Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Hello Everyone...

I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all. As always...it's been a while since I posted.

I just had a birthday earlier this week and I'm officially 30 years old. YIKES! Don't tell anyone. We'll just keep it our little cyber-secret. My niece and her boyfriend Justin came down last weekend and we had a blast. We went to the mountains here in TN which had snow and it was so cold due to the higher elevation ( over 5000 ft above see level). It was beautiful though and we had so much fun. I will try to post a picture at the bottom of the post. We also went to Cades Cove and saw so many deer and even got to see Bears! Yes! We saw a Mamma bear and two baby cubs. They were crossing the road...or trying to...so many people were pulled over as we were all amazed to see these black bears. It was so amazing to see them.

I did ask my niece if she noticed any difference with the implant. She said YES she could tell a difference and for some reason I was surprised. My husband notices a difference but I would think he would since he went through the whole process with me. The good, the bad and the ugly. So, it was bound to see me go from hearing a chain saw noise only to finally understanding speech. I guess I don't really notice that much of a difference. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Okay, that REALLY sounds nutty b/c I know there is a difference. Let me try to explain it another way. I KNOW there is a difference but I think I expect myself to notice it and not so much other people since I'm the one hearing things I haven't heard in the past. I think that makes MUCH better sense! Thanks for letting me think that one out a little bit. Haha.

I do know that before I could go without the implant even though I didn't. I have diligently worn the implant from the very beginning. I pushed myself hard and wore it at work....I wore it all day from the beginning and still do. I never felt that I "needed" to wear it. However, now I do. If I just tried to wear the hearing aid I would be lost. I do wear the hearing aid sometimes along the implant as it gives me more clarity with words. I can go without the hearing aid all day. I just use when I feel like it. If I'm in a meeting at work I will use it for that as it helps me understand more. I am not as dependent upon it as I am the implant that is for sure! Despite how much I love the implant I can not ignore how much the hearing aid helps me. In fact, I'm not even "eligible" for an implant in the left ear because I do so well with the hearing aid. Although, I do think that will change eventually. I'm willing to wait for the "eventually". Haha. I'm happy with what I have for now!

Well, I ended up writing a book and I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all! We all have a lot to be thankful for and technology is one of them! :-) I'm thankful for being Bionic! Not just the implant but the insulin pump I use as well. They are both life changing devices and I'm thankful. I must say it would have been very hard to get the implant if I didn't have my fellow bloggers who have taken the time to share their experiences and their lives. I hope one day that someone who is "consdering" getting an implant will read my blog and feel as if I helped them.

Well, I better get ready. For some strange reason my in-laws have Thanksgiving at 11:30am. Pretty crazy eh? I call it Thanksgiving Breakfast!

The picture below is me, my husband, my niece Heather and her boyfriend Justin. We are at New Found Gap here in TN. It's actually on the TN/NC boarder. As I mentioned earlier it's high up in the mountains and it was truly freezing. Don't we LOOK cold? It was so much fun though. :-) My husband is the one to the left of the picture and I assure you he's cold. I can tell by the look on his face! Haha.


Monday, October 27, 2008

I can offically say...

I think I say this in every post I write. I'll say it plainly and straightforward today; "When people told me in the beginning that it (sounds, background noise etc.) would get better I didn't believe them"....it's true I really didn't believe them. However, THEY were right and I was wrong. It does get better. How it gets better...I can't even explain....when does it get better....I have no idea when it happened it just kinda happened. Thank God things are better.

So, I had an appointment with my audiologist today. It went really well. She really listens to me and listens to my input and gives me her input. I really have come to like her a lot. I had some programs moved around. We actually added a little more volume as well. My volume was at 9 but the volume that was on level 9 is now at level 6.This way I can add volume if I want. For listening practice I have been downloading sermons from favorite Speakers/Pastors and listening to that. Sometimes the MP3 doesn't have the best sound quality and I want to turn the volume up. Now I will have the option to do that which is nice. I think that is my favorite change of the day.

I did have another hearing test done. This time with words. I scored 88% on one test and 92% on the other test. I think I scored 88% on the one syllable word and then scored 92% on the longer words. Not bad though. My audiologist was very happy about it. I don't have to return until February unless I "need” to go back for some reason. I have no doubt I will be okay until then. I may go back sooner and see if my audiologist can help me with the digital hearing aid I have...that's always been an issue for me. I wear a hearing aid in my left ear and it is really old. I have a digital hearing aid that I was not able to get used to so it just sits around unused and I really need to start using it. I just had a hard time adjusting to it. Voices just sounded horrible with the digital hearing aid. However, now that I've been through this entire implant process (not that it is over but you know what I mean) I'm wondering if I should try to give the digital implant I try. Perhaps I have a bit more patience when it comes to things sounding "bad". :-) We'll find out.

My presentation (about Type I diabetes) that I did this morning at UT went really well. I enjoyed it a lot. I love speaking and sharing my own life experiences. The students asked a ton of great questions so I really enjoyed that interaction a lot. It was a full day! After the presentation I went to my audiology appt. then went to the Mall to eat and browse around. Afterward, I went to vote, then I went and got my hair cut! What a crazy day. I was worried about getting my hair cut due to the huge bald spot...well, it's not bald anymore. I guess I should say the huge Fuzz spot on my head. Haha. The person who cut my hair was great about it and it was no big deal. I'm glad I waited to get it cut though. I forgot how much they pull on your hair/head. I don’t think I would have thought about it otherwise. I think it took my head a while to “heal”. My head isn't as sensitive anymore but it was for a long time. I am not as aware that there is something in my head anymore either. That took a while to get used to for some reason. If someone asked me to some up in ONE word the most important aspect of the implant process I would say “TIME”. No question about it.

Well, that's my "book" for tonight. I wrote my than I expected to. I want everyone to know that I realize I haven't been "behind the scenes" a lot lately. However, I am still reading everyone's blogs and paying attention more than you know!

I haven't mentioned this yet but felt it was important. I have finally come to the point that I can officially say...the surgery was worth it...including the 80,000 bucks they charged me. LOL!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

GREAT NEWS!!!!

Yes, I have NEWS! Some really GOOD news! :-)

So, on the way home from work on Thursday I was talking to my Mom on my cell phone. I use the t-link when I talk on my cell phone. I put my hearing aid on T-coil and can use the phone pretty well with that. Well, after talking to my Mom I thought maybe I'll try my cell phone/t-link with the CI. So, I told my husband to use the home phone to call me on my cell phone. I knew it would sound bad and that I wouldn't understand anything. W-R-O-N-G! Well, it did sound bad but I heard everything he said. I even went outside to make sure I wasn't hearing him in the other room. I was so excited that I called my sister Liz and talked to her for a few minutes. I understood her as well. Then I call my niece but got her voice mail but I understood every word of it. Then I called my Mom back of course she didn't understand how I could understand speech with the CI. I've been saying (since I was activiated) "no, I can't understand speech yet". I think I'm a creature of habit and just assumed I've been reading lips. My niece called me back and I talked to her and then I talked to my friend Susan on the phone too. It was exciting. So, I DO have speech...I just didn't realize it. I did notice that when I was using the phone and talking to other people they didn't sound like themselves. They still have that helium sound to it but hey, at least I understood it. Since the t-link I have has dual hooks I can use both ears and will try to do that from now on. I think having the CI AND the hearing aid will just help me understand phone conversations that much more.

