If you thought Google co-founder Larry Page sounded horribly sick last time he spoke, it's because he's recovering from an extremely rare form of vocal cord paralysis, which stifles speaking and breathing. Now Page is going public with his illness.
About 14 years ago, I got a bad cold, and my voice became hoarse. At the time I didn’t think much about it. But my voice never fully recovered. So I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with left vocal cord paralysis. This is a nerve problem that causes your left vocal cord to not move properly. Despite extensive examination, the doctors never identified a cause — though there was speculation of virus-based damage from my cold.
Fast forward to last summer, when the same pattern repeated itself — a cold followed by a hoarse voice. Once again things didn’t fully improve, so I went in for a check-up and was told that my second vocal cord now had limited movement as well. Again, after a thorough examination, the doctors weren’t able to identify a cause.
Luckily, it the prognosis seems good:
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. 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.
So he'll probably sound raspy and a bit unwell for the foreseeable future—maybe forever—but we're glad to hear it's not something grave. His public statement should at least put to rest speculation about his health (and its effects on his very, very public company). After Steve Jobs and the Apple cancer smokescreen, there's no doubt this is the wise thing to do.