Friday, 19 February 2010

Two Truths and a Lie


 If you're here from Home Sanctuary, Welcome! 
Back in June, while I was still great with child (did I ever tell you how huge I got when I was pregnant?), something wierd happened with my voice.  Over the course of a week or two, my naturally 'alto' voice got very gravelly, low, and it became painful to speak at length.  My singing voice, with which I could easily sing a 2-octave range was attacked so hard, I could no longer get through Happy Birthday or Jesus Loves Me without my voice cracking.  I figured it was a side effect of the pregnancy - maybe my neck had swollen up so much (like the rest of me), that it was putting pressure on my vocal chords, causing my voice to change.  Well, six months post-delivery, my voice is a little better than it was, but is still gravelly, low, and painful.  I can get through Jesus Loves Me now, but any song with a range requiring just a little vocal ability is like scratching my throat with heavy sandpaper.
The pain of speaking at length was a problem - as a Kindergarten teacher, I was always talking and singing.  It was my job, and let's face it, there was some yelling going on - not in anger, just in volume.  20 5-year-olds are noisy!
I could have learned to deal with the changes, if it weren't for the all-but-removal of my singing voice.  Singing is my worship outlet. It's my way of drawing near.  It allows me to praise and pray and adore and ask forgiveness.  Because of this voice change, I've had to find new ways to praise. New ways to worship.  And they are good, but I miss my voice.

I feel like Papa Bear from the Berenstein Bears - afraid of the doctor and what he or she may tell me is wrong.  But I mustered up my courage in November and saw my family doctor back in Waterdown about the voice changes.  She set up an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist's appointment for me here in Alliston.  
After a few mix-ups about what specialists existed and/or were available (They tried to send me to a doctor they couldn't find.  Medical receptionists can be very helpful, but apparently they can be a little ditzy, too.), I have an appointment for a scope next Friday afternoon.  They are going to freeze my throat (I HOPE), and send a camera down to see if there are polyps on my vocal chords.  
My family doctor also mentioned that it could be that I "never learned to speak properly" - that I've never used my vocal chords correctly, and that intensive speech therapy might get things back to normal. 
I am very nervous about next week.  I don't like being poked and prodded.  I REALLY hope I don't have to don a hospital gown.  I am looking forward to a popsicle afterward, though. :)



  1. Oh Heather...I'll be praying for you! I can't imagine that! Hopefully the appt. goes well for you!

  2. whoa that is crazy. I've never heard of pregnancy changing someone's voice and the very idea of having never learned to speak properly from the beginning blows my mind. How do you possibly get that wrong? Is noise coming out? are words being formed? that seems like it would be correct to me. How odd.

  3. I do hope you get to the bottom of this - it must be discouraging and a bit frightening. I do have a childhood acquaintance who lost her voice during her second pregnancy, so it is not unheard of. I loose my voice almost every time I get a cold - it get low and gravelly and my hubby thinks it's funny, but it is just a royal pain to me!

  4. Oh dear! I hope the answers are good ones.

  5. Heather! I feel your pain- I got a horrible cold a few years back and apparently did permanent damage to my vocal chords (I teach high school Spanish, so it gets pretty loud), and singing is also my worship outlet. It's never quite been the same, but I also have never gone to the doctor to get it checked out. I'll be praying for your appointment and want to know how it turns out!

  6. I am saying a prayer that you can find the answer to your frustrating!

  7. Bless you! I can't think of anything much more frustrating than a "messed up" voice. I do pray that it is nothing serious and can be "fixed" quick. A happy week-end to you and the Lord's blessings over you!

  8. Oh no. I have never heard of this happening before. I hope they will find out what's going on and correct it. I hate doctors too, but am grateful when they can fix me up when something's wrong. Now, time for me to get some chocolate. =)

  9. Pregnancy had a similar effect on my voice also...and it seemed to last awhile. I used to do a lot of singing (church, worship, etc) and I could not hold a note without it cracking or sounding like I was very hoarse.

    It gradually went away, but sadly, I don't sing that much anymore so I've lost what little range I had anyway.

    I hope they can find something and fix it!!!

    I liked your lie at the end! Clever :)

  10. Heather, I will be praying for you. I have actually heard of this happening before (my sister is a speech pathologist). During pregnancy , the hormones (relaxin mostly) cause the folds to expand and relax (which deepens the voice) and additional mucus production causes the folds to vibrate differently (causing that spent-your-life-drinking-whiskey-and-smoking sound) which wouldn't be a problem, except that singers and speakers who rely on their voice to communicate don't know how to use the voice in its changed form and push it, sometimes creating nodules which are painful and can damage the folds permanently, but speech therapy can help immensely. I will pray for quick procedure and a good report!



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