It’s been a year and a half since diagnosis of vocal fold paralysis, and I have chronicled the journey towards healing HERE. Progress feels slow, but there are little signs of continued recovery here and there. The latest reassessment by Jeanie Lovetri, the singing voice specialist who developed Somatic Voice Work tm: The Lovetri Method, is that I may be able to sing a simple classical song within another 4-5 months, assuming I continue with my exercises and stay with the other forms of therapy and healing I am using. Nothing is certain, of course, and we are truly forging new ground with this manner of working.
Sometimes I will sit still and just imagine a movie in fast motion, first showing my vocal apparatus struggling and silent and then scrolling through improvements until the function–the way the laryngeal apparatus is working–is oiled and smooth. I imagine feeling happy and centered as I sing, free of all the dysfunction that had been set up vocally over the past 10 years. I know through personal experience how important IMAGINING and VISUALIZING one’s desired outcome is towards achieving a goal. As well as doing the physical work.
There is a relationship between thyroid function and the function of the voice. They are even located in the same part of the body! I’ve had issues with my thyroid off and on for many years, but it is not a simple case of hypo vs hyper thyroid, and I have never taken medication. Medical doctors had their chance. From 2002-2003 I went to FOUR different endochrinologists who each said my thyroid was OK after testing. Yea. I was 200 pounds, my hair was thin and falling out, and I had a 4-nodule goiter that ran the width of the thyroid. But sure, I was ok…My voice teacher, Elizabeth Daniels, was positive that some singing issues I had begun to have were thyroid related. We were both stumped.
From 2003-2007 I was able to regulate my thyroid and maintain a healthy weight as I worked closely with a multi-disciplinary alternative health care clinic that a voice student told me about. I worked with kinesiologists, nutritionists, and exercise counselors, taking massive amount of supplements and on a regiment of saliva testing for monitoring endocrine function. It worked, but it was very expensive and very time consuming. Singing was restored somewhat, but the middle register was funky and unreliable.
I drove 45 minutes around the Washington, DC Beltway and back 1-3 times a week for almost 4 years, and finally, after accruing massive debt, decided I had to stop. None of this was covered by insurance and my husband and I had entered into the college years for the kids. We just finished THAT phase of life this past May. (two kids, two college degrees.)
So, I this past June I decided I had to go back to trying to solve the thyroid puzzle. I started working with another alternative health care clinic where my doctor is an MD as well as an Alternative sort. His testing revealed a genetic mutation of the MTFHR gene which explains much. As a result, there is severe mold growth throughout my body–EW!–which has suppressed the ability of the thyroid produced to be drawn into my cells. I have spent the summer tweaking supplements I am to take to kill the mold off slowly, as well as tweaking diet and upping exercise. My husband spent two weeks before starting a new job, building a drainage system in our back yard AND we are getting a new roof as there was mold detected from water damage.
We will know in another 6 weeks if this protocol is working. In the meantime, I am in touch with my regular medical doctor with lab results and what I am doing and getting his feedback and guidance.
I will be honest with anyone who is reading this who knows my medical history, which includes 8 really nasty abdominal surgeries, three with severe complications. My life has been pretty extreme in this regard. I realize that. No one is more tired of these stories and experiences than me. When I look at what I have managed to accomplish in spite of this history, it is truly Herculean. I am not sure I would have had the tenacity and courage to keep healing from these things if I wasn’t a singer.
And what I have learned has made me an exceptional teacher of singing. I am also working on a book on the subject of generational healing.
Finding my Voice through finding my voice.
(flower photographs taken while on a walk through Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland.)