“Surgery is the only solution for treating these vocal cysts.”
My ENT doctor gave me this disappointing news the first time I got diagnosed with vocal cysts in 2001. I was so freaked out about surgery on my vocal cords because I have been a singer my whole life. The prospect terrified me so much that I waited for five years before I had the courage to have surgery after that first diagnosis. And now the cyst was back again two years later…I felt such despair and frustration and had to keep reminding myself that the blessing was that I did not have cancer. The problem was not life threatening. It was “just” threatening my sanity because I was constantly and severely at times, very hoarse.
So here I was, once again poised to go under the knife to have it surgically removed. I was fed up with being hoarse, and my husband not hearing me (a deeper more complicated story) because my foggy voice was a challenge for his own real hearing deficit. I was obliged to repeat myself over and over again with him and others. The telephone was the worst in that it was apparently hard for others to understand my voice without the visual cues. It was so frustrating that I felt like I was being punished – again. Above all, I was depressed because I lost the whole middle and upper register of my singing voice. My mezzo soprano range turned into something gravelly low way down in Tom Waits’ basement.
I was ready to take the plunge again and have the surgery. Unfortunately, (which turned out to be my good fortune) my surgeon was recovering from his own foot surgery for several months. I had no choice but to wait if I wanted the same surgeon and I most definitely did.
The question kept haunting me. Why is my body creating this in my vocal cords of all places?? Expressing myself with my voice in my singing has always been a precious thing for me where I connect with something greater than myself. Why had this come back? I had read that physical ailments often have underlying emotional issues. If I had underlying “issues” that were at the bottom of this, what the hell were they??!!! Enough! Not a lot of patience or compassion at this stage of the game…
I had heard about “energy medicine” from a friend. I learned that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) has been a tool used by health practitioners, therapists and coaches for many years. Essentially, EFT is based on the research that negative beliefs/emotions and trauma create a disturbance in the energy field of the body and may cause physical problems. Supposedly, once the energy disturbance/blockage is cleared the physical problems often disappear.
I decided to consult a therapist who was a licensed MFT as well as an EFT master. Paula taught me the EFT protocol. She said, “It may be POSSIBLE to heal the cyst which is a ball of energy in your throat. The way it works is by tapping lightly with the fingers on specific acupuncture points of the energy meridians in the body while speaking true belief statements or feelings about your condition. This releases the energy stored there.”
The cyst was energy, she reminded me. If we could clear the underlying emotional belief causing the disturbance, it would be possible for me to heal and absorb the cyst back into my body without surgery.
I was willing to try anything, and since my surgeon wasn’t available for some weeks I figured “What the hell.”
Paula encouraged me to close my eyes, relax and drop down into my throat to sense the cyst in my vocal cord. What emotions came up when I focused on the cyst? She told me to ask the actual cyst itself what it was trying to tell me. A loud voice in my head was screaming, “Go away!! Leave me alone!! Stop punishing me!!” So much anger and frustration came up.
We began the tapping protocol with the set up statement, “Even though I have this cyst in my left vocal cord, I deeply and completely accept myself…” She told me to repeat that “set up statement” three times. Then we began by tapping about the feelings I had about my condition. She guided me through eight different meridian points tapping while simultaneously saying phrases like, “This cyst in my vocal cords makes me so angry…”
My rage surfaced. So we began a round of tapping on the rage, “ Even though I feel so much rage about having this cyst in my vocal cords, I deeply and completely love and accept myself…”
“WHY DID I HAVE TO SAY THAT!???” I blurted…. More anger and frustration. She explained that the set up statement was called a “reversal statement”.
Being willing to state that I love and accept myself no matter what was to be a key in my healing…
What was the cyst trying to tell me??….I tried again. I took a deep breath and let go. I became very still as I focused on the cyst. I heard from deep inside, “BE STILL AND LISTEN…”