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Im a professional singer its all ive ever loved and done post thyroidectomy and i cant sing

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2009

I Cant sing I am devastated beyond words, there was no vocal nerve damage I can only figure its due to muscle damage from my muscles being cut to get my thyroid out? I have alot of people depending on me producers,songwriters,musicians and charities I am scheduled to do a huge event in sept for our troops and I dont know what to do. Is my voice gone forever? Or is this temporary? My Dr told me to sing i wont hurt anything, well i sound like a screeching cat and i had a beautiful powerful voice my entire life Im a natural. can someone please tell me the truth am i going to ever sing again. If i had known this would happen I would of opted to leave it in there sound crazy well it isnt I am a singer it is who I am without it I am not me all my dreams all my everything would be gone life as i know it not worth it to me...So i need advise what to do here yes its only been 14 days post op but something is definitely wrong, I have my reg voice back its very strange but I have no vocal control when singing its horrible!!!! Some one please write to me and tell me what to do, cancer has taken my voice.Micheleann
go to http://www.myspace.com/micheleannn
this is what i was like before now i cant utter a sound that isnt out of key or pitched wrong its devastating ,tonight at rehearsal i sat in the middle of the floor and sobbed like a baby. saying I am alive is saying nothing right now without who i am.Should i cancel this event sept 11th, my gawd im letting people down and its not my fault.

Posts: 57
Joined: Jun 2009

I don't think any of us can "tell you the truth" because the truth is unknowable.

Some of us have short-term problems with our voices--speaking and/or singing. Some of us have no problems and some of us have permanent damage. Only time will tell.

I sympathize with you and I wish I could give you good news but, as I said, only time will tell.

My opinion--your doctors should have warned you about possible problems. As someone whose voice is your livelyhood you should have been given options--find the best surgeon in the country and take a chance, or chose one of the more risky therapies that don't require a thyroidectomy. The skill and experience of the surgeon can make a huge difference in the outcome.

For example, my ENT-surgeon told me up front that he takes a conservative approach. He will leave a little tissue behind rather than risk damage to the vocal chords. I liked his approach and signed on to it. His thinking was that the small bits he leaves behind will be killed by subsequent RAI ablations. In my case our gamble didn't pay off. My cancer proved to be resistant to RAI (rare) so it came back and now I'm in an experimental chemotherapy clinical trial. But my voice recovered from the surgery and was almost normal until the recurrent cancer damaged my vocal chords more than two years later. You pays your money and takes your chances.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that you (1) had a highly skilled surgeon and (2) the damage to your singing voice is temporary.

I wish you the best of luck.

Cygni's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2009

This is my own personal experience:

I am also a singer and had a total thyroidectomy in late January of this year. I also had RAI in April. My endo had warned me about possible damage due to the thyroid's proximity to the vocal chords, so I asked for the best surgeon around. I had to wait a little longer than I would have otherwise, but it was well worth the wait. I regained use of my speaking voice within a few weeks of surgery, but it was weak. Within a month or so my speaking voice was normal, but when I tried to sing, I had absolutely no more ability to project!! I was devastated because I thought I would never be able to sing again. I spoke to my MD and was told to just let it rest and give it time. As difficult as it was, I filled my time (and need for a music outlet) by throwing a huge cancer benefit concert (which I did not sing at), doing some PR for friends' bands, and writing a bunch of new songs.

It took a little time, but I am now back in the studio working on a new CD and my voice actually sounds better than ever. Every now and then it feels a little strange, as if the muscles surrounding it are weak, but I just take a break and don't push myself like I used to.
Hang in there, have faith, and give your body the gift of allowing it to heal on its own time.
I like to think, for myself anyway, that this experience gave me the opportunity to try some things I might have otherwise not considered doing. Best of luck! :)

Posts: 32
Joined: May 2009

Hello Micheleann...I'm not a professional singer but still always loved to sing. I had total thyroidectomy on April this year. After the surgery my speaking voice was good just used to get tired when I'd tried to speak too much. To be honest, at least by now I can't sing, it's a completely different voice. But my surgeon explained me all the possible complications I could confront after the surgery so' I knew this could happen. I remember the first time after the surgery when I was at church, I cried becase couldn't sing at all. I'm telling you this just to let you know that you're NOT alone. The only advise I could give you, besides I completely understand it won't be easy, it's to let your body to heal.

Hang in there, hoping you'll get your singing voice back.

