Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'm back!!!!!

Several years ago, two nodules were observed on both of my thyroid glands. You can go elsewhere to find out more about what the common treatment for these growths are but it includes needle biopsies, ultrasounds, and drug treatments using synthetic hormone (i.e. Synthroid).  Eventually, I landed at the Cleveland Clinic and my biopsies (which were ambiguous)  were evaluated using a new medical technology known as Afirma developed by Veracyte ( ).  The cells were determined to be suspicious, meaning, in laymen’s terms as explained to me, there was a 30 to 50 percent chance of these cells morphing over to cancer.

Meaning…they are not cancerous now but might be one day. Medical!

So… was scheduled for late in June. It went well except I experienced the loss of my ability to speak, say above a whisper. It was explained to me that in about one percent (or less) of total thyroidectomies this was an experienced risk.


There is a nerve that runs from your brain to your vocal cords known as the laryngeal nerve. My nerves were not appreciative of activity in their neighborhood so one of them decided to go on strike. I was told this would take some time to repair and there were things that could be done if a self repair did not occur. So, what to do…..well I came home from the Clinic and the day I came home, we experienced the derecho and lost power in our house for 12 days. So, I was distracted and had little time to consider my situation. Everyone I worked with was great. We worked thru e-mail. I was really not very troubled.

I had one major design meeting for a project I’m working on in Las Vegas. It was kind of cool. When I had something to say (to the meeting of 10), I’d raise my hand and everyone would shut up! Yes…..drama. I worked through a major multi-day session for a client using the Adizes methodology and all went fine.

I really was doing pretty well with this whole deal, which sort of surprised me. I mean, this is not like losing your eyesight, but the ability to talk is important but what to do? A biker friend of mine is an ear, nose and throat doc here in town and I finally reached out to him and he said to come right down…I mean that day. Which I did. He put a small camera down my nose and was able to videotape my vocal cords, which are the rascals that make sound and sit at the top of your trachea. My left cord was paralyzed. He took a lot of time with me, more than anyone had to date, and we discussed alternatives…which is essentially watchful waiting and potentially some surgery to force the cord back over to the center with a caulk like product.

I brought up the concept of speech therapy and he thought that would be helpful. I had to leave town on a business trip and left it to Laura to get me an appointment, which she did. In so doing, the speech therapist asked her to read the prescription. My vocal cord was partially paralyzed…a major difference.

So, in early August, I went to CAMC and began speech therapy. There was testing and then I was given a series of exercises and told to stay well hydrated and stop clearing my throat ( a life long bad habit for one’s vocal cords). I practiced my exercises and did what I was told to do and guess what…about 10 days ago I began to speak..more or less normally. It happened really all at once.

And the moral of the story is…………things change. They do and they will. That is the nature of life. Change my friends is constant. And trust me…you’re not the only one that has stuff going on! Now…some folks certainly more than others but we all have "stuff".

I thought this deserved a BLOG entry (at the end of the day, I spent a reasonable amount of time reading about folks that had experiences with total thyroidectomies, so maybe this will reassure someone in an analogous situation. Who knows.)

Resilience. That’s the goal…..and I think I fared pretty well when I could have chosen to go down the rat hole and dream up a very different future.

Thanks for the support and prayers… know who you are!!

In the meantime…I’m back!!!