June 2012




Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders Habits Are Not All Bad News & Events
VoicePoints Jennifer Gates RN, BSN H & N Radiation Education-Med
WebWhispers Columnist Loyd Enochs Lessons Learned Experience
Between Friends Donna McGary Teachable Moments Commentary
Speaking Out Members How Lary Affected Life Opinion
My Neck Of The Woods Ginny Huffman Poker Run Experience
Nuf-Sed Bob Keiningham Do Something Commentary
The Speechless Poet Len A Hynds The Looted Trousers Prose & Poetry
New Members Listing Welcome News & Events



Let us know what you like!





Learning that habits are not all bad!


There is a new book out that I want to read. It is called, "The End of Illness", author is David B Agus. It has some interesting health ideas and I have heard the Doctor/Author speak of some of them briefly.

I am struck by his idea that we can do things like sleep less or form eating patterns, that may not be what we have been taught is the best. We can still do well because he says that if you do something all the time, the body adjusts to it and to the pattern. If you sleep 5 or 6 hours every night and don't take naps, you can throw your system our of whack by taking a two hour nap on Saturday Afternoon.

I discovered over the years that I do better that way and my phrase for it was that I was a creature of habit. Now that I have stopped to think about why it is so comfortable to have habits, I know that making daily chores into habits reduces decision making which lessens stress. It lets you use your mind for other things that need to be thought about and analyzed. Decisions can be made while you are going through the process of getting ready for work, by habit. There is not a moments stress involved in getting my breakfast, if I have the same hing every day. Changes in daly things add stress and decision making... a waste of time over habits.

Dr. Agus suggests that taking three inexpensive medications—aspirin, statins, and an annual flu vaccine—can substantially change the course of our health for the better.

Sources of daily inflammation—from wearing high heels, which make your feet hurt, to the common cold should be eliminated as much as possible. He suggests hurting is caused by inflammation, which can lead to many of our diseases.

The doctor concludes that each of us must get to know our bodies in uniquely personal ways, and he shows us exactly how to do that so that we can individually create a plan for wellness.



After explaining on the email list that we never know what you like or don't like about what we do here, it occurred to me that we need to make it easier for you to tell us.  So we put a link at bottom of the Index, just above this column heading.  Click and write a note to tell us things like... Speaking Out this month was great, especially so-and-so's comments. Or... VoicePoints told me just what I needed to know! You have the power with just a few strokes of the keys to make someone else feel really appreciated.  Thanks!


Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President






Head and Neck Radiation Treatment


An Introduction

There can be a great deal of anxiety for patients facing radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. Much of this is due to unfamiliarity with the process, how it works, and what will happen to them during and after treatment. Patient education before, during and after radiation therapy for head and neck cancer improves patient understanding and comfort.

Why Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays that can be sharply focused and delivered to pinpoint to destroy cancer cells. It is a very precise, localized treatment. It can be used as a single method of treatment, or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy. There are many factors that determine whether radiation therapy would be the best treatment option for you.

What’s the Plan?
After you have met with your radiation doctor and treatment is recommended, appointments will be scheduled to create your custom treatment plan. This process includes a simulation, during which a mask is made to position you while you receive your radiation treatment. Images will also be taken, which your doctor will use to plan your specific treatment. This will include your radiation dose(s). Your treatment course will usually start several days later and last from 6 to 7 weeks.

What are the side effects of radiation therapy and how are they managed?
Just as with any treatment for cancer, there are potential side effects that can occur with radiation therapy. There are many ways to manage these side effects. This is as individualized as the radiation plan itself, so patients should discuss options with their radiation treatment team. Early reactions occur during treatment and usually resolve in the weeks following treatment completion. Late reactions can occur months or years after treatment and may be permanent. It is important to note that many patients will not experience these at all. Also, most late effects are minor and easily managed.

Early Reactions
Skin changes will typically occur, causing redness, itching and even some “peeling”, sometimes referred to as skin breakdown. It is recommended that a mild soap be used to clean the skin. Avoid anything abrasive or irritating in the treatment area; examples include some cosmetics, cleansers, and shaving products. Various creams, ointments and dressings should be used to minimize discomfort and promote healing. Hair loss can also occur in the area being treated. This can be temporary or permanent, depending on the dose of radiation received.

