Opinion: Shocking diagnosis reminder to take care of health
My aunt is a spectacular vocalist. When she opens her mouth to sing, people stop. People listen to the floating, emotional voice. In fact, she’s made a career out of it. She’s a music teacher and works at a music store. She plays multiple instruments and enjoys spending time with her many bands and choral groups, participating and directing.
So imagine our shock last year when she was diagnosed with throat cancer. Tumors and lesions were attacking her throat, lungs and vocal cords. The means of her happiness were rendered useless, ineffective against the disease waging a war inside her. We never saw it coming.
But perhaps we could have. For quite some time, she had noticed something in her throat. She said once that it felt like she had a golf ball lodged in there. At first it was just a nuisance, not an indicator of a bigger problem but rather of a cold or sore throat. We all knew it was nothing to worry about, dismissed it and went on with our days. I’m not sure how long exactly she ignored it, but eventually she went to the doctor and we all got the news.
She began a vigorous treatment process. The detrimental effects carried through the physical into the emotional. Every time we saw her, she looked more and more depressed. Her voice was hoarse to the point of a whisper. She couldn’t speak so we relied on my uncle and Facebook to keep everyone up-to-date. It was painfully obvious how much of a toll her inability to sing was taking on her. I could only imagine how it felt, first to find out you have a life threatening disease, then to learn that it affects your release, your expression, your passion.
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