Saturday, March 1, 2008
(Video) Rare disease robs patients of language
CHAPEL HILL (WTVD) -- Mary Boyles is a retired English professor who must live with the reality of knowing she's suffering from a disease that is eventually going to make her mute.
"If I could just take off a leg or arm or both, that would be much better for me," said Boyles.
Throughout her life, words have been Mary's love. She built her career around words as a retired UNC Pembroke professor with a PhD in American Literature. It took doctors almost four years to diagnose, but, in 2002, words became Mary's greatest pain.
"It's just not, not," Boyles pauses to find the words. "It's not fair for me."
Mary's diagnosis is primary progressive aphasia, or PPA, a rare neurological disorder that's slowly robbing her of her language function. She also believes the same disease robbed her mother of the ability to speak. "She stopped talking," said Boyles. "She just stopped one day. And, I know what it's going to do. That I can't talk but I can listen."