THE STORY Behind this quilt June 9th, of 2017 I woke up and noticed my voice was tired and a little scratchy, over the next two weeks my loud voice that easily carried across a room become a choppy whisper that could barely be heard by people standing right next to me. At first I blamed it on over use, not using it correctly, and maybe a little laryngitis. After a couple of weeks I finally went and saw my Doctor and got an antibiotic and some steroids and figured in a week all would be better. When that didn’t work I ended up seeing an ENT and then being referred to a Laryngologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Over the following months we did a number of Scopes, Speech Therapy, and started Botox Injections into the vocal chords (I have the best looking vocal chords in the area, not a wrinkle to be seen!). While we were able to gain me some volume over the time, the choppy-ness remained. In January of 2018 I got the official diagnosis of “ Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia”. So what is “Spasmodic Dysphonia”? Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a neurological disorder in a category called dystonias. A dystonia is a movement disorder that causes muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. When a person with SD attempts to speak, involuntary spasms in the tiny muscles of the larynx cause the voice to break up, or sound strained, tight, strangled, breathy, or whispery. The spasms often interrupt the sound, squeezing the voice to nothing in the middle of a sentence, or dropping it to a whisper. However, during other activities, such as breathing and swallowing, the larynx functions normally. Spasmodic dysphonia is estimated to affect approximately 40-50,000 people in North America. Although it can start at any time during life, SD seems to begin more often between the ages of 30 and 50. The disorder affects women more often than men (less then 5%). Onset is usually gradual with no obvious explanation. Symptoms usually occur in the absence of any structural abnormality of the larynx, such as nodules, polyps, carcinogens, or inflammation. People have described their symptoms as worsening over an approximate 18-month period and then remaining stable in severity from that point onward. Some people have reported brief periods of remission, however this is very rare and the symptoms usually return. Once I had this diagnosis many thoughts started racing through my mind “How am I going to do my job at Country Traditions teaching Machine Owners Classes and Quilting Classes”, “How am I going to do Quilt Guild Presentations”, “How is this going to effect my life as a quilter in general”, and “how can I use my love of quilting to raise awareness”. This final question is what inspired this project. Quilters are some of the most caring and supportive groups of people I know and what Quilter doesn't like having a new quilt pattern to work on and helping a good cause at the same time. As for the inspiration for the pattern “Birds of a Feather”. First of all Flying Geese are one of my favorite quilt units to make, and then also Geese use their “voice” to signal the change of a season to us as they fly south for the winter and north for the summer, much like my voice is signaling a change in this season of my life. Finished Quilt Measures 65" x 75"