Mouth and throat sores, sore throat and/or difficulty swallowing are common. Medications are available to relieve pain and/or discomfort and prevent the severity of mouth sores. It may also become necessary to eat a diet consisting of soft foods or liquids to maintain proper nutrition. Rinsing the mouth with a baking soda solution can help prevent oral infections. These may result from changes in the lining of your mouth, caused by dry mouth or increased, thick secretions, which are another common side effects of treatment. Staying well hydrated is very important. Other remedies include the use of oral moisturizers, rinsing the mouth with diet ginger ale, and medications. It may be more comfortable to sleep/rest with your upper body at a minimum 30 degree angle with a cool mist humidifier near you.

Some patients experience a loss of appetite caused by changes to their sense of taste or smell. You may experience nausea, which can also decrease appetite. This can be challenging, as it is very important to maintain your weight during and after treatment. If this occurs, your doctor may prescribe medications to relieve your nausea, and a nutrition plan may be discussed with you.

Constipation may result from changes in medications, diet, fluid intake and activity level. This is managed through diet, light activity (such as walking), and the use of laxatives or stool softeners.

Late Reactions
Many late reactions are a continuation of side effects experienced during treatment. Dry mouth is often the most common one. Most patients are able to manage this by drinking plenty of water, especially while talking or eating. It may also be necessary to use over-the-counter oral moisturizers. Prescriptions are available to provide relief in severe cases, but this is typically not necessary.

Dry mouth can lead to dental concerns that include tooth decay and weakening of the jawbone. Regular dental visits every 6 months, good oral hygiene, and the use of daily fluoride are the best mechanisms to avoid these potential issues. Taste changes may be ongoing for some patients and vary from a decreased tolerance or a desire for: sweets, salty or spicy foods, or alcoholic beverages.

Tightening of the jaw and/or neck is most frequently experienced 6-12 months after radiation treatment, but can develop later. Instructions may be provided for exercises to prevent this. Lymphedema, a swelling of the neck area (particularly below the chin), may occur following radiation. If this develops, there are therapies available.

Some patients may note minor changes to the texture or color of their skin in the area that was treated. These changes are usually minimal and improve with time. As mentioned earlier, hair loss to the treatment area may be permanent.

If your treatment field was near your eyes or ears, you may experience vision or hearing changes. In these instances, it is important that your vision and hearing are periodically checked as a precaution.

Some patients may notice that they become tired more easily. This will often improve with time. Talk to your doctor to find out if you should have your thyroid function monitored.

In conclusion…
The prospect of undergoing radiation treatment can be a frightening and intimidating process. Patient education and the knowledge that there are ways to effectively manage treatment-related side effects provide a great deal of understanding and comfort for patients. Please remember that your radiation team is there to help, so talk to your doctor, mid-level provider or nurse regarding any concerns or questions you may have.

Jennifer Gates RN, BSN
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Head & Neck Radiation Oncology







Lessons Learned

After One Month Back To Work

by Loyd Enochs, Senior Consultant, SAP Practice, CIBER, Inc.


Lesson one: I won’t try to run in the airport to catch a flight ever again; those days are over for me! Seriously, it has been a wonderful experience to be back at work as a software consultant. The job is very intense, and my fingers are worn down already between writing computer code and all the emails flying back and forth!

Some practical considerations for us Larys:
I use a patient-changeable TEP, with baseplate and filter, and have no problem communicating with my coworkers. The only time there is any difficulty with words is when we are using a speaker phone during a teleconference. In order to be reliably understood, I need to be right next to the instrument. I have discovered that 1 workday is about all I can reliably get from a baseplate. This “workday” is counted from when I put on a baseplate in the hotel room before breakfast to when I return to the hotel after dinner in the evening (12-16 hours). By the end of the “workday”, the adhesive is starting to blow through at some point around the edge of the baseplate, so I remove the baseplate for the rest of the evening and overnight. When I do have a day off (4 in 35 days so far?), I give my skin a rest and don’t use a baseplate.

