There is little to no hope that my voice will ever be the same. Compared to my airway repair, my vocal cords are much lower on the priority list. They are considered very “weak”, giving me a quiet and raspy voice, which can make it very hard to communicate. Even to produce a small sound takes a considerate amount of force and energy, but to anyone who knows me personally, you would know that nothing holds me back when I get talking 😉
Vocal Cord Injuries:
When the accident initially happened, almost everything in my throat was either collapsed, crushed or broken; including my voice box. The goal was to open up my airway to get me breathing normally, therefore fixing my voice wasn’t their prime concern and we didn’t know too much about it. Over the past year and a half, we have heard a few things about the progress, for example, last year when the surgeon went in, they had to unfold my voice box because from what we understood, it was collapsed in on itself. Plus there was always a vocal chord not responding. This has been happening ever since the accident occurred.
How can you make sound?
Because my vocal cords aren’t responding like they should, is why I don’t have my normal strong/clear voice. Instead, I have this breathless, quiet, raspy voice. Much of the sound that I do make is just vibrations through my throat with the air flow, with very little sound through my vocal cords. Initially, during the first month and these past three months, I have been completely mute. When the stent was put in place, it completely blocked any possible activity/airflow through my airway or voice box leaving me with absolutely no way to produce sound. Even though I was unable to speak, according to my parents, I am extremely good at facial expressions to get my point across. Also, I would lip sync words as well as using some sign language and made up noises.
Troubles with this voice?
I’m not usually one to be self- conscious, but that’s different when it comes to my voice. I get very nervous when I have to talk in a video, to someone on the phone or especially out in public. It is very hard to hear me when I’m talking especially when I’m in a room full of people/group or if there’s any background noise (because of Covid, this isn’t happening). Over the years, I’ve become a very good observer at reading people’s faces, meaning I know exactly if someone isn’t understanding or can’t hear what I’m saying. As much as you try to hide it, I can tell. I don’t blame you though, I think the only people that can fully understand me are people who I’m very close too and that are used to the sound. It can be extremely frustrating and most of the time I don’t even bother talking because there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s why I am constantly writing. Since I can’t express my thoughts verbally, I write them down.
I’ve quickly adapted to a lot of things and my voice is no exception. As much as it completely sucks, it’s better than nothing. I know that going into the future I will always have trouble with speaking and with people hearing me, but you never know…anything could happen.
I hope you continue to keep smiling. -Zoe