Technology Threw Me a Lifeline

After I was diagnosed with ALS, my body functions quickly started to deteriorate. First, I lost the use of my legs. Naturally, I went through a wave of emotions starting with anger, followed by frustration, then sadness, and finally acceptance. With the help of my strong faith I was able to remain hopeful and optimistic. Shortly after, I lost the use of my arms. Needless to say, I went through all of the above emotions again, but being surrounded by my very supportive and loving family, I was able to persevere and remain hopeful.

Then one day, I woke up to find that my voice had changed, followed by days of slurred speech. I knew this could only mean one thing: I was going to lose my ability to speak. My speech started deteriorating, and it was becoming harder and harder for anyone to understand me. Despite digging deep into my faith, I could not find the strength to accept that I could not give advice, share a joke, discuss life, have a conversation, congratulate, or simply say “I LOVE YOU” to my children and husband. As a person, that was extremely hard, but as a mother it was brutal. Frustration and bitterness was building up inside me, I was sinking, and at that point, it felt like I hit rock bottom.

Thankfully that did not last long however, Alhamdulillah (thank God) my husband and my brother found an amazing computer that would help me communicate called Eye-Gaze.

Eye-Gaze is a computer that uses eye-tracking technology, it has a camera attached at the bottom of the screen that is pointed towards my eyes. On the screen, it has a standard computer keyboard, which allows me to type by simply looking at the letters of the keyboard. My eyes then work as the mouse – all I do is simply look at a letter and it types it. Then I look at the speak button and the computer speaks whatever I type. It’s amazing! (the picture at the bottom is of me typing 🙂 ).

I typed my first sentence on a warm summer day at my parents house in Amman. With my whole family gathered around waiting anxiously to see how it would work, I was able to say “I Love You.”

From the day it arrived 9 years ago until this day, nobody has been able to silence me! ha ha. Hence “Technology Threw Me a Lifeline.” Never ever lose hope.

I finally had a voice, and with this new voice came immense happiness, new possibilities, and new dreams.

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Fun fact: while I am typing whatever I want to say, I hear my old voice in my head. However, the computer voice comes out very dry and automated – even when I am joking, it comes out serious, ha ha. This means I lost some of my sense of humor with the output, therefore I named my computer “Diva.” 

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43 thoughts on “Technology Threw Me a Lifeline

  1. I love your positive attitude. Thanks for sharing about eye-gaze. Any of us may need it someday. Thank you for commenting on my blog. We are in this together although mine started at the top. Hugs to you “friend”, Meg

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can say one thing for you Lana… you certainly have not lost your sense of humour. You simply never cease to amaze me every time I read you latest post. Big hug and keep the posts coming ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loofy I still remember the fiirst time you used this technology we were thrilled to hear what you had to say and don’t worry about the computer voice bec your face expressions and your voice is still in our heads. I always recommend it to the people who lost the ability to speak but now I know more about it. Thanks for sharing habibti ❤ ❤

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  4. I previously read about the Eye-gaze, but never knew how it really works, thanks for sharing this information… and i’m sure one day amazing Diva will make you even more proud and will be able to trill many higher notes..*;) ❤

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  5. Lana you are a wonderful strong brave loving blessed woman ,your words are a great inspiration to the whole world ! Keep on the great work habibti . By the way I still do remember your lovely voice and your beautiful laughs , even though that was very loooong time ago , and I am so blessed that I got to know such an amazing soul like you ! Love you Lana

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Technology threw you a life line and you are doing the same to others by being living proof that when there is a will there is a way.
    A true inspiration! God bless you and your lovely , supportive family and thank you for opening before us this window into your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My God, you make it feel so simple but the strength, determination, and will shows in every Expression flavoured by the unquestionable sense of humour. You are amazing Lana. Love you. Keep inspiring us with your beautiful articles. 👼🏼💜💚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a beautiful blog loofy!! Brought tears to my eyes!! Just want to tell you Habibti we don’t hear an automated voice, we hear Lana!! we have come to know diva very well and love your Arabic in it, panic at the all caps words which means your mad at something😂😂 and my favourite by all means is your ” I love you’ and I love you more ❤️❤️.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Believe it or not Lana, even though Im only reading your words but I cant help but hear a very sweet and soft high tuned voice in my head… am I feeling this right? Can words deliver the voice in the head ? Or am I just making this up ? 🙂 keep it up dear you’re such an inspiration…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing Auntie the spirit. It is only when we reach the acceptance stage of healing, things starts to work for us. i can’t wait to hear more stories from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Lana, I sure enjoy reading your blogs. They are so close to the heart with true feelings and emotions . Always anxcious to read more . Missing you .

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow .. You are exceptional! this is amazing .. thank God for everything .. and by the way i enjoy reading all what you write in fact they are so lovely to read smooth and (never dry! :)) looking forward for more to read.
    love and respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dearest Lana, with each new post, I find myself more in awe than I was reading the one before it. Your determination, faith and drive never cease to amaze. Keep it up, we love reading your blog❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Lana
    Jo karimi here.. Ali’s mother, I am getting ready to leave the Dead Sea. A wonderful experience. Also Alyaa and Ali’s Engagement celebration was so full of love and joy….. Meeting you was so special… I had heard so much about you from ali so my trip to Jordan would not have been complete had I not met you ..,. Thank you for allowing this. I felt so much love in your house… Lana you are an angel sent here to teach us, an inspiration,
    I look forward to meeting you again and your beautiful family they do you proud…. Luvjo xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is beautifully written. I look up to you to have fought on, when a lot of people would have long given up.
    How long does it take you by now to type up a sentence? I believe it would take a long time to type in each letter, but then I can’t really imagine this machine at all. Just curious.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is such a great post! I hope in the future the technology can be seamlessly integrated into a glasses frame or contact lens to make it more accessible. Hopefully more people can be impacted by these technologies. . .

    Liked by 1 person

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