Episode 10: Diedra McGeever on Finding Her Voice

you Apr 06, 2021
Diedra McGeever know finding her voice

Diedra McGeever talks about how she literally found her voice after 6-years without it. Diagnosed with an incurable disease, Diedra found hope and healing through her faith and the support of an old family friend. Hear about her journey of healing and her encouragement on how to use your voice.

Connect with Diedra on Facebook, or Instagram.

Diedra's favorite gadget is...her diffuser neckace! (I'm not sure the exact one she has, but here is one to get you started)

Hear it:

Watch it:

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 10

 

Jennifer Uren
Hi there and welcome to This Mom Knows. Diedra is our guest today and she is originally from Sleepy Hollow, Illinois with all its Headless Horseman imagery. She now lives on the west coast of Florida with her husband and her kids Riley and Logan. Her background in fashion has served her well as she and her husband have now renovated I think two houses together. But her life took a twist bringing her to where she is today, and we're going to talk about that. So welcome Diedra.

Diedra McGeever
Thank you so much, Jenn, I so appreciate you having me here. What a blessing to be part of This Mom Knows, I think it's so amazing what you're doing, and that you're reaching all of the moms because let me tell you, we need it. As moms, we need community and it's just such a blessing to be here. So thank you.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, thanks for, tThanks for coming. It's my pleasure to invite you. So um, so tell us just a little bit -- that was a very brief bio -- so tell us a little bit more about who you are, where you're from, maybe a bit about your family, why you left Illinois for Florida.

Diedra McGeever
So like Jenn said, I'm originally from Illinois, I was born and raised with my my husband as well. And a couple years ago, we just decided, you know what we're kind of done. We were done with the cold weather and the gray, cloudy skies. And we actually wrote five different states on a piece of paper, and released it and started preparing to move. And lo and behold, my husband got a job here in hot, sunny Florida, and we're loving it. I love the outdoors. Like Jenn had said, being outdoors is a huge, huge stress reliever for me, so being able to go biking, and kayaking, and just enjoying nature is one of my most favorite things to do.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, that's great. And you've got the sunsets and the shelling and all that other fun stuff that -- you can bike here, but you can't go find shells.

Diedra McGeever
And we do it's beautiful. You guys, definitely if you ever get a chance come to the west coast of Florida and check out the shells. They're quite amazing and beautiful.

Jennifer Uren
That's,that's great. Well, I'm excited to talk with you today about something you know about which is finding your voice. And you literally know about finding your voice. We usually use that term figuratively. But you know, I've known you for a few years now and you've alluded to a season where you literally could not speak but I've never heard this story. So tell us about that.

Diedra McGeever
Yes. So, oh, my goodness, you guys. So all of us, all of us have stories in our lives. And this is one story that definitely changed my entire life. And it started in the year 2003. At this time I was working like Jenn said in the fashion industry in downtown Chicago. And what I did there was I sold booth space to fashion designers, and then the buyers would come and buy for the next seasons. And so I had a huge show going on. I met the man of my dreams during this time. And we were planning a wedding. So during this time, I ended up really sick you guys. I mean, of course, you know, I was young and had all this going on. And I just worked through it, because that's what we did. Right? We just work through it, you know.

Jennifer Uren
A badge of honor.

Diedra McGeever
Yes. And so during this period, I had lost my voice, I had laryngitis. You know, I'm drinking the tea, I'm doing everything that you know, trying except not staying home and resting, which is what I should have done. But I pushed through it. And at that time, you know, I just figured I would get it to the other side. Well, lo and behold what happened was my body started to recover. So my body actually was starting to recover. The symptoms are going away, except my voice. So at a small point, it came back, but then it started disappearing. So for instance, if I was talking to Jenn right now, and I would say, "Hey Jenn, how are you (fading)"

And my voice would just choke? It was almost like I started talking like, ooh, like these grunts and these I couldn't get words out of my out of my vocal cords they would not flow. And so this you know, I went to the doctor and they said, Oh, I don't know what's wrong, we'll go you know, went to an EMT, they put the tube up and down if you've ever had that, bless your heart because if you have that? I mean a lot of allergy people will have it and they didn't see anything weird. They just said you know you're fighting something here's, you know, some medicine come back if you're, you know, don't recover. Well went back a few times you guys and they never found what was wrong with me for two years.

