Silent not Silenced Week 1
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Silent not Silenced Week 1

Days 6 -  13 ... An Overview
It's been a while ...
After my last, very depressing post, I wasn't inspired to continue sharing my journey.  Then, when I was, I didn't know where to pick up from.  That day was a super rough one, and even though I can tell you now that it was a combination of the steroids and my hormones going crazy, it also felt (and, to some extent, still feels) so real, that it's still a bit raw.  The only way I could explain it to anyone would be to ask you to think of one thing, one activity, that brings you joy in a way that nothing else could or will ever do; and now imagine that you cannot do that thing, and instead try to replace it with something else.  I'm telling you, it just makes you feel twice as bad.  So that was the funk I found myself in, as I was rounding the bend of Week 1.
After the steroid fog lifted and I found myself on more solid emotional ground again, we hit the start of Week 2, which was also my birthday week.  Between teaching, celebrating, and coping with the fact that I am now 40 years old (which, in my book, means I'm officially a grown up), the week flew by.  About mid week I told my husband that I was concerned that my voice didn't seem to be getting any better or stronger.  So I did some research and found that (**WAIT**  Men, you may want to avert your eyes & jump to the next paragraph.  Intensely female subject matter coming in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...) vocal hemorrhages can be brought on, and/or made worse, during a woman's menstrual cycle.  And guess what I started last Tuesday?  Yep, the Universe's birthday gift to me.  Well, at least I stopped feeling upset about my voice, because I knew there was a reason for the husky sound when I spoke.  And just like that, as soon as my cycle was over, I started noticing a marked improvement in my speaking.  Gentlemen, you may return to the conversation now.
Even though I'm still only speaking lightly, and not often, when I do speak, I have noticed the clarity coming back to my voice.  It's not completely clear, of course, but it does sound better than it has in months.  I haven't tried to sing yet, as my 2 1/2 weeks of mandatory vocal rest isn't up until tomorrow.  And really, even then, I'm not sure I'm ready to try.  It's not going to be pretty when I do and I'm not sure I'm psychologically ready for that.  I want so much to sing, and I'm a little afraid that when I do finally vocalize, even in just a warm up, when the sound isn't what I'd like it to be, it may devastate me.  So I may not sing tomorrow.  Or I may.  As I sit here now, I really can't say what I'm going to do.  But just knowing that I've made it this far, that I haven't sung a note, that I've done everything the doctor and vocal specialist have told me to do, and that my speaking voice is improving, gives me hope that I will sing again.
I have told my director at church that I'm not planning to return to the choir until Christmas.  I think that's the responsible thing to do.  That way I'm not pushing myself to be back before I'm absolutely healthy.  And there will be no performances until some time in 2014.  I need to be sure that I can withstand the stamina of using my voice for an extended period of time before I can even think about going on an audition.  So even though 2 1/2 weeks is up tomorrow, I'll still be taking it very slowly.
Something very unexpected and incredibly humbling, has been the outpouring of support I have received from so many people.  Your messages, kind words, encouragement and love have given me such strength during my recovery.  Words fail me.  Please know that I am so thankful.  And to Margo Clark, Martha Regelmann, Sheila Platt and Don Krug ... I can never repay you for what you have given me, because your gift to me has been hope.  And at a time when I didn't think I'd ever feel that again, to receive it from you in the way I did ... you have blessed me.  And I will be forever grateful for you.
Tomorrow is Zero Hour.  Brace yourselves, kiddies, the bumpy part of our ride hasn't even begun ...

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