August 2008




Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders Patience Practice Persistence News & Events
VP Lisa M. Proper Esophageal Speech – Dying Art? Education-Med
VP Jeff Searl IAL-VI 2008 News & Events
Between Friends Donna McGary SSD Benefits-Part III Experiences
Practically Speaking Elizabeth Finchem Water Safety-Laryngectomees Experiences
A Scottish Accent Rosalie Macrae The Teacup & The Madeleine Experiences
My Neck Of The Woods Paul From Alabama Garden Irrigation Experiences
Tibits Of Interest Thomas Cleveland Lary Photos Experiences
New Members Listing Welcome News & Events





Patience, Practice, and Persistence


Patience is not my strong suit or, at least, it was not for most of my life. If you ever want me to paint a room, give me a brush and a roller and get out of my way. If you want to etch a verse on the head of a pin, don't call me. But, I have learned and I am still learning the importance of patience.

Recently, we have had phenomenal growth in WebWhispers membership. They join us before their surgery to learn what problems lie before them or they join after surgery, needing advice or wanting to give it. Maybe they just found us and are delighted to have others to use for comparing notes. In our WW email, where there is a constant flow of questions and comments, a certain phrase is recurring, more and more, from patients who are trying to learn to talk.

"I tried it and it didn't work."


Is it a problem with the product? Possibly you have the wrong product in size or type, or it is one of few that are faulty but that is not the problem for most of the "didn't work" items.

Is it the lack of good advice and support from your professionals? Do they not explain clearly that you may have to work hard to get a new voice? Do you not listen, understand, or believe what they are saying?

Is it your "new best friend" at your club or WebWhispers who says, "I never had a bit of trouble. I talked when I left the hospital so you should be talking by now."? Do we measure ourselves by these others?


Lots of people don't try. And, there are reasons for this. When we try to talk again, we have to have patience. When we originally learned to talk, it was one word at a time, practiced over and over and everyone cooed and beamed that baby had started talking. We now have to persist just as hard to say that same word now as we did then, and we have the same need for the smile and encouragement.

Now, when you start trying to talk, the kids may sometimes laugh (and it is hard to laugh with them when you would like to cry). It's easier to let your mate speak for you to a neighbor or at a store. Are you talking every chance you get? Are you practicing words, phrases, or reading nursery rhymes out loud? Are you persistent enough to keep trying? Do you have the patience with yourself to not let the slow progress get you down?

Check out the product, ask the SLP, and keep talking.


Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President



VoicePoints written by professionals 

Coordinated by Lisa Proper, MS-CCC-SLP, BC-NCD-A, BRS-S


(                      [© 2008 Lisa Proper]


Esophageal Speech – A dying Art?


Esophageal speech is a “non surgical” means of voice restoration for laryngectomees which involves producing sound by injecting air into the esophagus (using three possible methods) and creating sound by vibrating the neoglottis or pharyngoesophageal (PE) segment. Esophageal speech is one of three possibilities for the return of voice/sound for a new total laryngectomy. In the past, esophageal speech was treated as the “gold standard” and/or most preferred method of speaking for laryngectomized individuals. However, in the early eighties it fell from favor with the advent of a functional tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis (TEP) which became more popular as it was “easier to learn” and created more fluent voice because lung air was available for voicing (see chart). Esophageal Speech was no longer presented as the best option because of the time it took to learn (average 6 months). And, possibly, because health care professionals developed potential bias for the “easier/faster” methods. There had been reimbursement issues for the “longer to train”, esophageal speech, method. The release from pen and paper was largely influenced by the bias of the health care delivery system.

So, the question presents, “Is esophageal speech a dying art?” And/or, “Is there a place for esophageal speech in contemporary voice restoration therapy?” Are health care professionals remiss to not encourage this viable form of communication? Resoundingly, “Yes,” is the answer to all questions. Whether one is using an artificial larynx (AL) or TEP speech, esophageal speech may compliment and potentially, over time, become the preferred method of voice restoration for a motivated laryngectomee who recognizes its value.

As most total laryngectomy surgical procedures currently encompass a myotomy, surgical cutting of the cricopharyngeus muscle, esophageal speech does appear easier to learn than in the past. This may be one of the reasons that many Laryngectomees have reported producing “accidental sound” which is understood by their spouse without occluding their stoma for TEP use and/or without their artificial larynx. When this occurs, the speech pathologist should help the individual understand how and why this occurs. Providing the laryngectomee with Edmund Lauder’s classic book, Self Help for the Laryngectomee may be of assistance.

