It shouldn't be any surprise by now, but my body is kind of messed up. Yet it does still surprise --- (I mean sting) a little. I've had lots of surgeries, which is not my favorite way to spend a day, yet I'm very grateful for them. I am in a phase of "defeating deficits", so to speak, but I sometimes wonder how many new deficits will crop up over time as a result of the current ones...
This past week, I visited an ENT at UCLA that I had not seen since June 2008, when I was in-patient at UCLA's neuro-acute rehab. This doctor actually administered my very first swallowing test to me, which I failed (the first of ten total that I would FAIL before finally being given the clearance to eat again). He also injected collagen into my paralyzed right vocal cord as a temporary fix to help me vocalize better. His words that day permeated my then-hazy memory--"do you really think you are swallowing?" stung me much deeper than he meant them since I really did think I was swallowing. He is a very nice man, however, and I've let that go (as I was in a bit of a delirium!)
I have again been referred to this doctor because of his specialty in swallowing, the throat, and the voice--all areas of interest (euphemism for "problem areas") for me. I have been out of formal speech and swallowing therapy for a few years now as insurance doesn't really pay for it, and I am kind of good on my own; however, recently, my voice has been consistently weak. This is a problem, as I feel one of the main callings on my life is and has always been to TALK about my life. In fact, I have a number of speaking engagements coming up (see below), and I just CAN'T have this very weak voice!
The doctor checked out my throat and vocal cords--a fairly yucky procedure, including sticking a long camera/tube down my nose as I talk and swallow. As he examined my inflamed throat and vocal cords he determined that a longer-term fix would be a simple silicone implant in my paralyzed right vocal cord, which will help me talk and strengthen my voice.
***** Believe it or not, it came as a bit of shock that I would need a "procedure" (though an out-patient, "no-spending-the-night-in-the-hospital", kind of thing, it's still a surgery). I should not be surprised as I have had similar procedures to re-animate my paralyzed right eyelid and the right side of my face. Nonetheless, I definitely grow weary of surgeries, and I'm sure my family does too. The apprehension is outweighed however, by the gratitude that I live in a time and place that allows access to this type of medical intervention. I may be on my way to a record! Thanks ahead of time for your prayers. The procedure will likely be on 4/26/12.
* Speaking: I have about one speaking engagement a week for the next month. I am posting them below. I am always touched by the fact that people who have seen (on here) where I am speaking actually come. You guys are so sweet.
A few upcoming events:
Febuary 25th: Casa Colina Gala "Tribute to Courage" (5:30 pm), in the City of Industry, CA, -- We are the honorees this year
March 1st: Go Red for Women Luncheon (11 am), in Westlake Village, CA, -- I'm the Keynote Speaker
March 8th: Community Bible Study, (11 am), Trinity Baptist Church in Santa Monica, CA -- My 30th Birthday!
March 14th: Pepperdine University Chapel (10 am) -- Jay and I are speaking together for the undergrads