My voice recovery journey

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!

  1. I couldn’t even sing Happy Birthday!
  2. And you guys remember how difficult it was for me, right?
  3. Here’s how it’s supposed to sound like, if anyone’s interested to give it a listen!
  4. 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.
  5. And I sang Whitney Houston for my therapy because why not?

25 Comments

  1. *big hugs*

    Don’t feel bad for not commenting and keeping up with blogs, life happens and we can’t be expected to always keep up with everything. That’s fine, I’m glad you’re back though, missed reading your posts but been keeping up with your Instagram stories ^_^

    I’m so sorry to hear about your vocal nodules. It seems the best thing for it right now is to rest up. I’m so glad that you didn’t ignore it – I know a lot of people do and cause permanent damage.

    You’re an incredible singer, I will tell you this always because honestly, despite the nodules, you amaze me gahhh! Wishing you a lovely Christmas and holiday season!

  2. Oh, wow! That must have been super rough for you. I’m sorry you had to go through all this. I didn’t even know of this condition, so thank you for writing about this.

    Like Pauline said, don’t feel bad about not keeping up with blogs and such. Real life happens, and those take priorities!

    I am glad to hear your voice is getting stronger, and I hope you will return to your healthy voice soon! Take care and keep it up!

    1. Thanks Tara! 🙂 Yeah, I thought I’d write about it too, not just to share it, but also to make people aware that nodules *can* happen to everyone… I used to think this condition only affected singers but apparently I was wrong!

  3. Wow, that would have been so scary! I am glad that you were able to find them early and you didn’t need an operation. Your voice is so great, and I think you did so awesome on that song. 😀

  4. It’s always understandable whenever bloggers have a lot going on in their lives. I’m sorry to hear that you developed vocal nodules, especially since you need to use your voice for your every day life! I’m glad you went and get some tests to diagnose the issue. Hope you will make a complete recovery! It’s good that you’re doing things to restore your vocal power :).

    exquisitely.me

  5. Wow, that sounds awful! I’m so glad you’re better!
    What kind of lifestyle changes did you need to do?
    I’ve never thought of neck and shoulder muscle tension as something that could cause problem with your vocal cords, but now recently I’ve understood that tense muscle in that region can cause all kinds of problems. I have tinnitus because of stress and tension.. it’s better now and I definitely hope it’ll disappear completely.

    1. Thanks Susanne! 😀

      Lifestyle changes were mostly related to vocal hygiene (such as speaking volume and speed… apparently I talk a lot!) – the most difficult changes concern water intake and sleep T_T I also had to lessen my alcohol intake, lol! The therapist told me that water intake and sleep have a huge impact on your voice and not having enough of both will stress it out! I’m having my posture corrected too, that’s why I need to do neck and shoulder exercises 😐

  6. Hugs. That sounds too horrible, and while you were dealing with that, I ended up not being able to speak for nearly 2 months or so due to TMJ, which is horrible, but in the end, I am getting it treated in a different way but treated nonetheless like you.

  7. Wow, I’m glad you went to a doctor earlier! That would have been scary if you had to have surgery! That must have been tough to be on vocal rest and for speaking to be painful. When you’re used to communicating every day through voice, that’s a big deal. I’m glad that the nodules have disappeared and that you are doing better! I hope you’ll be at 100% again soon! Feel better!

  8. Oh wow! I’m glad that you’re feeling better! <3

    I've heard of vocal nodules before and it sounds really rough. Not being able to make any sounds, also sounds incredibly difficult! It's great that you caught it early before it got any worse. Therapy sounds like it helped a ton too.

    I hope the rest of your recovery goes smoothly!!

  9. Ah, super late! But I was in the same boat as you. (Almost) one whole month of no blogging. Glad to know that you’re recovering from your vocal chords. I know how that feels.

    I sing a lot myself too (church choir), and I also sing spontaneously on the scene as well. My brother made a bit of a joke when he gave me a USB mic for Christmas present so I can make podcasts of me singing LOL. Still, take it easy, don’t worry about not responding to everyone. Life is too precious to take advantage that sometimes you just need a break. 🙂

    Happy new year also. Here’s to new beginnings. 🙂

    1. HAHA your brother’s so funny, but I adore those mics though! Since you have a good mic already, I think you should consider sharing some clips or podcasts of you singing, I would definitely listen to it 😛

  10. I was wondering where you had gone, but I’m happy to see you back! Don’t worry about not updating your blog since life is physical and will take priority. Look at how late I am at seeing this post! :O

    I’m so glad you are doing better – I’m so sorry to hear about the nodules. 🙁 You were very lucky! Do you know what caused them and whether or not they’d develop again?

    My reason for being away from my blog recently is in the same boat but somewhat different – I also had some voice issues for the past year, but not because of nodules. I plan on writing about it soon, maybe, but I’m glad I took a break to physically heal!

    I hope your voice is better now and that you can sing again, but definitely protect your voice! It’s a gift. 🙂

    1. Hey Liv! 🙂

      The nodules were caused by vocal abuse due to poor speaking habits. The nodules are already gone but they could recur if I continued speaking the way I do. This is why I am currently undergoing therapy to correct my speaking pitch.

      I’m sorry you had to go through something similar! You’re right, we all need a break in order to get back in shape. I hope you’re feeling better now <3

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