In addition, one should encourage active practice of mastering the basic elements of esophageal speech production, namely:
1) Consistency of sound,
2) Immediacy of sound,
3) Duration of sound.

Training should also occur to assist the laryngectomee to understand how they are able to produce sound via the three primary methods:
1) Inhalation of environmental air (negative air pressure in esophagus sucks air in from pharynx),
2) Consonant injection and/or
3) Tongue pump injection or ideally a combination of all three.

Consonant injection and tongue pump, or glossopharyngeal press involve increasing air pressure in the mouth and the pharynx to push air through the PE segment which is “trapped” and vibrated back through the PE segment as sound.

Eventually, with practice, the laryngectomee should learn to combine all three methods for greatest fluency and normalcy of voicing. Paul Scriffignano, who was the Executive Secretary (?????) of the International Association of Laryngectomees (IAL) in 1985, demonstrated this highest level of achievement. Often wearing a coat and tie, with no evidence of a visible stoma the average listener just thought he was a “normal speaker” with a low, breathy voice. There was no evidence of stoma noise and/or tongue pump “clunk” in his speech. He was an excellent example of combining the three methods of air injection.

In addition, two recent examples come to mind. One patient, who was using an artificial larynx, prior to her TEP surgery, demonstrated how she was able to speak “short phrases.” “They just come out”, she said, “And my husband understands.” Even after her TEP she said it was easier to speak esophageally for short communication. She continues to develop and perfect her technique. She is “a natural esophageal user.”

The second example is of a gentleman who was successfully using an indwelling TEP for 6+ years with an average of 6 months plus wearing time. He caught a cold and with violent coughing, he kept dislodging his prosthesis. He then realized that he could produce short phrases that his wife understood even when he had his obturator in place when he was waiting to have his “dislodged prosthesis” reinserted. With minimal speech pathology assistance in training the patient to relax while producing voice vs. pushing while producing sound, he is now able to produce 5-7 word sentences esophageally.

In conclusion, the art of esophageal speech is alive and well and/or should be a part of voice restoration after laryngectomy, as a complimentary/back-up voicing method and/or as a primary means of communication. Once one has mastered consistent sound production via one of the three injection methods with reasonable immediacy and duration, they should work with a knowledgeable SLP to develop expertise for greater articulation intelligibility, loudness and pith variation. Speech Pathologists working with laryngectomees always educate the patient to all three restorative voice restoration methods, have knowledge and experience in training all three methods of alaryngeal speech, and offer the choices without significant bias. It may be prudent to remind patients of their options throughout their lives and not just at the beginning of treatment. Do not allow Esophageal Speech or it’s training to become a dying art.



Artificial larynx


  • Easy/quick to learn
  • Reasonable cost
  • Sounds “robotic”
  • External reliance (you have to remember to take it with you)
  • Should have two if it’s your “primary communication mode”. i.e. if one breaks you have a backup

Tracheoesophageal Voice Prosthesis


  • Sounds more natural, i.e.
  • Increased fluency as lung air is utilized
    Hands free option
  • Involves surgical procedure
  • Increases attachment to health care professional (especially with indwelling)
  • Increases impact on party wall tissue
  • Consumable supply, “on-going” cost
  • Requires “up keep,” care that some may be uncomfortable with, and/or lack eyesight or manual dexterity to use

Esophageal Speech


  • Non surgical
  • Decreases reliance on health care worker
  • Self-contained – don’t have to remember anything external to self-users one’s "own body,” as is
  • No additional cost once learned
  • Time to learn proficient speech (approximately 6 months)
  • Lacks fluency of TEP

Rebecca L. Gould, MSC, CCC-SLP
Voice & Swallow Center,Inc.
MedSpeech, Inc.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL





Come join us in Little Rock for the 2008 IAL Voice Institute! We have a world-class group of presenters with an informative and interesting program put together for Speech-Language Pathologists, Graduate Students and Larygnectomees.

Several areas of content not part of prior programs (or at least not recent programs!) have been added, including talks on esophageal reconstructions, endocrine issues, and training on setting up an oral cancer screening. We've squeezed in an additional Hands-on session to allow individuals with a laryngectomy to work on new skills with SLPs/Grad Students who are supervised by our awesome Voice Institute faculty and staff.

