CORRECTION: Michael Towey is a speech pathologist at Waldo County General Hospital through the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network. and not a doctor as was previously reported.
FREEPORT (NEWS CENTER Maine) — Pam Tondreau has spent more than half of her life performing, the stage is where she feels most at home.
"You just go out on stage, you smile, it's just the best feeling ever," Tondreau said. "There's nothing like theater people."
Even through multiple cancer diagnosis' Pam has found serenity through song. That all changed after she beat colon cancer and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013. When the doctors tried removing the tumor from her throat they found it was wrapped around her vocal box.
The surgery left her without a voice and the radiation that followed made things worse
"At the time the docs were all saying yeah you'll have a speaking voice back but you won't be able to sing or be back on the stage anymore." Tondreau said with tears in her eyes.
That all changed after she was referred to Michael Towey, a speech pathologist at Waldo County General Hospital, through the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network.
She initially saw him for trouble swallowing, but then he asked her a simple yet crucial question.
"We said what do you want to be able to do with your voice," Towey said. "She said sing."
"He just said to me once a singer always a singer." Tondreau said.
Towey used a procedure called pharyngeal manometry. Simply put, a procedure that allows you to see which part of the throat needs strengthening by inserting a tube through the patient's nose and down through the throat. From there the patient would perform different exercises based on her needs.
For Pam, the results came almost immediately. She is still working on strengthening her voice but the ability to get back on stage and perform has been life-changing for her.
"It has been nothing but motivating and fun to get back in with people that share a common interest," Tondreau said. "I've got a lot of work to get this voice back, but at least I've got something to work with."
You can check out Tondreau in her very first performance since her diagnosis November 30 through December 2 at the Freeport Players "WFCP HOME TIME RADIO HOUR". For more information, click here.