So, what made me try using the phone? Well, about 2 nights before I had Jason quiz me on some words before we went to bed. I was laying in bed facing the wall (away from him) so that I couldn't read his lips. He must have tested me for about 20 minutes or so using different words and random sentences. I got about two of them wrong. One word he was saying was "tower" and I kept saying "towel" I thought that's what he was saying. I think I should get some credit for that b/c they sound really close. Haha. Even though I did well on the quiz I didn't think much of it. I guess I just thought I was getting lucky. Now I know that I am understanding. The phone would be the ultimate test so that is cool. I go to the audiologist a week from Monday and I think she will do another hearing test but this time she will use words. I don't expect pass it with flying colors because...well, things still don't sound "great" so it is easy for me to get confused. However, before I couldn't even entertain the idea of my audi doing a hearing test using sentences and words but now I can! Yay.

I really need to go back to working on my listening skills. I spend all my spare time looking for a job. I worked my butt of for my Master's degree and I have nothing to show for it but debt. It's been exhausting and extremely discouraging. I am beyond depressed about it. However, there is only so much I can do. At least I have good news on the CI front. That lifts my spirits a little!

Well, I just wanted to share my news. I can truly remember the first two weeks with the CI and I can honestly say I never thought in a million years it could possibly get better. It's nice to know I was wrong! :-) I just remember when people told me "it will get better"...I was like "yeah right" but I willed myself to trust and have faith in those words. Thank God I did! I think it's something that you have to experience for yourself. The beginning was just yucky and I'm glad to be past that part. Whew!

Well, that's my update for now. I will try to post back after my audiology appt. on October 27th. Oh that same day I am doing a presentation for a class at the University of TN. I will be doing a presentation about a day in the life with type I diabetes. I love doing presentations!!! I remember being nervous that the CI might get in the way of it b/c I don't understand speech that well. However, now I'm not so worried about it. I think that during the question/answer time I should be okay. Of course I will tell the class that I am hearing imparied so it shouldn't be a problem.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Long Time No Post...

Hello!!! Anyone out there? :-)

I know it's been a while since I've posted. I have been reading blogs. I just haven't been posting much. I apologize. I really don't have much to share to be honest. Things are still the same. I guess you can say I'm at a stand-still. I "hear" things and have learned to identify a lot of sounds. However, I still don't understand speech yet. It just lacks clarity. Voices still sound "different". Voices still have that helium sound to it. I wish I could explain it better but I can't. Describing sounds is HARD work!!

I have noticed that the sounds that used to bother me are not as bad anymore. I confess that I'm still not "friends" with plastic bags yet. The sound is still uncomfortable. I have also noticed that when I first put my CI on in the mornings it takes a couple of minutes to "adjust". My "bionic ear" is a little sensitive in the morning. I have noticed that I can tolerate my dog wearing his collar. Before I would have to take it off b/c his name tags rattling was annoying and somewhat painful. I think it was just the high pitch that drove me crazy. Running water isn't so bad...unless it's early and the same with the toilet flushing. I assure everyone....no matter how much I hated the sound of the toilet flushing...I still flushed! I assure you. :-)

That's really all I have on the CI front. I have lost count of the mappings. I say I've had about 5 or 6 mappings and I don't go back until the end of October. I just wish I could understand speech!!! I remind myself often that the implant hasn't even been activated for 2 months! So, I think I need to chill out a little. :-)


Until next time....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Progress....

It has been a while since I've posted. Sorry about neglecting the blog! It isn't intentional. I had a mapping last Thursday. I also had a hearing test. I did not have a speech test. All I did was listen to the beeps and the results were astounding. I will try to post my previous hearing test and the current one so everyone can see it. I expected it to be a moderate hearing loss....maybe a little bit of mild in there. However, I have a mild hearing loss with a little bit of "normal" hearing. Haha. I thought I was going to faint when she showed me the audiogram. It's definitely good news. I needed that encouragement. I really did. I still have long way to go...miles and miles and miles to go. I'm still not understanding speech yet. However, it's nice to feel encouraged. So, now I know why I'm hearing so many things! It's b/c I have a mild hearing loss! That will make you hear lots of things. :-)

On Thursday we added some programs to the processor. So, I have autosensensitivity now. NICE! I like it. She took ADRO out and put in autosensensitivity only since I liked it so much. However, when I go back next Thursday I'm going to ask for a program with autosensensitivity and ADRO together. I want to compare the two. I have BEAM as P3 and I only used it at Church for the sermon but it worked. Regardless of the program the music was just LOUD. However, I was able sit through it. I figured it's not like it's going to blow my ear drum out or anything. :-) I don't wear my hearing aid at all. In fact, I just got a new ear mold for it and it needs to be shaved a little bit b/c it's causing a sore in my ear. I don't wear it b/c my brain just depends on it too much. Don't get me wrong...I WILL wear it but I want to get used to the implant. I have made that a goal for myself and I want to stick to it. I usually keep the hearing aid in my ear and turn it on when I need it but b/c it's causing the sore I just leave it out for now. I will get the ear mold adjusted when I go to the audiologist next week. No problem! It truly has been an amazing few weeks. I just typed months and had to correct it. I realized the implant hasn't been activated a month yet. I won't count the "initial" activation since that didn't go very well. I was able to start wearing it on August 21...so in four days I will reach my one month mark. I admit that the changes that have happened are so subtle. Lets not forget the ROAR (chain saw) sound I had. I never thought it was going to go away. I hated it...gosh it was horrible. Today, I have no idea where that sound went and I don't even remember it going away. It just happens and it's hard to pinpoint when it happens. The air conditioner and the fridge used to drive me batty and now I don't even realize they are on unless and I stop and listen for it. The brain really does adapt. Of course have the autosensitivity is helping soften some sounds. I'm sure when I get the ADRO back on I will go crazy again for a few days.

The other day I was in the living room and I said to my husband "Do I hear fireworks going off"? He stopped and listened and said "I don't hear anything" and then he leaned closer to the window and looked at me and said "Wow, there ARE fireworks going off and you heard them and I didn't". That was funny. I think the biggest shock happened last week at work. You have to remember I just had a mapping on Thursday so it takes a few days for me to adjust. On Friday afternoon I kept hearing this "noise". It wasn't loud or painful. I could just hear "something" that I haven't heard before while working. I finally asked my co-worker "What is that noise and I tried to describe it. Immediately he said "It's the lawn mower outside". I about fell out of my chair. I work in a building that is HUGE! In fact it used to be a Lowe's! Do you know how big this building is? I heard a lawn mower OUTSIDE...BEHIND the building. I went looking for it. We don't have windows in the building b/c it's more like a warehouse turned into an office building. Well, my other co-worker tried to help me find it too but we didn't. All we know is that the lawnmower was behind the building. I was truly amazed I heard that. It was just bizarre. When the sound stopped I realized it immediately. As I said it wasn't "loud". I was just aware of it. That was a "moment". :-)

I have lots of moments but again they are subtle and sneak up on me. As I said, I do have a long way to go as far as speech goes. I think I am starting to trust it will happen eventually. This doesn't mean I don't do listening skills b/c I do. It also doesn't mean that I don't get frustrated or become impatient b/c I do! I just remember I never thought the roar would go away and it did! :-) Plus, I am in the speech range according to my audiogram. I definitely have hope...

