Category Archives: Cochlear implant

2018 Squirt Gun 5k Fun Run

I ran a 5k last night with my friend and neighbor, Theresa. We had talked awhile ago about running a Color Run together, but it didn’t look like they had one coming back to our town. So I found us another fun run, on what I thought would be an easy course. It was set on a local high school’s cross country course, so I suppose I should have known. It was fine, really, just an added challenge. Everyone got their own squirt gun, and there were stations along the course where you could fill up, or get shot at, or both. I was all about squirting the little kids at first, but after the first half mile or so I just wanted to focus on running.

This was a different run for me because it wasn’t on pavement, and I wasn’t wearing my cochlear implants (they aren’t waterproof). So running deaf and on uneven terrain (that I couldn’t always see) proved to be quite the challenge. However, it was great having Theresa running right next to me, to alert me to upcoming obstacles and steer me in the right direction. Towards the end, as my legs were growing rather tired and we were making our way through the woods, I tripped on a fairly large root (or something) and Theresa caught me just before my face hit the ground. It was a very impressive catch! It was kind of scary for me though, not because of the falling, but because of the way my right leg responded to the falling. In the past I’ve been able to catch my balance, but this time my right leg – my “good” leg – completely gave out on me. Theresa had to lift me up to standing and then help me move my right leg to a stable standing position, and then after a minute or so I felt ready enough to get back into the motion of running. Of course I was still unsure of my footing and really not trusting either one of my legs, so Theresa kept a good hold on me as we continued the race.

I’m still sort of replaying the whole experience in my head in slow motion. I have been working really hard to be able to run this 10k in October and I don’t want this experience to keep me from that. I want to use this as a learning experience and maybe a reminder of how important it is to get my legs as strong as possible. I can’t know for sure if this body will allow me to run 6.2 miles in a row but I’m gonna keep pushing the boundaries and let it tell me when it can’t go any further.

Sidenote: On the way home, Theresa suggested stopping for a beer, so we ended the night with a cold glass of Guinness each! I think I’ve found another kindred spirit 🙂

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Fingernails on a chalkboard

“Like fingernails on a chalkboard”… this phrase dates me, I suppose. They don’t use chalkboards anymore, do they? But if you know the phrase, you’ll understand when I say that listening to most music now, with my cochlear implants, is an experience much like listening to someone scraping their fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s just that unpleasant. But I still, after five years, desperately miss music. So I’ve been trying to visit different genres than what I was used to, in hopes that something might bring me the same joy. What I’ve found so far that sounds good to me is plain piano music, drums, some hip-hop, and techno. Anything with a lot of different instruments or voices or a combination of both is just too much for my processors to handle. However, if it’s a familiar song and I can pick out the melody, it’s tolerable and somewhat enjoyable. So a lot of R.E.M. songs are still enjoyable to me and invoke good memories. They have been a favorite of mine since high school when I first heard the “Out of Time” album, and though many songs on the album are too grinding to listen to, just as many are pleasant and bring back happy memories. Actually, I could say that about several of their albums.

And then ironically, one band I used to hate actually sounds better to me now, and that’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Weird phenomenon, I know. I still stubbornly refuse to like them.

I’m loving the Pandora app for helping me branch out and find new music. If I hear a song that I really like, I’ll start up a station using that as a base, and it introduces me to all kinds of new, yet similar, songs. Current example (now playing): I find many of The White Stripes songs work well for my processors. They use clean beats that don’t get muddled around with the vocals, from what I can tell. Also Daft Punk, Stanton Warriors, DJ Krush. These are artists I have never heard of, and that probably most of my friends have never heard of, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s music and it sounds good to me and brings me joy. That’s why God gave us music, right? I like to believe that’s why, anyway.

Crossfit is for crazy people.

And I, apparently, am crazy. Because I tried it just one time and I loved it. Every muscle in my body is screaming with pain from a workout on Tuesday and yet I am eager to go back. Next week. Because ouchie wawa. I was able to go for a short run today and that seemed to help loosen up some muscles in my legs but my arms are still rather sore. It was hurting to reach up to put my cochlear implants on this morning.

It’s fun to whine about the pain, but I really did enjoy it. It was a complete body workout and I can see how it could help me become a better runner and be able to run longer. I still have my eye on a 10k in the fall!

One Day More!!

I know I should be listening to my Les Mis soundtrack because I’m going to the show tomorrow!! I’m so freaking excited I can’t even say it without exclamation points!!

I was listening to it, until my daughter came home. I had to take a chill out break and pull out my old Billie Holiday CDs, because she came home yesterday and was so excited to tell me they had learned about good old Lady Day.

I hadn’t listened to these in probably a decade so it’s interesting to hear how they sound with mechanical, bionic ears. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not terrible either. I’ve had to lower my expectations with music. The melody, the jazz, is quite soothing. I could get used to this, I think.

Anyway, back to Les Miserables!! We’re going tomorrow!! Though it’s the first day of March, so of course it’s supposed to snow. Typical Michigan. In like a lion. Bleh.

Music makes my heart happy

Okay. So it seems I’m not on my computer as frequently as I would like to blog (I keep it upstairs in my bedroom) so I’m gonna try blogging from my phone when the mood strikes. Which is surprisingly and nerdly (making up words here) often.

