South Florida woman loses her speech following surgery

PLANTATION, Fla. – Many of us take the ability to speak for granted but injury, surgery and some health conditions can make this simple act impossible.

It happened to 38-year-old Monique Williams following surgery to treat her thyroid cancer. Using a text-to-speak app on her phone, she expressed her initial reaction.

”I was angry,” she said.

Williams suffered what is known as bilateral vocal chord paralysis.

”When someone has thyroid surgery unfortunately the nerve that controls movement of the vocal chords runs right by that gland so this type of surgery or surgery of the esophagus which is also very close to those nerves can sometimes cause injury that’s either temporary or permanent to these nerves,” said Dr. Laura Dominguez, an Otolaryngologist with Cleveland Clinic Weston.

Along with technology, Williams needs to rely on others to communicate.

”It’s frustrating,” she said through the speech app.

Friend Jackie Willock is often Williams’ voice.

“It’s been very challenging for her especially with her kids because she can’t sing lullabies to them, she can’t read bedtime stories to them, she can’t teach them new words for example, or help with homework,” Willock said.

Williams is now on disability because she lost her job as a pre-school teacher for the Head Start program, but she’s planning to learn sign language and hopes to one day teach hearing impaired children.

She’s also continuing her community outreach efforts on social media.

”It’s hard not to speak but want to bring awareness to other moms,” Williams said through text-to-voice.


Click here for Monique’s “Journey Through Motherhood” Facebook blog

Click here for Facebook fundraiser

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