| If case you missed it…. Part 1
It was a miraculously beautiful late summer’s day in uptown Manhattan the day I found out I was wrongly diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia. Having been granted the opportunity to meet with one of the east coast’s foremost authorities on voice disorders he declared I was one of the lucky ones having Muscle Tension Dysphonia which is a treatable muscular disorder, I staggered blindly through the streets of the city unable to comprehend this new information. This determination was made quickly with a short conversation and a simple but painful manipulation of my larynx.
Life out on the streets of the city seemed to be passing by at a speed that my mind was not able to grasp. My hearing was altered and the ground seemed to have a spongy quality underneath my feet. There were times that evening when I was so completely dumfounded by the news that I did not have SD I literally sat on a curb and stared blindly at whatever it was that was in front of me. There were even a few strangers that had stopped to ask if I was okay to which I responded, “You could never understand how happy I am”. This news was like having been granted a stay of execution. Several hours had passed by the time I realized the sun had set and I should get safely back to my hotel room.
I sat for an additional few hours in the hotel room trying to comprehend this bizarre turn of events. At that time I did the only thing I could think to do, write poetry! The doctor had manually manipulated my larynx back into its normally seated position which restored my voice. I was filled with disbelief and hesitated to share this new information with the people in my world. I was consumed with a foreboding feeling that somehow this turn of events was too good to be true. This new information was to be protected and guarded until I was sure it was real.
I woke up several times that evening to try out my new voice and stared blankly out to the twinkling lights of the city. I was in shock, disbelief and awe. The first order of events once the sun had risen the next day was to make the requisite phone calls to the people that loved and supported me through this epic battle. Of course Mom was first, I felt though somehow I wanted to warn her not to get too excited as there was a gnawing voice inside of me saying this is not going to last and it was too good to be true. Sadly, six days later my larynx had climbed back up into the learned posture and my voice had broken once again.
Susan Reagan is a contributing writer for VocalDisorders.org