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Through Creative Life and Other Fancies, I seek to inspire and inform people about living as a creative person. Here you will find my successes, failure, and best of all, attempts. Enjoy!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Musings from a (formerly) Silent Actress

All right, full disclosure: I've been silent since my last blog post.  And I mean silent.  Right after that long ago post in March, I woke up sans voice.  First thought, laryngitis.  But then it didn't go away after a week, two weeks, a month.  So off I went to the specialist who diagnosed me with a paralyzed left vocal cord. And while the kind doctor assured me that it really wasn't as traumatic as it sounded and up to two thirds of patients recover fully, my natural dramatic tendencies kicked into overdrive.  Paralyzed....PARALYZED!?! As in, nothing-you-can-do-about-it paralyzed?  The cause was unknown which is normal with this condition and treatment options were limited.  Really, the only treatment available in Canada is injecting a substance (it has a long and complicated medical name that I don't even begin to remember) into the affected vocal cord and even that doesn't make the thing move, it just helps eliminate some of the symptoms.  But doing something, anything appealed to my Type A personality.  So while the thought of having a needle put through my throat caused some panic attacks, I had to do something.

I'm not a huge fan of not having control over my life and career.  Yes, that seems to be at odds with my career choice but for all rights and purposes, I believe that actors do control their careers.  There is always something we can do to be working.  But this condition suddenly brought to light that there are some things I don't and never will have control over.  And it terrified me. Beyond the obvious lack of being able to audition well, any parts I was offered through my wonderful film family, I had to turn down. I didn't know from one day to the next whether my voice would be kinda OK or not at all.  In no way did I want to be responsible for possibly lessening the quality of their finished products. I began to question my abilities and inevitably, my thoughts turned to possible career changes.  Which, of course, nearly killed me.  I'm an actor.  I love acting. How could I possibly consider doing anything else?  I had one spectacular breakdown caused by simply booting up Netflix to watch Arrested Development.  Needless to say, I wasn't a happy camper.

Slowly but surely over the course of three months, those close to me kept insisting that my voice was sounding better.  I refused to believe it, figuring that my right vocal cord was just getting used to compensating for the lazy left one.  But then one day, when I was home alone, I was able to sing.  It wasn't great and it was no where near my usual range but music came out of my mouth.  I nearly cried.  That's when I started to hope.  I had already been doing visualizations of energy running through the nerves of my vocal cord (no one told me to do this, I just figured it couldn't hurt) so this spurred me on to do it more.  It's amazing what even a small shred of evidence of progress can do to a person.

Fast forward to the day I was booked to get the dreaded needle through my throat.  Not only was I scared out of mind (I'm OK with needles, I'm just not OK with needles going through my throat) and nervous about the cost (FYI: not everything is free in a universal healthcare system), I was stressed that I would be doing this procedure every three months until I either healed or they would have to do surgery.  The doctor had explained this wouldn't get my voice back, it would merely make it stronger.  But still my voice was sounding better.  I could get through a day without devolving into silence by five.  So imagine what happened to that small glimmer of hope when I opened my mouth to say hello to the doctor and his immediate response was, "Your voice is better"; it erupted into a full-fledged inferno.  One scope look later pronounced me almost 100% better, no injection required.  The left cord is still a little slow and lazy but it moves.  Trust me, I saw it on the nifty video.  I happy danced and high fived my husband all the way out of the hospital.

So things are looking up.  As one of my besties said when I joyous called her with news, no career change needed.  Call it the power of prayer, visualizations, karma, or whatever, I've woken up each day since sending off oodles of gratitude to the universe.  Cuz, really despite of it all, life is just plain fantastic.  And I'm telling everyone!

Happy creating!

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