My new audiogram is below. The audiogram on the top is the old one and the audiogram below that is the new one. I think the greatest change you will notice...well the whole thing is improved across the board but if you look at the high pitches I scored 120db before the CI. You may not be able to tell but the arrow is pointing downward (so it's below 120db...off the charts). In the exact same spot on the new audiogram I'm at 20db. I went from 120db to 20db. LOL. Isn't that just astounding? In case you didn't know...normal hearing starts at 20db...so anything at 20db and up is normal range.
Most of the sounds on my new audiogram are right about 30db "mild" hearing loss. I have a very small bit at normal but it still blows me away. I will take "mild" hearing over that other audiogram any day of the week! :-)

The orange highlight is the right ear (implanted ear).
They tested both ears on the older audiogram and
I wanted to make sure people knew the
highlighted part is the implanted ear.



Sunday, September 7, 2008

Listening Practice...

Well, last night I decided to try listening practice again. I took a break for a couple of days...maybe more than a "couple" of days. My husband would quiz me on words from time to time when I asked him but that was it. I always got them wrong. As I mentioned in my last post I was frustrated so I took a break from it.

I have been using the microphone that connects to the processor and it eliminates background noise. That helps a little when reading books (my husband reads them and I follow along). So, last night I decided to use some websites for listening practice. I used the stereo connection to hook up to my laptop. This connects to the processor and then directly to a stereo, or laptop...anything with a stereo connection. Well, it was surprising. I understood a majority of the testing. In fact, there were tests that would cause guessing to be hard since you had several options to choose from. Some of it is still "guessing". People don't necessarily focus on EVERY word but the important ones. I'm not fooled though I know that I was guessing on some things. However, what a change. At least I had positive results whereas last week I got every one of them wrong...except this time I was directly connected to the laptop. Using that connection eliminates most of the background noise. My husband also tested me some last night using sentences and words. I did well...it wasn't 100% and he normally had to repeat words about 3 times and then I would get it. It's like my brain needs a few times to get it. When I'm testing without the microphone I normally don't understand much which is annoying. However, it is still encouraging that I am able to understand things...although it's simple things. Simple things are better than "nothing"!!!

I just wanted to share that encouraging news. I know I mentioned this in my last post but I do go to the audiologist on Thursday. I'm hoping that we can add some actual programs besides ADRO. Hopefully that will happen. I'm still on P3 and hope to move up to P4 by Thursday...it's LOUD though. So, we'll see what happens. Thursday is going to be a busy day. I go to the audiologist, then to work, then meeting a friend for dinner, then going directly to the HLAA meeting. It's our first HLAA meeting. We took a break during the summer and I'm so excited to go back. My husband is coming along as well. He's so supportive! Gotta love him for it.

Well...I'm signing off for now. Gotta go play Guitar Hero with my husband. He got the game/guitars for his birthday and it's been extremely addictive!!!! We can't stop playing the game! I'll be sure to post back on Thursday to share my next mapping experience.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Same ol' Same ol'....

It's been a while since I posted. I don't like be silent for too long. Nothing much has really changed since my last post. I did have a mapping last Thursday but all we did was turn things up a notch. I had to get used to it all over again...and I have. I've already moved up to P2 this time around as well. Again, sounds are still the same just louder. I am still very aware of the air conditioner and the fridge but that's okay. Voices still have that mickey-mouse-on-helium through-static-type vibe to it. I don't understand speech at all and it's getting quite frustrating. In fact, the other night when Jason and I were going through one of the children's books I got down right frustrated. I took a break the last two days. A break from reading the book not from the CI's. I'm not that crazy! Today, I laid in bed most of the day and read a book and it was glorious! I just need to relax and not do anything and I did exactly that. Of course I go back to work tomorrow. At my next mapping we are hoping to introduce some actual programs that can be used besides ADRO. However she wants me to try to get to P4 by my next appt. but if I can't that's okay. I have tired P4 and WOW that's LOUD!!!! I will slowly try to move up but I am not making any promises. Haha. I am hoping that we can tweak something besides loudness. I feel like I am not going to understand speech unless we are able to change something besides volume. My next mapping is September 11th...hopefully something good will come from it despite it being the anniversary of something terrible.

Well...signing out for now....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Making Progress!

I realized today that I am making progress. It's a very slow progress but hey...it's good. Things still sound terrible...but I have been able to figure a few things out with my husband's help!

I am starting to identify some sounds....sorta! They all sound the same but some how I can figure it out. I'm not even CLOSE to understanding language but I can tell when someone is talking. Of course I have no clue what they are saying.

The chain saw/white noise is still there...BUT I figured it out. The roar/white noise is actually me hearing things. Thursday all I really heard was white noise/chain saw sounds. Friday I wore the implant to work. In fact, I never took a break from the implant. My job is in a terribly noisy environment. I may have taken the implant off for less than a minute to look at the processor or something but I never took a "break" from it. I keep hoping that the longer I wear it the faster I can get rid of this crazy noise??? Wishful thinking? Perhaps but today I have moments of silence! Yup! Finally! So, the white noise/chain saw sounds kick in when I hear the air conditioner and when the fridge and when a car goes by. I can't really tell the difference between the fridge and the air conditioner but I know I hate both. LOL. I can tell when a car drives by b/c the sound comes and goes very quickly.

I am just so thankful to have moments of silence WITH the CI on. The roar always existed. I could never get a break and no I can! I think this is progress. Maybe not by much but it IS progress. Oh, and I have moved up to Program 2. It is louder but I like it better b/c I feel like my chances of understanding speech are better with Program 2 than Program 1. My husband and I went through the alphabet last night and I couldn't really understand it....but that's okay. I know I'm jumping the gun a lot but at least I am trying new things. I think that is important. I have tried program 3 and program 4 for a little while but did it just to try it out. I am so glad I'm not afraid of the processor anymore. After Monday I was really scared of it. But Thursday when we re-did the inital mapping I was able to tolerate sound and became less afraid of it. When I put the processor on now I don't jump or get nervous like I did previously and I thank the Lord for that.

I remember thinking "will I ever get a moment of silence with the CI's on"? and that has happened. Thank you Lord! I still have a very long way to go...very long way...but again...seeing progress encourages me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Activation Part II...

Okay... I went to see the audiologist at 8am this morning. I went to an audiologist with Dr. Merwin's office but it was someone different. The other audiologist didn't have a time available.

