So glad to be back for another week! Thank you to everyone for all the positive feedback and encouragement with my return to blogging. I’m really looking forward to more sharing and learning. Next week, I hope to come back with a recipe. Unfortunately, I haven’t really been cooking anything new/adventurous this past week due to recovery. Today, I’ll talk about what it has been like post vocal cord surgery. It has been an interesting experience to say the least. Here are my questions for readers:
- Did you ever have to/decide give up something for a period of time? What did you learn? For me, I had this experience with my vocal rest.
- Teacher/Education friends – what AAC devices have you used in the past for students with speech/communicative needs? What did you like/dislike about them? For me, I’ve used PECS (picture exchange communication system), but haven’t had much experience with anything else. I enjoy using PECS and I think they’re a really great tool.
Before I discuss my vocal rest, I’ll quickly talk about my procedure. I had a laryngoscopy done to remove cysts/polyps on both sides of my vocal cords. No incision, but general anesthesia and a large scope was placed into my mouth and down my throat. If you look up pictures of the procedure, it basically looks like sword swallowing (eep). I had an excellent doctor with a fabulous reputation, but the risks were a little nerve wracking. One of the risks of this surgery was that they could go down there and find that the cysts were too attached to remove and they’d need to back out and nothing could be done. The scarier risk was that they could try to remove them and there’d be a chance of damage to one of the vocal cords. I’m SO beyond thrilled and grateful to report that it went beautifully. They were able to drain and remove all the cysts. There’s still some callouses that I had before the surgery, but everything looks 100 times better than it did before surgery. My next step is to return to my surgeon and voice therapist together tomorrow. If all looks good down there, I’ll be able to do some exercises and talk a little bit. I’ll go back every few weeks until completely healed.
Now, about this whole silent treatment. It’s certainly been a learning experience. It has been challenging, interesting, eye opening, and at times, humorous. Most of all, it really has made me appreciate having a voice. What has been challenging is going out in public and feeling like the RUDEST person. For example, needing to squeeze past someone without saying “excuse me” or trying to be friendly to greeters. My family and friends have been really helpful explaining the situation at restaurants and other public places. Also, just wanting to have a conversation with a loved one and to show gratitude vocally has been a challenge. I’ve also had to deal with letting go of control over situations and at the same time, I’ve needed to learn more self control. I’ve had to let people talk for me and had to just shorten what I want to say in a conversation simply because I didn’t want to take forever to write/type. As far as self control, I’ve had to really monitor myself. The morning after surgery I woke up and totally forgot about everything and started whispering to Matt to see if he was awake. There have been times where someone asks a question and I accidentally begin whispering and have to stop myself. I’ve also had a lot of dreams about talking and one dream where I actually screamed at the top of my lungs. I woke up wondering, could I be talking in my sleep? Also, ask anyone whose been with me the last few days, and they’ll tell you it’s been pretty humorous at times. We live in an apartment building and there is rarely a time that someone comes to our door with the exception of deliveries. These last 5 days? Twice. One time, I was home alone. I’ve had to be extremely creative. What got me through this interesting experience? Breathing, hand gestures/charades (I’ve made up some good ones), Text to Speech app, texting, and my Boogie Board tablet. It’s basically a high tech etch-a-sketch and dry erase board combined. I definitely recommend it! The greatest thing about it? With the click of a button, it all erases! The font was brightly colored and the pen wrote smoothly and neatly.
Okay, now for a teacher moment! This experience has encouraged me to reflect and wonder about my students from the past and future who have/will have communicative/speech needs and require communication accommodations and devices. As mentioned earlier, I’ve used PECS in the past, but now I’ve learned some other modes of communication and I’m motivated to try out and use other forms. I’m hoping that this experience will not only help me to become a stronger teacher, but also to know what it truly feels like to need other ways to communicate. I definitely plan on using the Boogie Board tablet somehow in teaching within the near future.
Finally, I’ll wrap up with a few good quotes and a humongous thank you to my readers.
Thanks for reading!