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Shania Twain opens up about her Lyme disease: I was 'mourning' my voice

The country star spoke with Willie Geist for Sunday TODAY about her fear over losing her voice and how she recovered to perform again.
/ Source: TODAY

Shania Twain thought her days as a singer were over when her vocal cords were affected by a diagnosis of Lyme disease.

In an interview airing this weekend on Sunday TODAY, the 54-year-old country star spoke with Willie Geist about the emotional time when she was diagnosed with a vocal cord disorder in 2011 and then learned she had Lyme disease.

"It was devastating,'' she said. "I was very, very sad about it, to the point where ... I felt I had no other choice but to just accept it."

She feared her singing vocals might really be gone after she underwent a pair of throat surgeries when she began losing her voice.

Shania Twain
Shania Twain told Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist that she never thought she'd sing again after a Lyme disease diagnosis impacted her vocal cords. Mike Smith / TODAY

"I was mourning,'' she said. "I was mourning the expression of my voice."

Twain eventually made it back with the support of her husband, Swiss businessman Frederic Thiebaud, whom she married in 2011 and leaned on during her difficult time away from music.

She eventually started to recover her voice, but it wasn't quite the same as before.

"The surgery's quite ... invasive,'' she said. "It's given me more room to play, to be honest. I have gravel.

"I think it's kind of sexy. I mean, it's there. I'm never gonna have my old voice again. I'm OK with that. I've found a new voice. And I like it."

Twain is now showing off her new voice at a Las Vegas residency called "Let's Go!"

"It's a dream show," she said. "I feel very privileged. I see it as a reward."

Twain also spoke with Willie about her overall journey of growing up poor in Canada, performing at local bars as an 8-year-old, and tragically losing both of her parents in a car accident when she was 22 and living in Nashville.

"I do every day look back at where I came from and where I am, and can't believe it,'' she said. "And then I look at all the hurdles. And then that's a whole other level of belief or disbelief that I've made it through them and over them. Everything that I've experienced has brought me to where I am, and it's a good place."