Sheinelle Jones announced on TODAY Thursday that she will be undergoing vocal cord surgery and will be out several weeks to take care of her voice.
The 3rd hour of TODAY co-host has a lesion on one of her vocal cords that can make it difficult to talk and causes her voice to be raspy, she revealed on the show.
People like singers, actors, lawyers and broadcasters are more susceptible vocal fold trauma, known as phonotrauma, because they use their voice frequently, and the effects can be anything from blisters to lesions to cysts, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"Sometimes smaller lesions cause more trouble,'' Dr. Rosemary B. Desloge, a New York-based laryngologist and otolaryngologist, told Sheinelle during a recent chat. "It all has to do with how it impacts the vibration of the vocal folds."
The surgery will involve removing the lesion on Sheinelle's vocal fold. It will take about an hour, and afterward, she will be on vocal rest for two weeks. That means she won't be able to talk at all.
"When you talk, your vocal cords vibrate, and so because they're removing it, I'm going to be on vocal rest," Sheinelle said. "I can't talk because they want those cords to heal without banging into each other."
Unfortunately, the problem isn't new. Sheinelle, 41, has been working with a speech pathologist for years to help preserve her voice. In 2016, doctors found a polyp on one of her cords that caused her to miss time at work. It eventually went away.
For the past five months, she's been attending one-hour speech therapy sessions twice a week, where a therapist massages her throat and leads other exercises to help get rid of excessive tension in the area.
She also has gotten up early to do vocal exercises every day when she's on the air.
"I think people have had no idea what I've had to do over the last six months just to get my voice out and not sound hoarse," Sheinelle said.
Doctors expect her to miss work for about six weeks.
"I'm really trying to use this as a time to sit still and just take care of myself," Sheinelle said. "We talk a lot about self-care, and this is self-care to the nth degree."