This week, my monkey brain flung large handfuls of feces at me in the form of racing thoughts and emotions as I moved through this second week after finding out that I, a singer and voice teacher, have nerve paralysis of the vocal folds. Truth is, this has been coming on for more than 8 years, and while the diagnosis is its own kind of devastating, there is also relief in finally getting some answers.
I will write a separate post on symptoms. Personal experience is both more colorful and accurate than medical synopsis.
One thing is for sure, everyone’s thoughts and beautiful words are healing balm. (Facebook, phone calls, emails and here.) Thank you! My students have been very sympathetic, although I realize how long it’s been since I’ve sung well when one of them says “I went to your website and heard the clips of you singing. WOW, I have never heard that voice come from you.”
If it is true that our beliefs and thoughts affect our health, I am ultra-aware of my mighty poisonous attitudes toward being an artist that have been life-long. Lordy, they are all rearing up and presenting themselves like ghosts of Christmases past. I can hardly look at them, and yet, to heal I must. Maybe someday I will be able to write about them, Charles Dicken’s style, with a moral and everything. God Bless Us Every One.
I know from experience that there is a period of vulnerability in any metamorphosis where one has to be really kind to oneself, very gentle. I also know, without a doubt, that my life is going to massively transform, although I can not see the outcome.
Medical options for the condition are contingent on the results of the cat scan. I alternate between furiously gathering medical information and reading about alternative healing with periods when I still sit, still stunned. As I told Jeanette Maw of Good Vibe University, “the doctor’s diagnosis is only One Reality– I want to learn how to fashion another.”
(Is that something you admit out loud? Does that mean I am being fanciful? Or can I join the ranks of the healing?)
In moments when I can be proactive, I continue to work the vocal exercises developed by Jeanie Lovetri of The Voice Workshop, who developed Somatic VoiceWork tm The Lovetri Method. Jeanie was the one who told me, back in January, that I needed to be tested by an ENT who specializes in singers and to do it sooner rather than later. I became certified in Jeanie’s method in 2006, and have used it with my own singing students, but this is working of the vocal methodology in a whole new and deeply refined way.
The vocal work is physically and mentally exhausting to me right now. After a half hour I can eke out a few pitches mid-voice. After 50 minutes I may get a scale. I rarely do 50 minutes because right now I seem to have the attention span of a gnat.
I also began seeing my Rolfer, Dr. Mary Starich. You can read about Rolfing HERE. Mary is wondering if fascia-release will have some bearing on helping the nerve impulses to get through to the folds. She is a most awesome body worker.
Dan Rather, the famous news anchor, once said in an interview that he reads biographies of famous people to give him perspective when reporting all the crazy news from around the world. I know what he means after reading about the life and death of Zheng Cao, a beloved opera singer who recently passed from stage 4 lung cancer. Perspective indeed.
Last night I attended a wonderful choral concert by the Cantate Chamber Singers under the direction of Gisele Becker. As I hear the brilliant vocal music, and read the translation of the French, tears mist my view and a throat lump gathers.
O music of the sap rising in the instruments of all the trees,
resonate with the song of our voices, all too brief.
It is just for a few measures that we join in the myriad figuaration
of your endless rapture, O luxuriant nature.
When we must become silent, others will continue….
But for the present, how can I offer my whole heart as a complement to you?
(Rainer Maria Rilke, as set by composer Paul Hindemith in Six Chansons)