Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I fear not

After much prayer, I decided not to keep this a secret.  Writing has always helped me process the most difficult situations.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Back in August, I lost my voice during a presentation with a customer.  I attributed it to a heavy speaking regimen at work where I was delivering presentations at a higher frequency than normal.  My throat was very hoarse, but I had no other symptoms to speak of.  The situation was made worse when I went on a business trip to New Zealand for work and was speaking in a different city every day over a two week period.  Each morning my voice would start scratchy and by the end of the day, it would be non-existent.

When I got back home, I went to see m family physician, Dr. Krichev.  He referred me to Dr. Teachy, an ENT in Huntsville, but there was a 3 week period before my appointment.  I tried to use my voice sparingly, hoping that my vocal cords were simply strained and would recover on their own with some rest.

I tried to remain positive and hope for the best case scenario.

At my visit today, I was diagnosed with multiple vocal cord polyps that will require surgery to remove. They are probably caused by gastroesophageal reflux and a lifetime of overuse.  They have been building for a long time and finally just got bad enough to impact my speech.  The doctor indicated that they are most likely not cancerous, but will not know until they are removed and a biopsy is performed.

Deep breath.  Remain calm.  Then I almost cried in the Doctor's office.  I am afraid for the worst.

I asked a million questions ranging from what to expect to the success rate to the doctor's history performing this surgery.  While it may seem routine and minor, when he used the "C" word, my anxiety level reached an all time high.

This isn't a simple procedure to remove the torn meniscus in my knee after falling during Mountain Mist.  My voice is my life; it is my profession.  I am an engineer, but not great with numbers so I have built a career around professional speaking.  I enjoy more than anything to talk with people; about running, about life, about travel, about everything.

My voice is everything to me.

Deep breath.  Take things day by day. Only worry about the things that you can control and trust that God has a plan for the rest.

Recovery will be extensive and include a period of not talking for the first week, then just a few words during the second week.  Beyond that, there will be an extended period of limited speech which may last through the end of the year.  Post-surgical voice therapy typically will be involved to encourage healing, improve vocal quality, and prevent future polyps from occurring.  No coughing or throat clearing.  Exercise is still up in the air as to when that can begin after surgery.

Deep breath.  I can do this.  I came back from knee surgery and after just six weeks was able to win McKay Hollow Madness 25km.

So now begins the waiting period before surgery, which will be in two weeks.

I am very fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing people who have been and will continue to be supportive.  Family, friends, Rachel, Siri, Fiina, Lyla.  Your encouraging words have not fallen on deaf ears but have strengthen my resolve.

This could be worse.  This can still be worse.  This will not be worse.  I am strong.  My God will be with me wherever I go.  I fear not.

I will  overcome this minor obstacle just like every other challenge that has been presented before me; head on with voracity.

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;" - Psalm 23:4