March 16, 2005
Dear Dr. Cooper,
I am writing this correspondence to let you know that beyond what is said in the medical community, I am living proof that your approach to the debilitating affliction of spastic dysphonia is curable. I remember being at the end of my rope with no place to turn when my mother saw you on a talk show. She said that you cured people with voice problems such as my own.
Prior to this I had been struggling to speak for the past four years. It was like somebody was strangling me every time I tried to speak. I was an inside salesperson for a large computer company and spent the majority of my time on the phone. I became so frustrated with the extreme effort of speaking that I had to leave this job.
I also had been to numerous doctors. First, there was my general practitioner who recommended voice rest and then a voice pathologist. When neither of these labors worked and being fairly depressed I was put on anti-depressant. Next, I was sent to an ear, nose, throat doctor who performed an operation to remove some minor polyps. When no improvements were noted in my voice, the E.N.T. determined that my problems must be mental and I was sent to a psychologist.
Although, I only visited the psychologist a few times, where I was put under hypnosis, I did not feel mentally ill. Maybe a little depressed, understandably, but only because I could not physically speak without a struggle. However, I did notice that if I consumed high quantities of alcohol my voice did improve. Therefore, although not thoroughly happy with the notion of taking chemicals, my general practitioner referred me to a neurologist who proceeded to do just that.
The neurologist had me take a number of medication some of which made me feel pretty good and some of which that didn’t but as far as my voice was concerned there was no benefit. Next, the neurologist suggested that I take botox injections. She told me that there has been improvement in voices for people like myself from taking the botox shot. I took a total of three with varying effects.
The first one worked pretty well but only for about two weeks. The second one caused me to lose my voice for about a week before I gradually regained it for a couple weeks then lost it to spastic dysphonia again. The third shot was similar in effect to the second one but I under went considerable pain while the neurologist and her assistant where trying to inject the needle into the tiny nerve in my neck.
After this experience I was feeling pretty disheartened about my chances of regaining my normal voice again. However, not long after this, and with my parents help I was able to learn about your techniques and to eventually come out and visited you. I must say that it was a challenge but I began to understand that you had a profound and intimate knowledge of the underlying physical and mental problems associated with this affliction.
Spastic dysphonia is not a organic entity that can be looked at under the microscope or cut off with a scalpel but a combination of unhealthy speaking habits and hard to change self mental imaging. It takes time and work but when I left Dr. Coopers office I was on my way to freedom. It took a few months of constant self scrutinizing and practice but I was eventually freed from the noose of spastic dysphonia.
As I look back upon my own cure for this dreadful problem I would have to say the number one thing that Dr. Cooper taught me to do was simply to hum. Humming for me was the key. Hum before you speak. Hum in between words and after you speak (hum hum hum). Even now, seven years later, whenever I feel my voice becoming strangled (very rare these days) I hum before I speak and my voice immediately becomes better.
Although this was the main technique that I used it took my visit with Dr. Cooper to set me on the path to freedom. I would highly recommend to anybody with spastic dysphonia to use Dr. Cooper’s thorough wisdom and knowledge to your advantage and stick with it. It is like anything, it takes work to achieve. I am living proof that you can rid the burden of this supposedly incurable affliction for good.
Oh, about the phone, it is a pleasure to talk on it. I can talk with a perfectly normal voice.