Have You Ever Lost Your Voice?

Every View Has It's Unique Beauty

Every View Has It’s Unique Beauty

Cure Arthritis Bracelet @CureArthritis has a Voice

as Each One Travels around the World. Here it is at

Capitol Reef National Park in Utah; Currently very dry

like those with Sjogren’s Syndrome can be too.

 

Have You Ever Lost Your Voice?

 

Do you remember growing up as a child and being anxious to find “your voice”? Or maybe taking time to make sure that it would be the right one or a voice that truly represents who you are both on the inside and the out. I do. I won’t state my age, but let’s just say that the phrase “children should be seen and not heard” was popular at the time. Add a dozen years of Catholic education before college and graduate school and you can imagine how distressed I was when I literally started to lose my voice several years ago. With more than 30 years of listening and talking with patients, teaching, working with clients and students, giving presentations, running businesses, raising 3 children, volunteering, and living, it was a shock to actually start losing my voice.

 

Being the busy, Type-A woman, self-starter and solver, detective, healthcare provider, Everything-to-Everyone (but often with myself as low priority)…I started to put solutions into place for what appeared to be significant dryness. Number 1 was to increase hydration all day and night, especially since it was so dry inside. In addition, due to necessity I modified my speaking almost immediately. I could get work done, but it did not feel that it was the same. Thus, now both my literal and figurative voices were both being affected. This was definitely more cause for concern.

 

In addition, I paid attention to the following 5 items:

  • Increased water intake
  • Ate more foods that were easier to swallow
  • Checked current medicines to see that they were not adding dehydration
  • Already avoided alcohol which is dehydrating (lack of sleep was enough of a hangover effect for me!)
  • *Drank and still drink coffee! *This is my vice, but I try to be more mindful with my consumption and with water intake around caffeine intake.

There was more to do, but this is what I initially started with when I barely had time to function. My biggest goal along with water was sleep.

 

At the time I knew that I was tired, overworked, stressed, sleep deprived, coming off another inflammatory illness and doing too much because I was not completely in charge of my schedule, and more.  I was familiar with Sjogren’s Syndrome from my education and clinical practice. More recently I became reintroduced to it through Venus Williams www.VenusWilliams.com since I have been avidly involved with tennis. Venus struggled with Sjogren’s[1] for years before being diagnosed. This July she was in the Ladies Single Championships at Wimbledon. Like all with Sjogren’s it is a daily process and is unique to each person. There are similar symptoms, however, the progression and how you respond depends on many factors. And that is what determines your individual journey.

 

Back to The Voice, not The Voice, but the voice for me. Don’t mess with my ‘Voice as a Woman’ or my ‘Professional Voice’, yes, one in the same! I have worked long, hard and effectively, but more importantly, put my heart, soul and passion into my ‘Voice’.

I have spent my entire career dealing with Plans B-C-D… due to Osteoarthritis and other issues. Thus, for better or worse you could say that I am familiar with change management. I don’t think that anyone is completely comfortable at first with health illnesses that initially seem to do nothing but take away from our life. But there is always another side to it all.

 

I do have to say for me that it did get worse because I did not pay enough attention to me. I was still trying to care for others as well. You have to “fill your own cup first” before you can optimally assist others. And in this case, literally keeping my cup filled with water continues to be top priority. I guard it even more than my coffee because I cannot have a conversation without it. Next were my hands, I could no longer make hand splints, ironically, and simultaneously my feet became affected, as well as other systemic problems top to bottom.

 

As many of you know, when you are not working or doing your usual job, your voice will of course be different. Whether you loved your work or not, it is a major change for your mind, emotions, and body itself: some for the better maybe, others possibly not.

What about your voice as a patient? How is that for you? Many people have “white coat syndrome” where they get nervous, their blood pressure goes up, and they are afraid to talk to their healthcare providers. However, often they will then idolize their providers and take everything they say as gospel. This is more my parents’ generation (except for me – even with my white coat I’m still a child in their eyes J). Honestly, I like wearing the white coats for the pockets, but they tend to get hot: my personal opinion. This is one reason they are worn, among others.

 

If you have dry mouth do not ignore it. A lot goes on in that area of the body and you can develop infections and gums and teeth can deteriorate quickly. Plus, you do not want to possibly lose you voice, whether literal or figuratively, Do You? When you are losing your actual voice due to the dryness of Sjogren’s Syndrome, or for any other reason, it becomes more challenging to keep your figurative voice. And that is something we all hold near and dear to our heart and soul!

 

My final thoughts:

  • Sip some water –Like I do “All day, All night Mary Ann…Down by the seaside sifting sand.” (The Brothers Four – Calypso Music)
  • If you want a simple exercise to relax the jaw –Send an email to: mwilmarth@back2backpt.com or Complete the contact form on this website.

 

 

Love in Wellness,

 

Dr. Mary Ann

 

 

 

1 Sjögren’s (“SHOW-grins”) is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. Along with symptoms of extensive dryness, other serious complications include profound fatigue, chronic pain, major organ involvement, neuropathies and lymphomas. Although many patients experience dry eyesdry mouth, fatigue and joint pain, Sjögren’s also cause dysfunction of organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients also have a higher risk of developing lymphoma. With upwards of 4,000,000 Americans suffering from Sjögren’s, it is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases. About half of the time Sjögren’s occurs alone, and the other half it occurs in the presence of another autoimmune connective tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.

Sjogrens.org

[1] Sjogrens.org

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