Well it has been a while. Life is an engulfing thing. I have had several weeks, no months now where I have been so utterly absorbed in its flow. This flow has caused some massive private stress of a kind, which could not be balanced by the many little positives in my life right now. This of course, has taken its toll on the progression of my speech therapy. Try as I might I was not able to unwind. It is certainly not a nice situation when you start the day with ‘I wonder what will go wrong with this situation’ and start ending it with ‘I wonder what awaits me before I rest my head’.
However, this stress factor has recently been plucked from my life and at my last speech therapy session I was complimented at how relaxed I was already looking with this positive outlook.
Wednesday’s speech therapy: Well, I have to say my therapist tried a different form of exercises with me that night. It was called ‘Inhalation-Phonation’. Yeah, it sounds exotic. And believe you me, I don’t want to be doing that in public out of fear some paramedic or doctor may think of starting instant CPR on me. Trying to phonate whilst inhaling sounds as though I am gasping for my last breath. BUT: It worked! I can actually engage my true cords this way. I can make a sound! Ok, not a very sexy sounds by all account. But A SOUND!!!! Naturally that is not the way I want to start speaking now. The object of the exercise(s) was to see whether I can or can’t use my true cords. It is also meant to be another way to strengthen them up. Whether or not this is actually working I don’t know, but even doing these exercises at home has made it possible for me to croak around happily albeit only at the time I am doing them.
Of course I have resigned myself to the fact that medialisation surgery will be inevitable. I was asked how that thought made me feel. It is difficult to describe that one actually, mainly because I have not given it much thought. I am so used to hospitals and operations that I am inclined to say ‘Hey, what’s another’. And of course, this procedure is an extremely minor one comparatively. How does this thought make me feel?
Excited in a way to be honest. And NO, not because of the drugs one gets. Excited because this really could be the end of it. The final step towards a kind of life I have been able to enjoy my first 20 years of it. And perhaps a fairly normal sounding voice, not this Yoda-like thing I am croaking out at the moment (though compared to the Darth Vader like noise I was making before the reconstruction I was reminded that at least now I have moved from the Dark Side the Force. Needless to say that one made me laugh).
My speech therapist has another patient and due to reasons of confidentiality I don’t know the root cause of his problem, however I was told he had been planning, and has now had the same operation that I would be going ahead with soon. She told me the difference in his voice was almost unrecognisable, she had to listen twice to be sure that it was not a well-audible relative that had answered the phone. That does sound reassuring.
I have my next follow up appointment fast approaching – in two days actually – and I am assuming it will lead to setting a date, or at least planning for one where things will go ahead with this Isshiki Thyroplasty. As far as my airway is concerned, I have started gaining confidence in its stability. It feels open. My breathing is great. Let’s hope my perception will be confirmed. Until then I will – for now anyway – carry on phonetically inhaling.