Can you be articulate and have no voice? The answer is YES. Today, I met Itzhak Brook. He is a survivor of throat cancer and required a full laryngectomy. Despite having no voice box, he produced an articulate whisper amplified by an excellent mike system. He spoke at the David Nasto Oral Cancer Awareness Walk. One message he imparted was the importance of seeing an ENT subspecialist. He saw colleagues whom he trusted for three surgeries until he finally went into NYC to see a subspecialist, recognizing quickly the vast difference in expertise. Even though he wasn’t sure he wanted to live life without a voice, he kept going because he didn’t want to leave a legacy to his children of quitting in the face of adversity.
I learned something new, too. I asked him if he could go swimming. He can dunk up to his chest, but no higher unless he has a Larchel, which rhymes with snorkel intentionally because it’s a snorkel for laryngectomees.
His wife Joyce is a special person too, and I was honored to meet them both.