My laptop has the SPEAK.VBS script recently published on Web Whispers that I can use in an emergency. I also carry a tablet computer for the same reason. (I use an HP tablet, but iPhone, iPad and Android tablets all have apps that produce verbal speech from typed text.)

Even before I got back to work, I always carried my “go bag” with me every time I left the house. The bag contains filters and baseplates, emergency cards, mirror, forceps, mini-flashlight, dilator, flushing bulb, a spare prosthesis and accompanying gel caps and insertion gear. I find that having a spare filter (or other piece of gear) immediately available is very handy in an office environment. I recently replaced my cloth bag with a zippered 5” x 8” hard-shell case I discovered in Target’s luggage department; it works perfectly as my new “go bag”. I’m sure other chain stores carry similar cases.

The company where I am assigned has an emergency-response team and a representative visited with me to see if there was anything specific they needed to know. This was coordinated by the workgroup’s administrative chief and I was very pleased that the meeting took place. They suggested that I copy the emergency cards I carry and tack them on the bulletin board next to my desk. I would highly recommend any new employee to ask to speak with the response team, if only for the peace of mind.

All of my co-workers have been totally accepting of my circumstances; several have shared their family stories of cancer with me. After a day or so, no-one has taken any obvious notice or exception to my voice and once they saw I was professional and productive, I was accepted as just “the new guy” in the office. Everyone in the group has at one point or another taken me aside and congratulated me on my recovery and return to the workforce.

Business travel and hotel living is not all it’s cracked up to be. I am on the road 100% of the time and I had some concerns about that. I have a portable humidifier on my bedside table that I have used in the past for personal travel and I use it here every night. It was so rainy here in Oregon in March that I probably didn’t NEED to use it, but habit is a good thing in this case; the time will come when the humidity drops in the late spring and summer. Be sure to plan ahead by filling prescriptions and stockpiling HME bits and pieces far in advance. If you do have to order supplies while you’re travelling, be sure to inform the hotel staff that you are expecting packages and have them be on the lookout.

As mentioned above, I have found that my baseplate is working its way loose around dinnertime due to all the talking and activity during the workday. Occasionally a restaurant employee will have difficulty understanding my voice, but a quick point to the menu does the trick. Noisy restaurants (such as on a Friday or Saturday night) can be a challenge, but I have found helpful staff people at every turn. Airplanes are a nuisance because of the background noise. On several occasions, I have used my tablet computer, written down what I wanted and handed it to the flight attendant.

All in all, the nervousness I had prior to starting this job was a waste of time!







Teachable Moments


There is nothing like a child’s honesty and curiosity to keep an adult on her toes. Using a Servox and always being out and about with a three year old, means I can’t be invisible anymore. My voice is a head-turner and never more so than in the library or on the playground or at the farm to get our weekly vegetable shares or the grocery store…you get the idea. My grand-daughter talks to me, constantly, and while it is delightful, it can get tiresome. If I don’t reply or try to “whisper” since she is actually quite adept at reading my lips, she sometimes says, rather sternly and loudly, “Nanny, use your voice. I can’t hear you.”

Consequently, I have ben explaining my voice to lots of kids lately. Sometimes they ask me outright, but usually they just stare or, if they are a little bit older, they will try to be polite and quietly ask a parent about it. Most parents don’t know much either, so I make a point of asking the child, ” Are you curious about my voice?” I keep it pretty simple, saying only that I had something happen to my throat and so my voice doesn’t work anymore and this [Servox] is like a microphone and show them how it works. I usually end by saying, my grand-daughter calls me Nanny Robot, because I sound like a robot, don’t I?

That usually elicits a smile and giggle even from the shyest ones. Some older children ask questions and even want to try it themselves. But most are like the little boy at Kay’s daycare, who would exuberantly called me Nanny Robot when I came to pick her up, until one day, he looked at me thoughtfully and said, “You’re not really a Robot Nanny, are you. You’re a regular Nana. You’re just Kayleigh’s Nana and you just sound like a robot.” When I admitted as much, he seemed a little disappointed, but he apparently recovered since now I am greeted just as exuberantly with, “Hey, Kayleigh’s Nana!”

