Did you hear the story about the Wollongong woman who lost her voice for 12 years after unknowingly swallowing a threepence coin?
Marie Heffernan was just 13 years old when she lost her voice, with doctors at the time putting it down to a bad bout of bronchitis and laryngitis.
A dozen years later in 1984, the 25-year-old Marie started to choke and cough up blood - and a black lump - at work one Monday morning.
The lump turned out to contain a 1959 threepence which a specialist discovered had lodged between her vocal chords and prevented them from vibrating. It would have been hard to detect by X-ray as it had rested horizontally in her throat.
I was at St Anne's Catholic school in Dapto - that's since closed - and I remember one of the priests saying it was the 'work of the devil' and that stuck. I ended up leaving school at 14 as I was just too traumatised.
Once it was out Marie started to make noises; after two weeks she started putting words together.
The story made headlines across the nation - including reports in the Illawarra Mercury.
Thirty-five years later the now Marie McCreadie - who still lives in Wollongong - has written Voiceless, to document those painful years during her teens and early adulthood when she was struck mute.
"I'd just started high school, it was frightening - I didn't know what was going on and neither did the doctors," she said.
"People's reactions changed over time - first their reaction was one of surprise and sock but over months, when my voice didn't return, it became something else.
"People didn't know what to say to my parents, they just stopped talking to me at all."
At school, things were tough. Marie took a notepad and pen to communicate with her friends and teachers. Yet there were other barriers.
"I was at St Anne's Catholic school in Dapto - that's since closed - and I remember one of the priests saying it was the 'work of the devil' and that stuck," she said. "I ended up leaving school at 14 as I was just too traumatised."
After hiding away for 12 months at home, Marie decided to get on with things and approached the then Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) for help finding a job.
"First I was told to get married as I would never get a job because I couldn't communicate," she said. "But then a nice man at the CES decided to help me, and got me into a typing course."
After she completed the course, she spent 12 months looking for work. Her persistence was rewarded when she secured a role as a typist with the Social Security department.
She was working at the Queanbeyan office when the coin came unstuck.
"I couldn't believe it - it's still a mystery how I swallowed the coin, a threepence which wouldn't have even been in circulation," she said.
"The only thing we can think is that it must have been in a can or bottle of soft drink."
Now married, with two daughters and three grandchildren, she's working in a doctor's surgery as a medical secretary - and she still loves answering the phone.
"Once I got my voice back I loved to talk on the telephone - it was a novelty," she said. "I remember the first time I spoke to my mum on the phone - she couldn't believe it."
She's had the coin set as a charm on her bracelet as a reminder, and has now written the book to document those lost years.
"There was so much sadness during my school years - and more later when I was found that it should have been found and fixed at the time," she said. "But it's also a story about finding your inner strength."
Voiceless is published by InHouse Publishing.