What I want to share about today is music. Music has always been very important to me. I have a sort of eclectic mix of what I like, mainly because I don’t care to just listen to something because other people say it’s good. If it makes me feel something good inside, it’s a winner in my book. When I lost my hearing I lost what I had with music, and that was devastating, but they tell me my brain can learn to appreciate music again, with time and practice. Right now it all just sounds weird and mechanical, but they said if I listen to familiar music, stuff my brain would remember, it would get better over time. Problem is, I have trouble remembering what I used to listen to.

Enter The Office. I’ve been rewatching the show on Netflix cuz I loved it when it originally aired. Still makes me laugh out loud. One character on the show, Andy Bernard, will occasionally start singing songs that were semi-popular at the time. In one episode he was singing a song by the Indigo Girls and I recognized it immediately. Yes!! I had forgotten them but I remember I had a cassette tape I used to listen to on long road trips to see friends, or my drives to work at the Pizza Hut two towns over.

This didn’t bring back a flood of music memories, but it was at least a key to the particular time period that I knew held lots of my formerly favorite music. So, I started a Pandora station with the Indigo Girls and over the last few days I have been spending a little bit of time each day building the perfect station for retraining my brain with my very own personalized “oldies”.

So far it seems to be working, and I’m having fun singing along to all these songs I forgot I knew.

In other news, the kids had a show day today so they are hanging out with me at home. And it’s sunny outside, so the sun just dances off the blanket of snow outside. I love this season!

Cherishing the silence

I’m finding that I do my best thinking when my “ears” are off (my cochlear implant processors). Even at night, when the house is quiet. It’s just a whole different kind of quiet, because all I hear is the low ringing tones of tinnitus and absolutely nothing else. You probably don’t realize there is noise to be heard, but just try plugging your ears for a few seconds and you’ll see what I mean. There’s a word for that noise but I can’t think of it at the moment. Ambient maybe?

What’s funny about me enjoying this silent existence is that it used to terrify me. So much so, that I needed medication just to sleep at night. But 4 years of deafness and now I welcome the silence. It’s helpful to retreat into myself, to focus my thoughts, but mostly I embrace it because it’s now my favorite time to talk to Jesus. He meets me here in the silence. He was here with me every day while I wrestled with hearing loss and vision loss back in 2013, and he’s never left me since. I don’t share this info often, but there was a song I used to sing during that time, over and over and over mostly in my head, and it brought me peace and comfort when not much else did. I’ll post the lyrics below because you might see how unbelievably appropriate it was for what I was going through. The interesting thing about it, no – miraculous – is that prior to losing my hearing, I had only heard that song one time that I can recall. It was in a movie that I watched once years ago. How on earth could I have remembered that song? Only God knows. But boy, did that song ever save me from a really ugly and scary time in my life, and I believe it will now forever be my theme song.

Losing my hearing and vision was an enormous life changer for me, for obvious reasons, but God has used it all to bring about incredibly wonderful changes. The biggest change, and the one I am most grateful for, is that it solidified my faith in Jesus. He showed me through that song, through the support we received from family and friends, through Scripture, through the fact that we survived it all, that He will never leave me.

So. When I’m settling in for the night and am taking off my ears and entering the silence, I am delighted to talk to Him. He is my peace, forever and always, amen.

Jesus, Lover of my Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul

Jesus, I will never let you go

You’ve taken me from the miry clay

Set my feet upon the rock, and now I know

I love you, I need you

Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go

My Savior, my closest friend

I will worship you until the very end

I suck at consistently writing

Did I really just go an entire month without even thinking about blogging? So much has happened, I don’t even know how to update you properly.

I’ll say I do believe the unplanned hiatus was a result of the medication I’m now on for anxiety. It starting working right away, but I discovered it was actually working a little too well. I went from being anxious about every possible thing, to not caring about much at all. Even the important stuff. So a few days ago I started taking half a dose, and that seems to be working out well. I’m caring again but I’m not having panic attacks, and that makes me very happy. I’m praying that I’ve found the right balance and look forward to moving on with my life.

My daughter turned 8 a couple weeks ago. My precious baby girl is 8. She’s growing up too fast for me. I just need her to slow down. She is currently obsessed with unicorns and animal print – two things I have zero interest in or experience with, so I’m sort of watching her from afar, in awe of her sense of self and unashamed quirkiness. I know she’ll look back on these days and wonder what she could have been thinking and ask me why I didn’t forbid her from making these disastrous fashion choices, and I cannot wait for that day. I was her age during the 80’s, so I have plenty of those groan-worthy memories to look back on.

We threw a party to celebrate right here at the house, with a handful of Natalie’s friends from school and the neighborhood, both old and new. The girls gave themselves Jamberry manicures and ate unicorn cake and rainbow sherbet. Then at the end we had time leftover so the girls put together a fairly rowdy game of Simon Says. It was really something to be on the outside, seeing her in her element and enjoying spending time with her friends. She just seemed so grown up, so “Eight.” It’s one of those days I hope I never forget.

2017-11-11 15.17.45

In other news, I went to a new audiologist today to update the programming of my cochlear implants. While the audiologist I had been seeing was nice and all, we never felt like she really knew much about the technology for my implants. I think she probably dealt more with hearing aids. With my last programming, my husband was positive that it was a big change in the wrong direction, and that I ought to find a new audiologist. Well, I finally did and it certainly paid off. The office only services people with cochlear implants, so that is their specialty. We knew as soon as we walked in that we were in the right place. The visit took a solid two hours but it was thorough and I left feeling a ton more confident about my hearing level and speech recognition. Exhausted, but confident. I’m looking forward to the days ahead, for every opportunity to hear all the typical sounds in a new way with this new and improved programming. Technology truly is a wonderful thing.