I have had many parents thank me for explaining my voice and then hear them continue the discussion. This frequently happens with older, school-age kids and I imagine it is an opportunity for them to talk about people with differences. They may use it a warning about the dangers of smoking. Smoking did not cause my cancer and I would never bring it up, regardless, without knowing the family. But if they want to use my situation as an object lesson, that is fine. I hope it helps.

More often though, I think the benefit of speaking up, when I’m out and about, is that kids, and frankly some adults, too, get to see that folks, who do things differently, are often more like us than unlike us in so many ways. I live in a small community where there is little diversity. I figure that in the last couple of years alone, there are at least a hundred kids who have learned a little bit more about people who do things differently and just because I sound like a Robot Nanny doesn’t make me scary. I am just a regular Nana, after all.







How has your laryngectomy affected your new life?



Terry Duga, Indianapolis, IN - 1995

My laryngectomy has had a big effect on my life.FIrst of all, I have a life (Which I don't think I would have without the laryngectomy). I have met a myriad of wonderful people that I would never have met without the laryngectomy.

On the down side, I no longer play the saxophone (Not that I was any good, really, but it was enjoyable). I no longer play on water slides like I did before the total. (There is that pesky drowning at the end).



Brenda Jackson - 2010

I am very thankful and grateful that I survived this cancer. I've been a lary 2 years this month. However being a lary has affected my new life when I go shopping at Walmart and an item rings up for more than the price that it should be. Oh my, this has happened to me so many times. I speak (ES) but I need more practice and I then have to write down their mistakes. Also I was involved in a car accident, and was affected that I could not explain clearly what happened. Everything works out for the best, but the hassle I have to go through when I'm given the wrong prices or the wrong information. I was in Walmart today and was on my way out the door when I noticed they had over charged me for an item. I had to turn around, show her my receipt, circle the item and write down on a piece of paper that the item should have been less than what I was charged. People that are not Larys don't like these situations. So it might not be my laryngectomy that is affecting my new life, but Walmart is affecting my new life by not having the right prices in their terminals.



Rick Allen - July 2010

The only affect being a lary has had on my life is that I cannot speak without my tep, and the new maintance. There is a lot to learn, read, study other larys problems, and learn from others experance. What I really miss is calling my dogs. I do very well talking even on the phone, so work hard, study, thank God you're even alive, and DONT GIVE UP. The more you learn, the easier it is. Good Luck and God Bless



David Blevins, Virginia Beach,VA - 1998

It gave me a wonderful opportunity to convert my passion for teaching into "teaching" via newsletters. I reinvented the typical content of my local club newsletter to focus at least as much space to larys who got the newsletter but did not attend the club meetings. Most of the club newsletters I read seemed to me to be almost completely for and about the club regulars, and thus, at least to me, fairly boring.

This approach got some attention and I was asked to edit the WebWhispers monthly publication, then called the "WebWhispers Journal." I brought that same philosophy to this publication including to think outside the proverbial box and include links to videos (a favorite was Pat Sanders swimming) and sounds, such as voice samples.

On that basis of that I ended up during two periods of time as editor of the "IAL News". And, of course, I stuck with the variety format. While each issue covers news of the organization, I tried to at least match that with articles of general interest to the lary community. I wanted every reader to find something of value in each issue, including what I thought was information of lasting value such as the "IAL Notebook" section. Those were written with the idea that they were "classics" and constituted fundamental and basic information on issues we face.

Doing this work forced me to acquire many new skills (and lots of expensive publication and graphics software and bigger computers that I otherwise did not need!).

I am very grateful for being given the opportunity to find an outlet for whatever creativity I have, plus the chance for this old dog to learn some new tricks.



Len Hynds, ( Speechless Poet) of Ashford, Kent, England - 2004

At first, when you recover from the operation, lying there unable to move, wired and tubed, completely unable to utter a sound, with what is left of your throat stapled together, your first thoughts are, " I'm alive, I've survived," You feel yourself breathing, and positive it is still through the mouth or nose, but common sense tells you that is not possible, and you have this dreadful fear that somehow you have to control the breathing through the neck.

