Monday, December 14, 2015

Four Years

Our most recent family picture.  My little people are growing up!

Merry Christmas!  It's such a wonderful (and stressful) time of year.  I'm enjoying the sounds of the holidays and still am in awe that I actually turn on the radio in the car.  It's been nearly 4 years since my CI surgery.  4 years!  I have become so used to my bionic hearing, that I now forget sometimes that I am deaf.  Of course, there are little reminders all the time that my hearing is not perfect (like when I am helping in a kindergarten classroom full of noise) but I am SO incredibly happy with the many, MANY things I hear every single day.

Some of my recent favorites include: Hearing an ad on a radio station advertising a computer deal (when I just happened to be in the market for a new computer), listening to the lists of things my children want for Christmas, enjoying group games at a recent Christmas party and listening to a speech while I was multi-tasking on my phone (yes, sometimes I can multi-task though my husband does not believe it :).  It's also pretty amazing that I can hear the front door open at work and hear the sounds of movement coming down the hallway.

There are sounds that I would be okay without hearing (does anyone enjoy listening to a 2 year old scream??) but I still try to be grateful for the less pleasant sounds (after all, I am very fortunate to have that 2 year old!).

I still dream of getting my left ear implanted.  But I will wait until my children are older.  I do not want to risk more balance issues right now.  I'm hoping that my insurance company will soon approve an upgrade to the most recent processor (the outside component of a CI) as the new ones have even better technology.  Likely it will take quite a bit of time for that approval.  But in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the incredible gift of hearing.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vulnerability

Earlier this week, Cochlear Americas shared my story on their blog.  The positive response has amazed me.  I find it SO interesting that I have gone from hiding behind my hearing loss to opening myself up to the world in such a short amount of time.  Though it also makes me feel quite vulnerable, I am grateful to have a voice.

I have been asked to serve on the outreach committee so that I can communicate with those who are considering a CI.  I am thrilled for this opportunity to give back, even just a little bit.  Observing and talking with others who have received a CI is what gave me the courage to go through with it.  I am thankful every day that they paved the way for me.  Hopefully, my journey can help some others have the courage to become bionic.

This month marks my 3 year activation anniversary.  I continue to struggle every day with missing something (today I had to ask a man 3 times to repeat himself when he was asking me a question) but overall, I am conquering the hearing world all day long!


My son was recently fitted with his first pair of hearing aids.  It's been a bittersweet adjustment for him (and for me!).  He HATED them the first month, tolerated the second month and is starting to see the value in this third month.  I am so proud of him but my heart breaks every time he says "I don't have hearing loss!"    Darn genetics!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Arise


Guess what friends??  I started a private practice!  I know, I know, I am crazy.  I have 3 little kids I adore that need as much attention as I can give them.  I have this crazy, random, illness that threatens to take away my functioning (Meniere's Disease).  However, I need to work part time to contribute to the family finances.  So if I need to work anyways, why not work for myself, right?

Best decision ever!  (Well, not really "ever" but it's been a super great decision.)  It was a ton of work (I've been missing in action for the past few months getting it ready) but I opened on August 1, 2014.  In the two months I've been open, I have been able to help several people.  I am definitely feeling very blessed.

One of my goals has been to certify in sandtray therapy.  I've used sandtray for years but decided to take the classes to certify.  Part of the certification process has been to build my own sandtrays.  It's interesting how hearing loss has impacted EVERY area of my life and that came out in the sand.  I've spent my life trying to "prove" myself.  When you have to work harder, think smarter, avoid effectively, fake your way through conversations, manage constant anxiety and constantly try to fill in the blanks, you tend to have to prove your competency again and again.  What the sand taught me is that I've already proven myself, I do not have to keep trying to.  That was very liberating.  I am enough.  (And so are YOU!)

So many doors have opened to me since getting my Master's degree and licensing as a therapist.  Even more doors have opened since getting a CI.  One of these days I'll tell you the meaning behind my business name.  But enough for now, I've got dishes to do and a company to build :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Boys


Baby Sean is now 9 months old and sporting a helmet these days.  His head is misshaped due to some complications of infancy.  The helmet is working so well.  And he looks adorable in it.  AND it protects his head from every bump and fall.  Score :)  Joshua is now 4 and a half.  Just before Sean was born, Joshua was diagnosed with hearing loss.  I've suspected it for a while but we weren't sure if it was ear infection related and would be cured with tubes.  Well, he no longer has ear infections but still has hearing loss.  It sucks.  The last thing I wanted to pass on to my children is my hearing loss.  Right now, it's a mild loss.  But that's how it starts with us.  Mild loss can still impact your life in negative ways.  It's affected Joshua's speech, his ability to hear whispers and music, and speech in noise.  I've been preparing him for hearing aids.  He SO does not want hearing aids. {sigh}