Things still sound like a chain saw/white noise however it is much more tolerable. It's actually louder at home than it was at the office but I need to get used to it. Talking to DJ and some other people I think this could be very normal. This is my worst ear and it has been "dead" since birth. The audi I saw this morning thinks it's just my nerve being stimulated and my brain isn't used to it. So, hopefully, I can get through this part of it. As I said it is MUCH more tolerable.

I can hear my husband from the kitchen...well I hear a "noise" and it's him. Everything has the same pitch. He flushed the toilet and I heard a "noise". There is no distinguishing between sounds. Today we turned the volume down and I am going to try to get used to it. I'm not scared to put on the processor I have moved the magnet away from my head many times to get used to the sound so I don't jump anymore. I did take a nap (without the processor) and put it on as soon as I woke up. I realize that now that the sound is bearable I will have to leave it on as much as I can to get used to it. The audi said that the chain saw type noise will eventually fade away. I'm hoping sooner than later! :-)

My appt. at 8am and we got home about 10ish. I wanted to go back to work but things are overwhelming (but not like Monday). So, I'm going to try to get used to these new sounds today and hopefully I can wear the implant to work tomorrow. If I didn't have the revving (chain saw type/white noise sound) I would probably be hearing much more. However, that is okay! This is just an obstacle I have to overcome. I may take breaks while I do that but I'm going to try. I will probably wear my hearing aid with the implant at work tomorrow as well. It helps things a little bit when I do that.

Thank you all for your understanding and support. I appreciate it a lot. I don't like the sound of the keyboard on my lap top. So I am going to stop typing now! :-) At least I can hear the keys on my lap top! That is something new! :-)

Editing to add some info: Jen made a comment about my ear not working since birth. I should have clarifed that a little. We found out when I was in first grade that I couldn't hear out of the right ear and did nothing about it...until I lost the hearing my left ear when I was 8 years old. So, YES I did wear a hearing aid in that ear but it wasn't something helped me a great deal. I mean ever "little bit" helps but you know what I mean. It helped a "little" it wasn't something I couldn't live without. So, I doubt the nerve has ever worked so that might be why I'm struggling a little. But seriously as I sit here I remember on Monday I couldn't MOVE b/c sound was so bad. Today I've been able to move around the house. I can't play the volume on the T.V yet as that is a little uncomfortable. I just keep telling myself the roar will fade. It does get louder and annoying at times but I'm keeping a positive outlook.

Oh, and I go back to the Audi a week from today so I have a week to take notes and hopefully by next week things will be better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Activation news....read it and learn!

Okay! So, last night I wore the implant for about 2 hours. I thought I was going to die. Things were so loud. Everything sounded like a chain saw. Even in silence there was noise. When I heard the chain saw sound I realized I was hearing something. My husband told me what the sound was when I heard the chain saw. It was different sounds at different times. No matter what sound it all sounded like a chain saw. My voice was a chain saw. My husband's voice was a chain saw. A car passing the house was a chain saw. Needless to say I have been freaking out. Extremely worried. Susan my bionic buddy has been worried along with Laurie my other bionic buddy. Abbie has been talking to me as well and trying to encourage me. Thank God for these people!

So, last night I told my husband we are calling cochlear after work tomorrow (which now means today). I am so glad we did that! Jason talked to them tonight. I was able to ask question and Jason would tell me the response. They told me to go back to the audiologist ASAP and that something is wrong with the mapping. You see the audiologist never did a threshold test. She just asked me if I heard the beeps and I said yes and then she turned it on. She never asked me if the beeps were comfortable. I asked her several times to turn it down and she said she couldn't...but she can and she will. Lesson number one for activation....never, ever let an audiologist activate an implant when a threshold has not been established.

We will call the audiologist tomorrow and set up a sooner appt. Right now I'm not set to go back for two weeks. As I said earlier the audi from Cochlear told me to return ASAP! The Cochlear audi also said NOT to wear the processor since it is so uncomfortable....literally unbearable. The audiologist at Cochlear also said that I should be able to wear the implant when I leave the office. We need to turn things down A LOT and even if it's too soft that's okay. The most important thing is...being able to wear it and there is no problem moving the volume up at a slower pace. I won't get any where without wearing it.

Things were so loud that the thought of putting the processor on made me sick to my stomach. I was a nervous wreck all day. I knew that when I got home from work I would have to try to wear it...of course we were going to call Cochlear first. Thank God we did. They were excellent and helped so much. So, right now I am so happy and relieved to know that this is not the norm and that something is wrong and it can be fixed. There is NOTHING wrong with the implant. The settings are just too high and that needs to be fixed and it CAN be fixed.


I'll let you all know when I go back. In the mean time...rejoice with me...I am so relieved. I feel like a a 100lbs has been lifted off my shoulders....actually I feel like 100 decibels has been lifted off my ear! LOL! That describes it better. :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Activation...

Well, I am not going to type much on this post. I just wanted to share that my implant was activated today. I'm not sure if what I experienced is normal. In fact, I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Things are incredibly loud. In fact, too loud. When they turned on the processor I jumped about 5 feet. I thought I was going to be sick at first b/c things were just so loud it was painful to listen to it. It takes a lot for me to wear the implant. All I hear is this loud roar and it sounds exactly like a chain saw. I can't hear anything over the roar. It is tough...but I'll get through it. I will take it one day at a time and just wear it until I can tolerate it. I was freaking out at first and was able to leave the room and cry and then go back in and try again. I haven't worn the processor since I left the office but I will. If anyone has experienced anything like this or knows anyone who has please e-mail me and talk to me. I feel like something is wrong or perhaps the processor is set too loud? I don't know. The audiologist called Cochlear and they said all of this is normal and my brain will eventually get used to it. My concern is that how is my brain going to get used to it if I can't tolerate the noise? It really is that loud and like I said it's like having a chain saw in your ear. It is incredibly uncomfortable. If they put me in a hearing booth and tried to test my hearing I would fail it 100% because I can't hear anything over the chain saw sound. Pretty crazy.

Well...I'm going to sign off for now.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not a whole lot going on...

Well, I went back to work on Wednesday. Everyone was surprised to see me back so early. That's what they said. I was gone 2 1/2 weeks. I was ready to go back. I don't need to hear in order to do my job. I mean, it would be nice to be able to hear but I get by. So far everyone has been patient. So that's nice. Life has pretty much gone back to normal except now I can't hear much and now I'm bionic. :-) I am having trouble sleeping but hopefully I'll get over it eventually.

My head still has some numbness to it. My ear feels a little funky but there is no pain. I'm still aware that there is something in my head. It's funny when I go to bed at night...every night with out fail I go to take the hearing aid out of my right ear. Haha! There is no hearing aid there. I think my ear feels funky so I think there is something there. It happens all the time. Isn't that odd?

