February 2012




Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders What A Difference A Mile Makes News & Events
VoicePoints  Brad Smith CCC-SLP,CLT  Head & Neck Lymphedema Education-Med
WebWhispers Columnist Bob Herbst The Geezer League Experience
Speaking Out Members How Do You Stay Active Opinion
My Neck Of The Woods Angelique Erickson Becoming Me Again Experience
The Speechless Poet Len Hynds Destined To Be Poetry
Nuf-Sed Bob Keiningham May I Help You Commentary
New Members Listing Welcome News & Events





What a Difference a Mile Makes


Many of you might remember that I was diagnosed a year ago with diabetes and was put on medication. By low carb dieting, I managed to get off of the meds.. from 2 pills a day to one, then to a half, and in August last year, went on diet only. It is not a hard diet to live with but it is not the kind where you can say... well, those oatmeal cookies are healthy and only 112 calories. Because one big oatmeal cookie is still over 17 carbs. My lunch selection will likely not go over 17 carbs and be a hot plate, Meat (not breaded) with broccoli, cauliflower,and yellow squash. So following that diet, my BG (blood glucose) runs low enough to keep me level with no meds. I was also exercising daily on my Schwinn stationary bike. I had worked my way up to as many as 6 miles a day.

In October, I had a trip to the hospital with vertigo. It had been a number of years since I had this trouble before and they kept me 4 days for tests but I was released and sent on off to my scheduled vacation with nothing to worry about. BUT, I didn't have any energy. I didn't go for the daily walks on the beach or the boardwalk and after I came home, I still was tired and spending a lot of time at the computer where I was exercising only my brain. So about 10 weeks had passed and my BG was running about 10 points higher than it had been. I was doing well on my diet but I had cut a few more carbs when I could.

Then right after the first of January, I decided to take my own advice about resolutions and just do what I could instead of reaching for some preset goal... so 3 weeks ago, I started to ride the bike again. One mile in the morning and, if I felt like it, one in the afternoon. Then I found it was easy some days to just go for 2 miles at once. I started to be sure to have regular meals because my BG started dropping the day after I started the exercise. I had a few spells of being shaky so I remembered not to exercise on a near empty stomach. The last few days, I am up to 3 miles a day and am back to figuring my meals on about 20 carbs a meal with small snacks when I need them.

There were no other changes. The exercise of averaging only 2 miles a day on the bike made a 10 point drop in my BG. With the addition of the 3rd mile, I have reached the goal I want to keep up. I feel better. My metabolism changed with just the start of 1 mile a day.

Then I heard a discussion on a doctor TV show about a hormone, Irisin: “It’s a hormone made by muscle, put into the blood, and with exercise it increases,” Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, a cell biologist at Dana-Farber, said. “It seems to embody some of what exercise is known to do, which is have an antidiabetes, antiobesity effect.”

Irisin was also seen to improve glucose tolerance levels, which is a key measure of metabolic health. It seems to be a great help for insulin resistant, type two, diabetes. To think! It is there for us to bring out. It doesn't cost anything and doesn't have bad side effects. Just start a little exercise and your supply of Irisin will rise.  If you want to read more:

Keep movin'

Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President






If you have undergone a laryngectomy, you already know how difficult the changes are that accompany that surgery. You have experienced things you probably never expected. A specific complication is Lymphedema.



Edema (swelling) can be caused by a number of factors but not all edema is considered lymphedema. Lymphedema is swelling of the skin caused by a backup of lymphatic fluid due to a damaged lymphatic drainage system. This is a system of lymphatic organs, vessels, and lymph nodes that serve to drain extra fluid from the body, help fight infection, and transport fats, proteins, and other cells that are too large to travel through the blood vessels.

Swelling of the head and neck is usually considered lymphedema and, when it has not resolved within an expected time frame, there is known damage to the lymphatic system, and there are noticeable changes to the skin. These changes may include a general fullness and tightness, with or without increased firmness of the tissues. The two most common causes of lymphedema for patients with cancer are radiation treatment and surgery, but it can also be caused by chronic infections, trauma, and sometimes by certain chemotherapy drugs.

Lymphedema is most often seen in the arms and hands due to breast cancer treatment, but also occurs in the legs, trunk, genitals, and the head and neck region, depending on the area of the body that was treated. Statistically, nearly half of patients who receive radiation or surgery to the head and neck will develop lymphedema and, while most people usually encounter head and neck lymphedema within the first year of their treatment, it can occur many years later.



You are likely aware that radiation can change the feel of the skin and the tightness of the muscles. You may have developed stiffness or “muscle tightness” in your neck and shoulders called “fibrosis”. You may also have developed lymphedema, so let me differentiate between them since I often encounter patients who complain of tightness and swelling in the neck but I cannot identify lymphedema, only fibrosis. Imagine a sponge lying on top of a board. The sponge represents the skin and the board represents the muscles. Fibrosis is scarring in the muscles and connective tissues that creates hard firm tissues (the board) and prevents the muscles from moving in a normal fashion. This results in reduced strength and flexibility and may limit your ability to turn your head, look up, or maintain good posture over time. Lymphedema results in swelling of the skin (swollen sponge) that may cause tightness and discomfort but may be variable and may create difficulties with breathing, speech, or swallowing function, among other concerns.

