Well, Hubby and I are back from San Antonio! We left the house at 6:30 A.M. to begin out trek to the South. After about 5 1/2 hours, we finally arrived at our destination, The University of Texas Health and Science Center in San Antonio. We asked the guard at the gate where we needed to go and he directed us to a parking lot and waved in the general direction of a building where the elusive room 309L was located.
Despite the guard's (less than clear) directions to the room, it took the two of us about 20 minutes and the intervention of a very, very nice security guard to actually get to the room. Let's just say that both of us were a little frustrated getting there. I guess on a positive note, Hubby and I both got our workout for the day by walking all the (wrong) way around the building before locating the security guard.
When we finally get registered and into the room, we saw about 20 or so other people gathered for the meeting.
My friend, Lori, was the first person we saw when we found the right room. Doesn't she have a pretty smile? Hubby is to her right reading his newspaper. The woman smiling behind Lori is Renee and she has commented on my podcast. She is a very nice woman. Mike, another person with ABSD, is sitting next to her.
Here are some more people at the meeting. I didn't catch all of their names but the man in the back row wearing the green hat was Michael and has the most beautiful smile.Lylia and Charlie, both members of the NSDA Board, spoke about their personal experiences with SD and also led an audience participation discussion about topics of concern about SD. One thing which almost everyone in attendance was concerned about was the insurance aspect of paying for Botox treatment. The NSDA has a publication out with advice for dealing with insurance companies. You can check the document out online and can print it out for your own personal use.
The group also talked about getting amplified phones through the Texas STAP program and other problems that people with SD encounter every day like speaking at drive-throughs and in noisy rooms.
Johnny Bush, a country singer, is a honorary board member who has ADSD, told us a bit about his life and also sang Whiskey River (take My Mind). He is an outspoken advocate for SD and spreads information about SD whenever he can.
Tammy, the support group leader for San Antonio, and her husband, Jim, were both at the meeting. Jim is a BIG fan of Johnny Bush and was thrilled to meet him in person.
Johnny was signing autographs and selling books and CD's after his performance. Lori bought a CD and I bought his autobiography. Here we are getting his autograph (sorry it is a bit off center but Hubby isn't the most confident photographer).
The man standing in the background is Dr. Blake Simpson, an Otolaryngologist who treats Johnny Bush and who spoke to the group about a new procedure for injecting Botox which allows people, who for their job's sake can't stand a lengthy period of breathiness after Botox, to reduce the breathy period. He injects the muscles controlling the false vocal cords and this also relaxes the muscles which control the true vocal chords. In Johnny's case, it relieves all of the spasms and allows him to speak with a nearly normal voice. This procedure has only been tested on people who have ADSD and Dr. Simpson said that he would be very reluctant to attempt it on people with ABSD due to the impact on muscles involved in breathing and swallowing.
Even though this meeting only had about 30 or so people in attendance, I felt that it was well worth the time that Hubby and I took to get there and to get home (which is a story for tomorrow, perhaps).
I am so glad that I got to meet everyone at the meeting and hope that more meetings are held in the future. I know that the National Symposium will be on April 4th, 2009, in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you have SD you should really consider making plans to attend the meeting. For more information (which is still pretty basic at this point) you can go to the NSDA's website and look under Events.
Voice Update: Still going strong. I felt a bit awkward speaking to others who had SD worse than I currently do but they were all so wonderful and supportive that I soon just enjoyed being with them. I did some massage on the way home from San Antonio and again this morning while reading some of Johnny's book. I think everything is still pretty loose at the moment!