August 2005 Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic Follow-ups
Bonnie (Mixed SD, 12 years)
April 2006: “I cannot imagine where I would have found the unique blend of therapies found in the holistic approach and the highly specific expertise that Mike and Connie bring to the clinic. I am SO GLAD I attended because it not only helped me to see the potential in my voice, but changed my entire perspective. As for the future of my voice, I feel that the clinic provided me with the physical tools and a wealth of knowledge so that when I am able to devote the time to my voice, I will definitely make progress. I have to admit I don't feel more control over my life per se, which I realize is because I have not adhered to my compliance contract. (estimated 5-10%) I DO, however, feel drastically more control over my life. The clinic gave me such a boost of confidence and facilitated such an extreme change in my perception of myself that I really feel it was a determining factor in my decision to go through with attending college(out of state). My life is vastly improved—I feel I'm really living life, rather than passively existing and telling myself I'll do such and such when my voice is better.” VHI decreased 33 points, moving from the Serious and Significant range to Moderate.
October 2006: “I am doing very extremely well! I am now working with Alexander technique and it is a bit help to me. I believe you have the real recipe to recovery.”
L.S. (AB/SD, 5 years)
May 2006: Responded “yes” to Voice Intensive being a good investment and feeling more control over life and voice. Did not feel the need to use the follow-up support and had maintained 70% compliance.
“I truly think I have come a long way and know that I am a lot better off vocally than I was a year ago. The work I did with Connie and Mike played a huge part in that and I feel like I have a lot to keep building on. I am doing well and am pleased with my progress.”
July 2008: “I’m happy to say that I no longer feel like my voice is an impediment to living on any level, even though it can be problematic at times.”
March 2009: “My voice, while much improved, continues to lose its groove periodically. I’ve started my therapy practice again.”
June 2009: “Some voice news to share. I saw a highly recommended voice specialist in New York City, who after various tests told me I had vocal cord bowing due to vocal fold paresis caused by a long ago virus which gradually killed the nerve to my vocal cords. Being a muscle, they atrophied. She recommended bilateral medicalization to hold the vocal cords in proper position so they can vibrate together. This is a very different message than what I got before; SD, get Botox. I am able to speak, though hoarsely, without breaks.”
August 2009: “My paresis, for which I had the surgery, was diagnosed using LEMG and videostroboscopy. Following medicalization surgery, I feel that my voice is consistently in an easier groove, just rough around the edges. It doesn’t feel normal, yet people tell me its sounds normal. My doctor says it is not a normal voice, but much improved. My voice now may not be the greatest, but I produce it with less tension and effort. I have less voice breaks, just a slightly hoarse quality.”
*The on-going story of L.S. tells us to keep looking for answers if voice rehabilitation is not as successful as we hope for. There may be a change in diagnosis and treatment options.
Brenda (AB/SD, 6 months)
August 2006: “There is no question that my voice is almost back to normal; I would put it at 90%. My voice has been so much better since attending the clinic that I have had no need for the followup support. Every time one of my grandchildren asks me to read a book to them, my voice has done wonderfully. I do truly believe that my voice is back forever.
VHI decreased 60 points.
April 2008: “Your seminar was life-changing for me. I think of you and the group quite often. My voice is at 95% or better. Every now and then, if I am tired or sometimes on the phone, I may have trouble getting a few words out, but I just pitch my voice and try again and get them out. When I attended your seminar, I wanted to be able to read books to my grandchildren. I can, and they love it! You have been a true blessing in my life.”
October 2009: “My voice is almost completely normal. Occasionally, I will struggle, sometimes stress is involved or there is an illness or the night air. I just stop, gather myself, and start over, knowing my voice will be fine. Connie, you were an inspiration and being with others with SD was a great consolation.” VHI was 5 (normal), down 55 points from her initial score.
Jay (AD/SD, 3 ½ years) Botox, acupuncture, voice therapy.
August 2006: Jay has consulted with me for several lengthy phone conversations during which his voice was very good. He continues to experience some embarrassment in his business associations and feel a need to explain his occasional hoarseness, but has been pleasantly surprised when others comment they hear no problem. He continues to practice and has some difficulty in noise and on the telephone.
VHI decreased 34 points.
November 2006: Voice remaining stable, better in the morning.
January 2007: “I am using the phone more with less anxiety. I can sometimes speak in groups with no breaks. I often feel I need to explain or apologize for my voice even if I am not having problems.”
*With Connie’s coaching, Jay realized that his voice was perfectly acceptable, even when not perfect to his feeling or ear. He eventually stopped explaining or apologizing and spoke with more ease.
Sarah (Abductor SD/ 7 years)
Sarah returned home and let life take her over. She did comply to her program and six months later, felt she needed more work. I met with her individually for some intensive therapy, during which she captured the freedom of her good voice. Here are her comments:
“The sessions with you were like a lifeline for me. Everything you said makes sense and fits with my experience of my voice. Now I have a much clearer picture of what is important in terms of voice production and what isn't. Now I see more clearly where I need to focus my energies – particularly on pitch and resonance – and I worry less about other aspects. I still get times where my voice isn't good, but overall I am definitely improved since our sessions and also determined to continue that improvement.”
Sarah also repeated the clinic in the UK (her home country) in December 2006. Read more about her recovery there.