You can check out the full program and download the registration form on the IAL website ( Hope to see you in Little Rock!

Jeff Searl (Interim Director of the 2008 IAL Voice Institute)






Social Security Disability Benefits…Part III

Back when I started this series on my own experience with SS Disability (March and May 2007- Whispers on the Web), I expected that part three would be titled, “Resolved…Finally!” And up until five days ago, as I worked on my column for this month, that was true. I had just received a letter from SSA which essentially said, “You do not owe us any money after all. You were never overpaid benefits and we have amended your records to reflect this. Your benefits will continue uninterrupted.” Not so much as a “sorry for the inconvenience and needless anxiety we caused you over the last 20 months as we sent you multiple letters threatening to withhold benefits until you paid us $30,000”. Not that I expected that, truthfully, but since the hearing judge actually dismissed the claim and remanded it back to the local office until such time as they could come up with something to substantiate their claim of overpayment, I did feel vindicated. THEN, I got a letter from my attorney saying “ ….so pleased with the outcome, thank you for your business, we do all kinds of legal work, my office will send you a bill.” And so they did…a $4,000 bill! That last little “thank you for your business” letter cost me $75 according to the itemized statement. So this column will be about what lead up to the SSA mea culpa and I will deal with lawyers and billing practices later…maybe…after I calm down.

Just a little background is in order. Part I was about my initial application to SS for disability benefits, after complications from treatment left me unable to work. That process was smooth and uncomplicated and I started receiving benefits within 3 months. Part II was about the periodic review process during which time I was deemed no longer disabled and benefits were scheduled to stop. I appealed that decision, and after many sleepless nights and reams of paperwork, I finally retained a lawyer who specialized in these cases (for a retainer of $1500, which he said would probably cover everything for the upcoming hearing). Although those hearings are held before a hearings officer and not a judge, if you are denied, you may appeal to a judge. I was not denied and the officer found that I still qualified and benefits would continue uninterrupted. My attorney and I shook hands, case over, call me if you need anything else.

Turns out, I did need him again. Not one week after I received notification that my case had been found in my favor, another letter from the SSA. This time my benefits are stopping immediately unless I pay back the nearly $30,000 I was allegedly overpaid because of work I did sometime in 2004 and 2005. The details of just why and when I was overpaid and how they came up with $30,000, which is about 2 ½ years worth of benefits, is pretty sketchy and even my attorney, when he reviewed it, said it made no sense. He had never heard of such a case. We appealed it, applied for a waiver and requested a hearing, this time before an Administrative Law Judge.

Meanwhile, I fill out more paperwork on my finances and work history. My attorney requests the information they are using to come up with these numbers. Nothing substantial is forthcoming, but it all appears to hinge on the “trial work period”. Basically this is a way to encourage disability beneficiaries to re-enter the workforce. After 9 months of work, which they call services ( accrued during a 60 month period- the 9 months do not have to be consecutive) in which you earn more than $670 /month before taxes (2008 level , 2007 was $640) you have completed a “trial work period”. After that your earnings are reviewed using what they term “Substantial Gainful Activity” levels. That figure is $940 a month in 2008 and was $900 in 2007. If it is determined that you meet the SGA criteria, benefits can be withheld for that month, but during a 36 month period will be reinstated any month your income drops below SGA levels. Medicare benefits continue uninterrupted during this period. [The SSA has a very informative website- just google SSA and click on Disability Benefits. It has been updated recently and the information on returning to work and the trial work period is quite straightforward now.]

Given that my W2s throughout this period show it was impossible for me to have met the SGA levels (I worked part-time at a retirement community) and since they weren’t accusing me of having unclaimed income (which I did not have anyway), it seemed like a no-brainer. Still even after everything was submitted, all our I’s dotted and our t’s crossed, it came back. You owe us $30,000. Your benefits stop next month, unless you appeal again. This time we got the judge. Just so you understand how slow the wheels of justice grind, this hearing was scheduled for May 22, 2008, 18 months after we filed the first appeal. During all this time, I met with my attorney twice and talked to him on the phone, maybe three or four times. Mostly I filled out paperwork sent to me by the SSA and dropped off copies to his office. Meanwhile, I kept getting those letters. I started to feel like Dorothy. The SSA would just appear out of nowhere and shake its stick at me, “ We’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

I showed up for my hearing, my lawyer was late and as soon as he arrived, he was called into chambers (without me) and came out shortly to say the judge had found no cause for their claim and was remanding it back to the local office to come up with proof for their case or dismiss it. Turns out the judge had called my attorney’s office that morning to say he was going to do just that and we didn’t need to appear. My guy didn’t get the message and we both made an unnecessary trip, one that cost me $750 according to the bill.