These conditions can be present simultaneously and both can be treated with specialized “massage” techniques, but the techniques are very different and each require specialized training. Lymphedema occurs in the surface of the skin and requires a very soft, gentle technique called “manual lymph drainage” that will be discussed a little later. Fibrotic tissues are usually deep and more pressure is required to soften them, so firm stretching techniques, such as “myofascial release” (MFR) or other more aggressive stretching and flexibility strategies are required to reduce fibrosis in an area. Fibrosis is usually treated by a physical, occupational, or massage therapist, but some speech pathologists have also been trained in MFR techniques and other strategies to reduce fibrosis in the head and neck.

Fibrosis is one of the most common complications following radiation and surgery and sometimes can be reduced with treatment. In cases of severe scarring and tightness, it cannot and the best hope is to try and maintain your current level of function and prevent it from worsening. This is often what causes many people who have had a total laryngectomy to develop such poor posture, since the muscles in the front of the neck and shoulders are so tight, it is difficult to stand up straight. It is recommended to routinely stretch and maintain the best posture and attend physical therapy as soon as you can after your treatment in hopes to prevent the tissues from becoming fibrotic. It is much harder to rehabilitate once fibrosis is present.

What if you didn’t have radiation and only had surgery? Why would you develop swelling in your neck and face? In non-damaged lymphatic systems, the lymph fluid travels from the head through both sides of the neck, downward toward the areas above each collarbone, where the fluid is emptied into the bloodstream. These surface lymphatic vessels are located in the skin and are often disrupted by surgical incisions. When lymph nodes are removed, additional damage to the lymph system occurs, resulting in increased swelling. Patients who have undergone surgery in the head and neck often have swelling above the scars; the fluid is trying to pass beyond the scar and essentially “collects” in an area. This fluid is not a pocket of fluid that can be drained, since it occurs between the skin cells.

After a total laryngectomy, the scar often extends from ear to ear, crossing the middle of the neck, acting like a dam to stop the flow of lymphatic fluid through the vessels in the skin. This tends to be worse if the scar is thick and tethered. However, some patients after total laryngectomy never develop lymphedema, despite having a long, thick scar. Most of time, the edema is worse following both surgery and radiation and a thick, heavy scar.

Many people report severe swelling in the morning, but improvement as the day progresses. Others report the opposite, with swelling being greatest in the evening. This fluctuation is common in the earlier phases of lymphedema. As the tissues become more firm, however, the swelling remains more constant and the functional deficits become more evident over time.

You may have experienced lymphedema yourself or have seen someone who has swelling beneath their chin that was so large that it covered the stoma and interfered with breathing when the chin was lowered. Many times, a laryngectomy tube or other device is required so the airway is kept open when the head is not being held in an upright position. When the edema affects the jaws, lips, or tongue, speech and swallowing can be impaired. If it involves the eyelids, vision may be affected and if the eyes are swollen shut, walking and driving are not possible. Not all cases of lymphedema are so debilitating. You may have developed swelling only above the scar or now have a new double chin that is really more of a cosmetic concern than anything else. Even minor concerns should be addressed early. If the lymphedema does not spontaneously go away and the tissues become hard and firm, it is more difficult it is to soften the tissue. The harder the tissue, the longer it will take to reduce the swelling, therefore early intervention is recommended but even if a patient demonstrates chronic lymphedema as a result of radiation and/or surgery years ago, intervention is recommended and can still be beneficial.


Head and neck lymphedema is usually treatable, but requires proper intervention. It is important that you be evaluated by a physician initially, to rule out other sources of swelling like a blood clot, infection, or recurrent cancer. There are conditions that can prevent you from receiving lymphedema treatment, such a series of strokes or heart attacks, clogged arteries in your neck, congestive heart failure, or kidney disease. Once your doctor has determined that you are healthy enough for treatment and the swelling in your neck and face is lymphedema, a referral can be made to a lymphedema therapist for evaluation and treatment. Ideally, treatment should be provided using a strategy known as Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which is considered the “Gold Standard” for lymphedema management. The goal of treatment is to “re-route” the fluid from the swollen area to a better functioning drainage area using a network of lymph nodes and vessels that has not been damaged. In most cases this would mean moving fluid from the head and neck to the lymph nodes in the armpit (axillary) region, since they are typically not damaged by treatment for head and neck cancer.

CDT should be performed by someone who has completed the certification training and coursework required to become a certified lymphedema therapist. Lymphedema therapists are most commonly physical, occupational, or medical massage therapists, but may also be speech pathologists, nurses, or physicians who have completed this specialized training. However, since head and neck lymphedema is less common than lymphedema in other parts of the body, there are fewer lymphedema therapists who have experience with lymphedema of the head and neck. Ask your clinician about his/her experiences before treatment. If the clinician has limited experience with head and neck lymphedema, it is recommended you contact a more experienced clinician, as there are important differences in the treatment approaches.

CDT consists of four components described below. Consider an example of a sponge and a board. Since the skin (sponge) lies above the muscles (board), it is more easily accessed and requires much less pressure to treat than fibrotic tissue. Therefore, lymphedema treatment features a very soft and gentle skin stretching technique called Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) that improves the movement of the lymph fluid through the body. MLD for the head and neck addresses the trunk, neck, and face. It is performed in a specific sequence to initially open drainage pathways from the axilla to the head and neck. The sequence is then reversed to move the fluid from the swollen head and neck to the axillary lymph nodes.

