August 21, 2009
I know people will be skeptical, because it is hard to trust what anyone says these days. I was initially a bit skeptical and I think that's normal.. It's been a while since I emailed you so I thought I'd give you an update. There is absolutely no comparison to the sound of my current (natural) voice, and that of my old habitual (S.D.) voice. I still practice in the morning before work by doing your voice press, um-humms, and reading aloud from one of your books. I read street signs out loud all the way to work (around 45 minutes) and on the way home also.
I am now able to talk throughout the day with my natural voice. There are times, usually if I get a bit nervous, when I notice that my voice wants to revert back to the lower throat, and I hold my breath instead of using midsection breathing. But, I am better able to refocus on keeping my voice in my mask and breathing properly to get my natural voice back. These situations, however, are slowly diminishing. I am being very patient with myself (as you suggest in your books), and I don't get down on myself much anymore if I have a brief setback. I quickly shake it off and refocus on what I am supposed to be doing to speak with my natural voice.
Also, as you indicate in your books, I have noticed a great improvement in my personality. Prior to having S.D., I was quick with the jokes and loved to laugh. As the S.D. got worse, I started closing myself off because I was embarrassed to talk to anyone because of the horrible sound my voice made (if it didn't entirely go out). Now, I'm back to being my old fun self. At work I laugh and joke more than I have during the past two years. I notice that more people come into my office and sit down, apparently enjoying the sound of my voice and my outgoing personality. I'm also now able to joke with clerks at stores, and even have instant conversations with total strangers - and my voice is 100% my natural voice (clear, dynamic, with resonance). I use all encounters, with friends and strangers, to practice. I um-hmm a lot, and notice that they (as you note) appreciate that I acknowledge that I am listening to them, and agreeing with them.
One of your patients (in one of your books) said that with S.D. he was spiraling downward. Now that you got his voice back for him, he is spiraling upward. The better his voice got, the more confidence he got. And the more confidence he got, the better his voice got. That is what is happening to me.
We were at a wedding in Napa yesterday, and I saw old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time. The father of the bride (and my old boss who reminds me of you) had ask me about two years ago,” what the hell is wrong with your voice!" At that time, he said I should go to a doctor to make sure I didn't have throat cancer. Yesterday, he and I spoke several times throughout the night and he never once made a comment about my voice, and he definitely would have if he detected the slightest negative sound. I spoke to people late into the night, and "into" the loud music playing in the background, and never once did anyone ask me to repeat myself. My voice remained clear and dynamic.
I know that none of what I am telling you is causing you one bit of surprise. I am one of hundreds that you have cured of S.D. But from my position, it has given me my life back. Even on the telephone, I am able to talk with my natural voice and rarely allow my voice to slip to the lower throat. I am coming up on a year since I first saw you, I believe around Sept. 3, 2008. I notice that each month I am improving, and as I look back on my progress it is truly remarkable. I will continue to practice "25 hours a day" and continue to fine-tune my voice so that it remains my natural voice in all situations all the time (when I'm nervous, etc.) I would say that my voice is 100% my natural voice about 90 to 100% of the time. There is still room for improvement, depending on the situation, so I won't stop practicing until I am where I want to be - which is to have "voice magic" 100% of the time, all of the time.
I thank God for you every day Dr. Cooper. I am also very grateful that I found you before I went to the ENTs who would have suggested Botox, or surgery, as they did to so many of your patients. Sometimes I allow my mind to think of what I would be like today if I never came to see you, or if I never found you. The depression would have continued to an even darker place. Thankfully, I am out of the darkness and back into the light.
I hope your daily swimming is going well and that you continue to stay fit and healthy. I'll continue to keep in touch to let you know how things are going. Up to this point, I can confidently say that you were right when you said my "prognosis is excellent." That is what I am experiencing…excellent results.
With grateful appreciation and respect,
I give up the right of privacy and confidentiality to have my testimonial on Dr. Cooper's website.