Hey guys! I’m still alive, just in case you were wondering!
I’m sorry for the lack of updates and for not commenting. I really feel bad about isolating myself from my blog friends, I really do. A lot of things happened during the past few months but I couldn’t write about them because I’ve been super busy with school and my thesis. Now I’ve got a huge backlog of drafts that I don’t know if I should still publish. Lol! Maybe someday… Anyway, before the holidays get me busy again, I just want to share one of the major things that I’ve been going through for the past few months!
In my previous blog post, I briefly mentioned that I had to undergo complete vocal rest for several weeks, and now I can tell you guys what happened: I had developed vocal nodules that made it very difficult for me to sing and speak. The initial symptoms I experienced prior to the diagnosis were so minor, I never expected that the situation was worse than I initially thought.
In September, I sang for my cousin’s wedding and at that time I was already starting to feel a little bit of weakness in my voice. I couldn’t sing even for just a few minutes, whereas before I could hog the karaoke mic and sing for one hour straight if I wanted to. But I thought nothing of it because before the wedding day, I’ve been singing for our family gatherings for 2 or 3 consecutive days. So, I assumed that maybe I just overexerted myself during the past few days.
But fast forward to three weeks later, my voice was still in bad shape and it felt like I was rapidly losing control over my pitch and volume. I could not even sing the simplest songs1, and singing my usual favorites has become virtually impossible. Speaking for more than 10 minutes was becoming very painful too.
Since it was taking forever for me to recover, I figured that something was seriously wrong. At that point, the symptoms felt completely different. I love to sing and I know my the sound and feel of my voice pretty well, so I knew I had to get it checked. I’m glad I did because after some tests, the doctor showed me the results and it confirmed my worst fear: I had nodules on my vocal cords. He showed me photos of my nodules taken during the tests. They were so tiny, I couldn’t believe they could cause so much pain and discomfort. I know that a lot of famous singers also suffered from this so I was very worried; what was going to happen to my voice? I was relieved when the doctor told me that I didn’t need surgery to get rid of them, since I had them checked early. If I had ignored the symptoms, the nodules would have grown larger and I would have required surgery or worse, I would have experienced permanent hoarseness. For my treatment, I only had to take steroids and be on complete vocal rest for several weeks. When I say complete vocal rest, I was literally not allowed to produce any sound AT ALL2.
The nodules disappeared after vocal rest and medications, but the weakness in my voice still persisted. It was still difficult to talk for an extended period of time and I still couldn’t sing the lower and higher parts of my usual vocal range. I told my doctor about this and he readily referred me to a voice therapist to help facilitate my recovery. So far, my voice therapy consists of breathing and vocalization exercises for healthy voice production. In addition to those, the therapist makes me do exercises at home for loosening my shoulder and neck muscles. I’ve also been advised to make some lifestyle changes to keep my voice in good shape, especially after recovering from nodules. Without therapy to help me eliminate my previous habits or learn healthy voice usage techniques, the doctor says that the nodules could recur.
After some sessions, I think I’m doing better than I ever did during the past few months. Of course, my voice is still not 100% well but it’s getting stronger with the help of therapy. My vocal stamina has improved too.
And, well, I can sing some of my favorite songs again! Kind of…
One of my biggest dreams in life is to sing a duet with my favorite singer of all time, the Philippines’ very own Regine Velasquez. I guess it’s not going to happen in this lifetime though, so I’m settling for a virtual duet XD I used the music video of one of the songs she sang for her 25th anniversary concert, where she had a duet with herself 3 XD
This is impromptu, so I got surprised in the middle! Watch me fail miserably as I tried to match her level, lol! I had forgotten how high her voice could go4… Geez!
I really hope I get back to my 100% level soon. So far though, it looks like everything’s going well because when my therapist asked me to sing something during our last session5, she told me that I sound good and there’s no trace of strain or hoarseness at all. There are still some issues on my breathing and stamina but I know I’ll make it to full recovery! One step at a time!
- I couldn’t even sing Happy Birthday! ↩
- And you guys remember how difficult it was for me, right? ↩
- Here’s how it’s supposed to sound like, if anyone’s interested to give it a listen! ↩
- The recorded version of this song is much more chill than this one. Well, Regine always takes things several levels higher for her live shows. ↩
- And I sang Whitney Houston for my therapy because why not? ↩