Anyway, a couple weeks later, I got a letter with the judge’s statement and a letter from the local office saying they would review my files. July 17 I received the bureaucratic version of “oops…never mind”

My joy was short-lived. While I did anticipate a bill from my attorney, I figured this appeal would be about the same as the first and so maybe another $1500. I was not expecting nearly twice that amount. Frankly, I hesitate to even make an appointment to discuss the bill since I’ll probably get charged for that! My apologies to all the hard-working attorneys in our group and since I didn’t ask for a running tally on expenses, perhaps it just another case of caveat emptor. I will save my thoughts on that for another month and until I have more information.

For now, I AM relieved that I don’t owe them $30,000, but I can’t help but feel they are still watching. I am not, just yet, singing, “Ding Dong, the witch is dead”.






Water Safety & Activities for Laryngectomees


During my pre-op counseling at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, I learned about the Larkel, as a way to continue my water activities, as well as the laryngectomee swim clubs abroad, set up for the purpose of year round exercise. I made arrangements to try the Larkel 8 months later when I returned to Mayo for my check up and Bob Keith’s, “Laryngectomee Rehab Seminar”. Dr. P. Helbert Damste of Utrecht, Netherlands demonstrated how to fit the Larkel to the SLPs and laryngectomees. There were also a dozen or more veteran laryngectomees swimming with Larkels.

I did manage to swim with the Larkel successfully. Now, I knew it was possible, but it was a bit too soon, having completed radiation only five months earlier. I coughed a lot at first while my trachea and stoma area were still pretty tender. Wearing a device to swim in the pool was one thing, but I was a little fearful around open water without protection.

How well I remember returning home and the fears I felt walking on the dock, afraid of getting into our canoe. They were very real fears I knew I had to overcome. I don’t like feeling afraid of anything. The first summer I forlornly fished from the shore while my family went to our favorite spot on the lake. It was such a personal pity party for me, just knowing that the trout were a little further than I could cast. Buying a trailer in a mobile home park on another beautiful lake near home helped. I could spend my days next to the water while I sketched and painted the landscape. Next we bought a bigger boat so our teenagers could water ski and fish. I was learning how to protect myself on the water, and gaining confidence slowly over the first year or two.
I also went on to work on other phases of my rehab, and started to enjoy the shallow end of a pool when I could, just walking across and pushing and pulling the water with my arms.

It wasn’t until I attended my first IAL [International Association of Laryngectomees] Voice Institute in 1982 that I met Martha Strasser, from Munich, Germany. She is the widow of a laryngectomee. She had learned so much as his caretaker that she became an instructor of esophageal speech, ELs and the use of the Larkel. She has hosted several seminars much like our Voice Institute. Martha was instrumental in their club taking up the production and sale of the Larkel for a long time. She presented at the IAL Annual Meeting & Voice Institute many times during the 70, 80 and 90s. With her help I tried the Larkel again while attending this Voice Institute in Wichita. I was able to swim laps hands free. I bought my first Larkel then and there. I went on to learned how to fit and train others to use it. Before long I’d sold so many I was given the opportunity to become the U.S. Distributor, and enjoyed the travel and experience of seeing the joy appear in a swimmer’s eyes again. It’s priceless. So many come to mind, Paul Bricker with his suspenders and all, Philip Clemmons in his rolled up Dockers, and the fellow who was an English Channel Marathon swimmer that took off out of my grasp like he had a turbo attached. [That was 1983 and I cannot recall his name right now.]

For those who like to snorkel, the Larkel will work fine, but scuba diving will take more care or other equipment such as John Lubleski’s newly patented equipment. Our surfing laryngectomees have come up with their own homemade personal devices. This is not new stuff. “Where there’s a will there is a way” for those who are determined enough to experiment.

Over time I realized while we are boating, or even walking on the docks or poolside, in case of accident, I would have to figure out how to manage in the water without having something in my stoma to help me breathe. The Larkel is fine for laps, but not very comfortable to wear while sailing for hours. So I did experiment to see just how far I could swim occluding my stoma with my thumb. This is described in more detail in Whispers on the Web, Practically Speaking articles from August 2006 and July 2007.

