Safe Haven

19 Oct

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!


14 Responses to “Safe Haven”

  1. Jo October 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    I really enjoyed this Safe Haven piece. I completely understand the sanctity of your doctor’s office and the face you have to show most of the outside world. I wish you the best of everything with your rehab and it sounds as though you have the greatest support and best brains helping you through.

  2. Marc Cohen October 20, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    What would you think if I sang out of tune,
    Would you stand up and walk out on me.
    Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,
    And I’ll try not to sing out of key.
    Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
    Mmm,I get high with a little help from my friends,
    Mmm, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends – The Beatles

    44 Years ago McCartney & Lennon wrote this timeless gem
    (they actually wrote it for the less melodic, Ringo Starr to sing)

    While everything you hold dear in heart is challenged with your illness it has shed like on a Safe Haven where the judgemental and analytical are not allowed.

    Bravo on highlighting this Safe Haven, also known as FRIENDS.

    Beautiful & Touching Post! Be well and with peace….Marc 🙂

  3. Joyce Lansky October 20, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Sounds like the doctor has everything under control. I got my bachelor’s degree in speech pathology/audiology, but never felt like I had a good clinical ear for therapy, so I went in a different direction. Yeah, for those who stuck it out!


  4. angela parson myers October 20, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I admire your courage and persistence–and the persistence of your therapist. Pray you’ll both have every success.

  5. Beth October 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    You’re absolutely right. We all need to be able to let our guard down and feel whatever we feel without worrying that i will make other people uncomfortable. Saying “I’m fine” when we’re anything but is all too common, so it’s important to have people and places where it’s perfectly alright to just let go.

    I pray that you’re soon singing joyfully again.

  6. Jenn October 21, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    I also love to sing–and I cannot imagine an illness taking that from me. I’m so happy you have these safe havens to just be you…moody and all. I think they are important–I wish you the best in your battle against the cancer–and hope that your singing voice is restored 100%–you have an amazing story–thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. linda schulman October 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story. I just said a little prayer for you that your voice will be fully restored.

    I used to love to wear colored lipstick. I wore rich reds and bronzes… Now I’m into lip gloss! Go figure! lol

    Take care!

  8. drchoneydew October 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    this reminds me of a comment my mom said to me one time; She went to the doc’s office, met a woman in the waiting room waiting for her daughter. It was there the mom shared the horrid feelings fears and frustration she had for her daughter. The way it was explained to my mom she expected a frail woman to emerge from behind the door. Instead it was an “attractive woman .. she looked like a model” Mom couldn’t understand how someone who looked so healthy outside could be so riddled with disease.

    Two thoughts; 1. true, many souls we meet are horrendously ill; mentally and their soul so lost. 2. Her mom did not have faith and was not seeing her daughter as whole; but rather as a burden and her reality propelled my own mother in great sorrow for her.

    Keep on wearing your favorite EVERYTHING. Cripe we are all terminal, its so courageous and the knowing YOU WILL SING and TALK AGAIN..heck you are singing to us all right now through your writing!!!!!!!! ((hugs))

    • lipstickjourney October 28, 2011 at 7:23 am #

      Thank you for that wonderful story…so true! Thanks also for the comment on my writing because I always thought that my singing voice may be taken away, but I was given a writing voice that cannot!

  9. Kathy October 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    I pray that the doctors will restore your singing voice so you can sing as God obviously intended you to do. May he bless you!


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