Monday, December 17, 2007


I am on day 4 without a voice. Laryngitis has kept me from work and kept me from communicating. Today I sound like Rod Stewart....which isn't bad for Rod, but not good for a female radio announcer. I'm trying to rest, drink lots of fluids, eat lots of soup (gotta get my veggies), and waiting for the voice to come back.

I've had laryngitis a couple of times before. The last time the voice came back after a day. A few months after my diagnosis, I had a different kind of voice problem, though. I listened to myself on a tape and realized I sounded like I wanted to jump off the nearest bridge. I had no intonation, no expression. The voice was a monotone and I could have just won the lottery but sounded like a robot. No matter how hard I tried to put some expression in my voice it would not happen. I phoned the boss, saying I sounded like crap and that I should probably take a little time off (I was also extremely tired at the time, just coming down from my steroid treatment).

This was my first inkling that MS could affect my career. Every morning for several days, when I woke up, I'd read something aloud to see if the expression was coming back. And it did after about 5 days, but before that I wasn't really worried. I was able to write again after my initial attack, why wouldn't my voice come back?

I know now that anything I lose, could be permanent. With each MS attack, more damage is done, and it can be forever. Just look at the scars you have on your body. The appendectomy when you were a teen, the mark on your knee from the tree you fell from as a child, the chicken pox marks left over. It's the same in your brain. Myelin is destroyed, then repaired (if you're lucky), and voila! A scar remains. Sometimes the repair is sufficient to restore function, but sometimes it isn't. And the scar reduces the efficiency of nerve conduction. Or it could completely block nerve conduction, which may be forever. Or not. That's the stupid thing about MS. I met a woman several years ago whose husband began to regain sight after being legally blind for 13 years.

When you lose something to MS, it's always a wait and see approach you have to take. But how long do you wait for your legs to come back, your bladder, your sight? Your voice?


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