Most people are familiar with Shania Twain’s music (we dare you not to sing along to Man! I feel like a woman ). However, the musician’s life has not always been easy.
The 56-year-old had to step away from the spotlight to recover from an unspecified illness. In the new Netflix documentary Not Just a Girl, the queen of country pop explains her battle with Lyme disease and how she initially thought it would kill her singing career.
Twain’s life was turned upside down in 2003 when she got a tick bite while horseback riding to promote her new music.
“The tick was carrying Lyme disease, and I did develop Lyme disease,” the documentary’s star reveals. “My symptoms were extremely scary because I was on stage feeling really dizzy before I was diagnosed. I kept tripping over myself and terrified about falling off the stage. I’d get these incredibly brief blackouts every minute or thirty seconds.”
The Canadian singer was also anxious about how the illness would damage her voice, especially when she began to lose control of her vocals. “My voice was never the same again,” she claims. “I thought I’d always be voiceless. I thought that was the end of my singing career.”
Twain previously discussed her Lyme illness diagnosis, which caused her to undergo open-throat surgery and move away from the spotlight. The Grammy winner described the procedures as “very severe” and “pretty different from a vocal cord operation” to Extra. She eventually returned to the stage in 2017.
“I remembered wondering and hearing others ask, ‘Where is Shania Twain? “What became of her?” According to People, the singer of You’re Still the One stated on Sunday in an interview with Willie Geist. “It was dreadful. I was so heartbroken that I thought I had no choice but to accept it and accept that I would never be able to sing again.”
During an interview on ITV’s Loose Women, she revealed that doctors were first unaware of what was causing her troubles. “I was just out horseback riding in the wild when I got bit by a tick, a Lyme bite, and it took years to get to the bottom of what was damaging my voice. It was approximately seven years before a doctor discovered that the nerve damage to my voice chords was actually caused by Lyme illness.”
The singer stated that she was “embracing the expression of my voice” after treating her sore throat and getting healthier with therapy. It would have been heartbreaking for her if she had never been able to sing again. “I’m not going to let my life die. I, on the other hand, would have been crushed and would have always regretted it.”
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease (one that affects people and is carried by anthropods) in the United States. It is transmitted via a black-legged tick bite that contains the pathogen. If symptoms are not treated, they can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We’re pleased to hear Shania Twain’s rich voice again, and we can’t wait to see what the singer has in store for the future.