The axillary drainage area is not typically damaged, therefore, the fluid will be directed to the bloodstream and eventually eliminated. There are situations, however, when the axillary region is made unavailable due to prior treatment for breast cancer. This requires modification to the treatment plan by the lymphedema therapist. Despite cases of a bilateral mastectomy, where neither armpit is available, alternative pathways can be established,
MLD must be combined with compression wrapping or garments. This softens the hard tissues before MLD, to prevent refilling of the swollen areas and promote the flow of the lymph fluid to the desired drainage area once the MLD is finished.

Compression and/or constriction of the head and neck region can be very dangerous. There are definite “dos” and “don’ts” for compressing the head and neck, which is why it is important to contact an experienced head and neck therapist. For example, the use of an ACE bandage is never recommended in lymphedema therapy. This type of bandage applies too much pressure which can restrict blood flow resulting in stroke. Lymphedema appropriate bandages, custom or “off the shelf” facial garments are available and are quite effective. A knowledgeable clinician is required for guidance and selection of the proper type of compression for your specific situation, as not every patient presents with the same compression needs.

Skin care is the third component of CDT. It is important to address any wounds and/or areas within the head and neck region that are difficult to keep clean. Poor hygiene in skin folds of the head and neck can result in collection of dirt and oil, as well as bacteria. If neglected over time, tissue breakdown can occur and create additional complications. Finally, facial and neck exercises are used to promote fluid movement and also to improve flexibility in the neck, face, and shoulder region. These are often performed while wearing the compression garment to enhance the drainage from the head and neck.

Depending on the severity of the edema, treatment may be required for several months. Treatment of head and neck lymphedema typically includes both outpatient therapy and a home treatment component. For patients with limited swelling, a few outpatient treatment sessions may be all that is required before taking over treatment at home and returning for follow-up evaluations, as requested. In the cases of severe lymphedema, intensive outpatient treatment is often required. Outpatient treatment may be required if the patient and/or caregiver are unable to independently perform MLD techniques.

It is recommended that patients begin performing home management techniques from the onset of treatment. As the patient attends daily outpatient treatments, he/she will become more proficient in the performance of the home program which can enhance the effects of the outpatient sessions earlier in the rehabilitation process. Successful performance of the home program is equally as important as the outpatient treatment, in order to attain effective long term reduction of the edema.

Patients that live in rural areas may be unable to attend consistent outpatient treatment. The treatment regimen may vary in these situations, requiring the patients to initially perform home based treatment. In these cases, it is recommended the clinician provide the patient and caregiver 1 or 2 intensive training sessions and ensure the patient can follow the written home program.

The patient is encouraged to maintain contact with the clinician via telephone or email. If the patient is motivated and compliant with the recommended treatment, management of lymphedema in this manner can be a very effective approach. Home programs are a very common practice at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Many of our patients do not reside in Houston and are unable to receive long-term outpatient services.



Head and neck lymphedema is a common complication following total laryngectomy. Lymphedema of the head and neck can be successfully treated, improving both function and quality of life.

I hope this article has provided you a better understanding of the evaluation and treatment of head and neck lymphedema.Thank you for the opportunity to discuss a subject that I care deeply about and that affects many members of the webwhispers community and the head and neck cancer population in general.

Brad Smith, CCC-SLP, CLT
Speech Pathologist
Certified Lymphedema Therapist

UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd. Box 340
Houston, TX 77030
713-745-5820 office


Brad Smith, MS, CCC-SLP, CLT is a speech-language pathologist with nearly 25 years of experience, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of patients with head and neck cancer. He became a certified lymphedema therapist in 2006 and now is the lead lymphedema therapist in the Head and Neck Lymphedema Program offered by the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. This program evaluates approximately 200 new cases of head and lymphedema each year, and is considered one of the leading programs in the country, specializing in only head and neck lymphedema. Mr. Smith is also the instructor for the advanced training course, Head and Neck Lymphedema Management, offered several times each year by the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy to speech pathologists, physicians, and certified lymphedema therapists.






The Geezer League


My name is Bob Herbst and I'm 61 years old. I had my total laryngectomy on March 20, I998 and came out of surgery with a right side radical neck dissection. I couldn't look straight ahead or to my left without moving my torso. My right side was so tight that my head was positioned just off my right shoulder. I was actually a hazard on the road, not seeing everything on my left. My wife made me go to a Physical Therapist. We called her the "Pain Nazi" (I can say that since I'm German, and not always politically correct LOL). She pushed all of her clients to the breaking point and the vast majority are much better off for it. "No pain no gain". Looking back now, I can say she was a god- send. She had me moving my neck almost an inch farther by the end of each session. Today I can almost imitate the head swivel of a barn owl!

Okay. So after fixing that, my friend Ron Leclair decided I needed to get to a gym and build/rebuild some muscle tone. He put me on every torture machine in the building and had me do everything that I could lift, pull, hoist, push and/or stretch. Then onto to the tread mill, where he ran 6 to 7 mph like it was nothing and I, a former high school runner, tried to maintain a 3 to 3.6 mph jog.

