If you didn’t know, Michelle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease in 2022. With those diagnoses she was able to get proper treatment and medication for both diseases. The year before was extremely difficult. Here is part of her struggle in her words, along with a glimpse into her recovery.
2021 was a difficult year. I lost 75 pounds without trying and spent most of the year binging on Netflix shows. I couldn’t even play games. I just stared at the TV. All. Year. Don’t get me wrong; I got the work done that needed to be done, but it was the bare minimum.
That’s the year I lost my voice.
I lost the other instruments, too: piano, guitar, violin, drums. But I could still play slow songs, and piano was decent since the PD only affected my right side at first. My left hand picked up the burden. But I couldn’t sing.
I have a great support network, so I didn’t wallow in depression. But now that I’m medicated for both diseases and have regained maybe 90% of the mobility I lost in ’21, I’m working hard to get all the instruments back, including my beloved voice, which I didn’t realize was such a dear friend. Frankly, I’m pissed at PD for taking it away from me.
Quick side note: the doctors and all the literature blame the PD, and it’s well established that PD impacts the voice. But it was the T1D that stole my energy: my cells weren’t getting any fuel. That surely contributed to barely using my voice for a year.
Either way, the ENT shoved a camera up my nose and proclaimed: vocal fold atrophy.
So I saw a speech therapist for about six weeks, and I’ve been working hard to get my voice back. It’s so slow going that I decided to document the journey, maybe just to convince myself the progress is worth it. I took some earlier videos, but I need to dig through them to build the history.
Great work, Michelle! Keep singing. We’re going to join in on the next verse.