My throat hurts and is scarlet but I can speak – almost!
I had my first actual treatment session today with my speech language pathologist. As mentioned before she was pretty certain that she could treat me and get my voice working again pretty quickly.
She was right!
She spent some time manipulating my throat, stretching out the muscles and manipulating my larynx. It felt extremely weird, especially as everything was cracking as she did it. It was one of those sensations that feel like the reaction many of us have to nails being scraped along a blackboard.
However, as we then worked on some vocal exercises I got my voice back. Well, almost. I’ll explain the ‘almost’ in a moment.
I was able to speak in complete sentences for the first time in almost 6 months. I was also able to recite the alphabet and count up to 8!
You would not believe how good that felt!
She then taught me how to do the physical manipulations on myself and reminded me how to breathe fully from my diaphragm. This is something that I used to do naturally but being so out of breath for months I’ve developed some bad habits where my breathing is concerned.
So I need to work on this and practice daily.
The ‘almost’ is that to maintain my voice I have to pitch it lower than I remember it being before. I also still need to work on volume, as I’m pretty quiet at the moment.
So it looks like I will be able to speak fluently again within a few weeks. Though my voice will probably never be the same as it was, I have hopes that as long as I maintain the breathing and vocal exercises and can learn to correctly manipulate my throat myself that I will be able to recover my voice after future anaphylaxis effectively.
What we think happened is that when I had the original near-fatal anaphylaxis the muscles in my throat and my larynx tightened up and moved out of place due to the swelling.
For some reason, they never relaxed back into their normal position again once the anaphylaxis was over. As I have continued to experience multiple allergic reactions, asthma attacks and episodes of anaphylaxis since then, they’ve never really had chance to recover fully.
So they need a little help.
I have to admit that the pain, from the physical manipulation of my throat, is not something that I’d like to experience very often. However, to be able to speak again it’s worth it.
I also have to admit to being very ignorant as to how much speech language pathologists could help with before this experience.
My only prior experience had been the speech therapy that I had as a child to help me speak clearly and without the ‘deaf accent’, but that was a long time ago.
Today we not only managed to recover my voice, albeit at a lower pitch, but I also learned methods to help me with the stutter and occasional inability to say the word that I’m thinking that have developed over the past few months.
Not being able to say my own name is pretty funny! Or sad? I’ll stick with funny!
So if you have any issues with your voice or language at all, I would strongly recommend that you contact a speech language pathologist.
If you’re local to me, I can’t recommend Insight Rehabilitation highly enough.
Now, I still have to deal with my ongoing breathing issues and hypersensitivity as well as the results of months of steroids.
However, I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel that doesn’t look like an oncoming train!