Over the past few days, I have experienced many new things. On Monday April 23, I had my first Botox shot.
Tuesday and Wednesday (after the shot), my voice returned to a raspy version of its former self. It was very usable and the results from the Botox were encouraging.
Thursday through today (Saturday), my voice has regressed a bit. The actual quality of my voice is better than it was Tuesday and Wednesday. My voice is not raspy any more, but it’s much weaker than it was Tuesday and Wednesday. I have a more normal-sounding voice now, however I cannot project it at all.
Here is a voice sample I took of myself from late Thursday evening. I went over to a friend’s house to watch the NFL Draft and recorded this sample on my way home:
As I mention in the recording, I probably sound pretty good and I know compared to my pre-Botox voice samples, this is a huge improvement. I’m very happy that I have not experienced any of the muscle spasms which were crippling my ability to speak before the Botox. What you can’t hear from the voice sample is the strength of my voice, since I had the microphone up near my mouth and it probably sounds pretty normal. But throughout the past 3 days, I have found it impossible to speak louder than just a very weak tone. Also, my voice is a higher pitch tone than my normal voice, and I attribute it to this voice weakness.
Ironically, the way my voice responds is almost the exact opposite from before the Botox injection.
- I could not speak in my regular voice
- I could speak in a higher or lower tone than my normal voice
- I could sing
- I could yell
- I could do “impressions” or “sound effects”
- I can speak in my regular voice (albeit weaker and slightly higher-pitched)
- I can not speak in a higher or lower tone
- I can not sing – unless it’s a song that has limited note range
- I can not yell
- I can not do “impressions” or “sound effects” unless they fall within my limited vocal range
So you can see I’ve basically flip-flopped from my voice before the Botox. I expect to get back some of these parts of my voice, once the side-effect period wears off.
I did find out that I had a pretty large dosage for my Botox shots…apparently Cleveland Clinic is aggressive in their treatment, and the fact that I got a full dosage of Botox in EACH side of my throat is more of an aggressive approach. Some people only get the shot on one side, or they get a full dose on one side and a partial dose on the other side. This is done to minimize the side effects…although it also limits the length of time the Botox provides a “good voice”. I am experiencing the side effects pretty much in full force. If you can imagine not having use of your throat muscles, then trying to cough, clear your throat, sneeze, or burp, that’s what I’m experiencing right now. You use those muscles all the time and right now, I don’t have use of them so it’s been an adjustment getting used to it.
The side effects are greater with a greater dosage of Botox…however the “good voice” period lasts longer. My doctor told me the typical person they treat has a one week side effect/ramp up period, 4-5 months of “good voice”, then another week or so of the Botox wearing off. I’m still in the ramp-up period and the side effects I’m experiencing now are much more of what I was expecting going into the injection appointment. It’s a bit of a bummer that I had Tuesday and Wednesday, where my voice was much more powerful but raspy…I thought I might have gotten off easy on the side effects but that wasn’t the case. I say it’s a bummer because I had a couple good days and I was talking a lot, but the last 3 days I’ve had to scale it back a little because my voice is weaker.
I do believe that the side effect period is going to wear off soon and I’m hoping at that point, I will have both a normal AND a powerful voice which lasts 4-5 months. For now, my higher pitched voice makes me sound a little different and it has brought a little humor into my life… my wife laughed at me the other day, while I was talking to her she smiled and said it was funny listening to me because she was staring right at me and a different voice was coming out of my mouth (different from my “normal” voice).