At 8 years old I was introduced to the world of music; it all began with the cello. Even at a young age, music gave me a sense of completeness and quickly became the way I could express myself. Just playing an instrument wasn't enough, I could feel so much more that needed to come out. My love of singing ignited at the age of 11, when I began operatic and classical vocal training. But at age 15 my life came to a grinding halt, and my musical journey hit a devastating turning point.
For nearly 5 years doctors monitored and tried to diagnose an array of debilitating stomach conditions. Each hospital stay added to the fear that I may never be able to sing again. GERD was the official diagnosis, stomach acid was causing damage and inflammation to my lungs, sinuses, ear cavities, vocal chords, stomach lining, and chest cavity. My vocal chords were being destroyed, and I was in pain from head-to-toe. The major stresses of unstable home life, financial instability, and constantly falling ill with mysterious health issues eventually lead to a spiral of depression and anxiety.
After the 3rd physician said, "Halle, you can't sing anymore, the damage is too great, and there is nothing that we can do," I made a promise to myself - that was not going to be the case.
The fight for my life lead down a long and exhausting path of medications and clinical trial procedures - none of them worked. After many bouts of trial and error, I underwent my first major stomach surgery in September of 2012. The hope was that a procedure called "Nissen Fundoplication" would help fix the problem. The risks were worth it, so I went in for surgery. Initially the recovery process was stable, but a just few months later things took a turn for the worse.
I was rushed to the emergency room due to unexpected complications which indicated that the surgery had ultimately failed. My stomach physically moved into my diaphragm chest cavity, what is known as a "hiatal hernia". After 9 months mostly confined to a bed, too sick to participate in life, much less sing, a glimmer of hope arrived - I was approved for a repeat surgical procedure. With tremendous amounts of faith and a talented medical team to take care of me, the last stomach surgery remains a success to this day.
I'm here now, and I am glad you are here with me.
I battled these medical issues in secret, only my mother and closest friends were aware of what was happening. Keeping my medical struggles behind closed doors allowed me to continue to perform music without any added pressure from my doctors or an audience distracted by perceived difficulties. I never allowed myself to give up on music... because music never gave up on me.
“You never know how badly you want something until is taken away from you.”
I'm no stranger to this saying. With the support of loved ones, my fighter mentality, undying faith and genuine passion for music, I've been able to overcome every obstacle - and with a well-earned appreciation for life, love, and my art.