Having SD has had a huge impact on my life and it is not all bad. My career as an optometrist has been adjusted to work around this inconvenience.
My voice started to give me problems in February of 1999. I spent the next 18 months trying to find an answer to why I was having so much trouble talking. The first ENT told me there was nothing wrong and the next one diagnosed me with acid reflux. I also made the rounds to an allergist, my family physician and then finally to another ENT who knew right away that I had SD.
Just knowing that there was name to my problem virtually brought me to tears. Then hearing that there was treatment was even more exciting. I spent several years getting Botox injections and I was very successful. I even worked with several speech pathologists who were of minimal help.
Several things have it possible for me to gain the control back. First, I went in to practice with my husband who is also an optometrist. In March of 2007 I quit seeing patients and took on managing the office. I found that knowing what I was going to say would really make my voice catch. With spontaneous thought, the words come out much smoother. The other thing that botox helped me with was the breath control. Relaxing the diaphragm and not forcing my voice makes it easier for people to understand me.
I have been Botox-free for 2.5 years. There are still times when I get spasms, but I can get it under control. I have also learned that words that start with vowels are more difficult and I will find a way to get around those words.
Keeping my voice soft and breathy has lots of advantages. People think my voice is sexy and people really have to pay attention to me when I talk. I don't see this as a disability but as an inconvenience.
Would I like to have my normal pre-SD voice back? You bet I would. But if my story can help someone else then it has been worth the effort.