Today I am a long time member of Planet Fitness. I try to go once a week, but it ends up being only 2 or 3 times a month; still it does wonders tightening and firming muscles that you didn't know you had, and getting your heart beating. I now jog 2 minutes at 3.6 mph, then speed it up to 6 mph for another 2 minutes and repeat that exchange for an hour. When I get off the tread mill my legs are rubber; I look like an old dish rag and I'm puffing air through my stoma like the little engine that could. People tend to give me a wide berth on my way to the locker room. Ron also entered me into several 5k charity runs, and I have never come in last (close to last, maybe, but not last).

At 55 I semi-retired. My wife, Leslie, a recently retired nurse, had been playing golf with a clutch of other nurses. She kept asking me to go with her and try golf. When I was growing up I thought golf was something only rich kids, business wheeler dealers and old ladies played (except for Arnold Palmer). Boy was I wrong! For one year I shared ladies' clubs with my wife and we played little courses in Connecticut.

I did not think golf was going to be something I would stick with. After one year of playing with ladies' clubs off the men's tee, I was convinced it was time to buy a cheap set of men's clubs. I was loving being out doors and whacking that little ball almost where I wanted it to go. We became snow birds and were asked by friends if we wanted to join a couples' league (only nine holes)and play every Friday afternoon. Neither of us felt we were good enough to be in a league, but we were talked into it. Because we had little experience Les was given a handicap of 30 and I was given a 20, again for nine holes, not eighteen. As it turned out we both needed all of those strokes. Week after week we got better and more comfortable with the game, the league, and the people. We were in our middle to late 50's and were the youngest couple in a league of 30 other couples. We are still playing on most Fridays with Dave, age 93, Bobby, a 94 year old woman and Clara, age 97. My handicap is now 10 and Lesley's is 27 for nine holes. Dave and Clara almost always beat us. They both have a cold beer after the game while all the scores are tallied up and we are all very social. Dave plays golf 5 days a week; the other two he tends to laundry and grocery shopping.

I affectionately call this group the Geezer League. I am no longer its youngest member; at 61 there are now 4 people younger than I. The moral of the story is "use it or lose it". Exercise while doing something you enjoy, even if it is just walking. Most of these people find that golf and the socialization that comes with it increases the length and the quality of life. I asked Clara, Bobby and Dave separately what was the secret to their longevity and all three said having a place to go see friends, using their body, being outside with god's creatures, and the game of golf kept them young. I wish you all could meet them.

I am now a total golfing convert. I can no longer swim, snorkel or scuba dive, so golf has become my favorite way of keeping healthy and alive. Most golf courses are beautiful, manicured, and picturesque places to be and it's a great way to meet new and interesting people. It's never too late to try your hand at golf if you are ambulatory and can walk and chew gum at the same time! I never touched a club until I was 55 and I hope to be playing at 90, like my fellow Friday Geezers.

Bob Herbst.




"How do you stay active?"



Bill Smith, Santa Barbara, CA - June 26, 2006


I stay active by walking 3 miles a day, 7 days a week, and also mow and keep up my 4 neighbors yards and the street. Also, I help the neighbors with any thing that needs to be done.


Bill Fogleman - 2004


Hi All, I play bridge through BBO online. It is free and they have it all with lessons.You can play tournament bridge through ACBL Tournaments and earn master points. If you elect to do this, it cost $1 per game. I play competitive tournament bridge and have elevated to Silver Master and play with folks all over the world. I also play at the local bridge club.



Rita Kinney - 1993


Before surgery, I loved tennis. When I went back on the courts, I would just hit the ball. Later on, I got back into the game and competed in the USTA League. I was fortunate enough to be on a winning Senior Team and went to the National Competition in 1998. Not only was I on the team, but I was the Captain.

Now I live close to the Ocean and go for 2 mile walks when I don't play tennis. Physical exercise is a lifesaver!

Dave Greiwe - 1998


My favorite activity is taking care of our small 12-acre 'farm'. This involves all the obvious work of mowing, trimming, planting trees, making firewood, etc. This has always been my passion, and I am forever thankful that I've been able to enjoy it, even after my surgeries. Of course, most of this activity comes to a screeching halt with the onset of Indiana's cold and damp winter months, so I have learned to embrace an activity that keeps me fit and healthy all year long.

Just weeks after my pneumonectomy, in 1999, I began pulmonary rehab at our local hospital under 'doctor's orders'. As long as I live, I will never forget how difficult it was those first few days, when I could scarcely walk into the hospital under my own power, much less begin walking on the treadmill, and doing (very) light weight training. The effects of 3 weeks in ICU and my body's attempts to adjust to just one lung were almost more than I could handle. But, handle it I did, thanks to the grace of God, love and support of my family, and the caring of several wonderful nurses who were bound and determined to see me 'graduate' the 12 week program.

The increase in strength and energy that I felt after the 'mandatory' rehab convinced me to continue on in a voluntary, fee-based program, and I stayed there until a severe flood closed down the hospital in 2008. By then, the benefits of regular, disciplined exercise were so obvious to me that I quickly joined a gym, and not only continued, but increased my activity substantially. Instead of 1 hour, twice a week at the hospital, my workout at the gym is now 2 hours, 2-3 times per week, and includes 6 miles on the treadmill at each session.