Jennifer Uren
Ugh, wow, wow

Diedra McGeever
So mind you, I have going now two years into this horrible vocal experience. So during this time, I quit my job, because I couldn't talk. I went into a major depression because I love people, you guys, if, if you know me, I am outgoing by nature. And I love to talk, I'd be the type that's you'd see walk into an elevator and I'm going to be like, "Hey, how are you?" like, and so I just lost who I was. I lost my voice. I lost friendships, I quit my job. And this was for six years.

Jennifer Uren
Wow.

Diedra McGeever
So misdiagnosed for two years, finally diagnosed with a rare vocal disorder that is incurable.

Jennifer Uren
Wow. And did you get married during this time?

Diedra McGeever
I got married during this time I had a baby during this time, life went on in a somewhat regular way, except a whole lot of tears and a whole lot of growth, and a whole lot of junk in the middle. That was hard.

Jennifer Uren
Hmm. How did you even communicate? during that time? It was just a lot of writing or

Diedra McGeever
Yes, a lot of writing and a lot of grunting. Like, you know, if I was in a really quiet space with no other sounds around me, and I was really comfortable with somebody. I can whisper, you know, somewhat whisper. So there was those moments that I could have. But overall in daily life, I couldn't use a telephone. So, I couldn't call my parents who lived in Florida at the time, and I'm in Illinois. So I couldn't talk to my parents, who I'm very close with. I couldn't talk to friends on the phone. I couldn't go to restaurants because they were too loud. So I was stuck in my house with no voice.

Jennifer Uren
Wow. Hmm.

Diedra McGeever
So communication was very hard, very, very hard for me during this period.

Jennifer Uren
Which is a rough way to start a marriage.

Diedra McGeever
Very rough, very rough. I have an amazing man. He helped me and cried with me a lot.

Jennifer Uren
Wow. So what so they finally diagnosed you. And then, and it's incurable. But obviously, you have your voice back. So what what happened?

Diedra McGeever
So quite interesting. So a couple things happen. So first and foremost, when they diagnosed me, I was so thankful they diagnosed me because during this time, I was told I was crazy. I was told I was stressed out, I was told that I'm imagining this, and you start to believe things that people tell you, especially professional people, because these were I was going to doctors and they you know should know what was happening. So when they diagnosed me I was like, Yay, I have a diagnosis. But then the second part was this is incurable except you can get Botox injections into your vocal cords.

Jennifer Uren
Okay?

Diedra McGeever
Which Okay, if momma's gonna get Botox,

Jennifer Uren
that's not where you wanted it.

Diedra McGeever
I don't want my my my vocal cords looking young .

So we did a few of those which are very, I won't go into that. That's a whole nother long story there. And there's always just you don't know how much to put in. I couldn't swallow my own spit. Once you had a treatment. They lasted very short periods. And I sounded like a chipmunk. So, lo and behold, there was some temporary relief per se, but I only had a few injections, and then I got pregnant. During that time. They said during the first trimester, we won't do injections because it's botulinum, it is poisonous. So we decided the whole pregnancy not to do it. Okay, so we didn't do it. During this time I met so these are these are the amazing points of the healing. I met a beautiful woman who came to me, she's a vocal coach. She's an old family friend. And she said, I can help. I can help you. And I was like, No, you can't. Like I went to doctors. They said, This isn't curable. You know, I'm depressed you guys you got to remember to my outlook on life was very doom and gloom because I wish this was hard. So she gave me hope. She gave me hope beyond what I had. She said, I can help you. So I started meeting with her. She spoke life over me. She spoke into me. She prayed over me like nobody has ever prayed over over me. And she coached me. She literally coached me. When flat out the doctor said this is incurable even with vocal coaching You will never ever heal from this.

Jennifer Uren
Wow.

