I can speak, but in a squeaky way

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Today my voice returned, after more than two months. Some tight scheduling in Coquitlam prevented a planned appointment here, so my dad, Air, and I drove to Surrey.

There, an ENT doctor injected one side of my vocal cords while his colleague manned the nose cam to view the process from the inside.

The result, so far, is a partial return of sound. My right cord is quite calcified, the doctor says, and may never firm up completely. So I have, for the moment, a voice whose pitch I can't control, but which might get better. It's louder, which helps my dad. It isn't whispery or raspy, which helps everyone else. It does the job.�We'll hear if it improves, which should be good for the relatively little time we all have left together.

My stupendously difficult climb from car to main floor in our house today tells me I won't be leaving in anything but a stretcher from now on—it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm now officially housebound, and even floor-bound.

34 Comments

Love. That is all.

Your voice is never been louder and stronger, sir.

Love you.

What Drew said. I want to 'like' this on Facebook, but I can't be that flippant. Thinking of you.
xoCC

Can't stop thinkin' about you man. Voice or no voice you speak loud and clear to so many.

Your voice never left us. And it won't, regardless of what your vocal cords do.

I am sending prayers, positive thoughts and love from my little corner of BC....

i'm the one who's been rendered speechless.

your voice is heard more than you know.

may so much love find its way to you and yours.

Derek... Sending lots of hugs from Calgary. I'm glad the doc was able to help, if only just a little.

since i've been a long-time reader of yours, i feel the need to write to you today. you have been an example of courage and grace all along the way. if there is a chance to do this whole thing right, you have completed this task in perfection.
and although i don't know you or your lovely wife airdry (i started off knowing your familiy by her podcast, which i loved) in person, i feel for you like i would feel for my personal friends, too.

i admire you.

what irini said.

i think you have touched a lot of lives with your brave and honest accounting of your ending life. i'm in awe of your ability to express the sentiments without rancor or wallowing in your fate.

i wish i'd met you sooner, but i'm glad i had the chance to meet you at all.

Derek, you don't me, but I am a fellow EACer and long-time reader of your blog. I think you have amazed us all with your grace, dignity, kindness and humour. I'm angry that you're dying so young, but I'm glad that you've been here. Have no doubt about the legacy you're leaving -- to your children, through your children, and through your courage and candour. I'm sorry I haven't had the privilege to know you in person, but I thank you for letting me know you here.

I hope when the moment comes that it's easy for you. Wishing peace to Air and your family.

Well said Drew.
xo

And what Irini said. I admire you.

I love you, and I love your family, but I HATE CANCER.

I've never met you Derek but I've been following your storey for a while now. You are an inspiration and I've been truly touched to quietly share in your journey.

Wishing nothing but peace to you and your family...

I was on CBC today and, before the show, as you know, they do a pre-interview. They asked about voter apathy and I mentioned the effort you made in voting and the sacrifice that was for you. I didn't get asked that same question in the studio, unfortunately, but the staff had seen your tweet and I've heard other people talking about it. I think you spoke loud enough to make a huge statement, even if you're having trouble finding your voice.

Hi Derek,
I stumbled upon your blog in 2007 - while I was doing some research on blogs as a communication scientist. And what can I say - your blog is the only one, out of many which I saw back then, that I still follow.
I don't know you, we are not of the same age, I don't have any kids, I am not married, I am female, I live in another part of the world (Germany) - yet, you and your honest, witty, humorous writing have touched and inspired me so much!
Although it is a bit surreal and I do not know neither you nor your lovely family I feel the urge to say: Thank you for your kind, sometimes painfully honest, thought-provoking, unique postings.

Wishing you all the best
Melanie

Derek --
You don't know me, and I'm so paranoid about Internet privacy that I've never before commented on someone's blog. But I need to tell you what an honour and privilege it has been to read your blog over the past years. Your wisdom and courage and joyful spirit have touched my heart and changed my life. Thank you for sharing your light. I wish you and your family peace and strength during this difficult time.

