Monday, April 23, 2012

T+447: Checkup in LA

Last month I was in California, so I set up a follow-up visit at Dr. Berke’s office.  The visit took place about a year and a month after my surgery.

I was seen by Dr. Jennifer Long, who said that my voice sounded good.  She had a look at my larynx using a laryngoscope and noted that they were showing good symmetry.

At the time I was still unintentionally hitting high notes on a few words here and there.  Noting that there was some inflammation on my larynx, she suggested that reflux could be playing a role and that I should try taking Prilosec.  While I haven’t noticed a problem with reflux, my throat was indeed scratchy from time to time.  Dr. Long prescribed that I take double the recommended dosage of Prilosec OTC, which can be purchased over the counter (i.e. 2 tablets per day instead of the usual 1).

I’ve been taking the Prilosec for about four or five weeks now and the occasional falsetto notes have stopped.  My throat is also no longer scratchy.  It would seem that the Prilosec is helping, so I am planning to keep taking it for a while.  It’s also possible that I’m just further along in the recovery.  At some point, I will probably ease off the Prilosec and see if there’s any difference.

As a side note, Dr. Long remarked that my larynx is somewhat narrow overall, and that this seems to be a characteristic not uncommon for people with spasmodic dysphonia.  Perhaps people with narrow larynxes naturally have their vocal cords closer together, lowering their tolerance to the hyperactive signals coming down the laryngeal nerve.  That’s my theory, not theirs.

My voice feels stronger and better than ever, and I don’t think I’ve had a single voice spasm since before the operation.  It’s not 100% and it can give out if I get tired.  It’s also not quite as loud as it once was, and yelling in loud environments is not my strong suit.

Here’s a sample of how I sound now: