Larry Page, co-founder and chief executive officer of Google, has been diagnosed with vocal cord paralysis, a nerve problem that causes the vocal cord to not move properly. Page disclosed his ailment today on his Google+ page, adding that symptoms first showed up to his left vocal cord 14 years ago when he "got a bad cold," one that made his voice hoarse. Such things happen, and so he didn't think too much of it at the time. Imagine his surprise when a doctor dropped the bombshell.
Doctors were never able to identify a cause, only a diagnosis. It could have been the result of virus-based damage from his cold, but in the end, it doesn't really matter. Page is upbeat about his condition, even after a follow-up check-up last summer revealed that his second vocal cord had limited movement as well, something his doctors previously told him would be "extremely rare."
"Thankfully, after some initial recovery I’m fully able to do all I need to at home and at work, though my voice is softer than before. And giving long monologues is more tedious for me and probably the audience," Page explains. "But overall over the last year there has been some improvement with people telling me they think I sound better. Vocal cord nerve issues can also affect your breathing, so my ability to exercise at peak aerobic capacity is somewhat reduced. That said, my friends still think I have way more stamina than them when we go kitesurfing! And Sergey says I’m probably a better CEO because I choose my words more carefully. So surprisingly, overall I am feeling very lucky."
Though his condition is rare, Page says there are a significant number of people who develop issues with one vocal nerve, and he wants to help. Page is funding a research program through the Voice Health Institute, which he plans to lead. He's also put together a survey to gather information from others who with similar conditions.
Our thoughts and best wishes are with Larry Page. While it's unfortunate, here's hoping some good ultimately comes out of it.