Today I had an appointment with my brilliant speech pathologist. She has a PhD in speech pathology and also a love for music. She has worked with opera singers and world renown choirs so I trust her immensely with my fragile vocal cords. If you’ve been following my story, you know that I am a singer and it is a deep passion for me. You also know that the first surgery for my cancer permanently paralyzed my right vocal cord. Eventually, cancer continued to spread handicapping my left vocal cord. I have worked with Dr. Menaldi (and voice specialist Dr Rubin, MD) each and every time to restore my voice constantly giving me hope that I will speak well and I will sing again. Through hard work and their constant encouragement I have been able to sing again (miraculously). Last June when the doctors saw cancer cells once again on PET scan, I gave up trying to rehab because I didn’t see the point. Of course, in September when ultrasound showed no tumors, I decided to resume and now I am back to ground zero. Back in June I gave up on the singing, I grieved and I finally let it go. Today Dr. Menaldi said ‘no’. My neck has taken a beating, but she will work with me until I am singing fully once again. I never thought a doctor’s office would be a safe haven for me. Since I have been diligently coming to this office for almost four years now, I have become friends with not just the doctors, but the staff. They know my story, they have cried with me and encouraged me. They have seen me at my worst and have followed my cancer journey every step of the way (not by choice of course).
It hasn’t always been easy for me to open up and be vulnerable, but illness left me with no choice. I feel very fortunate to have quite a few ‘safe havens’; places where I can be myself, free from the worry of what others may think. I count my friends and family, my home, and now my doctor’s office as safe havens for me (in my case, I also have to include the lipstick counters). We all need at least one place because if you’re anything like me, it would be so easy to withdraw and have the only safe haven in the confines of your own brain…totally not safe! So wherever it may be, a doctor’s office, a lipstick counter, or the comfort of your own room, find a place where you can be you to take the pressure off having to answer “everything’s fine” all the time!
Today I wear Tarte Lipsurgence Liptint in Moody. It is sheer deep berry colored stain which I love. I also love the name because sometimes I am moody (especially if my thyroid meds are off), and the people associated with my safe havens let me be that way!