The first help comes from the recovery Sister, who seems to read your mind, and assures you that the body will breathe with no effort from you, and you slowly drift off again. This was my experience of those wonderful nurses, and one nursing sister sat with me and said, " You are going to talk again Len, and even though you will find it strange at first, never hide yourself away. You are one of a very special group of people, who have survived cancer, so wear your white bib like a badge of honour. You will have many trials and tribulations at first, but you will emerge the stronger for it."

So the difference my Laryngectomy has made to my life has been profound in my outlook on life, when I now devote most of my time to helping others less fortunate, with being their representative on several committes, to make their lives easier, and ensuring support at all levels.

So this aged ex-detective of the Sweeney at Scotland Yard, through my writing of poetry and short stories is now known in several continents.

A VIP said a few years ago, " Since Len lost his voice, he speaks volumes." Life is good !



Ed Krisiak - 2009

If I had seen that question the first time I would not have hesitated to give God the glory for being our biggest Supporter! Ed's faith and his sense of humor have been what got him through. This very thing may be the biggest change in our lives. The effect Ed has had on the lives of others. He simply has to smile or point up to give God the glory for his life and people's lives are changed. A few years back so many people were saying, "I will never complain about anything again."

Ed's life is pretty much on hold and right now we are just looking for things to keep him busy. Keeping busy helps him so much. He is just so limited! ( Ed has had strokes and is re-learning how to write. That was his method of communicating) Ed was out chopping wood to the doctors distress 3 months after a triple by-pass. . I bought him an electric splitter but now he needs someone to pick up the heavy logs.
Ed just needs a little help with everything he does. He was an engineer, a technician, he built our house and I always said, "Ed can do anything." He is proving me right. With God's help we will find those creative things to help Ed get on his feet. We are building a new workshop for him this Spring. So I am hoping new bird houses will be on the way.
(GABBY) Andrea



Mohan Raj, Bangalore - Mar 2010

I look different. I speak different. I speak far less. I bathe different.I breathe different. I throw out mucus differently and often. Stoma management, Provox cleaning, mucus management are whole new burdens imposed.

Inspite of all this, over the last two years since my TL, slowly but surely, life is getting back to normal as if the new life is the one I always had. Mercifully, I am forgetting my old life, my old way of breathing and my old way of talking and my old way of living.

Human nature is resilient. It adopts. It recovers.It bounces back. I am getting used to my new life. Old life is history. New life has its challenges, but manageable. I see some advantages too, when people respond so favorably.

Aging, by itself brings in a lot more changes and challenges. Some health set back or the other is mandatory. I take TL as just one such set back. Somewhat rare. Somewhat complicated. But, just a set back nevertheless. Yet, life is good once we accept this set back as unavoidable and move on.

Regards to staff of 'speaking out' for coming out with such thought provoking titles.



John Haedtler, New Mexico, USA - 2001

Wow, that is a tuff one. At first, fear, and I did not fear much before. I played with airplanes all my life. I have been in a couple of crashes, never thought about dying. But with something so different from my life style, I had no idea how to handle it! Makes one come back down to earth, so to speak.

Now after all of this, I must say that helping new cancer patients cope with the major change in their lives and handling what is next, means more to me than fixing a problem with an airplane. It is almost like this is what my life was meant to be.

Lots more to say but no one wants to hear it!   (Of course we do... Editor)



Peter Powell - 2011

I go inside myself and take advantage of that by joining a meditation group. I have started to read more and find that most people are sensitive and kind. I use an iPad, with text to speech, which works very well. Thank you Steve Jobs!

Because part of lower tongue had to be removed on two surgeries, I find that I can not say k or hard c, when I try the electro voice. I will be attending the IAL seminars in June, and looking forward to that. My new "gifts" are a first grand daughter, that I think likes that I am silent! The internalization is also a gift I feel.



Mary Jane Renner, Indianapolis, IN - 1980

When the announcement was posted I was in a real quandary! It asked about a "new life". Shortly after my surgery I returned to my job while I worked on a "new" voice. Once I had that voice, my "life" went on as before with a different voice. I guess I never knew that I had a new Life! I have continued to enjoy the old one.