Diedra McGeever
So that was one step. The second step for me in my journey of this was the accepting of this. Actually going before, so for me, you guys, I love Jesus. So you're going to hear me say that. If you don't, then I totally get that. But for me, I had to go to Jesus and say, I accept this, I will praise you. If I have zero voice for the rest of my life, I will still praise you. I will praise you if this is my journey forever, I can still praise you. So I accept it. It is not easy, you guys, anything you're going through in life, it is not easy to accept something like this or anything, maybe something you're going through. And then releasing, I literally accept it and released it to the Lord and said, This is yours. My life is yours. So whenever you require of me for my life, I hand this to you. So for me and my journey two things, it was my dear friend, Penny, who spoke life over me and prayed over me and showed me that this does not have to be my fate. That I did not have to have those doctors speak this into me that I could choose different. Yeah, so that was one and then accepting and releasing, that this may be my new normal. That this may be what I have to deal with? And how am I going to do it? What do I need to do?

Jennifer Uren
And isn't that true? I mean, in a lot of life circumstances, it's when we finally get to that place of acceptance and contentment and embracing "that", that that's finally when God says, Okay, now you're ready. And now we can shift gears, you're like, Whoa, I just got with the program.

Diedra McGeever
So why did I not do that? Like four years earlier? It's took six years, right?

Jennifer Uren
It's not a it's not a magic formula. But it just so often seems that that's the thing that finally moves the log jam or whatever. So you released it to the Lord. And then what? So you've got the coaching and was it fast? Was it gradual?

Diedra McGeever
It was very gradual. You guys, it was very gradual. It wasn't as though I woke up one day and was like, "I can talk!" It was I had longer moments of fluid vocal interaction, if that makes sense. So what happens with what I have its called ASD Spasmodic Dysphonia, your vocal cords, I've seen my vocal cords that look like this. When you talk they rub together, okay, so the muscles around them are having spasms non stop. And that's what it is. So, the blessing in all of this, I had less spasms. So bit by bit, bit by bit, all of a sudden, I would be "I just had a whole sentence." "I just said a word." "I just said..." I mean, it was it was definitely not like a came down, you know, strike lightning, all of a sudden, it's gone. It's been a journey. And even moments today, if I fall under the wellness line, and my voice starts to get weird. What do you think happens?

Jennifer Uren
Hmm

Diedra McGeever
I have moments of like whoa. Like, because it triggers it triggers some really hard times in my life.

Jennifer Uren
Absolutely. Yes, yes. And so the Vocal Coaching is that what was helping get the muscle spasms to be under control and become it's basically strengthening your muscle chords, I'm imagining.

Diedra McGeever
I she definitely taught me tricks, okay, to certain, obviously, you know, your "r"s are really hard as we know, if you have kids, we all have kids, we're moms here. And "r"s are really hard. So she would, you know, explain how to, you know, softly go into those. So she gave me some tricks of the trade. And quite honestly, speaking life if we if we could speak life into people, such as Penny spoke life into me. There's huge power in your mindset. There's huge power and understanding that you can get to the other side of whatever you're experiencing in your life. So I really feel like having that positivity around me having the belief in me that there's this is not this doesn't have to be how it is. I think that spoke more to me than even the vocal training. Yeah, I can't even explain that. It's just to me, it's a miracle to me.

Jennifer Uren
And she was she was in your corner. She was actively going through this with you and not just going "here's an idea" or "here's a suggestion". So I mean she she lived this with you.

Diedra McGeever
Yes she did. She walked through with me. And like you had said, I think was perfect how you had said she was in your corner, I believe you had said. But she was there, she was a sounding board. And she was a constant reminder that I could do this, that this is possible. And when you breathe life like that into anybody, the possibilities are endless. And so I just, it just was such a huge blessing to have her to have her there and to just speak life over me and into me.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. And was there anything else as part of this, that was part of your healing?

Diedra McGeever
Just the bottom line of releasing it, accepting it, or accepting it, releasing it, and being okay with the fact that I may not ever speak normal again. And you guys if you heard me, and actually Penny recorded every session we did. And to this day, again, this was started in 2003. So I have not listened to those recordings. But one day, I need to pull those out and hear them. But I sounded like I was choking. Literally, somebody that is choking like this, you could barely get anything out. So

Jennifer Uren
Wow. So at what point? I mean, because today you have a strong voice, you speak clearly how many so was it about six years, then until you were like I'm back?

