The morning show host underwent an hour-long vocal cord surgery to remove a polyp that was harming her ability to speak

By Julie Mazziotta
February 25, 2020 11:14 AM
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Credit: Sheinelle Jones/Instagram

Sheinelle Jones underwent a successful — but emotionally draining — vocal cord surgery on Monday.

The Today co-host, 41, revealed on Thursday that she would undergo surgery to remove a polyp on her vocal cord that was harming her ability to speak. On Monday night, after the hour-long procedure, she shared on Instagram that surgery had gone well, and though she won’t have a voice for another two weeks, she woke up trying to talk.

“I just wanted you to know that I’m okay, and to thank you for all of your messages and prayers,” Jones wrote. “Apparently I emerged out of anesthesia ‘talking’ …. I was out of it… I just remember a male voice kindly but firmly telling me to ‘please stop talking.’☺️ At the time, I was trying to tell them that I was ‘awake’ and not to use the breathing tube yet lol — but clearly they were already finished.”

Jones said that she soon became overcome with emotion.

“Once I was alone in post recovery … I started crying through my oxygen mask… the nurse rushed over and gave me a pen to scribble what was the matter. Honestly, nothing was wrong — I think it was just a release … this has been a long time coming and I’ve struggled off and on for so long…. I also felt like I was wrapped in prayers …. it felt like such a powerful moment,” she said.

“I remember when I was little I would see older people crying in church; my mom would explain that they were ‘moved’ and ‘rejoicing,’ with happy tears,” she continued. “That’s how I felt today… I literally felt the power of so many well wishes and prayers.”

For the mom of three, who shares son, Kayin, 10, and twins Uche and Clara Josephine, 7, with husband Uche Ojeh, being awake and out of surgery was a relief.

“I was also, truth be told, thankful to be ‘awake’ …. I promised my kids that ‘mommy would be just fine’… and I was relieved I could keep my promise.”

Jones is expected to need six weeks of recovery, which includes the two weeks she’ll be voiceless.

“Now the work begins to heal,” she said. “The nurse kept telling me to ‘enjoy’ the rest… I had a hard time doing that, so clearly I have some work to do.”

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Jones told PEOPLE on Thursday that she opted for the surgery after struggling with her voice for months.

“It’s to the point where people at home have no idea what I do just to get ready for a show in the morning,” she said. “When I get a call that I have to track a story early in the morning, I get up like 30 minutes early so I can do exercises on my throat just so that I don’t sound hoarse.”

“Within the last month or two, I get anxiety when I have to track a story because I don’t know if I’m going to get a sound,” she continued. “And there’s some days where it’s just better than others for whatever reason. It almost feels like I start the morning with a tank full of gas and by the end of the morning it’s like I’m out. It’s empty. I look at my scripts sometimes and I call them word mountains. And so what is a two minute story for most reporters, they come in, they read the story and then they move on. I look at it and sometimes I just stare at it and it literally looks like a mountain and I’m like doing exercises before I track and breathing exercises. It’s almost like I’m ready to sing on Broadway, except all it is, is a two minute story.”