Dancing Away the Rain.

The last week has been pretty intense for our daughter.

Last week, I finally managed to get her to see a vocal speech therapist about the vocal nodules which were picked up a few months ago when her gastro-intestinal issues were diagnosed. These nodules are like calloused blisters on your vocal chords and by the time we finally reached the specialist all that yelling at brother and mother not to mention stomach acid, had created quite a hurdle. Sure, we knew her voice could be quiet but there was also the shouting and we’d I guess just become accustomed to her squeaky little girl voice which my friends considered “cute”. My daughter loves singing and so having trouble with her voice, indeed, being diagnosed with severe vocal nodules and talking about how her voice is already struggling to produce full words was alarming, catastrophic. In essence, I was told that her voice was badly broken and needed the vocal equivalent of a wheelchair. At the moment, that is temporary and there are exercises and quite a lot of restrictions. Failure to cooperate will have serious consequences and I don’t think she’s just talking about “down the track” or “in the long run”. We’re talking NOW!

Of course, after all of that bad news and feeling like I’d been zapped with a stun gun, we succumbed to retail therapy. I can’t even remember what I bought her but I bought myself an adult colouring-in book with motivational quotes inside as I felt myself being sucked down a very long drain pipe.

As a kid, I could never understand why my mother became so distraught when something happened to me but now I finally get it.

Our little dancing star!

Our little dancing star!

When something happens to your kids, you actually feel 1000 times worse because you wish it had happened to you and you KNOW that you are somehow part of the problem and there’s that incredible, crippling stomach-churning guilt. Either you should have stopped it. Acted sooner. Jumped in your private ambulance and pushed the accelerator flat to the floor and driven like a bat out of hell.

That’s what my grandmother did after my uncle sustained third degree burns to his hand while she was changing his brother’s nappy and I think her pressure cooker also exploded that morning leaving beans glued to the ceiling.

Miss as Gretel from the Sound of Music.

Miss as Gretel from the Sound of Music.

Anyway, Miss isn’t supposed to sing at all at the moment and I can’t quite remember the speech therapist’s exact words. However, essentially her voice needs to pack its bags for a bit and sit on a beach and read through that stack of books which is falling down beside my bed. Being a kid, there will be so cocktails but I’ll allow her a lemonade with a slice of lemon and one of those cool and groovy little umbrellas on the side.

However, let’s get back to the real world.

My little girl is growing up but for a precious moment, time stood still!

My little girl is growing up but for a precious moment, time stood still!

Last Sunday, Miss had her mid-year dance concert and she also does Musical Theatre. Not even a week after being told not to sing at all, there she was, crime of crimes, up on stage singing…singing a solo even. It was only one line but just like you pinch the last chocolate and hope you don’t get sprung, I knew this was a stolen moment. That one line was no doubt doing damage but when I saw her up on that stage in the baby-pink satin dress being Gretal from The Sound of Music, even if it was only an excerpt and they were only in the school hall, I was so incredibly proud!! It also made me tear up a bit as they sang: “So long, Farewell”. With my bad health over the years, these dance concerts are emotionally confronting but this time when I saw her dressed up as a little girl and knowing she is growing up so fast, I couldn’t help but feel I was waving goodbye to her. After all, next year she turns 10!

My gorgeous girl!

My gorgeous girl!

We returned to the speech therapist this week and had good news. She had noticed an improvement just in that first week. She has been given more exercises and appointments are shifting from weekly to fortnightly. I know I can be a master of denial but I was very relieved. After seeing my grandmother lose her voice after a series of debilitating mini-strokes and what that meant to her, knowing that my daughter had already lost much of her voice was devastating. Therefore, ever the faintest glimmer of hope and improvement is such a relief! We are actually turning the tide.

Just to elaborate on this “we” business a little, my voice is also struggling at the moment and I am doing my daughter’s exercises as well not just to support her but to also let my own voice out of jail. It’s very hoarse as well.

So what with dance concerts, musical theatre and good or at least, improved news from the speech therapist, those dark, heavy rain clouds lifted and a rainbow appeared!

How do you feel when your children experience similar setbacks?

xx Rowena

32 thoughts on “Dancing Away the Rain.

  1. Carol A. Hand

    You daughter is so beautiful, and you are an awesome mother. You’re doing everything you can, and then some, and it sounds like it’s making a difference.

  2. New Journey

    What a frign bummer for her, you and the family to have to deal with…I can’t imagine….she is so beautiful…I think she looks like her mummie….apple didn’t fall from this tree…lol

  3. Laurie Buchanan

    I’m so very grateful for the “glimmer of hope” you are currently experiencing with your daughter’s voice. I hope yours follows suit. The photographs of her are beyond precious.