An article about laryngectomees near water would not be complete without a disclaimer of sorts.
You can call this advice or a warning if you like. Never go into the water alone. Do not go into the water when you, or someone in your group, has been drinking alcohol. It is too easy to get carried away and forget that you do have a hole in your neck. This has happened, or I wouldn’t bring it up.

Having listened both to the San Francisco Harbormaster, who is a laryngectomee, report to CAL what he has done when he has fallen overboard, and a long time laryngectomee who never went near the water until she was knocked off a dock, I know we can swim to safety if we are prepared.. I’ve had the Larkel slip out of my trachea and stoma in the deep end of the pool. Much to my surprise Martha Strasser was right. As long as I didn’t suck air or water in, and chose to slowly blow out as a swimmer would no water went into my stoma. Voila. I didn’t even need to cough when I swam the rest of the lap to the wall.

When sailing while the weather is marginal I wear a nautical harness with a very long lead that I always stow in my ditty bag with my deck gloves and Lift Jacket. The purpose of wearing the harness in bad weather is to keep me close enough to the boat if I’m knocked or blown overboard. Either a crew member can rescue me, conscious or not, or I can haul myself back to the boat. (Yes, I can unhook the claw so I won’t go down with the ship.) The smaller lakes and rivers are easy, but Lake Michigan, the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans are another matter altogether.

Speaking of fishing on rivers reminds me to share a hint. A canoe can be a little more buoyant if you put slabs of foam (like coolers are made of) under the seats. If it tips over it will float well enough for you to hang onto as you kick your way to shore.

The newer Lift Jackets that are available keep us high enough in the water to keep our stomas above water level. For more information contact:

Brian Kinsella, Sales Representative at: Life Raft and Survival Equipment, Inc.,
3 Maritime Drive, Portsmouth, RI 02871, 401-683-0307/ fax: 683-2875,
or "Brian Kinsella"

The program the IAL Annual Meeting, “Water Safety & Activities for Laryngectomees”, will offer a variety of water related topics, and the fear our loved ones sometimes experience at the thought of our going near water. We plan to have a panel, and plenty of time for Q & A as well as sharing some of your adventures. We also hope to have a water aerobics instructor from the “Y” demonstrate some of the exercises we can do in the shallow water that will strengthen our overall muscle tone from our core to our gluts, and increase the range of motion for our neck and shoulders as well. Remember, this is done in the shallow water so you do not have to be a swimmer to benefit from this exercise. It is so much easier to exercise with the buoyancy of the water it is good for a multitude of physical problems including arthritis.

I hope you have a delightful summer, and enjoy the water as much as possible whether you are in it, on it, or painting a beautiful picture of it. I’ll be in Little Rock wishing I was in Michigan riding on my daughter’s Ski Doo again, or fishing in her lake. I’ll get there by and by.

Elizabeth Finchem
Tucson, AZ






The Teacup and the Madeleine which jogged the memories I do not enjoy...


It was the fault of yet another guest on BBC's radio, Desert Island Discs, deciding they would take Marcel Proust's ”Remembrance of Things Past” to read, at long last, if marooned on some ocean dot with only the odd person-eatng jelly fish for company. Or a polar bear if like me you are a Lost devotee. And imagine the clammy-palm horror if I couldn't tell them to please go away as my battery wasn't charged. An immediate way of being a fluent oesophageal yeller I would think. But I digress.

The Proust masterpiece rates along with War and Peace as the book most people lie about reading . Those who persevere, like my late darling husband , Ray, claim it is life-enhancing. He used to sit there with a smug smile saying that great minds thought alike. Marcel and him. I felt excluded.

This Sunday it happened again. As long as this guest chef, renowned equally for cleavage and cookies, could have the Bible and Shakespeare she would take M. Proust. I bet J Collins would be more up her palm tree but it became a challenge I had to accept. Currently I am on a mind improving kick and it would be nicer than my current relaxation of devilishly cryptic crosswords in the London Times. Proust M had been expecting me. His was the first tome I saw on the spare room case unexpected guests hadn't realised I was a culture vulture behind the EL. Since becoming a lary I feel the need now and again to emphasise my identity, after losing such a huge chunk of it, by leaving clues like Proust around. The essential ego is alive and well. Mea culpa. No escape. The papyrus-y cover was saying Read Me in understated chic.