Diedra McGeever
I definitely it took time. So it definitely took time, just like anything in life, when you go through something very traumatic. There is sort of like that, you put your foot out, and then you put it back, and you put the foot up and put it back. And there's definitely triggers with certain things. So obviously, my voice is back. But like I said earlier in the podcast, when there's any sort of tickle, or if I you know, follow the wellness line, and I'm fighting something and it goes to my vocal cords. Let me tell you, I am whipping out the honey, I am whipping out the oils, I am whipping out warm compresses. I am using all of the you know all of the remedies that I know to protect it because

Jennifer Uren
No more pushing through.

Diedra McGeever
Yes, no more pushing through. Don't push through ladies, we tend to especially being moms, we tend to just think we can do it all. But I highly encourage you throw those kids in front of a TV. I know maybe that's not the best wisdom but or find someone to help you. But do what you need to do. Because when you fall the whole family just, I mean especially long term, you don't want to fall long term, you know, those few days and in retrospect to your life, or your long term is, is just do what you need to do for those few days. And rest, rest, rest. Your kids are gonna be fine. You're gonna you're gonna you're gonna make it through. Right?

Jennifer Uren
They'll recover. They'll recover too.

Diedra McGeever
They'll recover. They'll enjoy their TV time. Because right,

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, besides really being a journey of faith, this also led you on kind of a mission towards healthy living. So what are some ways that this has impacted your family and the way that you now live?

Diedra McGeever
So yeah, so I am a health and wellness advocate. And this has definitely led me down the journey of really looking at the root causes of things. I am definitely pro medical guys, so you need to hear me when I say that. I think doctors have a huge, they're huge blessings in our life. We need them in our lives. But I've also found that we go to doctors and we tell them our symptoms, and they're educated to treat us on the symptoms. But sometimes we have to really dig deep to find out what's really going on in the root of our bodies and our minds and in all aspects of you know what is going on. So I always I have gone very natural and I like I said I would always go you know, we need surgeries and we need medicine for very key things. So please know that, but I did with this realize that I wanted to learn more. You know, there's really not a whole lot of answers for what I have. It's a neurologic disorder that they really don't have a rhyme or reason in their research of why it's it comes, they don't know. But it definitely led me down a path of really taking care of my body. If need to take care of our bodies again, I'm talking to all the moms out there, because guess what? You come last?

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah. Well and then our kids often have things and I, as I recall, your kids had some challenges that all of these lessons you learned, prepared you to be able to work through with them to get them to a point of healing.

Diedra McGeever
Yes, that was that was a second blow is when I had my second child, and he was very sick, you guys. And again, all the doctors and, and again, they were blessings and they led us down paths but we just kept going deeper and deeper, to find the root of his issues. And guess what, guys? He is off of all meds. He's doing absolutely amazing. And we praise the Lord for that. He was destined to be on meds forever. I mean, it's the same thing that doctors said, "Nope! This is his condition. And this is what he's going to have forever." Well, and he's not he's doing them. But he's running around and he is very zesty. We call him zesty. He's my zesty child. He brings zest to everything he does.

Jennifer Uren
That's great. So really, I mean, doctors are people too. They have limitations, and they don't know it all. And so we need to listen to them. But we don't necessarily need to stop with what they tell us.

Diedra McGeever
Yes. Yes, I highly encourage you guys. If you're in a situation and somebody speaks something over you, whether that's medical, whether that's emotional, whether that's anything in your life, we all have narratives that we gain from others around us, I highly encourage you to recognize where it's coming from, and understand is that truth?, or is that not? Okay? Because like Jenn said, doctors are really important, and they do know what they're talking about. They go to school for a very long period. But remember, those are statistics. They're looking at the statistics, has anybody ever healed from what I had, according to them it's uncurable. But here I am speaking right now with my dear friend, Jenn, that I'm speaking. That's a miracle. So I encourage you to to not take that on. Don't take those words on. Always have hope, and always know that there can be a different ending in whatever you're going through.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Yes, that's great. Well, when when life thing when life changing things happen to us, you know, we want to tell the world and you know, yours was a slow recovery. But you know, how have you taken your experience and, and how are you using it to help you know, other people in your family, your social circles, or, you know, other women? How, how are you doing that?

