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Hello 2016

Posted by Rob H on March 15, 2016

Wow I didn’t realize how long it had been since my last posting. What’s been happening since then?

Let’s see…Donald Trump (??!!!) is about to win the Republican nomination. That’s pretty crazy to put into print.

What else? Well seeing that my last post was in August 2014, I guess 2015 happened! I only had one shot in 2015, it was on July 20. I was able to stretch my Botox injection almost exactly 1 year (from July 21, 2014 to July 20, 2015). My old voice doctor retired, and I got a new doctor who is an industry expert with many studies & speaking arrangements to his credit. I also still have the same “shot guy” I’ve always had. They do the injection as a 3-person team, with a nurse on hand taking down notes to my file while the anethestist does the injection, guided by my voice doctor to ensure it goes in the right spot.

The funny thing was, my shot lasted so long that my doctor joked “see you in a year” when I was leaving. I hope so.

Ok now for some additional details on my last shot: I was really preparing my co-workers for a breathy, weak voice for 2-4 weeks after the shot. That’s what I have typically experienced, and my shot in July 2014 caused quite a long breathy voice period (close to 4 weeks, much longer than previous shots). So what did I do last time? The exact same thing. I figured I can live with 1 month of breathy voice if I can get 11 more months of useful voice after that.

Funny thing is, this time wasn’t the same (even though I got the exact same dosage). That’s the unknown factor when dealing with these Botox treatments. Some are “duds”, some work beautifully, and some are in between. It’s hard to know from time to time exactly what will happen. So this time, in July 2015, I had NO down time on my voice. Ok maybe a couple days where it was “weaker”, yes, but my voice never bottomed out like it has on every other shot. I have no idea why.

Now, as for the length of time I get out of it: that’s still up in the air. I am now 7 1/2 months out from that last treatment, and my voice is definitely weakening. The same thing happened last time, I kept wondering how long I could stretch it out and I think the last time, I went past where I should have but it was still a usable voice so I “lived with it”. I would estimate I had about a 30-40% voice by the time I had my last shot in July 2015.

Right now, my voice is probably about 65%. It’s definitely weaker but not bad yet. So it’s hard to plan my summer as I don’t know how fast the decline will be & when I need to plan my next shot. I hope it’s in July or later but we will see.

End of August 2014 update (with a BUNCH of audio)

Posted by Rob H on August 30, 2014

What a rollercoaster it’s been since my last post. Mostly downs, unfortunately, but hopefully on the up-swing now.

As I type this, on August 30th, I still do not have a full voice back yet. It’s getting better, but still probably only 50% at this point with NO ability to speak up in a loud environment…I might as well not try in those situations.

So listed below are several voice samples taken over the past month, to show the different phases/sounds of my voice as the Botox started to take effect. This first one is taken on my way to the appointment, before the Botox:

Audio #1 – 7/21/14

Audio MP3

(here’s a link for audio #1 in case the player doesn’t work)

This next one was taken right after the appointment. You will hear me talk about this particular shot being more traumatic than normal. I mean, it always sucks having a needle stuck into your throat. But this time was different. As you’ll hear in the recording, the shot made my voice IMMEDIATELY worse which has not happened before.

Audio #2 – also 7/21/14

Audio MP3

(here’s the link for audio #2 in case the player doesn’t work)

Audio #3 – 7/22/14

Audio MP3

(here is the link for audio #3 in case the player doesn’t work)

My voice still sounds pretty good on audio #3, but it’s about to change real soon…………

Audio #4 – 7/23/14

Audio MP3

(here is the link for audio #4 in case the player doesn’t work)

Audio #5 – 7/26/14

Audio MP3

(here is the link for audio #5 in case the player doesn’t work)

As you can hear in audio #5, I was getting a little bit of a cold. This would morph into a major, voice-crippling cold later. I will go into more detail on that in just a bit.

Here’s audio #6 – 8/1/14

Audio MP3

(here is the link for audio #6 in case the player doesn’t work)

As of this audio recording, my voice was “trying” to come back like normal, about 2-3 weeks after the shot. However, I still had this pesky cold wreaking havoc & not allowing my voice to fully come out. We proceed:

Audio #7 – 8/6/14

Audio MP3

(here is the link for audio #7, in case the player doesn’t work)

As you can hear from the voice sample from audio #7 above, my voice is continuing to TRY to come back as it started to do in the previous recording. However, it’s very erratic and in some ways, more frustrating to have it this way than to have a “weak but consistent” voice. This is because it’s difficult to modulate my tone when speaking to somebody, particularly at work or on the phone. I find that as my voice cracks in & out, the actual volume goes up & down too (which is normal)…and it makes it hard to put together long conversations with somebody.

Audio #8 – 8/14/14

Audio MP3

(here is the link for audio #8, in case the player doesn’t work)

You can probably hear in my voice at the beginning of audio #8, I have become frustrated at this point with the lack of results. At the time of this recording, it had been over 3 weeks since the Botox injection and I really didn’t anticipate it taking this long.

Audio #9 – 8/22/14

Audio MP3

(here is the link for the audio of #9, in case the player doesn’t work)

By this point, it’s been fully 1 month since the Botox injection, and still my voice is not back. It certainly sounds better than the previous recording, but still you can hear at the end my voice goes back out again. In all my previous Botox treatments, my voice was back to full force by a month later so this was very unexpected.

You hear me speculate in the recording about the correlation between the Botox injections and getting a cold. It has happened quite frequently and I don’t know why that is. It’s something I am going to bring up to my doctor and see what he thinks but the last two times I have gotten shots (December 2013 and July 2014), I have gotten bad colds…not just the little colds you get every now & then but full-blown bad colds. And in between shots, I get a bunch of mini-colds. I remember talking about it in a previous post last year sometime, it seems I get more frequent colds but none are bad, just a bunch of minor colds. Well, I guess I jinxed myself.

Audio #10 – 8/30/14

(This one was taken just now, while typing this blog post)!!

Audio MP3

(here is the link for audio#10, in case the player doesn’t work)

That’s all I have for now, but you can see a definite progression, albeit slow…I still have not gotten back to what I would consider a “good voice” and have even begun to wonder if this treatment was a “dud”. Only time will tell.

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