My activation is a week from Monday. My Mom, my sister (and her daughter Alana), and my other niece (from a different sister) are coming down for the activation. Now, my niece Alana just turned ONE!! She's just a little thing and sooo cute. I can't wait to see her. My other niece is the one who came to visit a couple of months ago and she is 19 years old. I am more excited about seeing my family than I am about the activation. They are coming down on Sunday and leaving on Monday which is a bummer but my Mom and niece have to be back at work on Tuesday and frankly, so do me and my husband. So, it's a quick trip. I can't believe they are coming all this way for this. I am glad they are. I just try to remind them that I am not going to like the sounds that I hear. I have visions of myself taking the processor off and throwing it across the room. Since other people will be there I will take the processor off and hug it no matter how bad things sound! :-)

Well, not much is going on which I am okay with. I will have lots to post about when they activate the implant. :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

I know my activation date!!!!!!

Drum Roll.....Activation date is....August 18th @ 8:30am! I'm excited about it since I know the date. I don't know if many of you have read Wendi's blog but she really hit on something for me. I am looking forward to the activation but at the same time I realize things aren't going to sound all wonderful so I’m not looking forward to that part. As I’ve said before I don’t like when things sound abnormal. I just hope that since I’m aware that things aren’t going to sound great at first I won’t have a bad attitude about it. I must keep in mine the activation is a step forward in working toward hearing things again...well, ever I guess. I don't think my right ever worked…well it did a little with the hearing aid but not much. So, that is exciting.

I did get the staples and stitches out! Thank God. I didn't feel a thing. It really doesn't hurt. I'm going to try to explain this so people know why the staple removal does not hurt. If I had known this I probably wouldn't have been nervous about it. The staples in my head were a lot like a staple holding paper together. HOWEVER, removing them is not like using a staple remover. The device they use applies pressure and makes the staples go straight so it's just taking it right out. The nurse does not "pull" the staples out. It unfolds the part that is under the skin and makes is straight so it comes right out. That is nice to know isn't it??? No pain at all. Of course my head is still numb for the most part. The stitches were a breeze too. They did put some glue on the incision part behind my ear and some strips to go over it. I can't wash my hair for two days. I'm going to but I will wash my hair by putting my head under the faucet in the tub. I won't get my ear wet. I will be careful. The strips will stay on my ear for about two weeks until they start to peel off. I didn't realize they were going to do that but ANYTHING was better than the staples and stitches. It already feels so much better. When the nurse took everything out she got some rubbing alcohol and rubbed the incisions (behind my hear and on my head) and this is going to sound so weird but if felt so good!!!!! My husband washed my ear with soap and water but he couldn’t scrub it b/c that would have hurt. I said “that feels so good” and felt weird for saying that out loud. I hope I didn’t freak her out. LOL! A lot of the pressure that I felt is gone too. I think that had a lot to do with the staples. I do still feel like there is something in my head. I am sure I will get used to that. I really hope the strips behind my ear peel off before the activation date! I am sure it won’t interfere but I don’t want them to be worried about it if they are still there. My activation is literally two weeks from today!

I am going back to work on Wednesday. I know I won't be excited once I go back...haha. However it does mean that life is slowly going back to normal and that's always a nice feeling. I am so glad to be over the surgery part. I didn't find it fun at all.

Now, the taste buds are still a little off but hey life goes on. I did step on a scale at the doctor's office and I've lost a few pounds...about 7lbs. However, I don't see it or feel it in anyway. I don't think it has much to do with the taste buds to be honest. I feel like I've been eating normal. I don't know. It could just be the scale was off. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all. :-) I did find out that Diet Coke taste much better than Diet Pepsi. Before surgery I wouldn’t drink Diet Coke if that was all that was available. So, I might make a slight change. I'm going to TRY To stick with the water though. Once I go back to work I'm not sure I will be able to stick with it since I thrive off caffeine!

I'm going to take a nap now. I didn't sleep well last night. It had nothing to do with my head or any type of pain. I think it was just one of those nights I didn't sleep well. I was excited about today's appt. I REALLY wanted the staples/stitches out in case anyone didn't pick up on that.

So...August 18th...mark your calendars! :-)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My First Closed Captioned Movie

Today I went to see my first closed captioned movie. Or is it called Open Captioned? Whatever it is! I am sure you know that I'm talking about. My husband and I went to see Batman. He wanted to see it so badly and deserved it after taking such great care of me! It was a great movie. :-) I'm glad we went.

I must admit though...I wasn't very impressed with the caption. In fact I was very annoyed. The words were in a light yellow color so when the film wasn't dark it was impossible to read the caption. I couldn't read it at times and that really bothered me a lot. I realize they are trying to make it where it doesn't bother hearing people. However, there were only 8 people in the theater (including us). I don't understand why it's not in black/white font like it is on the t.v. (black background with white font). The yellow font is incredibly annoying. At least I understood more of the movie than I would have without the caption. Perhaps I'm being too picky. I don't know.

Yesterday Jason and I went out to eat at Olive Garden and it was sooo nice to get out of the house! It really was. I really am feeling so much better. I am definitely looking forward to Monday (stitches and staples are coming out). Yesterday I was bold enough to blow dry my hair ...I do it very carefully since my head/ear are still tender but wearing my hair down is nice because there is no way anyone would know I have staples in my head. I don't want to gross people out. :-) It's nice being able to get out and do more things. I realize I get tired easy but I know that will fade. It's probably just from not doing much anyway. I plan on going back to work on Wednesday. Hearing is not a necessity with my job so that is a good thing. I am sure it will be frustrating at times but I will just take it a day at a time. I just hope people will be patient with me and treat me "normal".

I will post back after my Dr's appt. on Monday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Laurie's Blog....

Hey Everyone...

Laurie asked me to post this message! She is locked out of her blog! She can't sign in or do anything. It has been locked by Blogger because of possible spam? She's upset and afraid they are going to delete her blog which would be terrible. Think about all the time we put into it? She's probably made hundreds of posts. Anyway, I wanted to post this for Laurie so some of her readers know she can't access her blog. She WILL post as soon as she can!

Hang in there Laurie!!! The blogging world isn't the same without you!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It has been 9 days since my surgery....

I've been able to catch up on some blogs and it looks like people are doing great. Wendi and Shari have come through with flying colors. I'm happy to say that I feel better myself.

I have to admit that reading that people were awake and coherent after the surgery just blew me away. I couldn't wake up. It was so weird. In fact, Dr. Merwin got special permission to let my husband back to the OR recovery to put in my hearing aid and help me understand the nurses. I kept demanding water but they couldn't give it to me. I couldn't even keep my eyes open long enough to read lips let alone anything else. I think I was finally able to open my eyes and stay awake around 9pm that night. How I got home is a blur! In fact all I have are bits and pieces of waking up. I don't really have solid memories. I think I am extremely sensitive to anesthesia? I have no idea. I've had surgery before but I never went home the same day so it's hard to compare them. All I know is that I was extremely out of it and I stayed that way for a while.

After the first few days I was feeling much better and in high spirits and then I started having problems with my throat. It hurt to eat and to swallow. It was weird. I know it had to do with the tube down my throat but I didn't learn that until later. Then I developed a bad, bad case of acid reflux which lasted a couple of days and that freaked me out as well. Thankfully, my sister Liz knows tons about acid reflux b/c she's dealt with it for a long time. She was able to give me some tips. Thank you Liz! I can say that is behind me now. I think having other problems started to freak me out and caused a lot of anxiety. I think I just expected my head to hurt and not much else.

