Inspiring blogs aims to help others with MND

Liz Ogg and her husband Alan
Liz Ogg and her husband Alan

A courageous woman who lost her speech due to a debilitating illness is writing a blog to help others in the same position.

Former English teacher Liz Ogg, from Bearsden, first experienced problems with her speech three years ago and within a year lost her ability to speak altegether.

As the problem got worse, she underwent months of tests and was devastated finally to be told she had the rarer bulbar form of Motor Neuron Disease (MND), which affects the power of speech first.

MND is a terminal neurological condition, which affects signals going from the brain to the muscles leading to a range of symptoms like losing the ability to walk, speak, eat and breathe unaided.

The mum-of-two is now writing online about the struggles she and her husband Alan have faced and what has helped them cope with the dramatic changes in their lives.

Liz said: “We’ve had tremendous help and support from both NHS and MND Scotland staff, for which we are very grateful. But MND is such an individual disease that sometimes, we have had to find our own personal solutions.

“It sounds very simple, but for everyday management of things in the house, my husband and I have devised a small set of hand gestures. Starting with the simple thumbs up and thumbs down for yes and no. We’ve had to work at it, but we now have a range of signs for regular domestic routines, which work pretty well.

“It helps if you’re good at charade...sadly he’s not!”

In the first instalment of her ‘Ogg Blog’, Liz, who always loved to talk, describes how mobile phone voice apps have helped her chat with friends and family after losing her voice to the disease.

“I have notebooks and pens left at several points around the house and in my bag, to allow me to have my say. But what has really set me free is the use of my Android phone and iPad to speak through voice Apps.

“There are Apps which you can buy, but I’ve found the best for voice quality is ‘Type and Speak’, and it’s free to download. “Other blogs will cover a wide range of issues affecting people with the disease, such as dealing with difficulties when eating, drinking and sleeping, and the importance of staying positive.”

To read more of Liz’s blog please visit: www.lizmnd.blogspot.com

For advice about MND, contact MND Scotland on 0141 332 3903, email info@mndscotland.org.uk or visit www.mndscotland.org.uk.