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Day 9 – Remaining a part of the TAP family…in a big way!

Day 9 – Remaining a part of the TAP family…in a big way!

~ Ron Ottavio.

I had never heard the word “Aphasia” until 2005 when my wife, Debbie Ottavio, was diagnosed with this neurodegenerative disease. Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is normally a by-product of frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). Aphasia can, more commonly, strike individuals as the result of a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. PPA is very different as it slowly impacts the individual over time and continues to intensify.

In early 2004 at the age of fifty, we began to see Debbie’s inability to think of a word as she was in the normal course of conversation. Initially, we laughed it off, and Debbie attributed it to menopause and then to female replacement therapy. After several visits to neurologists in Raleigh, UNC, Duke, we finally received the diagnosis at John Hopkins in late 2005. Many tests were done to rule out other diseases like ALS, Alzheimers, MS and several others. Once diagnosed and understanding PPA, we focused on dealing with this crippling disorder. Debbie was of strong faith, and when talking with her Aunt one day, Debbie said, “You know – God must have a plan for me and I’m just going to go along with it.” You see – that was my wife – strong in her faith, strong in spirit, and strong in living every day to the fullest.

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