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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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37 years later….

 

Our lives are in God’s hands. God has been faithful in the last 37 years of serving him as an Anglican priest/presbyter. There have been many surprises along the road. He has worked all things for the good in ways that I would not always have imagined. (Romans 8:28 & Genesis 50:20)

Nana Allen, my maternal grandmother, was an amazing lady. She was a devout Anglican Christian who loved the Book of Common Prayer, and knew that something was being tampered with in the DNA of Anglicanism. Nana knew that I would become an Anglican priest, and told me this years before I even came to personal faith. She was very close to God and heard his still small voice.  Nana’s desire was to live until I became a deacon (which she did) and then to live until I became a priest (which she did).  She died shortly before my throat operation on May 25th 1982 when God restored my voice. I wrote her funeral eulogy, but had to rely on Rev Harold McSherry to deliver it.

My earlier ordination as a deacon May 18th 1980

In the Anglican Church, they ordain you twice just to make sure that it sticks. 😉 My first ordination was on May 18th 1980 where I was ordained as a deacon by Archbishop David Somerville. I was wearing a new suit that I had been given as an ordination present. For my ordination as a priest on May 31st 1981, Archbishop Douglas Hambidge ordained me at St Philip’s Church Dunbar. It was a challenging time because I was having speech therapy but my voice had not returned. My medical specialists assured Archbishop Hambidge that my voice would return in another month or so. When this did not happen, my medical specialists encouraged me to leave St. Philips on Oct 1st 1981 to take up full-time speech therapy. They were concerned that otherwise my voice might never come back. This was a very painful but needed transition. I was off work doing speech therapy for exactly one year on Oct 1st 1982 when I moved to St Matthew’s Abbotsford as the assistant priest with Archdeacon Jack Major.  Being at St Matthew’s was life-transforming for me in untold ways.

The Hirds singing a song unto the Lord at St Matthias Oakridge

Absolutely foundational in our Christian walk and growth was our time at St Matthias Oakridge with the Rev Ernie Eldridge.  Ernie+ encouraged us to use all of our gifts, especially the gift of music. Janice my wife is a professional musician who graduated from the UBC School of Music. We loved to sing together, especially with our singing group Morning Star. One of the unfortunate side-effects of my Botox treatments every three months is that while it helps my speaking, it limits my singing voice. My guitar playing has greatly improved after eight years of guitar lessons with Tony Chotem. So even though my singing is limited, I am still able to serve in the area of music ministry. When I get to heaven, I look forward to the complete restoration of both my speaking and singing voice. In the meantime, I am grateful that I am still able to preach and serve as a priest, after being told by my GP in 1981 that I would never preach again. Without the throat operation, the ongoing prayer, and the Botox treatments, this would have been my fate.

 

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

– You can learn more in the sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit which is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Doctors make a difference

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 Doctors make a difference. Prayer makes a difference.  There is no competition between medicine and prayer.  They fit together, hand in glove.

I wrote an article in the Feb 1994 Deep Cove Crier about the medical condition “Spasmodic Dysphonia” that I have successfully battled with.

An article in a North Shore-wide newspaper commented about myself: “He seems to be always smiling and is said to be ‘very funny’, despite a serious speech impediment.”  As many of you know, I lost my voice 38 years ago in 1980 for 18 months in the early days of ordained ministry. The condition is called ‘spasmodic dysphonia’  .  It was caused by a rare viral throat infection which happens statistically to one in five million people, something like winning the lottery in reverse. Spasmodic Dysphonia causes the vocal chords to overadduct (overshut) on a spasmodic or intermittent basis, cutting off words or parts of sentences. Spasmodic Dysphonia is not caused by stress, but sometimes is more noticeable under stress.

Thirty-six years ago, I had surgery at VGH by Dr. Murray Morrison in a successful operation that allowed me to speak again and go back preaching after being off for a year. My GP thought that I would never preach again, and he would have been correct, except for having had this surgery on May 25th 1982. They cut the left laryngeal nerve of the left vocal chord, which stopped the adducting/shutting of that chord. As the right chord still overadducted/overshut, it balanced out. After my surgery, my voice was free of the spasms, but was initially much quieter and more breathy.

This successful surgery was still proving effective until August 2003 when I developed laryngitis that wouldn’t go away.  To deal with the laryngitis, I took nine months of helpful speech therapy with Margy Smith, a very gifted speech therapist on the North Shore.  She took me a long way along the road of recovery, but finally my otolaryngologist (ear, nose & throat specialist) Dr. Murray Morrison recommended that I take the botox treatment to loosen the overtightness of the vocal chords.  Dr. Morrison’s investigation showed that my left laryngeal nerve has re-enervated or regenerated itself and thereby contributed to an overshutting of the vocal chords once again. This was the reason for my susceptibility to laryngitis over the past year. The overshutting of the vocal chords is like a door continually slamming shut.

After careful research, prayer, and reflection, I went ahead with the botox treatment at VGH (Vancouver General Hospital). It took about 5 minutes!  The botox treatment by Dr. Murray Morrison allowed a fine-tuning of the benefits of my previous 1982 surgery. The botox was injected into both laryngeal nerves, thereby loosening the vocal chord shutting (adducting) on both sides.  When I told people that I had a botox treatment, some people assumed that I was worried about middle-age wrinkles!  But in fact botox is primarily a medical therapy to deal with a range of dystonias, including vocal chord spasming.

My wife and parents were thrilled by the elimination of the spasming through the botox treatment. My mother didn’t initially recognize my voice on the phone. The botox treatment lasts for three months, and then is redone by Dr. Morrison at VGH.  It initially overloosens the vocal chords a bit, with the result that my voice will be somewhat breathy and quieter to start with. The treatment greatly enhances my ability to read out loud the liturgy and scriptures, which has been more difficult than spontaneous preaching. Over the next few weeks, the vocal chords are gradually tightening again, resulting in a less breathy voice and less quiet voice.

I am so grateful to God for advances in modern medical science that help people like myself in such practical ways.  I am so grateful to God for people like you reading this article, many of whom I know have been praying for me.  I have had several people specifically pray: “Ed Hird will not be silenced”.  I am very happy with this new medical step.  It is so exciting to be able to speak freely without being cut off in mid-sentence.  Thank God that prayer and medicine can be best friends.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca