Monday, December 25, 2017

Losing my voice: About the blog hiatus

I announced on November 3 that this blog would be on hiatus until the end of the year. And in truth, I was planning to take a hiatus for the month of December, anyway. But starting back in August, I found myself in and out of the hospital, first with a mystery disease that couldn't be diagnosed; then a diagnosis of lymphoma, a type of blood cancer; and then, just as I was about to start treatment for, the cancer, I developed Guillain–Barré syndrome, which paralyzed my hands and feet and parts of my arms and legs. As part of the treatment for that, I was put on a breathing tube and later had a tracheotomy – two things that, at times, rendered me speechless and unable to use my voice. And since my hands are such a big part of creating my online voice, it made sense to silence the blog while they were inoperable. Even now, I'm using dictation software to write this post.

One of the great miracles about Guillain–Barré syndrome is that it is reversible, going back the way it came, so my hands and feet, which were the first to be affected, will be the last to recover. I can't tell you how grateful I am to be able to recover my actual speaking voice, and to have the prospect of recovering all my other functions, particularly my hands.

I'm currently in rehab, working on physical therapy and work projects, but I want to get the blog going for 2018. I'm going to publish a couple of Famous Speech Fridays that need to be reflected in 2017, so this week we will declare Tuesday and Wednesday to be honorary Fridays. I'm also going to publish our annual list of the most-read public speaking tips on the blog this year, and you may be surprised by what's included on that list. Finally, I'll share a look at the year in speaking for women, using some of this year's most prominent speeches and what they all have in common.

I'm sure will have some fits and starts getting the blog up and running again, and I appreciate your patience with that process. I'm looking forward to getting back to the very important discussion we're having worldwide about women's voices and their place in the world in the workplace. And I hope in the comments thread on this particular post so that you can share your thoughts about where you would like to see the blog go in 2018. Thanks as always for reading!

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Claire Duffy said...

Denise I am so sorry to hear of these trials, but relieved to know you are beginning your return to work. These are very personal journeys and however you make yours I hope you have all the support and care you need. I’m certainly hoping for the very best outcome.
In terms of directions for the blog: the lid has blown right off the sexual harassment issue. It’s ugly and traumatic trrritory. I’d like to see girls and women getting some help with negotiating this difficult topic. I am surrounded by women saying - ashamedly ‘I didn’t know how to get him to stop’ and I know several who are simply paralyzed by the inability to speak up about it - whether they’re victims, or just dealing with discussions in a social setting. It all comes back to the age old power imbalance that got you started on this blog in the first place. To that I would add the stupefying insensitivity so many men show on this matter. They just don’t get it. How can we help them? So that’s my item for the ‘to do’ list. Looking forward to others’ contributions.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a wonderful resource for the female high school speech competitors I work with, my former college speech team, and any woman who needs the tools to raise her voice. I hope you will be well and be able to keep up the great work you've done. Wishing you wellness for 2018.

Barbara McLaughlin said...

All the best for a speedy recovery. Having just discovered this blog, I am excited to hear more from you. Hopefully the knowledge that you affect positive change in women's lives will assist your recovery!!