I still have the staples and stitches which is a pain in the butt. I really feel like I could be back at work at this point if those were gone. They are coming out on Monday and I'm extremely thankful for that. I don't feel completely normal yet. I still have some throbbing on my head at times and some weird pressure type feelings but that's it. No pain or anything. I usually take Tylenol when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed. I wish I could blow dry my hair and all of that but with the staples and stitches I'm still a little nervous to do that. I don't really like touching my head or my ear so I avoid that area all together. I have to clean my ear with soap and water and thankfully my husband does that for me.

My only other problem...is my taste buds. They are still a little whacked out. Oddly enough the only thing that I can't eat...well drink is Diet Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper. I lived off these two drinks prior to surgery. I try to drink a can of it and it just tastes BAD, BAD, BAD. It's really funny b/c I am very well known for my Diet Pepsi obsession. Needless to say I've been drinking plain old water since the surgery. I hate water. I loathe water but that's the only thing I can stand at this point. It's healthier so that's one way to look at it. -Sigh- I can only assume that the caffine addiction has been overcome? I don't know. Last time I went a day without a Diet Pepsi I thought I was going to die a slow horrible death. I don't really feel like that now.

I think I mentioned this before but I asked Dr. Merwin to remove a mole for me. He did. He took the stitches out for that on Monday and I'm a little nervous about it. There is a huge gash were the mole was. It's not pretty. I leave a band aid over it with some nerosporin. Hopefully, that will heal better before I go back to work. The dermatologist would have had to do the same thing so I don't regret having Dr. Merwin do it. I was already asleep might as well kill two birds with one stone.

So, yesterday I decided I was craving some chic-fa-la and there isn't one near the house....well there is one in the food court at the mall near our home so we went there. My husband got something different. We got our food to go. I get a little apprehensive being in public that I'm going to scare people with the staples and stitches. Haha. Since I can't blow dry my hair I don't wear it down b/c it looks BAD! Anyway...back to the subject... As I was waiting in line there was a guy in front of me with a casted arm. I happened to look up and guess what? He was wearing a cochlear implant. I really wanted to say something to him. However, if I showed him my head and he was about to eat maybe he would be grossed out. So, I decided not to. My husband was blown away. He was like "what are the chances of that"? I agreed!

Well, I will go read my book now. I miss my hubby since he is back at work. He did a great job taking care of me! Too great. I miss him a ton while he's gone. I really want to thank everyone for their encouragement. It means soooo much to me. I am looking forward to Monday and will hopefully find out my activation date as well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Post Op Dr's appt.

Hey Everyone,

I saw Dr. Merwin this morning. I was brought into the room and the assistant put a napkin over my shoulder and grabbed some supplies and I was thinking "They are going to pull the stitches/staples out so soon"? I was so excited though.The paper said 10-14 days and it's only be 6 days but they acted like they were anyway. Dr. Merwin comes in and looks at it and says everything looks GREAT! Then he says come back next Monday and will take everything out. BUMMER. So, he did take the stitches out under my chin for the mole I asked him to remove. Oh, well. My happiness didn't last too long. He asked me if I was still taking my pain meds and I said no. I didn't like how they made me feel and just wanted to stick with Tylenol. I was only there for a short time. My throat isn't hurting as much just when I eat but I've had horrible acid reflux and got some meds for that at the store after my appt.

I planned on going to work next Monday but my stitches/staples are coming out then so I will go to work on Wednesday if I feel up to it. Hopefully I will. I am having some struggles with anxiety but I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.

Thank you all for your encouragement. It means a lot.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

5 Days Post Op....not happy

Hey Everyone,

On Thursday and Friday I was in high spirits. Feeling really good. However, Saturday I started getting a sore throat and my tongue was hurting a bit. The way I figure it is the numbness as worn out. I figure my throat is irritated from the tube they put down there for the surgery. Plus I'm feeling a little more dizzy than normal but that might be the meds. I stopped taking pain pills on Thursday but I took one today b/c I needed to sleep because I didn't sleep well last night. That wasn't a great idea b/c now I feel worse and I'm sure it's the half a pain pill I took that is making me feel this way. I have an appt. in the morning to see Dr. Merwin so hopefully he will be able to look at my throat. This really sucks b/c I was feeling so much better and now I feel as if I took a turn for the worse.

I am shocked I can even post. I guess I want feed back. Anyone else go through this? Let me know.

Thanks!

Friday, July 25, 2008

PICTURES: Graphic!!!! Look at your own risk!

I do have chubby cheeks but not that chubby! This is a good look at bruise behind my ear and you can see it on my neck as well if you look closely enough.
This is a picture after I took a shower. I was nervous to take a shower b/c I was scared to brush my hair. Let's just say I did it all very carefully. There are staples on the top of my head and then there are stitches behind my ear.


This is the wonderful ear bra they put on. It was on so tight that I have a knot on my forhead. No kidding. Plus the knot is still there. I was so glad to take that thing off. I wanted to take it off earlier but my husband wouldn't let me. He did however let me take it off 30 minutes before I was supposed to. What a rebel. :-) You may notice the bandage on my face and the stitches in another picture. Since I was already going under the knife I asked Dr. Merwin to remove a mole and he did. I asked for liposuction too but he said no. A girl can dream. :-) Haha.




Thankful

Hey Everyone,

I hope all is going well. It has been 3 days since my surgery. I'm in good spirits. I just wish I was feeling A LOT better by now. That's okay though. I'm not freaking out or anything. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I've already mentioned how wonderful my husband is! Haha. That has not changed at all. He's taken such great care of me and I couldn't be more thankful for him.

I must say that I feel like I have met two of the best people in the world. I am so thankful for this experience alone b/c it lead me to know Laurie and Susan. They are amazing people and have truly ministered to me from the beginning when I thought about getting the implant. So, Ladies if you read this please know there is nothing I wouldn't do for you. Our friendship came due to the implant but that's not all it's about and I love that. I thank you both from the bottom of my heart for all you done for me. I wish I could say more than "thanks".

Susan and Laurie went to the hospital and sat with Jason and his Dad. I know they appreciated the company. I didn't want my husband to just sit there all by himself. I never got to see anyone after the surgery though. I was pretty out of it and had to stay in recovery longer than necessary. I don't remember waking up but my husband was brought back there to put my hearing aid in b/c the nurses were trying to talk to me and I couldn't keep my eyes open to read their lips. All I wanted was water. They wouldn't give it to me b/c they thought I was going to throw up. They put the tube down my throat so my mouth was just so dry. It is still extremely dry and I've been drinking tons of water and nothing seems to help.

I still have the terrible tinnitus and the pressure behind my head which is highly annoying....but life goes on. :-)

I am feeling better each day but the recovery seems to be slow. I'm sure I'll get there eventually.

I also want to thank my fellow bloggers for their support and encouragement. I appreciate it more than words can say. Plus my family. I know my Mom was worried about the surgery at least that part is over with! I've been through several surgeries but this one takes the cake. Haha. My sister Liz has been wonderful as well. They will be coming down for my activation and I'm excited. I know by then I should be feeling tons better and it will be nice to see them.