Derek,

I stumbled randomly across your blog via a link on Darren's blog, after googling "text tattoo ideas".

See, all I wanted yesterday at two in the morning is to get a little inspiration.

The first post of yours that I got to read was "On the gravel road". I can't even begin to express how I felt, and still feel now. It's 5:34PM here in Israel, and your words still cross my mind at least every one hour.

I tend to get splashy when writing these things, because I want to compress everything, which is mostly futile.

So all I'm going to say is this: I regret not finding your blog earlier, I regret that I didn't get the chance to follow your journey for much longer. Trust me when I say that I somehow feel at loss that perhaps soon all I will have to read is your archives, the pieces you left behind.

I have a feeling I won't get enough, and that I will hopelessly want more.

I'm one of the most cynical human beings that have ever commented on your blog, believe me. I'll say this having enjoyed only several of your posts: You've managed to bring tears to my eyes, and make this heart of mine silky soft.

I don't know how to end this, so I will just say thank you. I was looking for some inspiration, and got more than I can take.


S.K.

Derek,

Drew said it better than I could, and I concur: Your voice is heard loud and clear.

I remember one of the guest posts you wrote for my Blogathon, where you said you wrote because you love telling stories, because you love having an audience, a voice and being heard.

You ARE being heard. And your voice, written or otherwise, your legacy, the demonstration of eternal love that you have with Airdrie and your beautiful girls are the most amazing legacy of a strong-willed, brave and powerful voice. A voice that has changed thousands of people all over the world, but more importantly, a voice that has changed ME as a friend and as a human being.

While I've never met you, your words have been very powerful as I look at my uncomplicated life. There isn't much to say with the sad news I have read recently. Other than, maybe I'll meet you on the "other side". Best wishes to you and your family during this difficult time.

I'm still often stopped in thought about your and your amazing family these days, aware from a distance of everything you're enduring, too familiar with cancer's end from my own perspective to not be aware. I'm glad you guys closed the door on visits for some time as a family. So important.

For someone just on the peripheries of my life, you've touched me tremendously through your strength, character, and amazing search of truth.

No one deserves cancer, but those with cancer deserve your words, and deserve to learn through you (and your legacy) that one can live, and die, with incredible dignity, strength, and compassion for others.

You're an amazing individual. We will remember.

Hi Derek,
Sometimes my kids will hear a song and say, "That sounds like Derek Miller"...we hear you, listen to you and think of you often. I'm grateful our families met and have had opportunity to learn from you and be in community with you. Many thanks for your music, words (always incredible and beautiful on your blog) and for your courage and wisdom. May you, Air and your family feel love holding you close. You are an amazing family, and amazing to share your journey with all of us. We will be listening to you in many years to come...Hugs, strength and grace to you... Love you!

I'm glad you have some voice now so you can talk to your wife and kids.

Yeah, Drew nailed it.

Thank you for forcing me to learn how to spell Vancouver properly. Damn captcha.

Derek, my thanks to you.

I have a friend (my age) who was diagnosed at age 38, just a few years ago, had surgery, and had a recurrence late last year, and surgery this spring. Still hoping for recovery, but after recurrence, it's a teeter totter.

I shared your blog with his wife. I didn't want to. I felt so small, helpless, angry. And yet, wanted to share Jean-Hugues' triumph with her. I've listed a link to yours on my new blog, I haven't decided what direction I'm taking with it yet, but, as I've learned, celiacs, or other GI impacted individuals have a 50% higher incidence of fatal colon cancer. I met a very lovely lady last summer who lost her celiac husband that cruel way.

It's a crap shoot, this life thing. From skydiving to the joy on 2 wheels, I've engaged in some risky enterprises, but as I get older, I have to look at life from the view that I don't have an option. If such wonderful young people can be facing serious illness, then taken from us before they have done all they meant to do, it could be my turn next - and I don't want to miss a thing.

