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June 3 update, 2 weeks post-Botox

Posted by Rob H on June 3, 2013

Over the past couple of days, I THINK I have noticed an improvement in my voice. It’s been exactly 2 weeks since my Botox shot, and I was hoping with the lower dosage the breathy period would wear off quicker. At the time of my last post, my voice was bad about 95% of the time…typically the first word or the first couple of words of a sentence came out normal then the rest of the sentence and the rest of the paragraphs following that were in a weak voice. Saturday 6/1 I noticed in the first half of the day, I was getting more like 30% of the time with a decent voice, then fading to a weak voice again. But I was able to get more words out before reverting back to the weak voice.

Also Saturday, I noticed the beginnings of a cold. I have written many times in the past posts, that I seem to get more frequent, but not severe, colds. I’m not sure if the cold had anything to do with the “bump” in good voice or not. I think it’s entirely possible, as many fellow SDers I have talked to online have experienced the same thing…the voice gets better with a cold.

I still have had a limited vocal range and absolutely no singing voice…I tried to sing happy birthday and it was terrible, even for me.

Fast forward to Sunday 6/2 and I had a full-blown cold and a mild fever. I didn’t do much the entire day as I felt like crap. My voice didn’t improve any; in fact I would say it took a step back to about 20% “on” instead of the 30% the previous day. The main revelation for me though is that this was my first severe cold since getting my spasmodic dysphonia. My first full-on, bad cold in over a year and a half. That was a bit of a shocking observation for me, as I get at least one or two a year. Living in northeast Ohio almost guarantees it with the wild swings in weather in the spring and fall (and sometimes winter). I would bet this string of 1 ½ years without a major cold is some kind of record for me.

So now today 6/3, my cold has continued and my voice has bounced back to a better level. I estimate 40-50% of the time, my voice whas been good. What’s interesting is, when my voice goes out, it stays out for the remainder of that paragraph, no matter how long. If I were reading a novel, the first paragraph might start out normal, then my voice would be out for the rest of the day. But if I stop my conversation and start again a minute or two later, everything resets and my voice starts normal again then goes out again.

It’s all a part of the frustration in dealing with this disorder. Fortunately for me, I am not experiencing side effects this time, notably no difficulty swallowing. I have choked on liquids from time to time but it’s not often and it’s nothing I can’t handle.

More decline in voice…(with audio)

Posted by Rob H on May 31, 2013

Over the last 2 days, my voice has really changed for the worse. In fact, yesterday was one of the more frustrating days I can recall in quite awhile. Here’s what is happening:

  • Continued decline in voice
  • Increased breathiness
  • Slight headache

Continued decline in voice

The continued decline in voice is to be expected. From my experience with my first two shots, I know that there is a definite decline period before I begin to experience the benefit period. What’s been inconsistent is the timing and length of the decline period.

The first shot, the decline started just a couple days afterwards, was gradual and bottomed out almost exactly at the 2 week mark then rebounded gradually. It was easy to notice the decline and then the recovery on a daily basis. On the second shot, the decline was more in “chunks” and lasted longer – closer to 3-4 weeks. And the recovery was much different, there was no straight-line day-by-day improvement like I experienced the first time. It was more in chunks.

This time, on my May 20 shot, I had a period of about a week before any kind of drastic changes (which led me to wonder whether it was going to “take”). But lo and behold, it took all right.

Increased breathiness

This is something that has just happened over the last two days. It could just be my perception but it seems I am breathier than I was the first two times. In other words, my voice is a whisper and I seem to run out of breath easier. I think I have mentioned before that it’s almost like I switched from having Adductor SD to having Abductor SD. Those of you with this condition know what those terms mean, if you don’t know you can google them and find out.

There were even a few times today where I was talking and actually RAN OUT of voice…which I don’t recall happening the previous two times. It only happened twice today but it’s two times more than I had previously.

Here’s a voice sample, and you’ll hear right off the bat my voice is fairly normal but just for a few words, then my voice goes out and stays out for the remainder of the voice sample.

Audio MP3

Slight headache

My first instinct is that this is unrelated but I’ll continue to monitor the headache I’ve had the last two days. The only reason I have a concern is that it coincides with the sudden decline in voice and I have had “stress” headaches in the past from my neck muscles being fatigued. It’s possible the other muscles are being recruited to make up for the paralyzation of the Botox-injected muscles, and this extra “help’ is what’s causing the headaches. We will see. I have been able to control it with some regular Tylenol so it’s not a huge deal but something I will watch.

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