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.
Cara is Awesome!
“9 years ago I was the lone survivor of a high speed head on collision that sidelined me for nearly two years. I was a public speaker/singer and was actually on my way to one of my concerts when the accident happened. Traumatic brain injury caused me to stutter so badly that I could barely get my words out. It also caused me to utter loud, uncontrollable Tourettes-like noises.
Part of my overall therapy included speech therapy with Cara so I could try to regain my ability to speak without stuttering, gather my breath control and be functional again. I had no idea if I would ever speak or sing in public again – I was just hoping to have some sense of normalcy.
When I first came to Cara, I was embarrassed and frustrated to say the least. But she made me feel at ease from day one, and she was so patient and understanding of my plight. She was not only a great speech therapist, but a great encourager. I made tremendous progress under her guidance. We had to start with her re-training me to read simple books just to re-learn my breath control, then we were able to make significant advances from there. Cara was there to shepherd me, guide me, challenge me, calm me when I got frustrated, and most of all to express her belief in me.
It takes a special person to accomplish what Cara did in my recovery. I will forever be thankful for her taking on such a tough task. I am happy to say that within a few months of my therapy, I was able to put long sentences together with no stuttering or noises, within a year I was back to doing a little public speaking, and within 2 years I was fully recovered and back on tour singing and speaking!
I highly recommend Cara for your speech therapy needs. She’s not only great at what she does, but you will be hard pressed to find somebody that takes more of an interest in you as a human being, cares about you, and treats you with dignity when you are at your lowest. Thank you Cara, for allowing the good Lord to use your skills to help get me through what had to be the toughest time of my life and come out stronger than ever!”
— Charlie B.
“I met Cara Smith 6 years ago, in the most critical time in my life. No speech, no hearing. She support me. She pushed me. Cara made me able to speak again. I told her ” you can’t heal without a small measure of love” she agreed. I am such a better man than when I met her. I can’t say “thank you” enough. Share your healing to the world…..”
— Jeff B.
I am a full time gospel singer so my voice is very important to me. About two years ago I started having trouble with my voice….. With such a busy schedule I ignored it and push it harder and harder until I developed a nodule on my vocal cords. I went to Vanderbilt Vocal Center and they told me it would go away with proper vocal therapy. I was visiting Tampa Florida and my doctor recommended Cara to me while I was there. I knew that she could help me after the first session. She was very patient and from a singer’s point of you she understood how to help me regain my voice. With all of the traveling that I do we found a way to do a video therapy session so that I could stay with her and not have to find someone else in whatever state I was in.
I highly recommend Cara. She is very knowledgeable in her profession. And I have to admit my schedule was not always easy to deal with but she found a way to make it happen. Although my singing voice has come back. I still want to continue vocal training with her so that I can take extra special care of my voice!
— Annette P.