  4. TanGental

    Blow me down with a feather, Row. If it’s not one thing it’s another. She’s a stunner, for sure and will break the odd heart of ten I’d guess. Best of luck with the treatment and trying to persuade a novice Adele not to sing!

  5. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Geoff. I wasn’t feeling very resilient last week and was at best crumpled but was much relieved by this week’s appointment. We went off the grid after this week’s appointment. Instead of taking her back to school, we went out to lunch and a Eastern-style cafe with a beautiful koi carp fish pond. Then, it was off to walk through the Japanese Gardens at the local Art Gallery and walk through the gallery. I guess you could say we went AWOL.
    It’s quite funny because my daughter is noticeably petite while I am quite tall at 174 centimetres. Her brother is likely to be fairly tall.

  6. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Laurie. Her dance concerts always affect me very deeply, which I’ve found quite interesting as dance hasn’t been my thing. I am quite clumsy and heavy footed. But that combination of dance, music, and colour, sweeps me off my feet and on a magical journey.
    One year, when her dance concert was just after some nasty-looking test results, I cried through most of the concert and felt like I was watching the whole thing like a stained-glass window. I fretted about who was going to do her hair and get her to dance but 3 years on, I am doing strong and she can now do all this for herself with a bit of assistance on the neatness front. It is such a relief and while there is a kind of pressure to always look forward and overlook the dark times in our lives, I find such reflection quite enriching and it makes me appreciate the simple things, which I often photograph, so much more!

  7. roweeee Post author

    Thank you, so much. It was a very hard week and my heart was so heavy while trying to be positive and encouraging as well. She’s pretty girl but the mind in that head is scary smart and fires so rapidly. I have no illusions of keeping pace. I am but the foam in her wake but she’ll have to work hard to catch me on the writing front. At least, I hope so!

  8. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much. I try hard and I am starting to feel like we’re starting to rise above the ashes a little. Thanks for the encouragement, Carol. Much appreciated! xx Rowena

  9. Sue Slaght

    Being a parent is heart wrenching work. That instinctual want to keep them from all harm. My kids are 30’ish but still when they are sad or sick or facing challenges it’s hard to keep the maternal instinct toned down. Best wishes to you and your daughter.

  10. Tails Around the Ranch

    Oh my heavens, that first photo is spectacular! Don’t get me wrong, they are all good, but that first one…it speaks volumes of your precious baby girl. Here’s to wishing her speedy vocal recovery but till then, dance the night away little bird. ❤

  11. merrildsmith

    Your daughter is lovely–and photogenic! I love the photo of her sitting with her white dress kind of pouffed around her. It’s encouraging that her voice is starting to improve. I wonder if it’s like children’s bones that heal so much more easily than adults? I hope so. I didn’t know children got vocal nodules.
    I understand completely about being overwhelmed when watching your children perform. I’ve been through that many times. I also know what it’s like to have your child in distress–whether it’s physical or emotional–and you feel like your own heart is cracking.
    It’s obvious that you love your children very much, and I’m sure they know it. (And a bit of retail therapy doesn’t hurt now and again. ) 🙂

  12. vanbytheriver

    What a beautiful child. She will survive all this, so will you. But you are so right, there is nothing quite so devastating as when a child suffers, no matter the issue. I’ve been there a bit, still go there at times. They are our babies, no matter the age or circumstance. Take care, Rowena.

  13. roweeee Post author

    Thanks so much, Kathy. I’ve heard the expression that when you have kids your heart moves outside your body and that’s so true!

  14. roweeee Post author

    Thanks for the encouragement, as usual, Merril. That’s interesting with what you say about her voice possibly healing faster as a child. She cut the tendon in her finger when she was 3 and had surgery. The surgeon told us she didn’t need physio but the same injury in an adult would require months of very intense therapy. It would be a huge relief if it improves faster. The shool choir is going in School’s Spectacular at the Entertainment Centre in Sydney. They had to audition and it is a huge thing. Not all the choir can go and the speech therapist is going to have a chat with the choir teacher. I know her pretty well and have my fingers crossed. I’m not a stage Mum and she’s actually pretty shy but she enjoys performing in a group setting.
    Perhaps, oneday, she’ll follow your daughter’s lead and marry the lead male.
    Oh, that reminds me Hugh Jackman used to be our local heartthrob when I was at school. He went to our brother school, Knox Grammar, and naturally starred in all the musicals. I had friends who caught the train on all sorts of diversions for a glimpse of Hugh.

