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Pre-holiday deterioration (with audio)

Posted by Rob H on December 22, 2012

Well I think I jinxed myself by posting my last update. It was going well but the day after I posted it, my voice dropped a level and was not quite so good as it was that day.

I took a voice sample and have included it below.

Audio MP3

As you can hear, the voice is still not bad but it definitely dropped in quality since just the other day. The recording was taken on Dec 18th, 3 days ago, and it’s still the same today. The weird thing is that this round of Botox is working but not as perfectly as the first round did. At least not yet. I’m still holding out hope that I have several more months left before I need to get another shot, but I sense the shot was not as effective this time. I’ve felt this was a possibility since the day I had it done, if you recall.

Not that I’m complaining because this voice is still perfectly usable and I have no problems communicating in all situations. This includes loud environments, drive-through/fast food speakers, and phone calls: 3 areas I struggled with before I started receiving Botox shots.

If I had to classify my voice right now, I’d say it’s about 80%. My last post, it was at 90%. So it’s still good just not great.

Fortunately for me, it looks like my voice will be fine throughout the holidays which gives me a sense of relief. My family knows about the voice problem so they wouldn’t think anything of it, I just don’t want the pity that seems to come with it. I’m sure those of you reading this that have SD can relate. I don’t want them to feel sorry for me, I just want to do everything like normal. I’ll repeat myself if I have to, no big deal. But as I said, I don’t have to worry about it this year. (Last year was the beginning of it all for me, my voice was declining during the holidays but I didn’t know why yet, and thought I just had an illness).

That’s all for now, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year if I don’t get back on before then. 🙂

Holiday update

Posted by Rob H on December 17, 2012

Hello, it’s been awhile! To be more precise, it’s been a month and a half since my last update.

In this case, no news is good news. My voice has finally stabilized and the side effects are essentially gone. My fears that the shot would not produce a “good voice” have been calmed, as I have had a normal voice for the past month now. By normal, I mean I have most of my vocal range and it sounds normal to others. To me, I can still notice a slightly lower voice quality, probably about 90% of my normal voice but it’s fully functional at that level and I have no complaints.

As I noted in my last post, there were a lot of differences between this Botox and the last time I had Botox in April. The biggest and most annoying difference was the inability to swallow properly. If you’ve never experienced this, try swallowing 10 times rapid-fire and see how hard it gets to swallow after 4, 5, 6 times…that’s how it was for me when eating meals. I would start out at a normal eating pace then slow down as I continued to eat. At my worst (peak), which was about 3-4 weeks after my shot, I was eating at such a slow pace that I could not finish my meals. I was only eating about half of my meals. And even finishing half, I had to be creative. For instance, my swallowing difficulties came when I took solid food bites. Drinking fluids did not give me problems at all. (I know, this is the opposite of the normal Botox side effect which is that you choke on liquids – I did have this problem as well but it was very minimal and generally confined to the first couple weeks after the shot).

So when taking a bite of solid food, I found that I could eat it faster if I took some water and just swallowed the water with the chewed-up food at the same time. Sorta like swallowing a pill. I was never told to do this, I just came up with it so I could eat a little faster. Even doing this, it was slow going and as I said I did not finish many meals in weeks 3-4.

Finally, mercifully, it started going away and for the last month I have not had any problems with swallowing.

I have had what seems like a constant cold for the past month. This has been a trend ever since I had my first Botox shot back in April – frequent colds. They are less severe but more in quantity. I don’t know if there is a correlation or not but I have noticed that when I DO have a cold, my voice quality suffers a little bit. Not enough for people to notice a difference in my voice, but enough for me to notice. I probably lose another 10-20% of voice quality when I have a cold.

Other than those somewhat minor details, my voice quality has been good. I was in a bar recently and was able to talk to my friend over a VERY loud song playing on the jukebox so it was nice to be able to do that. I even commented that I would not be able to carry on this conversation if I had my old voice – as the music was just too loud.

I’m hoping for a similar length of good voice period, as I experienced last time. Actually I hope that since my side effects lasted longer this time, that my good voice lasts even longer but that’s wishful thinking. We will see.

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