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Progress Report – May 31 (with Audio)

Posted by Rob H on May 31, 2012

Today I am posting an updated voice sample, along with a new concern.

Voice progress

Since I had the Botox shot on April 23, my voice has gone through numerous changes. The last couple weeks have been pretty consistent though and I’ve been leading a normal life since the Botox side effects have worn off. It’s been just over a month since the Botox shot, so theoretically I should still have a couple months to go.

Over the last couple days, I have noticed my voice is ever-so-slightly weaker. I had a point last week where my voice was what I felt at a peak…I had pretty good volume, I could raise my voice and even yell…and I could sing in a pretty large range (not my full pre-SD range but close).

Over the past couple days, my voice has still been spasm-free but just a touch weaker. I have noticed I have a little sore throat and I think it’s related to the slightly weaker voice. It’s not noticeable to most people but I am acutely aware of any changes since I’ve had SD.

Here is my voice sample taken yesterday May 30, you can hear it sounds pretty good.

Audio MP3

New concern

Over the past week, I have noticed my right eye is twitching more than normal. All my life, I have had the occasional twitching in my eyelids, I think this is fairly normal for most people, especially under stressful situations. If I had to estimate, I’d guess that I get this twitch 3 or 4 times per year. It’s never anything I’ve tracked or been concerned about since it was so infrequent, and not that bothersome (it went away quickly).

Now, over the past week, I have noticed probably 7 or 8 such instances. A couple days I had no twitching, a couple days I had it happen 2 or 3 times, it’s a mixed bag. I am definitely under some stress at work so it could still be the same old problem I’ve always had, amplified by the stress I’m experiencing at work. However, I also know that people with Spasmodic Dysphonia also have the potential to develop other neurological disorders. Particularly, blepharospasm (twitching of the eye).

I’ve tried to catch the twitching in action by looking in a mirror (because I’m curious to see whether it would be noticeable to somebody talking face-to-face with me). I have not been near a mirror at the “right” time though, so I’m not sure. My guess is that it’s not noticeable because my eye isn’t closing shut, it’s just a minor twitch, nothing strong…so it’s not a big concern at the moment. It is something I’m going to continue to monitor, though.

My fear is that it will develop in a similar manner to my spasmodic dysphonia, which is to say it’ll gradually get worse & worse until it finally reaches it’s “bottom out” point. I do plan on seeing a neurologist sometime next month, so I will certainly continue to monitor this and see if there’s a connection.

Progress Report May 13-21 (with audio)

Posted by Rob H on May 21, 2012

May 13 update

Over the past few days, my voice has been very good quality. What’s happening is, I have a normal voice for most of the day, then in the evening, it seems to wear out a little bit…it doesn’t go back to the weak voice I had a week ago, but rather it starts “breaking” almost like I’m going through puberty. I call it my Peter Brady voice, from the famous Brady Bunch episode when Peter’s voice changes. When this happens, it sometimes lasts for a minute or so, but if I stop & re-start my sentence, focusing on my voice, I can get it back quickly.

Yesterday, I had the Peter Brady voice but it happened later in the evening. Over the past few days, it was happening around 5:00-6:00. Yesterday, it happened about 9:00 pm. So I’m hoping this is a sign that it will gradually go away and I’ll have a normal voice 100% of the time. As it is, I still have a normal voice about 95% of the time so it’s exciting for me.

Below is a voice sample, this was from about 2:30 in the afternoon.

Audio MP3

May 20 update

So over the past week, my voice has indeed stayed good for the entire day (as opposed to the May 13th update above, where I had my voice wearing out at the end of the day). I had one day last week that was particularly stressful and I did not get a lot of sleep. On that day, my voice was a little weaker than it’s been, but still not bad at all. I would say it was at about 70% volume from what I’ve experienced over the past week. After that day, and a good night’s sleep, my voice rebounded back to the new “normal” for me.

I didn’t record a voice sample but will have another one soon. Basically my voice sounds normal, there have been no spasms since I had the Botox shot – only varying degrees of voice weakness as I described in previous posts. There have been many times when I don’t even THINK about my voice problem since I’m able to talk normally to people. No more problems ordering at drive-thrus, no more trouble in louder environments, and no more trouble speaking on the phone. I have been able to project my voice a little more each day as well. I still can’t yell at my full pre-SD voice, but I can speak loudly and I also have more vocal range when I’m singing at church. (not full range but it works)

So basically I’m back to normal – the only variable is that I don’t know how long the Botox will last, so there is a little anxiety in the back of my mind while I wait for it to wear off. I’m hoping to get 4-5 months out of it, so we’ll see. Since I had about 2 weeks of breathy voice after the shot, it seems that it should be about that long…my doctor told me the breathy period would last about a week and my good voice would last 3-5 months. Since I had a longer breathy period, I’m hoping that translates to a longer good voice period.

One other thing to note: my voice is not 100% the same as it was pre-SD. It is fully functional now but there is definitely a slight difference in the actual sound of my voice. It’s not noticeable to my friends and family that don’t see me every day…but it’s noticeable to my wife and to myself. I don’t mind it at all, I’m just happy to have my voice back.

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