When Hurricane Sandy struck, some people grabbed their cat. Maria Folchetti reached for her MOST device along with a portable generator to accommodate for loss of power. Folchetti, who lost three quarters of her tongue to cancer, has been using the MOST device since the summer of 2012.
“I used a flashlight and was able to use my MOST through the whole storm; we had four feet of water in our house,” she recalls. “I brought the device with me wherever I went, right along with my toothbrush.”
Fitted with a feeding tube right before her surgery and 33 accompanying radiation treatments in 2011, the 57–year-old Queens NY resident now uses an obturator [palate lift device] and uses her MOST device faithfully 3X/day, every other day.
Folchetti explains her dedication to her MOST therapy by pointing to the improvement she’s already experienced in her quality of life. Her tongue is numb as a result of her surgery, which also limited movement of her tongue and jaw. While at the beginning she couldn’t stick out her tongue or move it from side to side, now it’s getting stronger. She credits her “angel”, Marta Kazandjian, MA CCC-SLP BRS/S, Director of Speech Pathology and Swallowing at New York Hospital, with introducing her to the MOST device and encouraging her to try even harder.
“I’m pushing and strengthening the tongue with the workout of the MOST device,” she says, “and now I’m beginning to chew a little and the tongue is able to move the food back so I can swallow. I can even chew up and swallow a piece of pasta; I can eat a salad chopped a lot, and have actually eaten meat loaf with lots of gravy.” In addition to increased mobility in her tongue and jaw, she notices that her speech also is improving.
She’s delighted that she can have more of a social life, now that she’s able to sit at the table and dine with her family: “It’s big, really big, for me. And for them; they used to feel guilty for eating in front of me.” She expresses the hope that in time, she will no longer require her feeding tube.
Folchetti has a particular reason for working so hard on her MOST exercises: her daughter Angela is getting married in July. She exclaims, “I hope to be eating at the wedding; I want to socialize and fully partake in this wonderful celebration!”