Angela Murray Rill

June 4, 1998

Dr. Cooper,

I have been through hell with my voice problem, that is until I met you. I've been seeing you for only a week and I can already hear a difference.

Here's my story. I started having voice problems about a year ago. The first E-N-T I went to said, "You just need voice rest for two weeks." I am a Broadcaster and despite the inconvenience to my bosses, I took off the two weeks. Of course my voice didn't come back. This doctor also told me to stop talking so much. "Stop talking?" I thought that's stupid I am a News Anchor .

Next I went to an Otolaryngologist and his speech therapist who told me it was either my hormones or thyroid, so we did blood tests for that. Nothing was wrong. I went to yet another E-N-T- who told me it must be gastro-reflux and put me on medication, despite the fact I didn't have any of the primary symptoms of GERD. I was on Prilosec for six months and still my voice didn't come back.

It was getting worse. My voice was starting to shake and break and people kept asking me to repeat myself. Others started telling me the problem must be in my head because they didn't hear anything wrong at all. I thought I know I'm not crazy, I know my voice doesn't sound right and it was getting really hard to talk. I started writing notes to communicate with my family and my seven-year-old son and I worked about codes for yes and no. I was saving what little voice I had for work, and that wasn't working.

Along this path to hell on vocal suicide, no one once talked to me about speaking into the mask or pitch, or that I was talking way too low which is what many Broadcasters are told to do, because it's thought to sound authoritative.

I tried all sorts of herbs from Bayberry, to Licorice and was even told at one health food store that rolling up cigarettes from Licorice powder was good for the voice. Smoking I thought can't be good, but I tried it because I was willing to do anything. I would have painted my body a thousand different shades and howled at the moon if I thought I would get my voice back.

I went to an acupuncturist. She stuck the needles in my ears, my toes, my thighs and my hands. They didn't feel great but I thought well maybe this will work. It didn't.

Then I went to another speech therapist who told me I was talking too fast, and not taking enough breath breaks. But still no mention of the mask.

I went to two voice coaches who had me singing scales for opera singers...which I could reach the high notes, but when we were done my voice would ache and feel incredibly tired and still would be hoarse. The most amazing part is then I was told that I suffered from performance anxiety and that if I went to a therapist that she could help me overcome that. So I did. It was really weird because we talked about my inner child dying to come out. I was told to communicate with my voice inside, to ask it what was wrong, what was it trying to say. Well hell it was saying HELP!!!!!!! This voodoo still didn't bring back my voice either. And the therapy focused on some alleged hidden hostility towards my father and family which made me not speak to them for some months.

None of this had anything to do with my voice. I was getting voice fatigue and early stages of Spastic Dysphonia because I was misusing my voice and abusing it badly.

Dr. Cooper showed me in a matter of days how to redirect my voice into the mask and it did start coming back stronger and better. I still catch myself at times trying to speak from the lower throat and when I do, I simply raise my voice back into the mask.

And this really works, it's so simple and yet it really works!!!!!!! At first I resisted because I thought this is just too simple. But I stuck with it, and it does work truly!!!!

Thank you Dr. Cooper for saving my voice and my life, because at one point I did contemplate suicide. I know now that I'm not going crazy and that my voice is with me always as long as I speak from the mask. I also know that even though speaking from the lower throat may sound sexy, it ruins the voice and kills it. If it's a choice between sounding sexy and speaking low, I'll choose the higher pitch and having a voice at all.

Angela Murray Rill