A total laryngectomy is a surgical procedure performed in advanced stages of cancer in or near the voice box. Undergoing a total laryngectomy can be an overwhelming experience, but you are not alone. There are more than 100,000 people worldwide that have undergone the same operation and it is possible to return to a good life.
It all started with a small bump on the neck. Both Tore and the doctors thought it was harmless but it turned out to be cancer. A week after receiving the diagnosis, Tore had gone through a total laryngectomy.
Coming home after surgery, Tore was determined to speak again, and to go back to work. He achieved both and kept working for another 16 years before retiring.
Going through a total laryngectomy means breathing through a stoma instead of your nose and mouth, and having to learn how to speak again.
While a laryngectomy does spell changes in your day-to-day life, it is still possible to be as happy and fulfilled as Tore, and many others like him. You can continue to be active by going for walks and exercising, or see friends and do most other things you enjoyed before the procedure.
Clearly, one of the biggest changes after a total laryngectomy is losing your vocal cords. This means you won’t be able to speak as you could before, but there are proven ways to regain the power of your speech.
Another big change is the loss of nasal function. This means you will have to adjust to a different way of breathing because you can’t use your nose any more.
You may not realize it, but your nose does more than just smell. It plays a huge role in keeping your lungs healthy and working well. Without the nose, air is cooler and less moist than it should be, causing your lungs to produce more mucus. The important features of your nose can be regained through lung or pulmonary rehabilitation (Link to pulmonary rehabilitation) though – especially if you choose to use a Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME)
Atos Medical offers a number of free services that are designed to make your life as a user of laryngectomy supplies easier. Read more about our different services here.
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