Page One reminded me that Marcel had started writing this book when dunking a madeleine, these delectable French cookies, and the taste buds transported him back to his childhood and summer hols with his Aunt Leonie. He went in to her boudoir every Sunday to say good morning before mass. No breakfast on religious grounds, but she would dunk a medeleine in her tea and they would share it.

I was taken back to my childhood when spending my summer hols with my Aunt Vi. If I ever dared creep into her room asking for money to buy breakfast rolls she would ask God to give her patience, tell me to pass her the fags and the brush for her long wavy black hair with the centre parting, and I'd find cash under the bed. Oh and to add a tot of whisky in her tea , two sugars mind. These were not the kind of memories to settle one down with a masterpiece. Only the real thing would do. Madeleines, scallop-shaped, very slightly burnt at the edges, honey gold and puffy on top.

The supermarket bakery section had never heard of them and said there was no need to write it down. They knew me and sorry, love. Too fancy...Next customer please. I drove to a ruined touristy village a few miles away where they indeed had madeleines in Ye Olde Bakerye. With the cost of the fuel and the £3 they charged me for three morsels in a mauve bag with gold string , the Big Read was about to begin. I searched in the allsorts drawer for a tissue to collect the fragrant crumbs.

The tissues were under a thick spiraled notebook. I remembered it well and suddenly felt sick, panic-attack sick. My mind warned me not to read it. Hush. This was my memoir. Silicone tubes instead of madeleines. I had known the notebook was around somewhere and had been delaying this moment. I picked up the notebook and turned off the telephone.

"Day One. Countdown Pre-op Prep Week"

It was, of course, intensely personal , thousands of words leading up to "Day Eight. At Last. The Day Dawns" I 'd written a bit shakily. The day before the operation was also my birthday, nil by mouth but a sip of champagne, dozens of family and presents and flowers. I recorded a last spoken message in my weary, diseased voice. While I was recording, oh yes it comes back to me now, the Romanian house registrar had looked in and said to always remember that this was the birthday when my life had been saved. Weeks later he was bearing squash soup made by his latest girlfriend. That was the great anniversary of the feeding tubes coming out.

That bit is memory. I stopped writing my proper diary when they came to give me the hospital gown and I wrote : "Well it can't be worse than these cobalt blue pyjamas ........."
After that it was an equally mundane sentence in huge letters, the pad held by a cuddly sister called Clementine, saying that I was HIGH TECH NOW.

Then came a sad little poem Stop reading here if you like!

Second day in the green day chair,
released from the bed and its wild stray dreams
Which are reality as I can't scream
Or sob

My face is strange
A gauze over the mirror
I made them put it there
to hide the Michelin woman.
Do not bring in the children.
This is for grown-ups now.

I turned the notebook pages forward to a blank sheet and wrote in a magenta Biro which happened to be there that it was now three years on, hippy, happy days were here again and I was off to see Mamma Mia.

They can put Remembrance of Things Past on my tombstone. Very nice. Very fitting. Proust , lying at peace in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris with Piaf and Co. would be gratified. He loved flattery, even more than madeleines, I believe.







You remember the movie “Network”?..... It came out years ago, well it was about this guy, a little looney around the edges news announcer that was fed up with all the absurdities and aggravations in life... One night during a LIVE BROADCAST, he deemed it appropriate to spew out this to the viewing audience nationwide, ”I’m as mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”, and then proceeded to ask all his viewers to go to their windows, open them up and yell as loud as they could, “I’m as mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”... And you know what?... Folks all over the country did just that!!!

Now I’m here doing about the same thing as that ‘a little looney’ announcer did... except I’m not ‘a little looney’, I’m looney right to the core... :) And here’s what I’m asking you to do and why...

Last year Mother Nature had a “moment”, you older folks know what that is I know I do... Mother Nature forgot to let it rain in Alabama from Spring to Fall... A slight oversight on her part and a slight exaggeration on mine, but not too much I can tell’ya... Well it’s a 100 degrees day after day after day, and NO rain, not even enough to brush my teeth with... So I’m standing out in middle of my ‘long’ flower border as I call it, standing there on a 100+ degree day, with a water hose in my hand trying just to keep my little darling plants alive, much less trying to keep them looking and performing their best...

