On January 19, I had surgery on my vocal cords for the purpose of making them shorter, allowing me to speak in a higher pitch. At my first two post-op appointments, the scope showed that I was healing perfectly. I began voice training, exercises to strengthen my vocal folds so that they fully close over my reshaped vocal cords. The exercises went well for a month.
And then they didn’t.
My voice sounded very raspy. My therapist, who thought my voice would sound clear by this time, knew that we needed to see what was up, so down went the scope.
I had a granuloma, which is a growth that sometimes occurs at the spot of an injury. My body reacted to the surgery by growing this thing which now was protruding so that the bottom of my vocal folds would not close, leaving me sounding hoarse. The cure? Use a steroid inhaler for two months.
This was early April. I was to have sex reassignment surgery on April 11. I was not allowed to begin the steroid before surgery, and then not until two weeks after. From late April to late June, I sucked two puffs from the inhaler twice each morning and twice each evening.
I thought I detected less hoarseness in my voice, so I had hoped the granuloma had shrunk. I returned to The Voice Clinic of Indiana on July 18. Through my nose went the scope. After the requisite, “Gina, say eeeee,” and other commands, the scope was removed and I got to see the video.
The granuloma was gone. Even more, Dr. Parker pointed out how my surgery had healed exactly as he had hoped. Finally, one day short of six months after surgery I was done with the process.
Well, the physical part, anyway. My new task was to learn how to hit the right chords with my cords. I was now physically able to speak at a higher pitch, but I was not used to it. Even more, because I was so used to the way I talked, I struggled to change. Even worse, speaking in a higher pitch seemed so foreign that I didn’t want to make my family have to hear it; I feel that I have put them through so much.
Sounding female is one thing; talking in a feminine manner is another. When I work at using my new, higher pitch, which falls nicely into the range for females, I tend to talk differently. Not only do I add more ups and downs and inflections—to a large degree, females speak with much more range and emotion than do males—I find that I also alter my expressions, hand gestures, and body language, especially when I practice by myself.
Because I sound female, I feel that much more female. It washes through me.
I like it. I’ve been desiring it and working toward it. Yet, the change feels so great that it feels stark. Too much—this is my thinking—to ask others to hear. So, what have I been doing for the last few weeks? I’ve been fighting it, struggling even to practice speaking in a higher pitch around Julie, who encourages me to practice.
With my face surgery only a month away, I have to be prepared. When I will finally look like a female, I will need to speak like a female. I am now motivated to get my voice where I want it.
Here is a short video in which I demonstrate where my voice is these days. After I recorded it, I found my higher-pitched voice to sound like me, only higher and softer. I have a lot of work to do in strengthening it and getting used to this, and speaking less like a guy and more as a woman.
For comparison, here is my voice the day before I had surgery.
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I have removed from the blog menu all of the previous posts regarding my vocal cord surgery and progress. Here are the links to those.