Shania Twain Opens Up About Grieving a Side Effect of Her Chronic Illness

Chronic illnesses often come with side effects, some of which can turn simple things you took for granted — like getting a good night’s sleep or remembering which groceries to buy — into painstaking tasks. It’s only natural for a sense of grief and loss to follow — something Shania Twain said she experienced due to her battle with Lyme disease.

In a recent interview with Amazon Music, Twain explained that the reason she hasn’t released an album in 15 years is because she had problems with her vocal cords, which she attributes to Lyme disease. The loss of her voice made her feel as though “a part of [her] had died.”

“I was grieving the loss of my voice. I really believed I would never sing again,” Twain said. “I thought well, I’m a songwriter anyway more than anything else and I was prepared to write songs and accept that I was never going to be the performer of those songs anymore.”

Twain said she had to go back to vocal school and speech therapy to relearn how to sing. “I don’t know, determination kicked in, the more I wrote the more I was singing. So a lot of this time I’ve been away it’s just been working on getting this voice back,” she said. Her new album comes out in September.

Twain contracted Lyme disease in the early 2000s in Virginia, and, in an interview with CBC News last week, said that she actually saw the tick fall off her and soon began experiencing symptoms.

“I was on tour, so I almost fell off the stage every night,” Twain said. “I was very, very dizzy and didn’t know what was going on. It’s just one of those things you don’t suspect.”

Though she was diagnosed quickly, Twain said she didn’t realize her vocal issues were caused by Lyme disease until years later.

“It took all these years to determine that,” Twain said. “Then it was all about, ‘Now what do I do about it? How can I fix it?’ So that took several years, just working out what therapy would work for me, without even knowing how well it would work in the end.”

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