Losing your voice

If you ask anyone who has known me from when I was a child, they would tell you three things about me: I talk a lot, I sing a lot, and I am loud. When my sister and I would fight, I would be the one to get in trouble (regardless of whether or not I was the instigator) because I was the one you heard. Little has changed as I got older. My voice is a critical part of who I am. Without it, I am someone else. How appropriate then that I’m a Taurus, which rules the throat.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to use it properly. When I was 11, I developed polyps or nodules on my vocal cords, which required surgery to remove. I don’t remember what it felt like before that, what symptoms prompted the diagnosis and subsequent operation. I do remember the day of the surgery clearly. But otherwise it’s like a big black hole in a time period I can otherwise remember quite well. I don’t remember not talking after the surgery, I don’t remember if I even went to school during that time. Nothing, nada, zip. Maybe the forced silence — complete silence, since you can’t use your vocal cords at all after that kind of surgery — was so traumatic to me that I’ve blocked it all out. LOL

As an aside, I always thought that nodules and polyps were the same things, but apparently they’re not. Not sure which type of lesion I had. My mother isn’t even completely sure. All I know is that I had surgery on whatever it was, and I didn’t have any voice therapy afterwards. It appears that I’m in good company.

For most of my adulthood I’ve had problems with my voice. My voice breaks more, especially if I try to sing softly or am just starting to sing, and it frequently feels as though my voice is just sliding off the right note. I’m not tone deaf, but I just can’t hit the right note and I recognize it. It also feels like I’m always talking or singing in the wrong register, so my throat hurts and is tired all the time. As time goes on, I seem to choke more when I’m talking or singing as a result. Any number of things could be at fault, of course, but it’s been a long time since my vocal cords were examined. Could there be more nodules? Wouldn’t be surprising. Regardless, I really need to get some vocal training, before I lose what’s left of my voice.

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