Last winter, I suddenly developed a vocal polyp. For some reason, I had to take two weeks off work and had surgery to remove it. I don’t know who it is for, but this week I will share with you the secret story of the birth of the polyp.
Since his voice is vital to his work, he has been taking extra care of his throat ever since he joined NHK. I practiced my vocalization every morning without fail, and now I sing a cappella a song by the comedian Doburokku as vocalization practice.
Thanks to this, in the 19 years since I became a working adult, I have never felt anything wrong with my throat unless I caught a cold, no matter how hard my schedule was or what kind of environment I had to raise my voice in.
Yet, one morning in November of last year, I woke up and immediately said, “I want to sleep. As soon as I woke up, the words “I want to sleep,” almost came out on their own, and I couldn’t speak, not a single note, not even a whimper. No pain, zero discomfort. I was like a goldfish with a mouth full of food.
I had to work that day at a TV station in Fukuoka, of all places. I was in a desperate hurry to get to work, because I knew that if I missed the scheduled flight, I would be more than an hour late. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had been suffering from nasopharyngitis ever since I contracted a new type of coronavirus and had been seeing an ENT at a general hospital, so I headed there immediately.
When the examination began, the doctor, who always takes care of me, inserted a thin tube with a small camera on the end through my nostril. It was a little painful, but it went in smoothly, and when it reached my throat, the camera caught the “guy.
The doctor said, “Oh, you have a polyp on your vocal cords,” believing it was nothing to do with him. I wanted to ask him if it was that “guy” whom I had been convinced I had nothing to do with, but I couldn’t because I couldn’t speak and the camera was in my throat. The doctor continued, “It’s still small, and from the looks of it, it doesn’t seem to be a malignant polyp. He said, “Have you used your throat too much recently? No way! How could I have polyps on my vocal cords? I’ve always been so careful about my voice! I was astonished at the sudden appearance of “that guy” at a time when I had no idea what he was talking about.
I put my hope in the doctor’s words, “It rarely disappears after a week or so,” and boarded a plane to Fukuoka for work as scheduled. However, the office decided to take a week off from the next day to see what would happen.
One week later. My vocal polyp had evolved into a sharp, pointed shape, and instead of disappearing, it had begun to affect the opposite vocal cord. I immediately went to see a doctor who referred me to another specialist hospital that was known to be good at excisional surgery. The specialist asked him in detail about his behavior the day before he lost his voice.
That’s it, the cause!”
After appearing on TBS’s “Gogosuma” in Nagoya that day, I went to my favorite Taiwanese restaurant and ate spicy Taiwanese ramen noodles, drinking two mugs of beer and choking on the spiciness. When I told the doctor about it, he said, “That’s it, that’s the cause!
That’s it, that’s the cause!
He had been suffering from nasopharyngitis and had been having difficulty speaking for a long time, and his vocal cords had been damaged by speaking loudly day after day. He said that the vocal cords do not feel pain, and he did not notice the injury at all.
The human body is so delicate. If only I had taken the bullet train with my manager instead of stopping at the Taiwanese restaurant that time ……. Even if we had stopped at the restaurant, if I had not eaten the Taiwanese ramen, I would have been ……. If I ate it, but didn’t choke on it, I would have ……. There were many times when I could have prevented the birth of vocal polyps, but I couldn’t. It was frustrating. This is how I experienced my first hospitalization as a working adult and found that life was superb. I will tell you the story another time.
Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).
From the May 5, 2023 issue of “FRIDAY
Text and illustrations by： Aika Kanda