As I said I have a lot to be thankful for. :-)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I am Officially bionic!

Hey everyone! I don't really have enough energy to write a alot. I just wanted everyone to know the surgery went fine. I was a bit out of it when I woke up. It was a rough day yesterday. I was in a lot of pain and then around 9:30ish I decided to eat some soup. My husband went to go make it and then I stood up and told him I'm going to be sick and sure enough as soon as I walked in the bathroom I threw up for a few minutes. It's the first time in my life that I threw up without crying. So I was proud of myself and how I handled it. I didn't eat the soup after that. Today wasn't fun either but I was able to take off the awful band that goes around my hear/head. Although this evening I feel a little better. I even took a shower.

The pain has been intense but I'm sure it will fade. I've been taking pain pills but I don't like how I feel when I wake up. However, I am taking one before I go to bed. It helps me get through the night. I've been having bouts of tinnitus's but I am sure that will fade too. The sounds I hear are weird. Very weird. I'm not too worried about it though.

I have a huge bruise on my neck. I feels like I have a crick in my neck but I think it's the bruise. I also have 2 stitches next to my chin. I asked the doctor since I will be asleep for the surgery could he go ahead and remove a mole near my chin and he did it! Haha. I had it removed in Jan and it came back and the dermatologist said it might so Dr. Merwin cut it out for me. He really didn't have to do that but he was cool about it.

My husband has been taking great care of me. I'm so thankful for him. If he's doing something in another room I have a bell that he gave me to ring if I need him for anything! Isn't that funny? haha. I love that man.

I go back on Monday for a follow up visit. I wonder if they will take the stables and stitches out then or wait a few more days.

I will write more later and I will post some pictures. I just want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. oh and if this has a lot of typos in it...forgive me. I'm not even checking it! I'm just going to post and then lay down.

Officially Bionic...
~Karen

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7 Days!!!!

Well, I'm having surgery a week from today. I have to be at the hospital at 5:30am and surgery is scheduled for 7am. I really wonder if it'll happen on time. I sure don't expect it to but we'll see! Honestly, I think it should be aganist the law to tell someone they have to be at the hospital at 5:30am. I mean seriously people. That's just crazy. I'm sure I won't sleep much anyway. I'm just saying...that's really, really early. It's what I call.... the butt-crack of dawn....and I really hate the butt-crack of dawn! Of course when I was in college anything before noon was the butt crack of dawn.

I really can't believe the surgery is a week from today. Tomorrow I am meeting up with my friends Susan and Laurie for dinner...I love my bionic buddies! :-) I'm really excited about being able to see them again. They can help calm my nerves. Just talking to them inspires me....they both have had great success with the implant....or implants since Laurie has bilateral implants!

Well, I don't really have much to share. I'm just taking it a day at a time. This weekend I will probably work on getting some chores done so we don't have to worry about it while I'm recuperating. I plan on getting all the laundry done and picking up around the house. I'm sure the hubby will mow the yard. I was going to work on Monday but decided to take it off. I figure it would be best since I might be a little anxious about heaving my head cut open and all. I'm not being dramatic or anything am I? Haha. Jason is going to work on Monday and then take the rest of the week off to take care of his bionic wife! :-) Then next week I'm going to have my name changed to Jamie Sommer....haha just kidding!!!!

Well, that's all I have for now! I'm hoping to remember to get on the HLAA chat this coming Monday. The past two Monday's I have forgotten about it! It makes me so mad. Last night I remembered early on and then I started reading my book and the time flew by. I remembered this morning that I forgot! How can I keep forgetting? So, someone out there needs to remind me!

I will post again before the surgery! :-)

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm baaaaaack!!!

Yes! I’m back from my mini-vacation.

My husband and I had a blast. We are tired though. VERY tired. I think it means we are OLD! Very OLD. Well, I am anyway. I’m older than him. –sigh-.

We got there late Thursday night. I actually stayed at my best friend’s house. Her name is Katie and she’s wonderful. We’ve been friends since 6th grade! Can you believe that? That’s a long time. Seriously! We could write a book about our lives they are just full of stories…some funny, some sad and some scary but it would make an interesting book to say the least. She has a little girl named Kadyn (she’s 3 years old and her name is pronounced kay-den) and my husband is so smitten by her…probably b/c she’s the same with him. It’s cute to watch them together. We went out to eat and I wanted to sit next to her but she requested Jason…which is adorable. I have to admit though kids flock to him…I’m not jealous or anything. Okay maybe a little. Haha.

Friday night we spent the day at my Mom’s house. We shot of fireworks…illegally since they are illegal in GA but it was fun. I love being a rebel!!!! We all had so many fireworks it was crazy. Nobody caught on fire, no fatalities although there was a close one but disaster was adverted thanks to a firework going off and hitting the TREE. If it had not hit the tree then it would have hit the back porch where all the other fireworks happen to be…Oh and everyone who was watching happened to be sitting there too. I was just more worried about the fireworks! ::Grin::

Saturday we took it easy and hung out with Katie and Kadyn. We went to a Go-Cart track and rode those where someone (named Katie) caused me to hit the side rail and crash. I was turned in the opposite direction so one of the guys who worked there had to run over and face the go-cart in the correct direction. There is no reverse. Then we made Tacos for dinner! YUM. I invited my niece and her boyfriend to come over (and it wasn’t even my house) and they brought a friend. We played games and had a lot of fun.

Sunday we went to Six Flags! Yes, we sure did. It was GREAT and there were not a lot of people there at all it was crazy. The first hour or so we were able to ride four rides. It was incredible. Then it rained for about 2 hours. We left the park got some food then went back and the sun was out the rest of the day. It was great. My husband had never been on a roller coaster before so that made the day interesting. I must say that he does NOT care for roller coasters. He rode two of them (serious roller coasters) and it made him dizzy. I know the second one was rough and I shouldn’t have put him on it but I did…and that was the end of that. OOPS! I didn’t even care for that one. I have to admit I’m older…so my love for roller coasters has diminished. I still rode them all but I realize that I’m not going to live forever and kept thinking I was going to fall to my death. Thankfully I didn’t. I’m still alive! Whew! I will try to post some pictures of the rides tomorrow. Right now I’m beat and just want to get this up before I go to bed. I plan on going to bed early….I’m laughing b/c that never happens! Why God? WHY?

I must admit that I’ve been looking forward to my mini vacation for weeks. It was a “marker” for me. I knew that once I came back from my vacation that the surgery would be right around the corner and it is! The reality that it’s close is starting to set in. It is two weeks away. TWO weeks people! HELLO?! Part of me is getting a little nervous when I think about it…but I keep remembering they are going to give me drugs after the surgery and I relax a little.

I’m hoping to meet with Susan and Laurie ONE more time before my surgery. I think talking with them and hanging out with them reminds me why I’m doing this…they do SO WELL with the implant. So, I think that will help as well.

I’m going to go try the whole get to bed early thing…GOODNIGHT!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Can you believe it?

