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“Freak of nature” – that’s what my speech pathologist calls me, and I love it! It’s a reflection of my hard work paying off when she acknowledges that I’m smashing the stereotypical MND progress.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working hard to continue building muscle strength in my face. These muscles are vitally important, not just for non-verbal communication and expression (my eye rolls can only go so far!), but also eating, chewing, and most importantly drinking coffee from a cup! 

Turns out MND has caused me to overcompensate using my buccinator muscle, pulling my mouth back instead of up. Now I have to reprogram my brain and practice strengthening the other muscles, particularly the masseter, to draw up my face and bring my lips together.

 

Image credit: https://training.seer.cancer.gov/images/anatomy/muscular/head_neck_muscle.jpg

It’s hard work but I continue to practice every day by reciting words and exercises like pretending to put on lipstick, blowing a trumpet, or perfecting my signature duck face selfie (jokes!). I can already see huge improvements (photo before & now).

This is my tireless journey back toward normality. I take pride in the small wins along the way such as gaining weight (basically unheard of in MND patients – the Doctor’s faces at my most recent MND clinic appointment were priceless!), improving my beaming smile, and hopefully one day I’ll be speaking again, but that would be a bonus. 

In all seriousness, it’s a matter of life and death for me. The way I see it if I can’t use my mouth for oxygen, nourishment, and hydration, I’m dead. So no more whinging about “legs-day” people! Be happy you don’t have to add a face program to your training as well!

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Shirley & Ferdi says:

    All I want to do is to kiss that beautiful face. We are so proud of you Leanne and we know how determined you are to beat the beast. Love you heaps Mum xoxo

  • Bruce Barnes says:

    Onwards and upwards in the face of adversity Leanne l admire your commitment.

  • John Hanley says:

    You ass kicker! Love it 🙂

  • Cheryl williams says:

    So amazing , I’m not shocked at all by your determination, you put your mind to it and you do it, some people are “I’m going to do it” but never do , some people are “I will do it and they do… that is you, I look for the positive in things , dad always said there is positive in everything you just have to find it ❤ strength to you My friend ❤ love you and your will to go hard xxxxx

  • Kathleen & Joe Mc Auliffe says:

    Wow. Amazing amazing lady !! You are an inspiration to all ! Great to see your achievements ! Well done Leanne 👍☺️

  • Jo says:

    Thank you Leanne for continuing to share your journey and provide buckets of inspiration on a daily basis. Stay AWESOME.

  • Kylee says:

    I don’t believe you are a freak of nature. That would be downplaying your own effort. I do think that you are the most determined, gritty, hard-working, focused woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

  • Anna Logan says:

    You are an amazing human being, an inspiration to us all. I will be picturing your unreal smile ( and an eye roll) when I hesitate to get out of bed to exercise early, early, before family duties give me an excuse to skip a day. Thank you for being an awesome example of determination and grit. Xoxoxo

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