I look forward to reading more from you, but I hope you invest your time in what means most to you now.

Oh, and BTW - just get your Mac to talk for you… save your voice for the important stuff.

Your voice will never be silent to those who have heard it.

Hi Derek,

I'm imagining your voice right now (not the raspy one, the one I know). I'm hoping that you are enduring as little pain as possible.

I was thinking of something someone once said about Beethoven, that despite all of the pain and suffering, his music always says in the end , it was worth it. I'm wishing for you that this is the same. With that in mind, if there is one Beethoven piece I can recommend that's like a warm hug for you from me and the rest of the human race to you, it's his 30th one, the last movement. I found a Glenn Gould performance on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etB5XP79Qe4

You've made it more worth it for the rest of us, too.
-David

I just discovered your blog via some mutual Twitter folk, and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey with us. We are honored, and blessed.

Thank you.

You've spoken louder than any braying donkey with a loud voice, and though I met you only once, your dynamic way of being and giving, and your vibrant personality ring as true to me as the day I met you.

You'll never be forgotten in my life, nor thousands of others.

Best wishes for your journey to the beyond.

Christa

Go in peace, Derek. You leave us all with great sadness… for the man we’ll never see again, for the written words we’ll never read. But go knowing what a profound, positive lasting memory you’re leaving behind not just for your family, but for the hundreds of people who knew you personally, the thousands who have gotten to know you via your written words and the millions who will eventually wind up reading your poignant and incredibly well-documented journey. You wrote the book on blogging, so to speak, and that’ll last – well, forever.

Derek,

I'm inspired by your ability to write so well and so openly (if you stop writing, for any reason, I'll keep reading/re-reading your blog; it's inspiring and educational), by your musical talent (your riffs sound great in my e-learning courses, BTW), and by your photographs (I've been a photographer for 40 years and you taught me a lot).

There may be others who write about their life's journey, who take the time — valuable moments of their precious remaining time — to bring their friends, family, and even interested strangers, the sometimes difficult truth, but there will never be another Derek K. Miller.

Thank you!

Derek, they say we are all here for a reason, a purpose. I fully understand yours. When reading the above comments, you were here to help so many and make such a difference in their lives. You have done that, your job is done and you did it with excellence. You are an amazing man, a very special man. They threw away the mold when they made you, there is none other like you. Countless times I've read your blog and sat there mesmerized, hanging onto your every word. I love to write as well, done mainly from my heart and not with the knowledge and expertise you have. What a talent you are, how you have helped us all who have followed your words. Go know that lil guy who asked me to dance in his parents rumpus room one evening would teach me so much, make such a difference in my life. We never got to know each other well, but in some ways I've been with you for years, if not through your Aunt (my life long friend) then through your parents. You have not lived in vein, you have lived gallantly and with purpose. None of our lives will ever be the same, especially your families. I can say no more Derek, I am sad and will miss all I know of you and more. Pass gently and with pride, your daughters will carry on your legacy it will be their priviledge. The guidance they will receive from their amazing, loving Mom will never be surpassed as will the love of your parents. Your Aunt Sirkka and Uncle Ray will miss you dearly as you are so loved by them. Your daughters are in good hands, as you were.

Barbra

Dear Derek,

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and I’m so sorry to hear that you’re nearing the end of your life. I know that you’ll be sincerely missed, by both intimate and, as is the case with me, distant others.


In 2006, I, at the age of 39, was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Later, while reading your online missives, I recognized that you and I had a number things in common: first, our diagnosis; second, our secularism; third, our location; fourth, our age, and fifth, our love of logic. I found your posts to be very enlightening and, yes, entertaining.


That said, initially, I did not share your frankness and honesty regarding an advanced cancer diagnosis. Yet, years later, kudos to you, now I do.


So, thank you for the interesting reading material (cancer related and otherwise), and for sharing your thoughts on the Internet. You have brought me, and a host of others, a lot of wisdom and comfort.


Best,
Monique

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