It was about this time four years ago that I found a lump in my neck. I had been through two tongue surgeries for a carcinoma and so I knew what it could be. But, I only had a 2% chance of it being that, right?
There were many things that went through my mind at that time. First, there was not knowing. Not knowing was harder than knowing. After you know, you can decide what to do. Before knowing, it’s just harder.
Then, there were decisions – before and after the surgery. I had to decide whether or not to take chemotherapy – I chose not to. I had to decide whether or not to take radiation treatments – I chose to. These were decisions I had to make given advice from my doctors and my own research. The main advice I can give to anyone going through a life-threatening illness is to do your research and then take it to God, a Higher Power – whatever you consider Him/Her to be – and then make the decision based on your research and what you receive from that faith. I felt better because it gave me the control I needed in this earth because the actual outcome was in God’s hands. I was just the voice for what I believed He guided me to do. Dr. Coleen Smith helped me to muddle through all of the decisions and find that voice, and I shall be forever grateful to her for her guidance.
Then the healing began and continues to this day. I lost half of the SCM muscle that goes through my neck to my shoulder. My neck always was a challenge – and now, even more so. I have had to find other ways to do things (such as, chopping vegetables), do things in smaller steps (such as, write part of a blog and then finish later), carry half of what I would have carried at one time, etc. I need regular care from my health care providers – and how fortunate I was to have been introduced to Holographic Health! Dr. Theodore Baroody and Dr. Noel Baker changed my life, and so much so that I became a Holographic Health practitioner. My desire is to use this knowledge to pass along to others the health that the Holographic Health system has helped me to achieve.
The main thing is that we all have challenges and we all have gifts. It is how we overcome the challenges and use the gifts that are so important. Things that I once took for granted have become so important to me after the surgery and radiation that this causes me to look at these gifts very differently.
One gift that we all have is our voice, our ability to speak, to communicate. I have given presentations and training sessions throughout my whole career, I always sang in the choir in church – and then, suddenly, I couldn’t talk when going through radiation. Losing the left salivary gland has made my mouth drier than normal and so I have to be very careful to drink plenty of water and sip on aloe or use lozenges to keep my throat moist. I am very susceptible to sore throats, I can no longer strain my voice or project it – or I lose it again. This has happened to me several times over the last four years. So, even though I must be very careful with it, my voice has came back and I still have it.
I hear people in the doctor’s office from time to time when I go for checkups who have a stoma, the electronic voice. Yes, they have the ability to communicate, they can talk; however, there is no inflection, it’s robotic. … It makes me want to cry. That could have been me. I am just so grateful to have my voice, with all of its challenges, rather than the electronic version. Our voice is part of who we are, and those of us who have used our voice for speaking and singing our whole lives, are changed forever without it. Can we adapt, as I did to chopping vegetables? Absolutely!
However, one thing my husband and I have always enjoyed is singing in the choir and honoring God, our Country and our Veterans in the Kingsport Liberty Celebration. Father’s Day reminds me how my dad honored his country by joining the Navy in WWII, and singing in that production was a big part of my life that I so hoped I could continue to do. Three years ago, less than a year after my surgery, I sang in that choir and did so again last year. Yes, I had to be much more careful with my voice and may always have to – but, I sang!
We all have gifts given to us by God. These gifts are there for us to use, to share, to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Use your gifts today, be grateful for them – we don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Whatever tomorrow brings, have faith – because, as it says in Matthew, faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains!