Skip to main content

Shania Twain discussed the surgery she had after her Lyme disease diagnosis. The country singer had to have an operation to help restore her voice. Here’s what Twain revealed about the surgery and how she had to be awake during the procedure.

Shania Twain thought she would never sing again

Shania Twain performs during a concert.
Shania Twain | Rich Polk/E! Entertainment/NBC via Getty Images

As a result of Lyme disease, Twain was left with nerve damage to her vocal cords. During an interview on the British talk show Loose Women, the singer says she never thought she would sing again.

“There was a long time when I thought I would never sing again,” says Twain during her TV interview. “It took years to get to the bottom of what was affecting my voice, and I would say probably a good seven years before a doctor was able to find out that it was nerve damage to my vocal cords directly caused by Lyme disease.”

Twain says she got Lyme disease after she was bitten by a tick while horseback riding. She says having Lyme disease was “devastating” because she couldn’t do the things she used to do. She says she avoided going places where there was a lot of noise because it would require her to raise her voice so she could be heard. She also wasn’t able to have a phone conversation.

“Until I got to the bottom of why I started having a problem with my voice there wasn’t really much I could do about it,” says Twain. “So, it took a long time, and I did believe that I would probably have to accept at some point that I was never going to be able to sing again. Thankfully, I persevered, and I’m making records again and putting on concerts.”

Shania Twain had to be awake during her surgery


Shania Twain Says She Feels ‘Liberated’ at This Stage in Her Life and Career: ‘I Don’t Feel Like I Need to Explain Myself’

Twain says she had to be awake for her vocal cord surgery. She describes the experience as “horrible.” However, she went through with the surgery because she was determined to regain her singing ability.

“I had to be awake so that I could sing and speak,” Twain tells Associated Press (via The Washington Post). “It was horrible. I’m not going to lie. But there was no way around it. It was the only way. The decision to do the surgery was quick for me, but the recovery was quite long and very, very painful. They literally had to stretch the larynx, move everything over and put these crutches in there. You’re singing and you speak, so they understand that you have symmetrical closure — which I didn’t have before.”

Shania Twain realizes she might not have her singing voice forever

Twain is aware her voice could go out again. However, she isn’t sure if she would repeat the surgery. Twain didn’t have the best experience, so she’s not rushing to do it again.

“I may not have [my voice] forever,” Twain tells Associated Press. “Just with age, the effect of it just might not stand up. So, I’ve got to take advantage of it now, enjoy it, get out on the stage, make more records, because I’m not sure I would go through it again.”

 Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.