Mobili-T Patient Story: How Amal took control of her health after head and neck cancer

Written by Jana Zalmanowitz M.Cl.Sc, Reg. SLP, SLP(C)

Prior to becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), Jana worked as a research technologist, assisting in dysphagia research. This sparked her interest and she has continued to serve this population as a SLP in both hospital and private practice settings.

August 25, 2023

Amal is a busy professional. She leads a demanding and fulfilling life. Over the last 14 years, her quality of life has been threatened by cancer and its resulting dysphagia.  

In 2009, Amal was diagnosed with tonsillar cancer. She underwent radiation and chemotherapy that put the cancer in remission, but the negative side effects of these treatments continued. She had persistent difficulties swallowing, especially thin liquids that require a faster swallow response. 

Amal’s Swallowing Problems

Amal managed her disordered swallow by changing her diet and being mindful of thin liquids and her swallowing. Then in 2017, she developed flu-like symptoms, the origin of which turned out to be aspiration pneumonia. Doctors told her this was the result of her throat muscles not working properly and matter entering her lungs. Over the next 5 years, Amal developed recurrent pneumonia. She was placed on multiple rounds of antibiotics, saw countless specialists and was ultimately recommended a g-tube. Unwilling to sacrifice her quality of life, Amal continued to seek alternatives that would allow her to continue eating by mouth. 

Eventually, Amal connected with the clinicians behind Mobil-T and was enrolled in a study using the device. She learned how to do her swallowing exercises in-clinic while wearing Mobili-T and seeing her muscle activation translated on screen.

She then continued her exercise program at home. 

Finding Success with Mobili-T

Amal was no stranger to exercises for dysphagia. She had tried them before but found them complicated and hard to maintain. She was frustrated and saw no results. This time around, with Mobili-T and her S-LP there to coach her, Amal found more success. 

“I struggled with the exercises and the device in the beginning and then the S-LP assisted in having the device work properly. They showed me I wasn’t successful,” Amal says referring to her ability to see that she was not reaching her muscle excitation targets as displayed on the Mobili-T app. “Over time, I mastered it.” 

In contrast to her previous experience with swallowing exercises, Amal’s trial with Mobili-T taught her how to more effectively complete her exercises so that she could achieve results. 

Since mastering and continuing her swallowing exercises, Amal has not had aspiration pneumonia. 

“There’s life. There’s work. There’s family. You can’t sit down doing exercises for an hour every day. These exercises with Mobili-T were simple. I didn’t expect I was going to get the results that I did with simple exercises.”

A Mobili-T Patient Story to Inspire Others

Her time using Mobili-T was so effective that Amal continues to do her exercises without using the device. “It became routine to me,” Amal describes, talking about how she often does exercises on her daily commute. 

“If I can do it with my crazy busy life, anyone can. Give it a try. It worked for me.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Mobili-T and how you can use it in your clinic, please contact True Angle!

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