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A message from Maayan Silver: Same reporting, temporary new sound

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Courtesy of Maayan Silver
WUWM's Maayan Silver.

If you’ve tuned in to WUWM over the past few months, you might have noticed that I haven’t been reporting stories or that my colleague Chuck Quirmbach has been producing Capitol Notes.

That’s because I’ve been on medical leave for a major surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.

In 2004, I woke up in the middle of the night to an aortic dissection—a tear in the largest artery in the body. Flight for Life took me to Froedtert Hospital where they saved my life the first time.

I spent 6 months in the hospital dealing with many complications, including an infected aneurysm. I was transferred to UW Hospital in Madison where surgeons did an innovative fix and saved my life a second time. After the aneurysm grew to a life-threatening size last year, UW surgeons were able to fully replace my aorta, which is why I’ve been off-air since October 2022.

The surgery went really well. I'm really thankful to be alive and for the wonderful and amazing medical staff who have saved me over the years. But as I ease back into reporting for WUWM, you might notice that I sound different. That’s because I’ve had one complication—a paralyzed left vocal cord.

During surgery or while I was intubated, the long vagus nerve that runs through the body and connects to the vocal cord was injured. As a result, my voice sounds a bit weaker and “breathier” than normal.

The nerve could regenerate on its own as soon as April or at the latest next October. But if it doesn’t, there are permanent procedures I can have to get the left vocal cord working. And there are temporary fixes I’ve had and can have again in the meantime.

For now, I hope to bring you the same great stories from our Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin communities—just with a temporarily different sound.

Maayan Silver has been a reporter with WUWM’s News Team since 2018.