My visit to the throat specialist this morning eliminated any “normal” issues as the cause of my loss of voice.
A camera was inserted into my throat via my nose (really comfortable!), aided by a bit of anaesthetic. All the doc could see wrong was that the left vocal cord was not working. As a result the vocal cords cannot close which makes it hard to talk, cough, drink etc.
Typically this is seen in patients with lung cancer. The nerve to the left vocal cord travels from the head down to the lung and back up to the throat. As a result the nerve is susceptible to impact from lung tumours. As I do not have lung cancer, it is probably my only active tumour (at the aortopulmonary window – whatever that is!?) that is affecting the nerve.
A couple of times the doctor said that it was really bad news and he was surprised that I was taking it so well. He probably cannot appreciate that after almost nine years of dealing with cancer, and beating every life expectancy estimate, this is just another brick in the wall (sorry Pink Floyd). You get a bit of clarity when one of the other options was death some years ago.
Anyway, non-cancer causes seem to be eliminated, so the doctor will report back to the GP and oncologist, and then we will discuss next steps.
If the tumour cannot be treated, the throat doctor can operate to close the left vocal cord. This will enable me to talk but will will affect breathing. Some option!
How do I feel? Well, I was OK at the doctors, but I fell apart a bit when I got home. After the problem with no one telling me about the PSA rise in February for a couple of months I will not let things slide. I am volunteering at the hospital tomorrow, so I will drop into the clinic afterwards and rattle some cages to get their attention.
And………it is always comforting that to know that some people see a silver lining in my dark clouds. An old mate tells me that it is good to have a Collingwood supporter who cannot talk. Nice one, Dave.
Good health and happiness to all. Cheers, Phil