Lily = )

one day at a time
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2009

I had a total thyroidectomy about 4 weeks ago and I too am experiencing singing difficulty. I'm not a professional singer, but I love to sing. I sing a lot in my church and have sung at multiple weddings. I have friends who want me to sing in their wedding when that day comes. But sometimes I wonder if that will ever happen. I was told my vocal cords were not damaged, but I still have problems with my voice. It sounds ok to the normal person but I know that it's still not right. I don't have any power behind it and it hurts to raise it. At first, I was very depressed about not being able to sing. That's what I do. I'm always singing. But I am not defined by my voice. I'm defined by what is inside of me. Even though my voice is gone, I still have a song in my heart. I know that this is your profession and I can't imagine the stress you are experiencing. I will be praying for you. Just give it some time. My doc did tell me that trying to sing won't damage anything, but it can prolong the healing. Try to take it easy.

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2013

Frist thing is I am so happy to share my views with those who know what this problem means for a singer. A non-singer can never understand or feel this. So I have not even shared this with anyboyd in my house nor with my friends. Though my profession is IT which helps me earn my breat it's my singing which makes me live and feel that life is a gift. Given a chance i will sing all my day and all my life and that too for myself. Only a singer can understand this. I can easily sing about a 500 songs perfectly which I had heard and learnt all over my 41 years of life with learning a ABCD of formal training. I got my total thyroid removed as a papillary carcinoma was detected. I took 2 FNAC tests in 2 reputed hospitals to reconfirm. But still it was only showing a very mild papillary carcinoma. The sad part is no doctor could diagonize this, including my past surgeon, my oncologist, my endocrynologist for the past 3-4 years inpite of regular visits. I am really surprised where are we...I am sure in 2013! But a few doctors hinted me this 3 years back but never suggested the right investigation which prompted me too not take it seriously. This is a dangerous signal and a great learning that every human being should do his homework and not completely rely on even the greates doctor on this earth. It is your headache not his's. Please realise this.  I had no consious symptoms at all, no swelling, nothing. By God's grace(if you belive in God) or by my fortune(if you don't) that it came out during my PETSCAN done as a protocal after 3 years of my Colon cancer. I too several advices and then decided to go for a Total thyroid removal.  My tumor was only 1cm long and not spead into the lymphnodes. So the doctor said I don't need even an RIA but only 150mg of Thyroxin with a 6 monthly check up. The moment i gained consciousness after my 4-5 hour long surgery the first thing I checked for myself was not whether I was alive but where I had a voice and next thing was whether i was able to 'sing' to live my balance life. I was able to hear my voice but not able to sing. But I must say i am always an optimistic person. I know how to be happy with what I got or left with. I still have my ears to listen to music...what I am really lucky..righ!  I look at others who don't even have what I have today. So i decided to myself I am not useful to others(my family, my office, whome i can afford to help, etc) but i may not be useful to myself...really sad. But with 1 week of post surgery I started seeing my voice coming up and I that i am able to speak atleast at very low voice. My 9 year old son, poor guy, was teasing me that i need to start using a mic when i speak. but by the 2nd week my voice level improved and i was albe to speak without strain and pain which i had initially. Now i am in the 4th week. today i checked i am able to sing simple tunes. I  can sing a full song when i try it in the lowest of the pitch possible. I still can't touch higher pitches. I can clear see that my vocal chord closes the movement it try to reach a higher pitch. I migh sound greedy but I don't mind request my fellow singer here to pray for me to be able to single as normally as I do. I promise I will pray for you too to be able to sing at the earliest.

Wishing you all the best and a speedy recovery....I see that you'rs is a very old post of 2009 and this is 2013...what happened later...were you able to sign?

Baldy's picture
Posts: 243
Joined: Mar 2011

I went through what you're going through now almost 3 years ago.  Your voice will come back.

I'm not a pofessional singer either, nor am I really all that good (can't remember lyrics very well), but I still enjoy singing and sound pretty good in the shower or in the car (good acoustics).  I think I have all my range back, I was close to two octaves before the surgery and I'm still close now, maybe I lost a note, maybe not.  I think my range deepended some, maybe a note or two.  I asked the surgeon about this and he said it's not uncommon for a post-TT patient to have there voice deepen a little.  As he explained, the void left from your thyroid removal allows the voice box to expand a little.

Hang in there, and don't over-do using your voice, it took a few months before I could talk or sing as much as I wanted without starting to go hoarse.

denistd's picture
Posts: 597
Joined: Apr 2009

I too sang for a living a long time ago, had larynx cancer resulting in radiation and chemo. My voice was completely gone. 5 years later and it's better than it was before although I am now retired. As for cancer of the thyroid and singing, take a listen to Rod Stewart, he had his thyroid removed and was out of the grind for only 3 months, sounds as good now as ever.

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