Speech and Language Therapy
I had an appointment at the Royal Sussex County Hospital to speak to a Speech and Language Therapist who went through what would be the plan after I have had my laryngectomy in two to three weeks time. The therapist was very good and very understanding. She was able to show me and Tina all the paraphernalia that would be attached to me and how it works and what will be necessary to keep it all in good order. She also arranged for us to meet with someone who had had the operation and he was able to explain how he dealt with the operation and how his life has changed in the three and half years since he had it done. The meeting was a mixture of education and to be honest some despondency on my part. The realisation that this was how I was going to live the rest of my life in the not to distant future was starkly portrayed to me. In actuality, after I have adapted to the change, there will not be much I will be unable to do but there is a lot of things that we all take for granted that I will still be able to do but in a different way if you like. There are other things that will be gone for ever, for instance one little thing such as 'sniffing' will be gone, I will not have the ability to draw air through my nose or mouth and I have a little trouble coming to terms with that at the moment.
One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest, will be the psychological effect on me and my family. At the moment I am fortunate enough to be able to speak clearly, this was due to the surgeons removing a large part of the tumour on my larynx when I had my biopsy, not only making breathing easier but also leaving me able to speak normally and this could inadvertently have a negative effect as our voice is a large part of our identity; people recognise you through your voice, we have mannerisms in the way we speak and communicate and I am going to have to relearn all of this and so are those people around me. Perhaps it would have been easier for us all if that part of me was gone already. On the other hand I get to speak to everybody in a normal way for as long as possible.
However I do not intend to let this change in my life affect the way I live my life and my lifestyle, I still intend to be as active as I have been previously; walking, cycling and being out and about are big parts of my life that I will not let go of and it is these goals that help keep my sanity intact. The other big influences are family and friends and I couldn't wish for a better support network. I'm also looking forward to returning to work as soon as realistically possible, The only other sick leave I can remember taking was when I damaged my shoulder and that was just for one week.
The nicest part of the day was meeting my friend Sharon from Lewes Road Bus Garage where I used to work for a quick coffee before my appointment began and it was great to see the friendly face of Lee Perry on the bus when we came out of the hospital.
Once again, we thank everybody who has been so encouraging and supportive and who have given us the strength to remain positive for the future.
Updates to follow as and when.
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