To quiet his concerns, Opperman offered to put Evans in touch with other patients who'd undergone the procedure. But then Evans caught an NBC News segment featuring Dr. Sataloff, Opperman's mentor, speaking about laser technology, botox injections and vocal cord dysfunction; the report made him comfortable enough to schedule the procedure, which took less than twenty minutes.

At his first appointment, Opperman had also determined that Evans suffered from severe acid reflux — even though one of Evans's previous doctors had told him just the opposite. That physician had been looking for signs of reflux in the esophagus, Opperman explained, whereas he was surveying the larynx, which is very sensitive to any kind of acid. The reflux had been weakening the vocal cords, making them more susceptible to irritation and aggravating the granuloma.

To alleviate the effects of the reflux, Opperman recommended that Evans follow a very strict regimen, which included elevating the head of his bed by six inches, refraining from eating within three hours of going to bed, and getting on anti-reflux medicine immediately. "He kind of got me on the wagon, so to speak, to try to control the reflux," notes Evans. "The combination of the acid reflux control and the botox injections — at least in my case — was a career-saving kind of thing. The chronic problems I was beginning to have in terms of pain in the throat and discomfort was impeding my ability to talk."

Promoters around town have William "Buzz" Reifman on speed-dial.
Promoters around town have William "Buzz" Reifman on speed-dial.
The Colorado Voice Clinic helped Jim Evans regain his voice.
The Colorado Voice Clinic helped Jim Evans regain his voice.

His treatment didn't end there, though. Opperman recommended a speech pathologist who essentially helped Evans learn how to speak all over again, breaking all the bad habits he'd acquired over the course of his life doing something most people think comes naturally: talking. "There's a way of speaking in which you literally slam your vocal cords together, which causes irritation and more wear than you need to," Evans explains. "And it's something that you're totally unconscious or aware of, but it's how you pronounce your syllables, your consonants, how you attack your words, that really makes the difference.

"Almost from the very first speech-therapy session, I began to see an immediate improvement with respect to learning a different way to talk," Evans says. "And, of course, I was completely amazed because the vocal cords are technically paralyzed; they're not able to function as they normally would, and I was able to begin to regain my voice. The amazing thing in all this is that with the combination of the injections with the therapy, exactly six weeks after the injections, I went back for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Opperman, and there was no granuloma. The granuloma had completely disappeared...I was just totally amazed. He was not at all surprised; he was very pleased and happy. I was shocked."

A year later, Evans has recovered completely and credits Opperman and the Colorado Voice Clinic with saving his voice. "He was the only one in the Denver area that I could've gone to," Evans notes. "Everyone else would've recommended a surgical procedure to try to remove the granuloma, which is always a mistake to do a surgery on that, because they just grow back — even when you tie that with therapy. Without question, this probably was not only the best thing to do, this was probably the only thing to do."

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