Why are people saying Melissa will replace Brooke? Did Brooke say something about taking time off or leaving?
Brooke has thyroid cancer and is reportedly undergoing a thyroidectomy. Some potential complications from that surgery can include changes in the quality of a person's voice (either temporarily or permanent), partial paralysis of neck muscles or the vocal folds, changes in ability swallow food, etc. It's a delicate surgery. Not that I wish any complications from surgery on her, but I would not be surprised if everyone around the show is preparing in case she is unable to return next season.
The spring seasons usually start in mid-March, giving her roughly 3 months to get treatment and any necessary rehab (assuming she gets treated sooner rather than later). Since she makes a living using her voice, I would assume she wants to make sure she and her medical team take all precautions to 1) protect the nerves and her voice during surgery and 2) take speech therapy to make sure no damage was done or rehab the voice and neck muscles post-surgery.
Edited by wilibald, Nov 28, 2012 @ 9:03 PM.