Hi Nats and Patty
Sorry to share your vocal cord issues. If you search "vocal cord" on this board you will see most of my posts. I am a sales mgr/office mgr and use my voice for presentations daily and am the voice which answers the business phones. Previous to my paralysis I did voice overs for commercials and enjoyed singing. I had a great voice.
First and foremost be your own advocate! I know this is hugely difficult as you are choking and have no voice volume and speaking absolutely exhauts you, but you must do this as MOST PEOPLE HAVE NO CLUE WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH.
My vocal cord was paralyzed as a result of surgery, anterior spine surgery where they cut through front of throat to work on spine in back of neck. My surgeon damaged the nerve causing the paralysis.
How to help.... I went to an ENT and scoured the net. I have never had a reflux issue but I found the following to help.
Adopt the GERD diet as you cannot afford any more damage to vocal cords.
Sleep with a wedge pillow so stomach acid cannot back up and irritate.
Eliminate all caffeine and spicy foods ( I know
I was a coffee junkie and now I drink chamomile tea)
You must be hydrated! If you are not, you get this sticky saliva which makes everything back up.Drink room temp. liquids this stops the choking and excess saliva. Cold drinks make us choke!
Find yourself the BEST speech therapist (it really helps!)
I had 2 radience injections (minor surgery) in my vocal cord to fluff up (LASTS A FEW MONTHS!) cord which means you can speak and eat again withmuch less fear of aspiration. Do not fear this as it really helps.
I am now 1 year out from my surgery and my vocal cord is still 30% paralyzed. I faithfully do my exercises and follow this diet. I can speak, cannot sing, will not be doing any voice overs with current voice
I try to limit my speech because at around 3:00PM every day I am in pain where my vocal cord is. My dr says it is the demand on my voice. (I have to work so.....)
Anyway I hope I have helped.