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As regular readers of my blog already know, about three years ago, out of the blue, I got an exotic voice problem called spasmodic dysphonia. I couldn't speak above a whisper for a year. Then one day, while practicing a nursery rhyme with my stepson, my voice suddenly returned to a functional level. Unfortunately, as is typical with spasmodic dysphonia, my voice only worked well in quiet, unstressful environments, and the world is not a quiet or unstressful place. I couldn't, for example, order a pizza over the telephone and expect the person on the other end to understand me. So for most of the last few years I have been the ghost in the room, listening and smiling, silently cursing my partial existence.

This week I underwent surgery that has a high likelihood of fixing the problem. The top surgeon on the planet for this procedure, Gerald Berke, M.D., at UCLA, opened my neck and rewired the nerve connections to my vocal cords. In three or four months, when the new nerve pathways regenerate, I should be able to speak again, in weak voice at first, and improving over the year.

So I find myself delirious today, for a number of reasons. I'm exhausted, and medicated, and most of all optimistic that the ghost in the room can get one more chance among the living.

Today is a good day.
 
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Jul 19, 2008
Scott - best wishes for a speedy recovery. I do recall, as do others who have posted here, about your therapy down in southern CA. If you do have the time and the inclination, I and others would be interested in hearing what happened with that. I remember you were quite optimistic about that - I do hope that it did provide you with at least some temporary relief, but this sounds like the real deal! Soon, you'll be able to leave VERBAL posts!
 
 
Jul 19, 2008
Hey Scott!

So glad to hear the great news!!

I too would be interested in learning more about why the therapy didn't work as well and how you came to know about this surgery. (I'm a speech therapist whose always a little skeptical about some of the techniques my profession trys to employ.) The surgery technique sounds really exciting and could open up opportunities for other patients!

Anyway, thanks for sharing cool, new stuff with the rest of us! Best of luck on your recovery!!!!
 
 
Jul 19, 2008
Best of luck, Scott. I saw you speak about 14 years ago at Lawrence Livermore and it was a hoot.
Here's hoping you'll be able to give great talks again soon.
 
 
Jul 19, 2008
Congratulations and good luck. Everyone's waiting to hear you again.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 19, 2008
Best of luck buddy , Hope you get well soon....
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 19, 2008
Scott,

This type of problem has to be extremely frustrating, especially for someone who likes to communicate with others in all ways. May your recovery be as smooth as you expect and faster than you anticipate.

gdport
 
 
Jul 19, 2008
Way to go Scott. Someone of your caliber should definitely not be a silent participant in any conversation. All the best !
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 19, 2008
all the best Scott...Get well soon.

Ur the Best.
 
 
Jul 18, 2008
Scott, may you recover quickly, and in the meantime, we still hear you loud and clear on your blog!
 
 
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Jul 18, 2008
I don't have anything funny or witty to say today. I just want you to know that there are a lot of us who really care how you are doing and are wishing you the best. I would like to second the other guy's question about what went wrong with the therapy you went to in LA a year or two ago -- does the effect wear off?
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 18, 2008
Scott, best wishes for a speedy and full recovery! I gave every poster a thumbs up on this thread in your honor.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 18, 2008
Good luck with everything. Speaking fees FTW!
 
 
Jul 18, 2008
I as well have a vocal problem much like yours. (It may even be the same thing, I haven't had it diagnosed.)

But I do understand the social complications from vocal problems. It's not fun stuff.

Hope this works for you.
 
 
Jul 18, 2008
That's wonderful news! Good luck, and I wish you a quick recovery.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 18, 2008
I wish you well, my friend!
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 18, 2008
Why didn't you just take some magnesium?

Totally kidding. I hope you feel better soon, and enjoy the fun effects of meds!
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 18, 2008
Scott,

The BEST of luck to you. I will be interest to hear how things turn out for you. I have a relative who has the same thing.
 
 
Jul 18, 2008
Needless to say - we are all wishing you the very best. Remember that you have many, many loyal friends and fans (don't forget to send the twenty you owe me).
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 18, 2008
Hey Scott, I wish you a quick and full recovery!

I was wondering though what happened to that therapy you told us about, last year. The one you spent a week in L.A. for... The one that included the humming and whispering and controlling the instinct of trying to force yourself to talk loud, etc. It looked very promising then and I thought the problem was fixed... I'm just curious, because it sounded interesting.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 18, 2008
If not, a speedy and complete recovery!
 
 
 
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