The school district audiologist is AWESOME.  Love her.  I appreciate that Joshua's life is starting to fill up with helping, caring, knowledgeable helping professionals.  My guilt is starting to subside.  A little.  He will not start kindergarten until 2015 and will for sure have hearing aids before then.  In the mean time, I am still working on preparing him.  There are a  lot of sorrows ahead.  Lessons too.  I know he will be okay and I am so, so grateful he has a happy-go-lucky personality.  It will help him!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pregnancy and Hearing Loss

My belly at 25ish weeks
The countdown is on.  Two weeks to go and we get to meet our little boy.  Maybe we'll even have a name for him by then.  This whole naming your child thing is so difficult!  As I've said before and as I'll say again, pregnancy wrecks havoc on our bodies.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!!!!! 

This time around, with a CI, my pregnancy experience has been a little different.  I've heard the baby's heart beat sooner.  When meeting when the ultrasound tech, it was not as much work to understand everything she was saying about how baby is doing.  Scheduling appointments for the ultrasound and doctor and everything else has been way easier.  I have understood the nurses better when they ask me questions or turn around to write something in the chart while speaking to me.  Overall, my stress levels are just lower than they have been with my previous pregnancies.

I've been thinking about how delivery will go.  Since I have csections, I basically know what to expect and know what I need.  However, laying down can pop the CI magnet off my head.  I don't want to be worried about keeping it on or fixing it constantly.  I think I'll experiment with a headband over it to see if it stays in place while being operated on.  I'm also curious about how I will do in OR with the medical staff all having masks over their mouths.  I'm looking forward to the experience with my new hearing abilities to see if I pick up more on what they are saying.  I'm excited to see my little guy!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May Updates

Though my posts are infrequent, I am still getting a ton of hits on this blog.  So I will continue to occasionally post.  I hope I am giving the encouragement that people need to consider CI's.  It still frustrates me that most Audi's won't recommend them and when asked downplay how beneficial they are.  Ugh.  These bionic bits of technology are incredible.  My quality of life has improved in powerful and miraculous ways.

I continue to be incredibly busy (who isn't?!!).  Just trying to keep my life balanced between my family, church, job and volunteer responsibilities.  This pregnancy has been a little harder on me physically.  I'm not exactly a "young" pregnant woman!  I also have taken on additional responsibilities at work which takes a toll on me physically.  The adoption manager is on maternity leave so I am filling in for her until she returns.  My own caseload has decreased but my work load has significantly increased.  I work more hours.  I deal with higher stress situations.  But my hearing is not a roadblock in any of it really.  I have to talk on the phone.  A lot!  Every time I take a call I still send a silent prayer above pleading for help with hearing.  Time after time, I am amazed that I managed the call successfully.  There is an occasional person I struggle with understanding but the large majority I can do quite well with.  I just never expected to be this successful with a CI.  I was hopeful, but didn't allow myself to expect more than "slight improvement."

When the time is right, I'll get my left ear implanted.  Until then, I'm going to appreciate what I can hear every second of my life!

Friday, March 29, 2013

March Updates

I just wanted to post a quick update to the blog as it has been a while.  I am still doing awesomely amazing considering how deaf I was a year and a half ago.  My life has changed so very much.  Some of my recent successes:

-Hearing a speech given in a microphone in the church gym while I was in the back.  I also was turned away from the speaker and helping myself to seconds on the food table.  I heard every word.

-Being able to successfully eavesdrop on a conversation happening down the hall from me.  It was a very boring subject, office computers, but still I could hear them!!

-Hearing some song lyrics without needing to follow the words.  Though this is still rare, I occassionaly hear a song very clearly and it MAKES my day.  I am really loving Maroon 5 and Christina Perri for this reason.

-I'm successfully using the phone to call doctors, make appointments, talk to clients, etc.  Wow, has this made my life a zillion times easier.  I still use an ALD and maybe always will but still am super happy about it.

-Successfully navigating the public school world as I am learning how to register my daughter for kindergarten, arranging assessments and becoming familiar with school staff.

All in all, just fantastic.  But I'm still hard of hearing.  I still miss things.  I still have challenges.  I'm nowhere near as anxious about them but just keep trying to work on them.  My biggest challenge continues to be the volunteer work I do for church.  I work with the teenage girls and my oh my do they have soft voices.  I'm hoping my constant request that they repeat themselves helps give them the courage and confidence to let themselves be heard.

And by the way, I'm pregnant.  I'm having a boy and we are all super thrilled about it.  He should be coming in mid August :)