Velopharyngeal Incompetence following tonsillectomy My name is Barbara Brand; I am 21 and currently studying Music at Rhodes University, Grahamstown; South Africa. I am in my third year with Alto Saxophone as my major instrument. In December 2009 I was tested and confirmed to have glandular fever, and from there is when things started going downhill. After that I developed tonsillitis 6 times in the period of 5 months (this is the first time I have had this problem as I never suffered from tonsillitis as a child). Constantly falling ill affected my playing and practicing tremendously. After consulting a doctor and specialist it was then decided that I should have a tonsillectomy to remove the tonsils- my adenoids were not inflamed so they were left. This happened in June 2010. I was told there would be no complications to my playing following the operation. After a rather painful operation I was ready to get practicing again- only now, when I blow my saxophone the air leaks out through my nose as well as it making a high pitched whistling noise. I have no control over the airflow and no way of stopping it coming out my nose! I cannot play for longer that 10 minutes and then so much air comes out my nose that I cannot even hold a note, and the louder I play the louder the whistling as well as air rushing (which sometimes sounds like snorting) comes out. I have no support over high notes and am unable to play. I saw the doctor who did the operation about these complications and he was the one who said I have Velopharyngeal Incompetence. He has stated that it should come right on its own after 6-8 weeks. As a 3rd year music student I need to be playing for at least 4 hours a day and can now barely manage 10 minutes- before practicing has never been a problem (if I was not ill). I am asking you very kindly, more begging you, for your advice! This is my career- everything I have worked towards and all my years of studying. Due to constantly falling sick and the operation we have run out of medical aid, my father is a pensioner so I cannot afford to go for more and more check ups…. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations? What are the chances of things coming right on their own? With constant 10 minute sessions of practicing will it help things to heal and go back to normal? Is there anything I can do that will help the healing process- I can’t afford to have this happen now in my 3rd year! Please could you give me some advice? Thank you for taking your time to read this email- I truly do appreciate it!