30 Day Challenge – Day 19

Today’s Topic: A Talent Of Yours

Once upon a time I felt like I had a talent or two. I wanted to be an artist, a singer, an actor, a writer… Real life took over and I've found that time to cultivate talent is very hard to find.  I rarely do any of the things I used to love to do.  Of course I still write.  That’s a practical skill peeps seem to need these days.  But the last time I acted in anything?  I guess it was in college.  Last time I drew anything?  Other than the doodles on my meeting notes, that was probably high school.  The last time I sang… well that is a bit of a touchy subject these days…

I started singing in junior high choir.  In high school I was in the “show choir” auditioned group for 3 years.  I was in the musicals and had the leads my junior and senior years. [you can see photo evidence in this post]  I went to Blue Lake to be in their summer camp choir program and toured in Europe with their international groups for 2 years.  I sang in church a lot, at weddings a lot… and a few years ago, I recorded a CD with all the profits from sales going to the 3 Day.  I loved singing.

Did you catch that… loved. Past tense.  Last year I found “Bob” and everything changed.

I had a tumor on my thyroid that was squishing everything in my neck and it had to come out.  Unfortunately there are a lot of structures in the area of the thyroid – I never really thought about how much goes on in a tiny little neck until then.  Seriously take a look at just a few of the pieces! thyroid Anywho, Bob decided he was going to go nuts.  He squished that thing called the carotid artery, he squished my trachea, he squished all those lovely things surrounding him and caused me to be dizzy [from decreased blood flow when i would move just so], made it difficult to swallow, and on occasion made my voice hoarse.  Ah yes back to the topic of the post right?  Almost.  See when they took Bob out they had to be veeeeeery careful not to damage the tiny little thing called the recurrent laryngeal nerve or RLN for the sake of blogging. Its a tiny little nerve that runs ridiculously close to the thyroid gland and although the picture above has it in a lovely shade of yellow, I was assured that it indeed not that color in the body.  In fact it’s the same color as pretty much everything else in there… PINK.  So during surgery they hook up a car battery and shock the little sucker into full attention so they can see it very clearly and avoid cutting the thing.  Ok so that was a bit of an exaggeration there but they do send currents of electricity through it so it stands out.  My neck was a bit of a mess when they got in there to poke around and my RLN did a lot of “flapping in the breeze” as my surgeon put it.  He says he left them both times [yup, i had 2 surgeries remember] in pristine condition and I would have no trouble singing again….

I believe him, I really do.  in my Thyca group at Gilda’s Club I've met several other survivors who can barely speak above a whisper.  My voice hasn’t even been squeaky.  When I've tried to sing, it’s not that I can’t do it… its just not the same.  I know I have to work it back into its original condition and that takes time.  But sometimes when I'm singing, the wrong things vibrate and make me start coughing uncontrollably.  Its frustrating [and on some days, downright depressing] when I try to sing something I've performed so many times before and I break down into a coughing fit because of the vibrations.  There is no way to predict them or prevent them that I’ve found.  So many people are starting to ask if I'm going to sing again publicly, I just don’t have an answer except to say… not yet.

I will get there… someday.


  1. A friend of mine has been trying to find other people who have had vocal chord problems after thyroid surgery. She's had a bunch of injections to try to bring hers back to life, but she really just has no one to relate to! Would you know anybody that wouldn't mind a pen pal that has the same crappy problems with their voice?

  2. Hi Mishca - I haven't been able to find anyone willing to share their email. :( Has she tried to find someone through the thyca.org website or through the group pages on yahoo!? There are a lot of resources out there for people who are struggling.


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