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Shania Twain Shares the 'Great, Great Loss' She Experienced After Multiple Surgeries

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Though we most often associate grief with losing a loved one or a pet, if you’ve felt grief after a chronic illness diagnosis, you’re not alone. In a new interview, country singer Shania Twain shared how difficult it can be to come to terms with your “new normal” with chronic illness.

In an interview with Extra on Tuesday, the “That Don’t Impress Me Much” singer shared just how difficult her journey has been coming to terms with her chronic illness diagnosis. Twain was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2003, which significantly impacted her ability to sing. She told Extra after her diagnosis, she experienced a long period of grief.

“When you’re a singer and it’s your voice, it is just a terrible, terrible feeling,” Twain said. “It was a great, great loss, so I had to come to terms with losing the voice that I had and rediscovering my new one. So it’s been a long but really rewarding journey.”

This isn’t the first time Twain has opened up about the impact of living with a chronic illness. In 2017, when she revealed her Lyme diagnosis for the first time, she said she stayed out of the music world for nearly 10 years because she didn’t know Lyme was the cause of changes to her voice.

“It took all these years to determine that,” Twain said in a 2017 interview. “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.”

Twain told Extra in order to work with her voice, a key aspect of her identity, she needed to have multiple throat surgeries. When she talked about surviving the surgeries, she pointed out the process wasn’t just about physical recovery. There’s also an emotional component to recovering after a medical procedure.

“I had to have an operation that was very intense and it’s an open-throat operation, very different from a vocal cord operation,” Twain said. “I had to have two of them, so that was really, really, really tough and I survived that, meaning emotionally I survived that, and ready to keep going.”

Her latest interview accompanies the announcement Twain will be returning to Las Vegas in December for her second residency. Twain previously headlined a Vegas residency from 2012 to 2014, performing more than 100 shows. Titled “Let’s Go!” Twain’s latest turn on the Vegas Strip will run through June 2020.

While Twain was able to have surgery to recover her voice, she said she still struggled to accept things wouldn’t be the same as before she was diagnosed. She also shared going through the grieving process allowed her a level of acceptance for her new normal.

“What I’ve learned in the interim through therapy is how to manipulate my voice to get it to do what I want it to do or at least close enough that I don’t want to give up,” Twain said. “You just gotta be willing and give in to change and you have to accept that you don’t always have to be the same and that’s what I’ve had to do, and I’m embracing that.”

Image via Creative Commons/RalphArvesen

Originally published: June 19, 2019
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