how I’m doing. vocally speaking.
Posted by Roberta Lipp on September 3, 2010
Let’s open with, big picture = EVERYTHING IS FINE. Not great, but nothing epic.
But yes, there have been some things going on. The last few months, and in particular this last month, I’ve just been struggling. There have certainly been emotional components, but for now I’m going to focus on the physical.
To quickly recap, I moved to Jersey City at the beginning of February, at which time I started hanging out a lot at Marie’s Crisis, where I quickly and seemingly unskillfully belted my way into a hoarse voice.
Thing is though, I’ve been taking it easy now for a few months, singing much much less frequently. And I haven’t been getting better. I can’t sing one song, one easy, non-belty song, without feeling strained and sounding terribly hoarse afterward.
At the same time I have gotten sick, as in, coughing from my chest, a few times–once over Memorial Day weekend, and again about three weeks ago. Seems my sinuses are causing it, and they are not really getting well.
And through all of this there has been an exhaustion. Now that I have chalked up to a few things–the whole throat thing and sick thing kind of knocks you out, but really I’ve mostly just blamed myself–first for partying too much, but now that I’ve slowed down (by a lot!), just my general lack of exercise and crappy diet.
In the last few things, a few different things converged to get my ass to some doctors, including a change at my job that loosened the reins on my doctor-visiting abilities.
So first off, I learned I am (again? still?) severely anemic–like, there is no iron in my blood. Also I am severely deficient in vitamin D (I know, I know, we all are. But still.). Ergo, I’m way frigging fatigued, and also I don’t have a whole lotta fight in me in terms of keeping the colds and stuff away. So I’m taking a lot of supplements and will have my levels checked in two months.
But the bigger revelation came from my visit to Dr. Steven Sacks, a most excellent ENT. Seriously, he is awesome. I could provide a list of reasons as to why I know this, and maybe at some point I will, but not now.
Here is what I’ve learned:
I don’t have nodes. This was my biggest concern–terror, in fact.
However. My right vocal chord is tilted.
For a bit of history: ever since my weight loss surgery (that be gastric bypass) 6 1/2 years ago, I’ve needed to take 80mg of Prilosec a day. This is double the maximum allowed dose. Any time I’ve tried decreasing, I end up in agony.
I’ve worked with two GI guys post-surgery. And neither of them asked me what my new ENT asked–how am I taking them?
See, turns out you need to eat something 30-40 minutes after taking the pills or they do not get fully activated. And so for over six years I’ve been improperly managed and I’ve had too much acid and it’s been ruining my voice. I just didn’t notice until, y’know, the Marie’s abuse.
How do we treat this, you ask? Excellent question.
In addition to finally taking the Prilosec properly, here is a list of all the things I need to avoid:
- Eating less than two hours before going to bed (seriously. practically. impossible.)
- Tomatoes/tomato based foods (think about this–pizza. ketchup. I’m just saying.)
- Caffeine (in case that wasn’t clear from the coffee/chocolate restrictions)
- Spicey food
In case that was in any way unclear, that list includes coffee. and alcohol. singing. and coffee. I am giving up coffee and alcohol, and when it’s all over, I don’t get a baby.
So the plan is, we try this for two months–resting my vocal chords and not agitating my stomach, while at the same time getting the Prilosec working properly. And in two months we have another look.
And reason number 12 for loving this doctor, I will be getting a scan of my neck just to ensure that there is no other cause.
Oh and yeah my sinuses are a bit wacked. Steroids for that–Nasonex, prescription, the steroids don’t go into my bloodstream.
So I’m feeling a bit down–it’s a lot of my fun I need to give up. And I’m not entirely hopeful, but I have no choice but to try all this–I need to get my voice back. It’s my most favorite part. Kind of, I don’ know who I am without it. (have you seen the name of this blog?)
That’s the scoop. I hope to be able to sing again soon. I’m looking forward to energy coming back in other ways. I’m looking forward to fall, and the crispness and intensity that comes with that. And I am, in fact, looking forward to shedding my skin.