Throat Blog — Countdown to Yelling

Yelling would be a good  thing. Right now, stuck in whisper mode. Saw an ENT today who specializes more in the T(hroat) side of the business. After scoping my throat, found out that what I had believed was the problem (vocal ligaments no longer connected to anything) is actually not what the problem is. The actual problem is that my vocal cords have fused together (technically, it is a glottic web holding them together). When I talk, my airway narrows (as it should) but I only have a few millimeters of vocal cord that can move instead of the about 1 inch that should be able to move. Thus…no voice. The featured pic represents what this looks like (not my throat, but looks almost identical to what I was seeing in the Dr’s office). The vocal folds should look like a “V” that extends nearly to the bottom of the pic. Instead, they are fused together. Mine actually looks a bit worse.

All in all, this is great news. It means that a relatively simple procedure (but under full anesthesia) should substantially restore my ability to yell at stupid drivers and co-workers. Well, not that I’d actually do that, but, still…at least I could. It will also restore my ability to:

  • Talk in a restaurant and be heard over the background noise.
  • Talk when I’m outside and the ambient noise level is anything above practically nothing.
  • Eat after 10 pm (they’ll be able to hear me in the drive-thru).
  • Participate more fully in meetings.
  • Work trade shows.
  • Narrate videos.
  • Sing in the shower (or the rain).
  • Talk to strangers without them either talking very slowly and loudly back at me (hey, if I can’t talk loud, I must be deaf, right?) or whisper back to me (they must think I’m just being a trend setter).
  • Be heard on the phone when the other person is in a noisy environment.
  • Talk on the speakerphone in my car and be heard.

Lots of things I’ve learned to miss during the past year (well, August 11 will mark one year from my logging that “my voice is nearly completely gone” in this blog). Looking forward to getting them back.

Now, the downer. I have to wait until I’ve been out of radiation for about a year. So, that means the procedure can’t be scheduled until November. With recovery, it will likely be mid- to late-December before I’m actually able to talk “normally.” I told the ENT that, when we get to that point, I’d prefer to err on the side of Isaac Hayes and not Alvin Chipmunk…but I’d settle for either.

Six-month countdown begins…

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