Monday, August 29, 2011

Learning to Live with Limits

I went for my 3-month check back with the ENT who had done my laryngoplasty at the end of May.  I've held back from talking about this because I wanted to wait until the appropriate time had passed and I'd had  a follow-up laryngoscopy to confirm it.  So I did those this morning.  And it's clear now. I am not getting my voice back in any major way.  In other words, I am part of the 3% for whom this surgery really didn't work.  Oh, there's a bit more fullness of tone, but no real increase in volume and by the end of the day my vocal cords are exhausted from speaking. 

Speaking is what I do as an attorney.  There's really no way out of it.  I'm in a courtroom or in depositions, or on the phone in conferences.  All of which require a decent voice to be heard by the judge, the court reporter, the other attorney, and the witnesses.   The news was hard to take.  Oh, I could have another injection of Radiesse to see if that would temporarily help things, but it would only last at most 6 months.  Or, I could try for a second surgical implant.  Dr. Merati told me that of those whose surgery does not work out, about half of them choose to do nothing and half decide to go through with a second surgical intervention.  There's only one study out there in the medical journals about second surgeries and its findings were that 10% of those who go through the process again, end up worse than they started while about 70-80% do better.  Given that I'm already in the 3% category for 'not so good results,'  I am thinking that this is it.  End of the road on trying to regain my voice.

Despite my daughter's best efforts to cheer me up and try to tell me that it's not that bad, I'm having a hard time dealing with the reality and finality of the situation.  I'm sure that I will eventually pick myself up and get on with things, but tonight I'm feeling  sorry for myself.  Hopefully,  this will not last long.   

My apologies to all.


odp said...

Oh, Regina, I'm so sorry about this. It's not only the career speaking, but the singing. I feel terrible about this. But let it (the decision) rest for a while, and think about it again later.

{{{{{{{{{virtual hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}


Dan Matyola said...

Regina, I am very sorry to hear this news. I will continue to pray for a little miracle, but I know you are strong enough to overcome this as well. At least the internet will keep your electronic "voice" as strong and vibrant as ever.

Your daughter is a brilliant physician. Follow her advance about what to do regarding the second surgery. She has not only the knowledge, but also the love to guide to to the right decision.

Stay strong!

Kathy Skelton said...

Regina, I'm so sorry to hear this. I'll keep on praying for strength and healing for you. We're all pulling for you!

Lynn Merring said...

OK, kiddo - decide how long you want to allow yourself to grieve. Give yourself a deadline and when you reach it, time to turn to a new page.

The GOOD news there are other things you can do as an attorney that do not require a great voice. Time to start investigating your optins for the next chapter of your life!

We're all here for you.


moe99 said...

Lynn, I really can't leave my job because I would probably lose my health care benefits.

Melanie said...

Can you ask for an accommodation under the ADA? a voice synthesizer or a person who speaks for you? I know it's not ideal, but you're a good typist and it's better than not working.

Just an idea; grasping at straws. I wish there was something I could do, besides saying "I'm sorry" and "we all love you."

Anonymous said...

I hope and pray that your voice will continue to improve. Maybe it's being stubborn in coming back and will continue to improve somewhat over the next few months.

Sometimes you just have to feel sorry for yourself. You don't have to be Super Woman all the time!

All the best to you,

Tim said...

Gina - I will always know your voice. agre with Bonnie - somtimes you have to grieve for limitations imposed later in life. It is still maddening though.


Lynn Merring said...

Actually I was thinking more along the lines of finding a better way to use your skills in the AG's office. Is there an appellate division? Could you transfer and handle preparing the briefs, for example?

moe99 said...

Actually, Lynn, my division has been quite accomodating through this and I generally like the work I do there. I do have a portable microphone and if things get bad, I'll just have to give up my pride and use it.

Malia said...

I went to college on a vocal music scholarship, and have loved singing all my life. One of my vocal folds has refused to work for a few years, no treatment will work. I so much sympathize with your sense of loss. I also resent it when someone tries to point out some good will come of it. It is just a loss, and that is that. All my best wishes, and commiseration.p

Laura said...

Good luck, Gina. I'm sure you will figure out a way to overcome this obstacle. You have every right to think "why me!" and there is no reason for you to apologize. It really does stink.

Queen Mother Dorothy said...

I find no fault with allowing one's self to wallow in a little self pity, as long as necessary. But as you said in time you will probably feel a little better about the whole thing. In the meantime, know that lots of us are thinking of you and hoping better days are just around the corner. Life really can suck sometimes, but I truly think the good almost always wins over the sucky.

s said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. There's certainly no need to apologise for feeling a bit sorry for yourself when you have bad news: a voice is so much part of a person's identity, especially when used so much in your work. Just think: you and Julie Andrews - sisters under the skin!