Just last year, the company I work for initiated an incentive program for employees to reduce their health care costs by earning points based on the number of daily steps taken, as measured by a company-supplied pedometer. Admittedly, I began the program with the single goal of earning my $600 discount, but the daily logging of steps and the challenge of competing with younger, healthier employees really did provide the motivation to 'step it up' to the next level. Whenever possible, I walk before work, at lunchtime, and after work, and finished last year averaging just over 10 miles per day. And the best part? I feel great, and actually look forward to my walks, especially on those days when I can get outside.

I know that we all have issues such as joint pain and breathing difficulties that can limit our activity level, but to the many who just need the motivation to get going, I highly recommend a walking regime that begins gently (be kind to yourself) but evolves until it taxes your energy level, and leaves you worn out when the walk is done. It's the most rewarding and satisfying 'exhaustion' you will ever experience.



Richard Strauss, IL - 2007


Everyday, I try to walk 5 miles out of doors. Rain, snow, and below -5 degrees do not keep me from my appointed walks. Been doing this for the last 30 years and enjoy it very much. It gives me two hours to think a lot without interruptions, except by people who wonder what the heck I am doing out walking at this or that hour. My first walk starts sometime after 3 am and the second around 8:30.



John Summers, DeLand,FL - July 2010


I am a 74 year old male who had the operation, went from playing golf five days a week to one, and was so bored, I took a painting class at our local art center.

For the last many months, I paint many pictures a week, converted our tool shed into a studio with air-conditioning and heat along with a cable connection and phone line. I even have a fridge in it.

Because of the many paintings , I ran out of space in the house and garage, so I have been putting them on a fence along the street with a sign that says free art work, probably given away 200 so far.

Anyway, I keep active and wish I had done this thirty years ago.




Margo Ziegler, Mn - 1996 Permanent Trach


During the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons, I am extremely active outside. Outside is my favorite place to be and would spend Winter outside as well, if only I could handle breathing the cold air.

During the warmer months, I am an avid gardener and have a large flower garden and many side gardens around both the front and back yard. My husband & I ride our bikes on the old RR bed which has been made into a nice crushed rock trail, which runs right behind our house! We also walk every day when weather permits.

It's the winter time that is hard on me, but I do have exercise equipment in our basement and have a daily routine of 1 1/2 hrs every day. But, this winter, I have something really to be excited about since I am now looking into purchasing an electric portable keyboard for my playing pleasure! I feel like a kid with the thought of this purchase and it also started me on cleaning up the basement area where I plan to put my new keyboard. And it will come with headphones so my husband will not have to listen to me playing!!! I'm just terribly excited about my upcoming purchase!! It will really help me with the winter blahs here in Minnesota.



Jim Murphy - Aug 2008


In April 2010, I watched my daughter run & finish the Boston Marathon. At that moment, I told myself that I was going to train & run a marathon. So when I got home I started training. In October 2010, I ran my first marathon in Albuquerque, NM. Since then I have completed 11 half marathons. I am running a half marathon in February in Austin, TX. In April I am running the BOSTON MARATHON as a charity runner for the American Cancer Society.

My next planned run is the Pikes Peak Road Ascent in September. That is how I stay active


Mohan Raj, India - 2010


Total Laryngectomy with speaking disability and mucous clearing problems, and a not so pleasant looking hole in the neck, would have meant painful isolation and loneliness for me.

Not so really, thanks to Internet. I am so happy that Internet has evolved to the levels that it now has to keep any person engaged all through the day, day in and day out. No need for news paper, TV, clubs, and social gatherings. I find no need for anything else, except Internet, to keep active. Writing replies, once in a way like this, has brought out a skill hidden which I never thought existed in me.

Bottom line is, I realize that I am far more active now than ever before. It will take a lot more than Laryngectomy to keep me any less active. Where there is a will, there is a way.


Loyd Enochs, Evansville, IN - Dec 11, 2009

As I have posted before on WW, my wife and I have taken the "down time" of my recovery to travel. I had my total laryngectomy in December 2009 and we went to the Grand Canyon via Amtrak in May 2010 (This was before I had my TEP puncture. I was mute for the trip.)
We went on our first wedding anniversary trip at the end of September 2010 to San Francisco and the environs for two weeks. When we returned, we adopted 3 mastiff mix puppies at 8 weeks old (all are doing well and spoiled rotten!).

In 2011, we went to China, the IAL Kansas City convention, and Christmas shopping in the Alps this past December.

I also started on two life-long projects: a 'serious' model railroad layout and home-brewing my own beer. The beer is our regular dinner beverage, and the local home-brew club has tasted and approved the results. The railroad is one-third completed (lower level is almost done).

Both my oncologist and ENT surgeon have cleared me to go back on the road for work, and I have interviewed for several work assignments already. I expect to be full-time before the next IAL convention in June.

Keeping active both physically and mentally is vital to my life, regardless of cancer.



