For those of you that know me, I’m no introvert and that is an understatement. I love to talk and to laugh. I’ve been that way since I can remember. I was always one of the “class clown posse” in school and IT WAS FUN! As I got older, I loved to hear stories of all kinds and in college, I believe I became an expert storyteller. At least, to me I was. Talk, talk, talk, laugh, laugh…good times. But something funny happened when I got cancer. I lost half of my voice. Not really what I was expecting nor wanting but then again there is not ONE thing good that comes from cancer, physically speaking. See, the mass in my neck and throat was putting pressure on both my vocal chords and finally paralyzing one chord completely. It takes more energy to talk and it’s in a raspy whisper but it doesn’t hurt, it just harder to talk. Especially, on the phone trying to get workman out to the house. “Sir, could you speak up. I can barely hear you”. I close my eyes and remain calm. What am I going to do, yell at them? Classic.
But in all of this, I’ve learned that it truly is better to be the one that listens and observe. Don’t get me wrong but I still like to tell stories and my voice will get back to normal in a few weeks. Maybe all of us should take a day where we make a concerted effort to talk less and listen more. It truly is empowering! You become more patient and that’s also empowering.
Sometimes there are times for no words..just silence. When I was in the oncologist office, after days of tests, he said that the cancer hadn’t spread which was huge. The oncologist left for a second and his assistant said, “You’re quite lucky. If it had spread it would be incurable”. Not a word was said. Just a silent prayer saying “Thank you”.