Christmas is an exciting time of year, with many of us socialising with family and friends, organising events, wrapping presents and putting up decorations.
After your laryngectomy, it can be difficult to make sure you’re heard during this social time of year. We've gathered together our top tips so you can make the most of this Christmas and focus on enjoying all the festivities.
1. Take your time when eating You may find speaking during or shortly after eating is difficult. After a laryngectomy it can take you longer to swallow food and your food must have cleared from your food pipe before you're able to speak. Choosing softer or moister foods and taking regular sips of a drink can help wash food down. If food is stuck in your food pipe, clear the food that is stuck and take time to test your voice.
2. Educate family and friends Let family and friends know that it may take you a little longer to answer and you may not be able to voice straight away. It may be helpful to ask family and friends to adopt supportive strategies, such as avoiding asking questions during meal times and to continue chatting until you are able to respond. Help educate them to recognise cues that you wish to speak, such as the movement of your hand to the stoma. These techniques can help lessen any awkwardness in these situations.
3. Choose quieter places to talk You may find difficulty manipulating the sound, volume or expression of your voice and this can make it difficult to be heard over background noise. Try to choose optimal places to sit such as at the quieter end of the table or a more peaceful venue. It can also be helpful to stand closer to the conversation partner and utilising hand gestures to help get someone’s attention or convey a feeling.
So, go and have a wonderful festive season with family and friends and enjoy some great TV and tasty mince pies!
We understand that the festive season can be particularly difficult for people who live alone or who don’t have people to spend Christmas with. If you feel isolated, it can help to keep in contact with local groups, for example churches or community groups, or charities such as Age UK, Age Concern or The Swallows head & neck cancer charity. There may be a lunch club, social group or buddying scheme in your area, or it may just be helpful to have somebody to speak to.
During the winter the air outside gets cooler and less moist, causing your lungs to produce more mucus. After a laryngectomy, your body needs to get used to a new way of breathing. A big change is that it no longer has the nose to help warm and moisten the air. Watch our video on better breathing, helping to minimise coughing and mucus. We discuss what is good lung health, the benefits of an HME and tips for breathing better. This is a shortened version of our MyVoice event theme. If you would like to learn about different topics, make sure you attend your local group.
Find your local laryngectomy community group, click below:
We're pleased to tell you that the MyLife App from Atos Medical will be launching in January. The MyLife App is easy-to-use and educational for you, your loved ones and health professionals. It has been designed in close collaboration with laryngectomees and health professionals to provide advice on how to overcome challenges and lead a normal life after laryngectomy. You will be able to access articles and videos that cover some daily challenges you may face and also, read more about living with a laryngectomy. You’ll also be able to set goals for yourself, we’re starting with the topic of coughing. You will be able to track your level of coughing over a month with the aim of helping you track and improve your level of coughing.