James Sparks, Jax, FL - 2006


I do yard work, help the Ol' Lady around the house, and exercise three days a week . . but for the bestest activeness, I jump on my Harley and ride, ride, ride! Sometimes I can burn up a tank of gas afore I can think straight . . and for me . . that equates into about 150-miles. Not bad for three gallons of gas considering my Hog is twenty this year!
The Trollman
Jax. FL
Lary Since 2006



Mike Cohn - October 2010


A good deal of the time, my work is very physical and keeps me active. During the spring, summer and fall my wife and I like to ride our bikes through the park behind where I live, or walk around the small lake nearby. Fortunately, there is winter when I can just be a couch potato!!!



Lou Holtman, Poughkeepsie, NY - January 2001


I was retired at the time of my laryngectomy and age 70. For some reason, I was able to accept this as another one of life's little adventures. I had a great team of voice therapists and learned to use the TEP very quickly.

My lifestyle changed very little. My hobbies include woodworking, boating on the Hudson river, target shooting and ammunition reloading. I work out with light weights three times a week and use a treadmill at a brisk walk, twice a week for 20 minutes. I still work on my car and boat. I get shortwinded a little faster then I used to, but being retired I can afford to go slower.

The one thing I don’t do anymore is swim in the river. I can’t seem to get the hang of swimming and keeping the hole in my neck protected.

I feel sorry for some of our fellow laryngectomees who can’t, or are afraid to, do the things they used to do. Give it a try.



Kevin Oliver, New South Wales, Australia - 2002


G'DAY ALL, Since my operation and subsequent change of life, I now keep busy by playing golf three days a week and volunteering with Lions. I have been on the board of our Lions club and ran the Merry go Round for the kids for four years and now run the donut van at the local markets every month plus the Lions markets, four times a year.

I also do volunteer work for any fundraising events for the cancer council and also Legacy.



Roger Floyd, Salem, MO - 2011


Hi there, my name is Roger and as far as staying active, I live on 40 acres and there is always something for me to do {whether I like it or not}. I am an over the road flat bed driver and as soon as doc says I can return to work, I will be back at it again. I do enjoy what I do. I get paid to see the United States of America; how sweet is that? Now that I do mainly oversize loads, I get to meet and work with a great number of people who have interesting stories to tell.

So, for me, staying active is just a normal thing. Also. I enjoy radio controlled cars and trucks (not the radio shack stuff). Most of my trucks are gas powered. Anyone that wants to chat with me just go ahead and email. Address is in WebWhispers roster.

Have a great day and enjoy life cause it is too short not to enjoy it.



Brenda Jackson, Riverside CA - May 2010


In 2008, I purchased a red exercising unit (dvd included), and I do 20 minutes of exercising daily on my red. On sunny days, I take walks through my neighborhood. Music keeps me active, and I've bought a jump rope (to help burn calories faster). I was very active before my surgery and, now that I'm doing better, I've started back with my same exercising routines.

I'm going to orientation next Wednesday, to volunteer for American Cancer Society.



Jim Fohey, Oscoda MI - October 1994


I was still working when I had my lary, so activity at a bar and restaurant that I owned and was the head chef at, was not a problem, but in 1998 some one came along and offered me a lot of money and I sold it. Since then to keep busy and active, I play golf with a group 3 to 5 times a week, weather permitting. Along with that I am an avid deer hunter and plant several food plots in the spring and early fall for the deer. From mid November till mid December I actively hunt almost every day. Once the season is complete, I go to the gym and work out to stay active. Where I live walking in the winter outside is not a good idea, as I live a mile back in the woods on a dirt road, so no sidewalks. Let alone it is just too darn cold. I find the gym is great as it gets me up earlier keeps me in shape and ready for the next golf season, and planting season and so on. This is how I keep active.

Len Hynds, Ashford, Kent, England - 2004


When I retired at 65. I had already been disabled for a year with metallic heart valves, pacemaker, etc, but I started a one man business selling replacement car parts to the motor repair industry, new panels, headlamps, bumpers, engines etc, and after 9 years, when 74, I had 200 customers in the counties of Kent and Sussex, employed five drivers for express deliveries, and office staff. When recovered from cancer of the throat, I went back to run the business for a year before giving the business to the staff.

I used to like nothing better than to have a day away from the office, travelling sometimes 200 miles a day visiting customers, who had become old friends, so I have helped the business by seeing them occasionally and maintaining contact. To drive through those counties in whatever season, is marvellous. Since my sojourn at College and then University, when my writing career took off, I have joined so many cancer related committees, normally as the only Laryngectomee, and feel quite proud that I have been instrumental in getting Resuscitation for Laryngectomees as part of the training programme in police and fire brigade training schools. I'm involved in the 'Buddie' scheme in East Kent, and help out at Lectures about strange people like us.

I keep myself busy, by not losing my links with the past, and taking up new challenges. I shall be 82 in a few months, and write for some 9 editors, but WebWhispers Editor is my star.



Bob Keiningham - 2008


1. I try to work out twice a week on adjustable weight machines, two rounds each trip, followed by a walk on the treadmill. I tried more but, at 77, it's become fun and easy since the day I decided to maintain what I've got instead of challenging myself to do more!

