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...

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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!)

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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.

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* 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