Diagnoses: Vocal difficulty and voice feminization

My Story Begins a Long Time Ago…

“My name is Ricki Bauman and my story begins in February 2012 in Alpharetta, Georgia. I had an ear nose and throat infection that was very strong and difficult but finally went away. But even though it was gone, I kept losing my voice, choked frequently and my voice was somewhat raspy and had lost its resonance.

I actually had to retrain myself how to eat, how to talk and how to swallow without choking! After a few months, my primary physician referred me to an ear, nose and throat specialist who diagnosed my problem fairly quickly – my right vocal cord was not working at all. Well, he said, let’s go do some tests and find out why.

We never did actually find out definitively why – we suspect that the virus that caused the original infection was the virus that killed the nerve to the vocal cord. But we did find thyroid cancer in the left lobe, totally unrelated to the vocal cord issue. Surgery ensued and cancer was found in both lobes and my thyroid was removed successfully. But, I was still choking, had the difficulty swallowing and had laryngitis frequently.

Amazingly, in February of 2014, the right vocal cord started to work again on its own. Life was easier but my voice was never the same as it had been before. The laryngitis and choking were much less frequent than before but certainly more common than before anything happened.

In November of 2017, I decided to transition to my authentic female self. A few months later, I started working on feminizing my voice by working with recorded voice exercise programs to accomplish this. After a while, I realized two things: at my age of 65 with its natural aging process and the vocal cord not being the same, I knew that I needed professional help. In the fall of 2018, I met Cara Bryan at a seminar that she gave at Metro Inclusive Health in St. Petersburg. I immediately knew that she was the professional that I needed to see.

I started therapy with Cara at South Tampa Voice Therapy and never looked back. My voice started to improve and after her vocal cord examination, (we had to wait for Medicare’s approval), we found that it hardly functioned at all. It was not 100% paralyzed but not far from it. We worked together to strengthen the left vocal cord that was doing all the work, worked on pitch and resonance and I completed her program. My voice is in the feminine range without any effort to do so and is stronger and less prone to issues.

I cannot praise Cara enough for helping me to overcome this disability and recommend her highly and without reservation. She is a kind and caring health professional Please note that this testimonial is entirely of my own volition and was not solicited by her in any way.

Ricki Bauman