2. Staying mentally active is perhaps more important for me than the physical stuff because all those years of chasing and achieving goals kept my mind quick and alive. Today, I have to trick my mind into accepting new goals and objectives as being terribly important even though most of them aren't! Those things can range from a list of little projects on the house, future trips, a book I need to read, an almost thirty year off-and-on attempt to write a book that might help others, things related to my twenty-year attempt to restore an old car, and my latest adventure that involves trying to write something of merit for WebWhispers.

I try to make physical and mental activity as automatic as taking my meds, and making my Doctors' appointments ... because I will not slip away without a fight!



Richard Crum - 1988



(Gets award for the shortest answer yet!)





Becoming Me Again


It took time for me to grieve and get, or grow, past the loss of my singing voice, and get over the strangeness of this new one. I guess that's why chose silence for so many months.

Once I really started getting into daily walks with my furry kids, and using non verbal commands, the silence started getting to me, and I started speaking regularly. I was rusty, and didn't have the technique down yet, but at least I was trying.

Then I bought one of those smart phones. Let me tell ya, for the first week or so I sure didn't feel smart. I could barely turn the dang thing on, much less find an app. My eldest came over and showed me the ropes on going to the android market and down loading free apps. Thanks kiddo.

The app that changed EVERYTHING is the one I could download music on. Before long, I had 60 hand selected songs from my, mmmmm youthful days. (grin)  And with earbuds firmly shoved in, music streaming in my ears, and the pack rearing to go tugging at their leashes. . . My grieving was finally over.

Now I bebop along, lip syncing and dancing, and walking longer and longer, at an ever increasing speed, seven days a week. I have beaten depression, gained physical, and cardio vascular health, and with the lip syncing, I breath through the diaphragm just like when I really was singing, and in doing so, increased lung function.

A big plus is my fearlessness in speaking to total strangers on the "hike and bike" trails I use. This has helped me to develop my vocal strength and clarity, and not get rattled if my voice is garbled, or breaks. I just pause and either start over, or carry on.

I am back to being me at long last, and I like the positive, gregarious, smiling and laughing me that reflects who I really am. Cancer just happened, my voice I got over, it was my love of music that helped me find myself again. Folks see and remark on the change, it's been that profound.

Yay, is all I can say.

Angelique Erickson
San Antonio, TX
Lary 09/10





It Was Destined To Be

During WWII, my own family lost three homes through bombing. The first had been demolished and we were living in an air-raid shelter in the garden, waiting to be re-housed. After a severe raid one night, I went into the next road, where a string of bombs had fallen, and they were digging out the dead and the injured. My newsagents shop was no more and he was buried up to the waist in a huge mound of rubble spread across the road.. A rescuer in overalls and wearing a steel helmet was kneeling in front of him, holding his face with both hands, when another rescuer emerged from beneath the debris, indicating that they could not release the newsagent, as his legs had been almost severed. The newsagent died, and when the man holding his face stood up, I could see he was wearing a vicars white collar. I could see tears streaming down through the grime on his cheeks, as he was called to yet another victim.

Among the very small group watching was a teenage girl, whom I had never seen before, standing with her elderly father. I had never had time to think of the opposite sex, as survival was the order of the day for you and your family, but I was struck by her beauty. As I surreptitiously glanced at her side face, I saw a solitary tear slowly falling down her cheek. They slowly walked away, her head resting on her father’s shoulder, and I thought, “What a cruel world this is." The vision of that solitary tear remained with me for the next three years, and I often wondered if that young lady had survived the day and night bombardment.

It was three years later, when on passing through another district of London, another daylight raid started, and I got into one of the deep shelters. When it was over, I had to continue my journey on foot, and on passing a row of shops I saw a young lady sweeping broken glass from the shattered shop front, trying once again to make the shop serviceable. I stopped and offered to help, which she gladly accepted. She was covered in soot and dust, and laughed when I asked if she was alright, saying, " When the raids get too fierce, I dive under the table in the back room of the shop, but it’s over the old fireplace, and when the building shakes all the soot comes down."

She later made us tea and we sat among the rubble sipping our tea. Then she went and somehow washed all the soot and grime from her face and hands, and found a clean white coat to wear, and I was amazed how beautiful this grimy sooty creature was. As we spoke of friends and her customers she had lost by the bombing, she stared ahead, and at her side face I saw a solitary tear. With shock I realised that I had been re-united with the young girl of three years previously. She later confirmed that she had been there, and had realised that a young man was gazing at her.


By Len A.Hynds

The German Bombers, they passed overhead, they had dropped all the bombs that they had.
More death and destruction, as London bled, and things looked decidedly bad.

I was passing through Clapham before this attack, and hurriedly got underground.
We had all learnt survival and acquired this knack, as for years we had suffered such pound.

I then passed a shop, all the windows blown-in, the poor shop girl was sweeping glass clear.
I stopped to help, mid'st the fire engines din, as through wreckage they tried to steer.

Her face, hands and white coat were black, smother-ed in what looked like soot.
I looked around for a first-aid pack, in case a bandage I needed to put.

But she had not suffered any injury dire, and laughed out loud at my thought.
She'd been under the table near the fire, and falling soot was all she caught.

She washed herself and made us tea, and I was amazed at her beautiful face.
Young ladies had never bothered me, busy fighting the enemy race.

As we sat in the debris sipping our tea, she spoke of her friends who'd been killed.
On her cheek, a tear I could see, as sadly her eyes slowly filled.

