Rolling Without Limits

Your mobility may be limited. Your voice, boundless.

9 Years of Silence
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9 Years of Silence

Muscular Dystrophy makes a person's muscles get progressively weaker, and weaker, and WEAKER over time. This includes weakening a person's lungs. I was in and out of the hospital with pneumonia many times from the age of 8 to 15 because of this fun little disease. When I was 15, I was so sick that I needed to get a tracheotomy, or I would've probably died sometime in my teen years.

Overall, the decision ended up being a very good one because I've been so much healthier. I'm almost 25, and I'm still alive and kicking. However, one of the major downsides of getting the trach is that I haven't been able to verbally speak since I was 15. I can't make any sound with my voice. Can you imagine? I'm not saying that everyone with a trach can't talk - many people can; it depends on the situation. In my case, I've tried many of the things other people have been successful with, but they just didn't work for me. Not being able to talk has been hard, but I've dealt with it. I use a Speak It app on my phone that talks out loud, or people can also read what I type. It's actually pretty cool and very helpful. I know that even though I have this major limitation, among others, I am completely capable of being successful in whatever I choose to do in life.

Unfortunately, other people don't see it that way. I was actually told by a company that is supposed to help people with disabilities that they didn't think I would be successful as a graphic designer because I can't talk, so they couldn't help me pursue it. I don't even know how to use all of the features in Adobe Photoshop yet, but I'm really good at it. As much as I would love to prove them wrong by making it big with no voice, not being able to talk is getting old. It's also a bit of a safety hazard, but that's another story...

I've recently started doing research on other ways to talk without it requiring a different type of trach or a device that will affect my breathing. I remembered there was a woman who spoke to my high school health class about having her voice box removed because of cancer. She used a special device that I couldn't remember the name of, but I actually found it online. It's called a TruTone Artificial Speech Aid:

I'm currently in the process of trying to rent one so I can see if it'll work for me. If it does, I think it'll open up so many more doors for me, and I'll be able to prove everyone wrong by accomplishing my goals with an actual voice. A strange voice, but a voice.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't do something when you know you can. Do it, and make them look like idiots.

Leave a Comment

  1. Broken English
    Broken English
    Voted. Great blog. I never knew this about MD. I hope you do get this speech aid. That will put you in good company - Professor Stephen Hawking, who I also wrote a blog about for this site, had to have an emergency tracheotomy and has used a voice synthesiser ever since, which has worked well for him. As you say, where there's a will there's a way.
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    1. Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      Thank you so much! I really like your blog too. I'll keep everyone on here posted about how it works for me :)
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  2. pftsusan
    pftsusan
    You go Elizabeth. Great blog.
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    1. Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      Thanks! I'll look at yours too :)
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      1. pftsusan
        pftsusan
        Thank you. It's important to get out and vote.
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  3. Moore37
    I've been around for this whole story...................keep fighting Elizabeth. You are an amazing women.
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    1. Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      <3
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      1. pftsusan
        pftsusan
        Congratulations on getting to your first top post, Elizabeth. Your awesome.
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        1. Elizabeth
          Elizabeth
          Thank you! I was so excited haha. I'm working on my next post now :)
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  4. JoShear
    Great blog, Elizabeth! have you tried reaching out to people about graphic design via facebook? Zumba instructors often organize events and need flier and poster designs all the time. You can find facebook pages for Zumba instructors.
    Log in to reply.
  5. leecus04
    leecus04
    I have CP and have in associates degree in human services. I too want to tutor in reading & writing. I too have done the wyzant site and had the same result. I never got any bites. I got my degree in 04 and have never had steady work. I'm greatly intrigued by you wanting to try tru tone I've never heard of it anxious to hear how it go for you.
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