Tom Olsavicky, Newport News, VA - 2008

Well, it may sound odd to say but I think it has made my life better. I was retired when I was diagnosed with cancer of the vocal chords in 2008, so my daily routine was not very exciting. After rehabilitating for over a year, my SLP suggested that I should start a local Lost Chord Club since the closest one was 40 miles away. At first, I didn't think I wanted to get involved in the whole process but once I started, I realized what a benefit it was having on me as well as for those who chose to attend. I saw a definite change in the people I was talking to and encouraging and I also saw a drive surface in me that I didn't know existed. It has now been nearly three years since I began the club and am now president of the Peninsula Lost Chord Club. I am always looking for ways to increase attendance, spur interest, provide guidance, help newly diagnosed individuals face the future, and to show them we still can be productive in our everyday existence. I feel that I am making a difference in many lives besides my own and that gives me a feeling of importance which I think we all desire.

An added benefit, that I didn't realize immediately, was it showed my family that I was not a person who would give up easily and that I chose to fight this diagnosis even when I didn't know what the future would be like without my natural voice. They saw that what ever happens in their future can be dealt with head on and although life may be different, it is still worth facing and making the best of it.


Joe Hilsabeck, Edelstein, Il - 2009

Well, I dont get moving as early in the morn because of my routine of caring for and cleaning my prosthesis. But on a more serious note, I am more able to express how much I love my family. Have learned a big hug goes a long way and there is nothing wrong with a dad hugging his grown son, as well as his wife or daughter; feels just as good.








Jacksonville's 1st



First Coast Laryngectomee Club, Jacksonville, FL


Hi lary Supporters,
Thank you for your generous support.

Kick Stands were up at 11:00 at The Smoking Beaver, our host, for riders from Jacksonville, Fernandina and Daytona. They rode to Poker stops at Open Road Leathers,The Rooster, The Steel Pony, The Red Eye Saloon and Greybeards.The ”Last bike in” returned by 5:00PM to The Smoking Beaver for food, drinks, a raffle and Karaoke.

Troll Sparks is a biker who following his laryngectomy and against the advice of his doctors, refused to give up his Harley. His enthusiasm and organizing efforts convinced the Club a Poker Run was the ideal fund raising effort. Fellow member, Brad Russell, supporters, Vicky Sue Sparks and Sharon Layne committed to raise funds for a” loaner closet” of the necessary equipment to produce voice after total laryngectomy surgery. There is a special need for the electrolarynx. Three of the leading EL manufacturers and suppliers , In Health, Atos Medical and Lauder Electronics donated equipment to start the closet and Ultra Voice made a cash donation.

Our raffle included restaurant and bar gift cards from Sneakers, The Beach Diner, The Sundog, The North Beach Bistro, Mezzaluna, Ragtime, GreyBeards, Bombas, The Rooster, The Steel Pony and Open Road Leathers.

We also received a three day kayak rental from Aqua East Surf Shop, a Round of Golf for four at the Selva Marina Country Club, Styling and Beauty products from Ten Salon, a massage from Therapeutic Touch of Ponte Vedra, a computer tune-up from Static PC, a necklace from Allen’s jewelers, a tune-up and oil change from Ken’s motorcycle Shop and great entertainment from TJ and Karaoke.

The response from all of you has raised a total of $6,093.00! We are so encouraged and look forward to smoothing our ride for an even bigger and better event next year. Please remember the words of our supporter, Georgia McKeown, “Alone, We Whisper, Together We Roar.”

With Appreciation from your “Lary” friends,

Ginny Huffman, Troll Sparks and Brad Russell



Troll and Ginny at the Poker Run








I love to read WW’s daily e-mail or thumb through WW archives, because they contain questions and answers that are germane not only to “lary life” but that of our caregivers, physicians, family, friends and to social interactions. Frankly, WW contains a lot of information about issues that are not specific to my case at this point in time, so I just make a mental note that it’s there should I ever need it. Once in a while something jumps off the page as being useful in the “here-and-now”.

