Tag Archives: HLAA

Going Bilateral

Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow I am going bilateral with a second cochlear implant (the left ear). Here is how it all went down:

I took an ENG in December so that the surgeon could determine that a second implant would not be detrimental to my balance. I passed with flying colors, and had been waiting since that time for a call to schedule the surgery.

I was told then, in December, that the only thing we needed yet was approval from the insurance company. With the first surgery this all seemed to happen fairly quickly, so when March rolled around and I hadn’t heard anything, I was concerned. I emailed my audiologist to find out what the status was, and she told me that the surgery had been approved some time ago (probably around the holidays), that it was sent to my surgeon, and who knows where it went from there. In the meantime, the approval had expired. When she tried to get another approval, my insurance company denied it. She told me it was because my insurance changed, but I know that wasn’t true because I got the letter – they forgot to get a proper referral from my primary care physician. Anyhoo, attempt #3 was successful, and I got a call on Good Friday with a surgery date of April 13! Now this was the only date available for the surgery, so we had to take it or leave it. I had to reschedule an appointment with my optometrist to get new glasses, and my husband was able to get his jury duty postponed, and just like that we are ready to go!

All of this to say, I am excited. Losing my hearing was the scariest thing I have ever been through. I lost a lot during that time, but every day I feel like I gain a little bit back. Life will never look like it did before, but I am okay with that. There have been some good changes through all of this. And I know cochlear implants aren’t right for everyone, but it was the right choice for me. Having regained a level of hearing with my right ear implanted has given me back relationships I thought I had lost. Conversations I never wanted to miss. Sounds I never fully appreciated before. From talking with other bilateral recipients, I am hopeful that this second implant will enrich all of that and bring back more conversation and newly appreciated sounds.

If you have read this in time, please be praying for my surgery and subsequent recovery. I hope to recover quickly and get back to blogging within the week!

Edited to add this important link. Please consider helping me reach my goal and donating to the HLAA Walk4Hearing event in May! Go <<HERE>> and read my story and see my progress. Thank you!!

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Productive days and support groups

Occasionally I have days where I feel like I totally kicked ass. Yesterday was one of those. At 10:51 *AM* I was Skyping my mom to brag about all the stuff I had already accomplished: read my daily Scripture, wrote the meal plan and grocery list for the week, cleaned toilets, bathroom sinks and mirrors, walked for ten minutes on the treadmill, updated my Cozi calendar with the kids’ school calendar, and I showered.

So when my husband dropped my daughter off after noon (half days all week, to ease the kindergartners into school, I suppose), I was ready. Of course, we only had an hour or so to relax because the rest of the day was a blur. I had a follow up appointment with my neuro-ophthalmologist in the afternoon, then we picked up our son from Grandpa’s house, then came home to quickly eat dinner, then Mike and the kids dropped me off at my HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) meeting while they went grocery shopping.

Neuro-op visit went well. They tested my eyes again, and found that my right eye is a little worse, but my left eye is a little better. I guess that means I’m even. They used the word “stable” which is much better than “going blind”, so I’ll take it. I don’t know why going blind scares me so much. I know people who are blind, some from birth, and they are otherwise healthy and happy. It certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would only be the end of my world, if I let it be. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. IF we get to it. At this point I guess it doesn’t look like I’m headed there anytime soon. Thank you, Jesus 🙂

The HLAA meeting was wonderful. It’s the start of a new fiscal year for them (the local chapter, at least), so they kicked it off with an “open mic” night. I was excited to go, because I went to the last meeting in June, and to a dinner with the group in July, and already I feel like we are family. Last night was our opportunity to share our hearing loss stories with each other. It was refreshing to hear about other’s journeys, and was nice to be able to share mine as well. It’s amazing how different we all are, in general and in how we came to be deaf or hard of hearing, and yet we have a common understanding and can easily relate to one another. The group ranges in age and background. Some are lipreaders, some know ASL, some have hearing aids, and some have cochlear implants (some even have both!). Some have been deaf since birth, yet some, like me, have only been deaf a short time. Yet when I say being deaf sometimes makes me feel isolated, they all nod their heads in agreement. Because they have been there too.

All in all, it was a good day. Today I was reminded of where I have been, what I have come through, and the amazing gifts I have been given. Hallelujah.