My Sister's Journey

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My sister Marie was diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration (CBD). It took a long time for this diagnosis to occur. Her difficulties started with problems with speech–slurring of words and enunciation. She had visits with a speech pathologist, and this helped her use her voice for as long as possible. In time, however, her speech became unintelligible, but she still had a lot to say. She was able to type, but not to write. It was at this time that we purchased for her a speech unit from Lingraphica. We felt that this would allow her regular communication, and also allow her to communicate if she ever had an emergency. We preprogrammed phrases like “I am having trouble breathing” and “Send help” and other short terms like these. We also made sure she could use this on the telephone–which she did to contact me often. Sadly, as her aphasia and her disease progressed, she lost the ability to communicate in even this way. We ended up using an alphabet card, and she would spell on this using her hand as an indicator. My sister was a fighter, and she fought till the end. We adapted what we could to allow her to communicate for as long as possible..

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