to travel to the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"The doctors say she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury but they aren't kidding when they say this is a marathon process," Kelly wrote on Facebook. "There are encouraging signs every day, though."

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