Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lily Update

Remember Lily's diagnosis with vocal nodules? Thought I'd update you on her progress.

To say this last month has been hard for her--wow. That doesn't touch some of her days. We received many different opinions for how to proceed. Complete silent vocal rest. Resting her voice for ten minutes out of every 60. No vocal rest but being careful. It was a weird time for her. Some days she could talk, while other days she was tied to her white board in order to communicate. She would get extremely frustrated on the silent days. Frustrated she couldn't communicated. Frustrated people ignored her. Frustrated when she finally lost it and would yell for a moment, knowing she was probably impeding the healing process by doing so. It was hard to be her and hard to be the one reminding her to be careful. She tried, but it was so difficult. Try being completely silent for just one day. No whispering, talking, singing, humming, whistling--nothing. It's hard.

When she finally got in to see the vocal therapist, things got better. She was given explicit directions on how she could and could not speak. She started sleeping with a humidifier and guzzling tons of water every day. She learned vocal technique and started doing vocal exercises to strengthen her vocal chords while still allowing the nodules to heal.

Last week, she returned to the ENT for a followup throat scope.

The process is not pleasant.

That's the understatement of the day.

After allowing numbing drops to work inside her nose for a few minutes, the doctor pushed this long tube up into her nose and dropped it down her throat. The body's natural reaction to anything penetrating the sinuses is to gag and try to remove it through coughing or vomiting. She had to fight those urges as the doctor dropped it farther and farther down until he could see her vocal cords.

Since Lily had not been following her regimen as closely as I thought she should have been, I wasn't expecting her to be completely healed. The doctor did say that her nodules are shrinking--probably down 30% since the last time he checked her. I was happy to hear that. Lily was happy to get the scope removed.

She will continue with her vocal therapy for a few more weeks, and hopefully once she's out of school for a few weeks, she will be able to rest her voice even more. Her therapist told her this week that she can begin humming whenever, and she's noticing improvement in the overall quality of her sound. I'm hoping that by the beginning of the year, she will be back doing what she loves--singing. In the end, this diagnosis and the subsequent therapy may the best thing to ever happen for her voice. Jury is still out, but it's all looking up from here.

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