back in the saddle

I’ve written the last few blog posts about my journey of dealing with a vocal polyp. You can read all about it in previous blogs: “thoughts before my surgery,” “thoughts after my surgery,” “let my words be few,” and “eight long months.”

On June 29th, 2014, I returned to the stage to lead worship for the first time since my surgery on May 12th, 2014, and boy did it feel great! My voice was so strong and stable. I didn’t realize how much vocal gymnastics I was doing to work around the polyp on my vocal fold to keep my voice from breaking! Now, unencumbered by that nasty polyp, singing takes so much less effort! In fact, some who have had this surgery liken it to a retired NFL quarterback getting his high school knees back! From my experience, I’d say that is pretty accurate! I have my full range back and it is rock solid!

I am so grateful to God for healing and that I had access to the incredible level of care that the University of Michigan Hospitals has to offer. In fact, the U of M has one of only 4 professional voice centers in the country! My surgeon did a phenomenal job and my speech pathologist has helped me learn how to sing and speak more efficiently.

As a high tenor, I have always spoken at the bottom of my range for reasons that need no explanation! However, speaking (or singing, for that matter) in that low of a register has always tired my voice out quickly. Today, I had another follow up speech pathology appointment and we are now working to strengthen my lower register. I don’t have aspirations of singing bass any time soon, but I do hope that I am able to strengthen my lower range and keep the sound “more forward” (more efficient) so that I am able to resume teaching on Sunday mornings and leading discipleship groups without tiring my voice out.

Thanks for everyone who have prayed for me across the past 8-9 months! I am also grateful for those in my worship ministry, including my wife Suzanne, who have stepped up to lead worship when I was unable, and to the leadership of The Well for their patience during my incapacitation.

It sure feels good to be back in the saddle!

eight long months

The past 8 months have been a long and challenging period for me. No, I’m not talking about the Detroit winter although that WAS long! If you’re new to my blog, I’ve been dealing with a vocal polyp (you can read about my journey here and here). Thankfully, it looks like they are behind me. Today, I saw my Speech Pathologist and my Vocal Specialist ENT and they have given me the green light to begin the ramp up to my normal vocal use over the next month! That means by the middle of July, I’ll be able to lead an entire worship set. Between now and then, I need to build up my vocal stamina. It would similar to an athlete who has recovered enough from surgery to begin working out with the team again and playing in the game some, but maybe not starting and definitely not playing the whole game–yet.

I am so thankful for all of the prayers, phone calls, texts and Facebook messages from friends and family! It has been so encouraging to know that so many of you have been praying for me and my family during this trying time. It has affected so many things about our life, but God has been faithful to uphold and sustain us through this period. Safe to say I will not take a healthy voice for granted again!

I couldn’t help but think about the lyrics to this song by Matt Redman:

When the music fades and all is stripped away, and I simply come
longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless Your heart
I’ll bring you more than a song for a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you
It’s all about You, Jesus

I’m looking forward to taking my place on the stage next to my wife and lifting my healed voice up to God in praise!