Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just one week until...

Wow. "Hear" I am. Just one week until my cochlear implant surgery. It all still seems a bit surreal. I am excited and scared at the same time. I want to be able to hear so badly. I have dealt with hearing loss my whole life, but it has never effected my daily life in such a negative way. I am desperate to be able to do "normal" things like have dinner with friends in a restaurant, attend parties, have conversations with my third grade buddies in our often noisy classroom, watch TV, listen to music, or sing. SING. I really miss singing.
For those of you who are not familiar with my hearing history, let me bring you up to speed. I have had a hearing loss in both ears since I was a toddler. It has been told to me that the cause was probably a fever or infection. I often had ear infections, did the tonsils out and tubes in. I have worn hearing aids since seventh grade. I have never let my hearing loss stop me from doing something I want to do. Until now. In November of 2012, I had a sudden loss of almost all hearing in my right ear. I went to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT) and he did several tests to determine the reason for the loss and some treatments to try to regain the hearing. Good news was that he found no tumor or other horrible thing causing my hearing loss. Bad news was that it was probably permanent. The hearing loss was so profound that I could no longer wear my hearing aid in that ear. It just didn't serve any purpose. But, my ENT, Dr. Benson, thought that I was a good candidate for a cochlear implant.
I underwent 3 hours of hearing tests with audiologist, Dr. Bernath, on December 27 to determine if I qualify for a cochlear implant. If I did not qualify under regular FDA guidelines, they felt I would be a likely candidate for a study to expand the implant guidelines. It was very disappointing to learn that I did not meet the guidelines for either one. Dr. Bernath suggested that I wear a high powered hearing aid for one month and then return for testing. This had been done with another patient and he then qualified the second time. I was fitted with a Phonak Naida. This hearing aid was much stronger than my Phonak Audeos and it sent vibrations into my head that made me dizzy. After an adjustment, it was tolerable, but not pleasant. I wore this for one month and was most happy to send it back at the end of that time period. It had not helped me hear anything better. It only sent vibrations into my skull every time someone talked or a sound was made. It was exhausting spending all my energy trying to hear and this hearing aid just added distractions. After the second round of testing I was heartbroken to learn that I still did not qualify. I was so borderline. For example, one of the tests required me to identify 25 words or less out of 100. I correctly identified 27. Ugh! So on January 30 I did not qualify for a cochlear implant according to FDA guidelines and I did not qualify as a candidate for the study. Dr. Bernath said she was still going to submit my request to my insurance. Although insurance guidelines are similar to the other targets I failed to hit, she was going to recommend that it would be beneficial for me to have this surgery. I was told that I could be reevaluated in one year to see if I would qualify again. ONE YEAR!?!?
At this point I was so discouraged. I could not continue to do my job if my hearing stayed this way. I couldn't go out with friends. I couldn't hold conversations in the car. I couldn't enjoy music. I was so frustrated. And so the waiting game began.
A Chris Tomlin concert in early March lifted my spirits and brought me hope. Of course the music at the concert was so loud that I had no trouble hearing. And the message of the music reminded me that I have a God that holds me in the palm of his hand no matter what happens in this world. He has a perfect plan for me that may not be the same as my plan for myself, but is good and perfect in His time.

In Your everlasting arms
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust You
In Your never failing love
You work everything for good
God, whatever comes my way
I will trust You
                                              Sovereign (Chris Tomlin)

Near the end of March, just before my 40th birthday, I received the news that I was approved for the cochlear implant. I was overjoyed! In the last month, I have been so busy with tests and insurance "stuff" to be ready for this day. One week. I am scared. But I am willing to take that leap of faith that this will be a good and glorious blessing for me and those I love. I know that the weeks and years to come will not be easy. Mappings and training my ear to "hear" again will be hard work. But the possibilities are so promising! Hear I am!


  1. Jenny - I greatly admire your strength and your faithfulness in God. I understand why you would be scared (I would be too), but know that your positive attitude and faith can calm those fears and keep you moving forward. You will be in my prayers for continued strength and I look forward to your updates on the procedure in the days, weeks and months to come.

  2. What A story! What an ordeal! Lots of prayers from Cincinnati, Jenny!

  3. So excited for you Jenny! I will keep my eyes on your blog! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!