April has been a challenging month for chart-topping worship artist Phil Wickham, as he has struggled with vocal issues. The singer, whose current single "This Is Amazing Grace" is taking radio and churches by storm, said via social media that he will undergo surgery on his vocal cords Monday, April 28.
"Spirit is high, and heart is thankful," Wickham wrote on his Facebook page. "Hopeful to get on the other side of this."
Fans learned of Wickham's ailment on April 2, when the singer posted a blog asking for prayer after canceling an appearance at the Catalyst West Conference.
"While leading worship last weekend on a tour... my vocal [cords] hit a wall," Wickham wrote in a follow-up blog. "I felt a drastic change in my voice, and I knew something wasn't right. It was like a guitar with broken strings. I knew where the notes should be, but they just weren't there."
After seeing a specialist, Wickham learned that he has a small bump of swelling on his left vocal cord--a vocal polyp--which he says was most likely caused from overuse.
Initially, Wickham was optimistic that the condition could be resolved without surgery, but after steroids and two weeks of vocal rest failed to reduce the swelling--and threatened his right vocal cord--doctors opted to for the "last resort" option to operate. He has canceled all of his shows in the near-term, and his brother, Evan, has filled in for him on several occasions.
McGinn, the associate professor of otolaryngology at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, noted: "If proper healing does not occur, the area of the surgery may be stiff compared to the rest of the vocal fold. This can create permanent voice changes," such as those experienced by Julie Andrews. "Fortunately, this is quite rare, and most patients have near complete recovery of their voice."
Wickham says the experience, while at times frustrating and upsetting, has been good because he has been learning about his identity in Christ--outside his singing--and, without his voice, has been able to listen more to people and to God.
"Moments of fear are quenched with a thought of the cross," Wickham wrote. "And I am thankful for it."
Wickham said he had the opportunity to sing "True Love" and "This is Amazing Grace" for his doctors as they assessed his level of strain.
"Both of these songs are about Jesus and the cross and How we have salvation through Him," he wrote. "It was in that moment that I was aware of how little I know and how much God is in control. To trust Him and His plans and His promises is the most beautiful and freeing way to live."
Moving forward, Wickham has turned to his friends, family and fans for prayer--and has received an "overwhelming" amount of encouragement and support.
"I humbly ask for your prayers," he wrote. "Prayers for healing. Prayers of wisdom for the doctors. Prayers for my wife, Mallory, who has been a champion among champions in this whole situation, and for my two baby girls to help them understand why Daddy can't read them any books right now."