Finding Your Voice from Within
For those that have always known me, I have always had a raspy voice. I guess you get used to it when that is the only voice you have ever known. But for those that do not understand I want to share with you. I often see that people are subjected to things because of others lack of understanding so I am going out of my comfort zone to share my own story, in hopes that others will look beyond the things that make others different and see them in a different light.
I was a typical baby according to my family but as I reached school age, my grandmother and teachers all noticed that my voice began to change. My voice was getting deeper as time went on and quickly changed to a raspy whisper. I was taken to several doctors, some thought I just had a form of asthma and put me on an inhaler. But nothing changed. We finally were blessed to find a doctor at Children's Hospital that knew exactly what I had. And I was diagnosed with RRP. It was determined that I was born with the disease known as recurrent respiratory papilloma (Its a growth that looks like cauliflower for those that need a visual). These wart-like growths are on my vocal chords, and why my voice is so strained and raspy.
My doctor, Dr. David Molter, put a scope in my nose and down my throat (and let me tell you, not something I enjoy but something that occasionally is necessary). I had so much growth that it blocked 98% of my ability to breathe. So they immediately scheduled surgery for later in the week. After the surgery, we were told that we would have to come back every 4-6 weeks, for additional surgeries. And at that time he was optimistic of being only 25 or so to go. As of today I have had 11. And with the promise of more than the 25 in my future.
The thing about having RRP is although there is no cure, it can go into remission. I can still do all of the things that most kids do, and for me I could still actively play softball which I love. Over the years I had plenty (and occasionally still do) of scrutiny from other kids at school. I am always made fun of because of my voice, but I never let that take away my spirit. I knew that I was just different, and that kids can be cruel.
Being different, I did not want people and other kid's to have pity on me, but I was tired of everyone asking why I was hoarse, that I just kept quiet. In school I was hesitant to raise my hand, even when I knew the answer because of my voice. I wanted to make new friends, but sometimes it was difficult because I did not want to approach new people and answer all of the same old questions. So instead I was viewed as the "quiet" one or the "sweet" one.
Now, I am in middle school, I continue to have surgeries and sometimes I get lucky and get to have a 3-4 month break. Some days I ask myself, "Why me". But I know that God put me here for a purpose, and by sharing my story not only will I be blessed, but I hope to bless others with knowledge and understanding of others.
Living with RRP is difficult, but I do not allow it to ruin my everyday life. You learn that just the smallest of things are taken for granted and you have to learn to appreciate what you have been blessed with. I have my fair share of good and bad days, high and low points. But I am happy with who I am and the family and friends that God has blessed me with.
So I do not have time to be ungrateful for what journey I have been put on. I am blessed. I am determined. This disease called RRP will not define who I am, but will make me a stronger person because of it.
So no matter what your circumstances are, know that you can use any part of it for good. You are not on your journey alone. We just don't always know how God is using us for his kingdom. Embrace everything about you. And remember, don't be so quick to judge others. They may be on a journey that you know nothing about. Be Blessed.