I realised then that I had seen her before, some three years, before that day.
With a tear on her cheek, in this dreadful war, when both seeing some dead, as they lay.

I had thought of her so many times, in those intervening years,
of her sad eyes, at the enemies crimes. And now fate had made use of those tears.

In that moment of time I knew I was lost, tongue tied with knees all a-tremble.
Poor heart racing, all twisted and tossed, my thoughts I couldn't assemble.

We fell in love, became man and wife, but in seven days I was sent abroad,
for three long years sent to the strife, of those deserts of fire and sword.

But our sixty three years were really blessed, each one a wonderful year.
I look back on those days, with thankful-ness, especially that solitary tear.






May I Help You?


Part of my business career was invested in training and motivating salespeople. One of the most important phrases they needed to eliminate from their vocabulary was, "May I help you?", which brings out a negative conditioned response from 99% of the American population.

We Americans have been born and raised to stand on our own two feet and our conditioned response to that question is, "No! I can take care of myself". Our habit of rejecting help from others is as natural as breathing. I taught thousands of salespeople how to get around that natural rejection but writing a column like this is a little more challenging. The variety of needs and desires of this group vary so I usually end up writing about something I need or desire … and hope it helps some reader out there.

That's why I spend more time searching for a topic that might be of interest to all of us than I do in writing the column itself. I've chosen to write in several articles to come about my personal approach to management of two great resources we all possess. Perhaps we may deal with both our realities and our possibilities as we progress through this new year we've been given.

TIME and THOUGHT are those two great resources, with TIME being the most limited, and THOUGHT being the most limitless, for every day, of our lives. We each have 1,440 minutes of time to spend each day. We cannot "save" one second of that time. It will be spent and gone at day's end and that reality prompts me to believe that better management of our time is a worthwhile pursuit.

I'm pretty good at time-framing and organizing activities, but there is always room for improvement and I plan to work on it again throughout 2012! New activities require a good deal more study, planning and preparation TIME until we master that activity, but quite often a bit of THOUGHT can help us improve even our most common activities.

For instance, the daily chore of cleaning our stoma can become so automatic to us as to preclude investing a little time in reorganizing our work space for faster, better productivity, or trying some of the ideas we read about on WW. The best tip I found last year was that of putting a touch of Nystatin into the water I spray through my indwelling prosthesis into my esophagus each morning. This fights yeast and I also put some on the little brush I clean that device with on the stoma side. It took only a few days to add that step to my procedure and enjoy meaningful results!

Then there's the big stuff like my goal of trying to use a hands free speech device in the coming year. I will invest a lot of time in research and thinking about that project before I actually begin pursuit of that goal.

Next month - TIME

Bob Keiningham



Welcome To Our New Members:


I would like to extend a "Warm Welcome" to our most recently accepted laryngectomees, caregivers, vendors, and professionals who have joined our WebWhispers community within this past month. There is a great wealth of knowledge and information to be accessed and obtained from our website, email lists, and newsletters. If ever there should be questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to submit them to us from the "Contacts" page of our website.


Thanks and best wishes to all,


Michael Csapo

VP Internet Activities

WebWhispers, Inc.


We welcome the 40 new members who joined us during January 2012:


Joseph Angerami
Olivebridge, NY
Kelley Babcock - (SLP)
Shreveport LA
Rosemary Banks
Feasterville, PA
Brenda Barnes
Jacksonville, FL
Steven Bruce
Masury, OH
Bev Buchanan - (Caregiver)
Ontario, CAN
Richard Carsten
Jenner, CA
Mike Casteel
Alliance, OH
Anne Cinquegrana
Berthoud, CO
Wendell Clyburn
Piedmont, MO
Fredricka Coleman - (Caregiver)
Berthoud, CO
Michael Coleman - (Caregiver)
Berthoud, CO
Kimbrell Evans -(SLP)
Jackson, MS
Glenn Givens
Floyd, VA
Kevin Hemenger - (SLP)
New Orleans, LA
Katie Henrichs - (SLP)
Billings, MT
Bob Huggan
Kelowna, BC
Rodney Kelley
Stockbridge, GA
Robert Legros
Gatineau, Quebec, CAN
Jack Luft
Spokane, WA
Amy Maguire - (SLP)
Somerville, MA
Tom Martin
Corvallis, MT
Ed Miller
Paris, TX
Teresa Mowery
Azle, TX
Pam Oleary
Epping, NH
Joan Pinkall
Salina, KS
Nancy Richmond - (Caregiver)
Lewisburg, WV
Jack W. Robinson
Palmer, AK
Robert Simons
Pompano Beach, FL
Ray Souza
Alexandria, VA
Rick Stratton
Flora, IL
Scotty Taylor
Charlottesville, VA
Herb Tierney
Rochester, NY
Francis Umetsu Tabag
Aiea, HI
Janeen Umetsu Tabag - (Caregiver)
Aiea, HI
Tim Troutman - (Caregiver)
Dayton, OH
Benjamin Underwood
Midland, PA
Robert Ward
Jonesborough, TN
Mille Wilk - (Caregiver)
Ochard Park, NY
Bob E. Zak
Parma, OH



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