Botox helps SW Ind. professor regain his voice 

A southwest Indiana professor who could only talk at a whisper the past seven years because of a rare vocal disorder is back in full voice after receiving Botox treatments.

The Princeton Daily Clarion reports ( ) that Oakland City University Professor Charles Kiesel was left speaking with a raspy whisper after a bout with laryngitis left him with spasmic dysphonia, a disorder that causes a constant vocal chord tension. Two to three months after the laryngitis went away, his voice had not recovered.

"I hated meeting people for the first time," he said. "I had a wimpy voice, I felt like I had to explain myself. People would think I was sick, or had cancer."

The social sciences instructor said it caused him to withdraw.

"I felt isolated. I'd just not talk because people would have trouble understanding," he said.

He went through several diagnoses and tried things that seemed to only work temporarily. Then he saw a news report about a woman who regained her voice after losing it because of a case of laryngitis.

Kiesel had tears running down his face watching the report. He also had hope; he made an appointment with the same doctor. The doctor diagnosed Kiesel and explained that he would need a Botox injection.

Kiesel went to Vanderbilt University for the treatment, where they wired him with electrodes. He waited in a room with four other people who had his same condition. They all were in professions where speaking was part of their job.

About 400 people a year are treated with Botox injections for the condition. Kiesel said he was done after a few quick injections.

"It wasn't as bad as three flu shots," he said.

His voice didn't return immediately. He was told to expect a few days of a rich, albeit gravelly, voice and then the voice would be weak for about two weeks.

One of the first things he did when his voice returned was to go around campus, looking for any professor he knew, to tell them, "this is my real voice." He went to students he'd had for several semesters, to let them hear how he really sounds.

For Kiesel, having his voice back is a way of showing people who he really is — not the quiet person they've known, but the rich baritone, mile-a-minute talker that he was before he lost that important part of his identity.



Information from: Princeton Daily Clarion,

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