And you know what I did at that very moment with that water hose in my hand? I laid that hose on the ground, turned the volume all the way up on my electronic speaking device, put it to my neck and yelled out to the top of my batteries... ”I’m as mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”... and you know what happened then?... A bolt of lightning must have hit my brain at that very second, I know it sounds crazy cause there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!!! but it did happen... A loud voice reverberated in my head, in my brain, the sheer loudness of that voice shook me down to my size 17 gardening clogs!!... At first I was so scared I couldn’t make out what I heard and then it came in loud and clear, the voice said, “irrigation you dummy”...

And at that moment, the birds were singing, the flowers all bloomed at once, there was dew on the ground, it sparkled like a million points of light... I knew what I needed to do, what I wanted to do, what I should do... Should do for my sanity, my health, the environment, the well being of the free world... and more importantly than anything else, what I needed to do about my water bill... IRRIGATION

Paul from Alabama





These are pictures of my grandson Westlee, pushing my HME button so I can talk. He did this all by himself. I just told him to hold the button so grandpa could talk. He enjoys sitting on my lap and talking to me or just playing. He is 18 months old and has a very big vocabulary.

Thomas Cleveland
If I push this, he talks!
Talk faster


We were so charmed by these pictures that we thought others might like to share similar interactions between children and laryngectomees. You might show kids accepting our speech aids or the hole in the neck. If you have something you would like to see here, please send photos and information to




Welcome To Our New Members:


I would like to extend a "Warm Welcome" to our most recently accepted laryngectomees, caregivers, vendors, and professionals who have joined our WebWhispers community within this past month. There is a great wealth of knowledge and information to be accessed and obtained from our website, email lists, and newsletters. If ever there should be questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to submit them to us from the "Contacts" page of our website.


Thanks and best wishes to all,


Michael Csapo

VP Internet Activities

WebWhispers, Inc.


We welcome the 50 new members who joined us during July 2008:


John Airey
Adelphi, MD

Vicki Arnold
Plano, TX

Robert B. Bayr
Frankfort, IL


Julius Christian
Sicklerville, NJ

Carol Jean Cleveland - (Caregiver)
Grand Portage, MN

Steven Cleveland
Grand Portage, MN


Donna Cline
Palm Springs, CA

Linda Marie Coltrane
South Hill, VA

John Daerr
Brooklyn, OH


Dallas DeMarco
Freeport, ME

Joann Marie Duval
Green Valley, AZ

Annie V. Duvall
Cartersville, GA


Noel Dysart - (Caregiver)
Adelphi, MD

Jean Frank
New Concord, KY

Molly Glick - (SLP)
Kalamazoo, MI


William D. Glynn
Alva, FL

Amy Heffern - (SLP)
Princeton, NJ

Toni Kelley - (Caregiver)
Crosby, TX


William P. Kelly
Swannanoa, NC

Hay Key
Roseville, CA

Frank Klett
East Brunswick, NJ


Joanne E. Kron
Columbus, OH

Linda Landon - (Caregiver)
Glencoe, MN

Donald P. LaFace
Cherry Hill, NJ


Lowell Lewis
Greenville, IA

Nancy Lewis - (Caregiver)
Greenville, IA

Christian Liebelt
Riparius, NY


John Longval
Grande Pointe, Ontario, CAN

Sheryl Darlene Lucas
Cocoa, FL

John R. Miller
Ft. Myers, FL

Warner Millson
The Villages, FL
Troy Mitchell
Olathe, KS
James W. Montgomery
Cleveland, TX
Peggy Palladino - (Caregiver)
Medford, NY
Ronald Palladino
Medford, NY
Debra Romas - (SLP)
Mount Vernon, OH
John A. Rumley Sr.
Brown Summit, NC
Kristi Schroeder - (Caregiver)
Brookville, PA
Anita Silverman - (SLP)
Cote St. Luc, Quebec, CAN
Michaela Simon (Respiratory Therapist)
Pittsburg, PA
Ed Sly
Edwardsville, IL
Daniel Stokoe
Kalamazoo, MI
Jean C. Talmadge
Englewood, FL
Ernest Thomas
Vipingo, Kenya
Lois Thomas - (Caregiver)
Vipingo, Kenya
Tiffany Vance - (Caregiver)
Little Elm, TX
Angela Vanek, MA, CCC-SLP
Conroe, TX
Tom H. Watts
Riverbank, CA
Darlene Westphal
Ocoee, FL
Donna Williams
Salt Lick, KY


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