Wednesday, August 10, 2011

With songs they have sung

So on September 2nd I am going to get a botox injection in my vocal cords. I've been (finally or not finally) diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, and botox is the only procedure used to treat this voice disorder. Before finding this out I have had two cysts removed, a blood vessel hemmorhage lasered off, and another nodule removed that would not go away with voice rest and therapy, and an injection to make them vibrate properly because one side was paralyzed. All of this was done starting in 2005 ending in 2007  under anesthesia in outpatient procedures. It took  a few years for the swelling to go down. 6 years later-my vocal cords look as good as new! There is nothing on them, my new doctor said you can't even tell I've had surgery-let alone three!

So why can't I sing? Why can't I speak properly? I've been told that it's mental, that I just need to get out there and do it, that I'm being a baby, that "who cares you aren't a professional singer anyway".  I've tried yoga, meditation, acupuncture, voice rest, voice therapy, singing therapy, singing lessons, Alexandar Technique classes, Fitzmaurice voice technique classes...I have spent THOUSANDS of dollars trying to fix my voice. It's been totally mentally exhausting. Sometimes I want to give up. Sometimes I just want to forget I ever loved music. Sometimes I want to hate music for breaking my heart.

But then! 

All of a sudden, I will hear a song that I want to sing.  A fire lights inside of me and I'm like " I DO NOT ACCEPT THIS!" I do not accept that I will not sing again. 

I know I will never have a career in music. That dream is smashed. It sucks to have a dream smashed. We all have dreams. Especially musicians. Even when they are 70 years old they probably still dream of thousands of people loving their song that they wrote 50 years ago. They still dream of being able to make a living doing what they love.  Dreams get us through the monotony of life. Because I lost my voice, I can't have my dream. I know it is not possible to be a professional singer without a working voice.

Dream. Smashed. Move. On.

In spite of this, I still want my regular voice back. I want to sing to my daughter. That's all I want.

I don't know if the onset of the dysphonia happened when I was 24 years old, and that is what caused the cysts and hemorrhages, or if having so much vocal stress FROM the surgeries caused the dysphonia to onset. I guess I will never know really. I do know that I've read a lot of literature about it, and everyone says that their regular voice has come back three weeks after the botox injection.

Spasmodic Dysphonia is a movement disorder of the vocal cords. My vocal cords spasm involuntarily, causing skips, breaks, hoarseness, and a strangled sound in my voice. I have trouble talking on the phone, I have trouble with word pronunciation, sometimes I get so worked up about speaking, that I lose the ability to speak. Botox freezes the nerve that causes the spasm.

So, I am seeing a new doctor. I do not need to see the world renowned voice  surgeon that I've been seeing for the past 5 years. Botox is a pretty standard procedure, and I can go somewhere that my insurance will cover 100%-I don't need to see a singing specialist, I don't need to walk into a waiting room and see crying singers who think their careers are over, only see them a month later with smiles as big as the world on their faces when they are told they are as good as new. It makes my stomach hurt that I am never one of those people-and I won't be ever because there is no cure for this disorder. But I do have hope. I am told my voice will resolve and that resolution most likely includes my singing voice. I will have to get the shots four times a year. I can handle that. The speech therapy is also working-I did get through two songs the day I had the hour-long therapy session. My voice is still "there".  I can hear it sometimes.

I can tell it's there.I can hope. I can wish, wish, wish.