  15. roweeee Post author

    thanks very much Sue. I keep reminding myself to take some deep breaths. Try to stay grounded and level headed. That’s hasn’t been my forte in the past but I’m learning…slowly! xx Rowena

  16. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much, Monika. I often think she looks a bit like Audrey Hepburn but I saw a touch of Edith Piaf in this one and she was known as “the little bird”. I think it’s hilarious because I am 5 ft 10 and I think she’ll be around 5’4-5″6. We have tall and short genes in our families and it all turns out a bit of a lottery.
    With that first photo, I erased all these school logos which were in the background and was pretty pleased with myself. We got a new camera lens about a month ago and now we don’t have to change lenses and it’s just fantastic. My camera is my second eye.
    Hope you are having a great weekend. Our son is away at Scout camp and so I completely rearranged his furniture so there would be more open space. It was so much work but it looks so much better. Tomorrow, we’re off bushwalking with my daughter with the cub scouts. I think I am looking forward to it! xx Rowena

  17. merrildsmith

    Your comments about Hugh Jackman made me laugh. I bet he WAS the local heartthrob! Do you know the “Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon” game? (It was actually invented at Albright College, where my younger daughter–the one who just got married–went.) So now through your friends to you, I feel like I’m six degrees from Hugh Jackman. 🙂 In any case, all best wishes to your daughter and you!

  18. Doug DeBug

    Good job on the post and taking care of the little one. I liked the pics but the one with the blue post treatment was my fav. Hope to know soon how the healing is going so keep us all posted. 🙂

  19. roweeee Post author

    We have a bit of fun fiddling around on photoshop. Mind you, my daughter completely humbled me the other day when she got onto it and at 9 years old worked just like a professional graphic artist. More and more, I am thinking that she’ll be taking me places although she’ll still be needing Mum’s taxi for awhile yet!

  20. Doug DeBug

    I’m envious. I can’t seem to get my two younger boys to do anything that requires an artistic eye or writing skills. I’ve even tried to bribe them with trades of fishing trips in exchange for a one-page short story. So whatever you are doing, keep doing it!

  21. roweeee Post author

    My daughter has shown more interest at this stage and my son struggles with his writing but every now and then surprises me with a drawing and I think: where did that come from? He is full of surprises!
    My daughter was really enthusiastic about illustrating my children’s stories and us producing books and she drew a whole range of monsters but then she got very down on herself and said she’d given up illustrating. She has quite a lot of fire in her. She certainly keeps me on my toes!

  22. Joanne Corey

    I hope there will be continued improvement in healing for both voices. I know it is difficult to comply with orders to stop singing, but please do whatever is needed to keep the damage from becoming permanent. She will have many years of singing ahead by giving time for healing now.

    I also understand how the medical problems of your child tear you up inside. Having gone through more years than I care to count with these issues, I can only say that perseverance in finding the right diagnosis and treatment pays off. The daughter that we feared would never be able to leave home is now married and living happily and mostly healthily 5,000 miles away.

  23. roweeee Post author

    Joanne,I love hearing stories like you tell about your daughter and to never give up on our children…whether they are our own or part of the global village. My auto-immune disease affects my muscles and I am a member of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and I have met some truly inspirational people who go through a lot of ups and downs and many face dying young but they are so incredible.
    Although I am quite accustomed to my own health battles, it’s a different story as you appreciate when it comes to your kids and other loved ones. I find when it’s happening to me, I have that insight to enable me to know how to respond but with complex medical or emotional issues with your kids, there’s so much guesswork involved and that tension between your intuition which says something isn’t quite right and then having to talk to professionals with the appropriate level of concern. You want to get action but at the same time not come across as a neurotic helicopter parent. That is a fine line.
    Thanks again and it means so much to me to hear from people who have been through this and feel that support. It can be very difficult when she’s suffering, crying but the symptoms are hard to pinpoint and there isn’t that magic bandaid fix. After all, we are their parents, not trained medical professionals yet our kids can expect and even need that. Yikes! That said, I know love and reassurance that only a parent or loved one can give, is just as important as medical intervention xx Rowena
    xx Rowena

  24. Joanne Corey

    I’m sure your love, care, and concern will be what your daughter will reflect on years from now when she is an adult herself. I’m sending out prayers and healing thoughts for all of you.

  25. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Joanne. It is quite a perplexing juggling act but in the end we are all only human and we can only hope to do our best and also have to accept that we will often not pull that off either and as long as our intentions are good and we try to be there, that that’s enough.

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