How Shania Twain Found a New Voice After Lyme Disease

The Very Intense Open-Throat Surgeries on Her Rewarding Journey

In 2003, Shania Twain was in Norfolk, Virginia when she was bitten by a tiny (think 1/8″) tick that caused a big problem: dysphonia.

Dysphonia is a kind of vocal cord muscle paralysis, and is a rare complication from Lyme Disease. So that tick in Virginia was responsible for taking Twain’s voice. And now, she’s opening up about what she’s done to get that voice back.

“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 told Extra, “and I had to have two of them, so that was really, really, really tough and I survived that, meaning emotionally I survived, and am just ready to keep going.

“When you’re a singer and it’s your voice, it is just a terrible, terrible feeling,” she added. “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.

“It’s been a long, a really rewarding, journey.”

And while Twain’s vocal cords are not completely out of the woods yet, she said that she is working on other non-surgical ways to teach her voice to sound like hers again. “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 — so you just gotta be willing and give in to change,” she said, “and you have to accept that you don’t always have to be the same and that’s what I have to do, and I’m embracing that.”

Fans will be able to hear Twain’s new voice at the shows on her new Las Vegas residency. Shania Twain: Let’s Go will open on December 7 at the Zappo’s Theater inside Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. The residency is currently scheduled to run through the end of March 2020.

Tickets go on sale on Friday (June 21), and $1 of every ticket purchased will be donated to Shania Kids Can to provide services that promote positive change in children’s lives in time of crises and economic hardship.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.