Diedra McGeever
Well, there's two things two major, I learned a lot during the six years, I will tell you that I'm very stubborn, very stubborn. It obviously took me six years. But I learned two major things. One of them is that, you guys, speak life into people. Speak life into people. Speak love and hope and encouragement into other women in your life and children, your children and your spouse. I'm not gonna say just women, you speak life into them. Okay, use, secondly, use your words wisely. Use your words wisely, I realized the importance of a voice. I realized the importance of what it feels like to not have one and then to recognize when you can you have a choice of how you're going to use your words. You have a choice to use them for good. We have a choice to use them for not so good. Yeah, let's use our voice for good. Okay. And then thirdly, so I'm adding a third Sorry, I said two but I'm adding a third, okay. The third is that God gave us one mouth and he gave us two ears for a reason. You guys, we have got to listen more than we talk and I'm putting myself in this circle, because I'm one of those people that loves to talk I always was "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." During this I realized we need to stop or I have this I'm gonna put this on me. I needed to stop and really listen to people really hear their story. Ask them pertinent questions about them. We are in a quick society. We are super busy. We're all running around with our heads cut off but we all want connection and we all want community

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Diedra McGeever
Stop, use your ears, zip the lip, I like to say, zip the lip. Really stop and listen to other people and hear them. Because their story has power to whatever they've been through, they first want to share it and two you can learn from whatever they've experienced.

Jennifer Uren
Absolutely, yeah. And that's, that's a lot of the heart behind this podcast is learning from what other moms have experienced. So if a mom listening today is struggling with a chronic health challenge, and you know, I heard you say the outcome could be different. And I just want to be clear, that may not be healing, but it can certainly be still living life well. But what would you say to her today, in the midst of her struggle?

Diedra McGeever
Don't give up. Don't give up, find your circle of people that you know you can go to that are going to speak life over you. I also encourage you to share your story, whatever you're going through, because you don't know who can help you. For instance, this was an old family friend, that was generations back. So don't hide whatever you're going through, share it so that somebody can come to you. And they may have an answer that you may need, or like a little key, sometimes our health is just finding that key, putting it in and fitting it so that it turns. The wrong key in the wrong hole, it's not going to turn, right. Don't Don't sit in whatever maybe a doctor said never those those big huge words like you'll never heal, you'll never get through this. And like Jenn said, maybe it's not healing, but maybe it's just accepting and being able to release this. And maybe your story will touch somebody else.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Oh, that's good. That's so helpful. Oh, well, we have a couple wrap up questions. And so it kind of shifts to something a little more lighthearted. But one thing I asked every guest is what is your favorite gadget?

Diedra McGeever
My favorite gadget is this. This is so I love essential oils, and this is what I call a diffuser necklace. What I love about it, you don't know it looks pretty all of that. But when I need calmness in a bottle or peace or whatever, you can put any oil in this and I just roll it on you guys. This is one of my favorite gadgets and I wear it an awful lot. So literally, if you see me, I'm probably wearing it. Especially for 2020.

Jennifer Uren
That is great. Yeah, they're gonna have an oil called 2020 pretty soon yeah.

Diedra McGeever
We all need some peace right now.

Jennifer Uren
Um, so how can people find you or connect with you and and maybe continue the conversation with you?

Diedra McGeever
Yes, I would love to connect with you guys. Like I said, I love people. I love stories. And I love connecting. So I'm on Facebook. You can find me on Facebook. I'm Deidre Brinkman McGeever. So it's my first name, my first name, my maiden name, my last name. You can also find me on Facebook, we have a like I said, I'm a health and wellness advocate, and we have a team group and it's open to anybody you guys, you can just come and hang out with us and find out what we're all about. It's called Healthy Warriors. And then on Instagram, you can find me at healthy.warriors. And I would love to connect with you. And if we if you do connect with me, please reach out and just say, Hey, I saw you, you know on the podcast, I'd love to connect with you. So just please, I would love to.

Jennifer Uren
Well, thank you Diedra, so much for sharing your story. It was it was good to finally hear. And so thank you for taking the time out of your day to share with us and I just I appreciate you so much.

Diedra McGeever
Well, thank you, Jenn. Thank you for all you're doing with your podcasts. So appreciate that you are reaching women because especially moms, we need this and we learn from each other. So thank you, thank you for pulling this all together. And you're such a blessing. So thank you. Thanks for having me.

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