Monday, October 10, 2016

The Waiting Game

This process moves so slowly. I am convinced the Lord is teaching me patience. I had an appointment set up on September 12 for the necessary 3 hours of audiology tests to determine the extent of my hearing loss and document it all for diagnosis and insurance purposes. The week before that appointment, the office called me and said I needed to meet with the physician first. So we cancelled the audiology appointment and set a physician appointment - for 2 weeks later.
I attended the appointment with the doctor on September 24 and was pleased with what he had to say. The doctor that did my first implant is no longer with the practice and I was worried that I might have to go outside of Toledo for my surgery. However, the doctor that I saw on September 24 comes to the office a few times a month and does the surgeries at St. Luke's Hospital, which is where I had my last one done. That was a huge relief that it will still be an outpatient surgery close to home. Dr. D was very nice and friendly and I liked him immediately.
I finally got that audiology appointment set with my audiologist, Dr. Jessica (same one who works with me on my right ear). She told me that instead of the usual 3 hours of testing, it would probably be only 2 because there would be things we wouldn't have to talk about and do because this is my second implant. (yay!!) I had my appointment on Friday, October 7. We got all the hearing tests done, filled out all necessary paperwork, and even remapped my right implant. It had been almost 2 years exactly since I'd been there for a mapping. She was still extremely happy with the results of my right implant. Friday's tests showed my speech understanding at 99% correct in quiet and 87% correct in noise. In real life, it's not always that amazing, but still that's pretty awesome! She told me she calls me her "rockstar" patient because of my fantastic results with the implant. She also warned me that the left ear might not have such great results. Every ear is different in how it accepts the implant and adjusts to hearing. I am completely ok with that because right now, I have NO hearing in my left ear. So something has got to be better than nothing.
Now, we just have to wait for insurance approval. This can take 6-8 weeks. Last time there were a few glitches that took several days of phone calls between me, the insurance and the physicians office to iron out the approval. Thank goodness for snow days to get that done last time! I am hoping that this approval will be smoother.
Once approved, we can schedule the surgery. Right now, Dr. D is booked up into December, so surgery will be late December or early January at the very earliest. If approval takes a long time, the surgery date could be pushed back even later.
So, I am waiting impatiently for approval and the next steps of this process. Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted!
God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good!

Monday, September 12, 2016

On Hold...

I was supposed to have a 3 hour hearing evaluation today to determine whether my left ear is a candidate for a cochlear implant. Last week the office called me and cancelled that appointment in order to make an appointment for me with a physician first. My new appointment is now on September 24. After seeing the physician, we will schedule the hearing evaluation with the audiologist. This timeline just moves so slowly. This is not surprising to me. It took nearly 6 months from my first appointment to my CI activation last time. Then there were numerous mapping appointments following activation to perfect the settings on my device. If this experience has taught me anything, it is patience. But patience is hard and sometimes I get whiny!
So far, "deaf life" is going ok. Some experiences are harder than others to hear. I feel more upbeat about persevering through the tough times because I carry a hope that the outcome will be a positive one. I do pray for healing sometimes, but more often I pray for the doctors, nurses and audiologists that will help me along the way. I know God could heal me if that were His will, but I believe He has other plans for my hearing journey. I hope my heart is listening when He whispers.
The big difference between this journey and the last one is hope. Last time I was filled with desperation and no vision of what the future may hold. This time I am anchored in hope. I know what is possible. I trust in God's perfect timing.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Here We Go Again...

It's been almost 2 years since my last post. I have had a few comments asking me to post and update on how my life with a cochlear implant is going. Really, I didn't feel the need to post because the implant is great. I love it! Life without it would be difficult and depressing.

When evaluated for my CI, the ENT told me that although I have significant loss in my left ear, a hearing aid is sufficient for the time being. He also told me that because I had unexplained sudden loss in my right ear that led to my CI, the left ear would probably eventually need a CI also.

In the last month the hearing in my left ear has changed significantly. First the sound quality changed. It became more tinny, I often felt like I was in a tin can or had water in my ears. Then I noticed a considerable decrease in volume each day when I put my hearing aid on in the morning. In about a week, almost all hearing was gone in the left ear. After a visit to my audiologist for a hearing evaluation, she confirmed that I was almost completely deaf in the left ear and my hearing aid was not going to assist me no matter how high we turned it up.

While this would seem to be depressing news, (and it is!) I am terribly thankful for the wonderful hearing in my right ear due to my CI. When I take off my CI processor at the end of the day, I truly am completely deaf. That is taking some getting used to. With my CI processor on, I feel lopsided in hearing and I struggle in noisy situations. But I have experienced this in the past and was blessed at the end of the journey with a cochlear implant that has changed my life.

After the visit to my audiologist, she has sent my audiogram and a referral for a CI evaluation to the office where I received my implant to begin the process of (hopefully!) getting a second CI. So we are back on the crazy train for another ride. If the final destination is a cochlear implant, I will be thankful for the miracle technology and will gladly suffer the tests and hoops that we must jump through to get there.

The last time I lost complete hearing in an ear, I was scared and depressed. This time I am able to be positive and patient because I know the process and have seen the outcome. God is good and I must trust in his perfect timing.

So, as we head down this road again, I will continue to update this blog and share the good, the bad and the ugly. Here we go again...