December 10, 2004
January 5, 2005 Suffered severe spasmodic dysphonia.
“Now today, I have my total voice back 100% and it is absolutely wonderful. I hope this message helps someone with spasmodic dysphonia or any other voice disorders.”
I am Ron Steger from Allenton, Wisconsin. I would like to share with you my experience with a very severe voice disorder. I was a dairy farmer for twenty years. For the last five years I have been a public speaker in the health and nutrition industry. Two years ago I started to lose my voice, and I couldn't talk. I went to my local clinic in Hartford, Wisconsin and saw a vocal speech therapist. She gave me some voice exercises and that made it worse. My career as a speaker and a trainer were over. I could not even communicate with my wife and my three children, much less work my business.
I traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to seek help at the Medical College of Wisconsin in November, 2002. Dr. Albert Merati diagnosed my voice disorder as Spasmodic Dysphonia, and Dr. Merati's recommendation for treatment was Botox shots for the rest of my life in my vocal chords.
I decided to try the shots. He used a three-inch needle to inject Botox in my neck though my windpipe to the backside of my windpipe into my vocal chords. The first shot was a small dose. It’s a standard procedure they use because Dr. Merati informed me that if they gave me too much I would have a hard time swallowing. He gave me .5cc of Botox in each vocal chord. That did not affect my voice at all. It was too small of a dose. So I waited 90 days and he increased the amount to 1cc in each vocal chord. I just about passed out when he was injecting me. I had no shots to help with any pain relief while he treated me with the botox shots; they just numbed the surface of my skin where the needles poked through.
The shots made my voice very breathy, but I had a very quiet breathy voice. I had a very hard time communicating with people. In 90 days, the shot wore off and I had to go back for more. He increased the dosage to 1.5cc of Botox. The cost of each treatment was $2000. Ninety days later I went in for another shot and he increased the dosage to 2cc of Botox to help my voice last longer in the ninety day period. When he gave me 2cc of Botox, Dr. Merati told me, "Ron, please go home and the second and third day will be when the shot will have its biggest effect. Therefore, I do not want you to drive a car, talk on a cell phone and be drinking coffee at the same time because you took such a large dose of Botox you might have trouble swallowing."
The third day I woke up and was going to drink a glass of water. When I did drink the glass of water it didn't go down into my stomach. The water went into my lungs and I was choking. What I did was I took smaller sips until I could swallow again. Dr. Merati had an emergency number I could call if this would happen. I had a total of five Botox shots my first year and I never did get my normal voice back.
When the shots wore off, I went to get a second option from Dr. Nicolas Maragos from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He diagnosed me with the same thing, spasmodic dysphonia. He recommended Botox to me the rest of my life, surgery, or just live with it. There is no cure. Dr. Nicolas Maragos said we could give you a shot today or you can continue getting your shots with Dr. Merati in Milwaukee. I went back home thinking WOW, I will never be able to talk or communicate with my children, wife, and never be a public speaker again.
I made an appointment to see Dr. Merati and told him the shots are not working and I would like to get the surgery done. He tried to convince me that it would get better and that he would find the right dose for me. I said, “no thank you.” I want to correct this, lets get the surgery done. He explained to me that the surgery consisted of flying to California. They would cut the nerve on my vocal chords and I would have a voice but it would be a different sounding voice. It would be very breathy. Dr. Merati also told me that there is a Doctor named Dr. Morton Cooper who has a natural cure for this. He gave me his website address and he told me to go home and think about what I wanted to do. My options were Botox shots for the rest of my life, surgery, or see Dr. Cooper.
I went home and went to Dr. Cooper's website and listened to the before and after testimonials. I couldn't believe that they sounded just like me, before Dr. Cooper treated them, and they were talking normal after voice therapy and doing his voice exercises. So I called Dr. Cooper and he recommended me to fly to California and he could help me with my voice.
I flew to California March 3rd, 2004, to see Dr. Cooper. He also diagnosed me with spasmodic dysphonia and I agreed to stay with him for a week. Within two days Dr. Cooper had me using my voice correctly, speaking through the mask, and breathing correctly. After being with Dr. Cooper for a week I understood how to use my voice correctly and proceeded to go home and continued with the plan he gave me until my voice was normal. It was very difficult but worth doing voice exercises daily until I had my normal voice back.
Now today, December 10, 2004, I have my total voice back 100% and it is absolutely wonderful. I am very thankful to Dr. Morton Cooper for his direct voice rehabilitation. It has changed my life. I have a new beginning in my life I understand the value of communicating with people, talking to my wife and my children, to be able to pick up the telephone when it rings and talk to your friends and business associates. I hope this message helps someone with spasmodic dysphonia or any other voice disorders.
PS. You have my permission to us my testimonial to help others understand that there are other alternatives other than Botox shots or surgery.