For instance, I’ve been having a little blood show up in the mucus I clean out of my stoma daily. I had kind of ignored it as a product of hot, dry days and lots of irritants in the air on my golf course until I read about serious problems some folks discovered when they went to their doctor about the same situation. I have an appointment with a doctor this coming Monday to check it out because I was reminded of something out of my past.



Those words were angrily yelled at me through the earphones I wore as a young aviation cadet in pilot training. My first flight instructor, Stanley Orzeck, repeatedly put me through a drill called “Recovery from Unusual Attitudes”.

That drill involved putting us under a hood, so we couldn’t see outside, and all we had available for flying the aircraft were our instruments. The instructor would climb us to altitude, then throw the airplane into some crazy position that ranged from an inverted dive, to a full blown spin, to straight up, or straight down … then shout “You’ve got it”.. when he thought we were sufficiently disoriented, as we slammed back and forth from the G-forces under that hood in the back seat.

Basically, we used turn-and-bank indicators to get wings level, accelerating or decelerating airspeed indicators to correct diving or climbing, and (once it quit spinning) our magnetic compass to get back on a correct heading. There was a little more to it than just described, but the point is we learned to trust our instruments for the information needed to make decisions and act on them fast and under pressure … just as larys must do with the knowledge and instruments we possess!

All the available knowledge about our condition can be found on WW pages, or from physicians, caregivers and other larys. Our instruments (mind and body) provide the information we need to analyze our situation and deal with it.

But, when things get just short of critical mass it’s time to go with what we’ve got and … do something if we do it wrong!

Bob Keiningham









It was at the height of the London Blitz and our third house had been demolished. The three of us, mum, dad and myself were living in the tiny Anderson shelter in the back garden. All the other children were elsewhere: Kit was driving her ambulance in the army, Charlie, his ammunition truck, Alf was on a destroyer somewhere and Fred, a prisoner in Poland. Mag and Dolly were doing war work. Mag making shells and Dolly feeding the homeless, of which there were plenty.

We rarely had the shelter to ourselves though, with strangers sharing it at night, as the bombs rained down outside. One night we had a Welsh couple who slept in the bunk beneath me. She was the dominant character and he was so thin that she must have been eating his rations as well, judging by her plumpness. During the night she kept shouting, "Get off, you beast!" Until poor mum told him to stop whatever he was doing. Only one night with that dreadful couple, thank goodness.

Our weekly ration of food would be laughed at today, as it was so small, and sugar had been unobtainable for some time. A rumour went round that sugar was in one of the shops about a mile away. I made my way there to find a long queue weaving through the previous night’s wreckage. After a couple of hours, I got a 2 pound bag of sugar and set off to our shelter. I still had half a mile to go when the air raid siren sounded and I started jog trotting, but the waves of German Bombers were fast approaching and dropping carpets of bombs beneath them. I knew that I couldn't make the shelter in time, so I dived into a hole in the front wall of a cinema, which was the only part still standing, as the bombs were falling less than 50 yards away.

When the raiders had passed, I emerged from my hole and continued my jogging, passing lots of wreckage. On turning a last corner, I saw burning bodies lying in the roads and shops nearby ablaze. I tried to beat out the flames on one lady’s body only to find she was a tailor’s dummy, as they all had been blasted out from shop windows. One had on a once beautiful bank manager’s type suit but the jacket was well ablaze. But the pin stripe trousers looked fine and I whipped them off quicker than lightening. No one ever had enough coupons to get an actual suit.

I knew I was looting, but if you could have seen my threadbare trousers you would have forgiven me. So I continued homeward clutching a 2 pound bag of sugar and a new pair of pants. Cut off at the right length, I cut quite a dashing figure.

Len, the Speechless Poet





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

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Kansas City, KS


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S. Beloit, IL


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Acworth, GA


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St. Chrysostome, CAN


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Halifax, Canada


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Philadelphia, PA


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Philadelphia, PA


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Sparks, NV


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Richardsen , TX


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Cary, IL


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Rapid City, SD


Frank O'Brien
Portsmouth, VA


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Tulsa, OK


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Lisbon, OH


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Phoenix, AZ


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Lisbon, OH


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Tyler, TX


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Tyler, TX





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