Today is July 1st! Can you believe it? I can say..."I'm having surgery at the end of the month" or "I'm having my CI surgery on the 22nd (I don't even have to say the month anymore). Wow...time really is moving...though some days it doesn't feel like it.

I know the 4 weeks of waiting for activation will be painfully slow...well, it will feel that way. However, at least the first few days will go by fast since I plan on sleeping a lot and taking it easy. Bring on the pain meds! Haha. I just hope I’m not miserable. No one can really tell me how that part is going to go b/c everyone has different experiences. Thankfully I’ve read a variety of those experiences so hopefully nothing unexpected will happen. I’ve read the good, the bad and the really bad. I’m hoping for the good…naturally.

I’m leaving on Thursday to go to GA for a mini-vacation. I’ll be back in TN on the 7th. I probably won’t be blogging much. I wanted to post now in case the rest of the week became too hectic. I’m going to hang out all with family and friends….and on Sunday I’m going to Six Flags! I’m so excited about that. I haven’t been to Six Flags in years. The way I see it…this is my last HURRAH before surgery. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. So, when I return I know that everything else is right around the corner. Next time I go to Six Flags I won’t even wear my seat belt when I ride a roller coaster. Nope…I’m going to depend on my magnet to keep me stuck to the seat. KIDDING! I promise I will always wear my seat belt on a roller coaster….or a car… or a plane…or a helicopter (you get the picture). I bet there is a warning label on CI’s… “Magnet will not keep you from falling off a roller coaster please buckle seat belt”…if not then there should be.

If anyone has any tips or advice for me on what to do prior to surgery speak now (well, within the next three weeks) or forever hold your peace. I did read some useful stuff on other sites such as CI Hear…clean the house, get errands done; etc. Anything else?

I want to thank everyone for their support and all the people I’ve gotten to know. I think blogging was one of the best things I could have done. I love talking to other people with CI’s. It’s encouraging. I wish I could explain it more. I think it keeps me calm (b/c I’m not freaking out) knowing that so many people are doing well and have had such great success. Now, just b/c I’m not freaking out at the moment doesn’t mean I won’t be at some point. I’m not afraid to admit that the day before surgery I might be feeling a little nervous. The morning of surgery I may need something to calm my nerves…thankfully the hospital can hook me up with something….if not I’ll find someone who can!

Well, I’m signing out for tonight. I’ll be sure to fill everyone in on the trip when I return. Oh and those of you who don’t know…CI Hear has a chat every Monday night at 9pm and it’s GREAT! I went on last night and I loved it. I have every intention of becoming a regular. So, stop by if you haven’t already.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Long Overdue Tribute...

You know I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend. I know it’s dangerous. However, it just "happens". I will try to be more careful in the future but I'm can't make any promises. So, I realized that I need to share something important.

I really need to post a tribute to my husband. I will just jump in here and tell you why. Three months before we were married I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. It was a crazy time. I was in the middle of graduate school. I was planning our wedding and did I mention graduate school? LOL. My life has not been the same since my diagnosis and it never will be but we make it work. Life is a new normal...and I can accept that. Little did we know how EXPENSIVE the stupid disease is as well. The average person spends about 2,500.00 a year on health care. The average type I diabetic spends about 12,000 a year. Thankfully we have great insurance now but it doesn’t come cheap. We still make a monthly payment to my doctor’s office for bills that occurred the first 8 months of our marriage. The insurance we had at the time did not cover the doctor’s appointments. Not ONCE has he ever complained about the financial aspect of it. NEVER! He’s never even joked or made comment about how much more money we would have if I didn’t have type I diabetes. One day he came home from work I was all upset and I told him I wanted to get an insulin pump and that I was sick of the injections. He said okay and told me he thought it was a great idea and I called and started the process and was pumping a month later. It was a great decision! I love my pump. The pump alone cost 5000.00 bucks. We had to dish out 1,000 for it but the insurance covered the rest…actually we make payments on Forrest Pump and I’m happy to say he should be paid off by August. We also have to pay for supplies every three months and that cost a lot too a couple hundred and again he never complains.

So, lets fast forward a little bit. I’m having problem after problem with the hearing aid. I would be upset about it a lot. Crying, angry, frustrated. I keep going to the audiologist to try new hearing aids to keep having the digital one programmed but to no avail. One day I come home crying and I’m so mad and frustrated. I can’t function like I used to. I’m crying and I said: “I’m going to get a cochlear implant b/c I don’t want to deal with this anymore”. He says “let’s do it”. No kidding. Wow! Well, We didn’t realize the process was long and that it cost 80k but hey the out come is worth it (so they say). I freaked out about the cost more than he did. In his mind the outcome is worth it. Again we have insurance and hoping that they will pay a lot of it. We know that it will actually. I know he remembers the all the times I cried and would become frustrated b/c the hearing sounds so distorted. I almost wonder if he's relieved about the implant. I was pretty adamant that it wasn't something I was interested in. I'll have to ask him that (he's sleeping right now...he's so cute when he sleeps!).

In all honesty it’s not all about the money as I make it sound like that. His support knows no bounds. I think I focus more on the money aspect b/c I’m the one who runs up the bill. He has supported me every step of the way. He’s gone with me to HLAA meetings; he’s gone to a deaf/hoh seminar; he’s gone with me to several doctor’s appts regarding the implant; he’s gone with me when I’ve met up with Susan (and Laurie). He wants to be a part of all of this. I think he has enjoyed meeting others with the implant just as much as I have. He likes seeing the results and hearing the experiences other people have had. I’m so thankful and blessed.

I do think I know why he’s so supportive with the implant though. Does he want me to hear better? OF COURSE! Does he know how frustrated I’ve been? YES! Is there more to his support? I think so! You see, the truth is the man is obsessed with Star Trek. I mean OBSESSED. I think he is so freakin’ excited to have a wife that is going to become a Cyborg b/c in some weird way it ties back to his love affair with Star Trek. Haha. Funny stuff. Sometimes I wonder if he’s going to start calling me Seven of Nine or something crazy. We’ll see!

He has no idea I have written this so he better be reading my blog! All I want to say is thank you Jason for all your support and hang on …b/c this is going to be an interesting voyage and we are in it together! I will let you be Capitan Picard (for all of you non-trekies- you normal people... that's the name of the Capitan in Star Trek Enterprise! I'll just be a cyborg...it's fitting though don't you think? Hang on for the ride!

Oh one more thing..Jason, just remember when we are old and you are saying “what” all the time b/c you can’t hear and I can (b/c I have the implant) I promise to be patient with you.

Signing off for now people…I’ll be back soon!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Catching Up!

Hello people!

I’ve been hiding! Actually, my niece (Heather) and her boyfriend (Justin) came to TN to visit this weekend. We had a blast. I laughed so much. They are just so funny. I did learn that I’m too old to keep up with people around the age of 18 (or younger). Seriously, I was worn out but again it was so much fun. I’m young at HEART not so much physically and mentally. We did the tourist thing. We went to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and walked till we couldn’t walk anymore. I live here and never go up to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge except for the HUGE Tanger outlet mall they have. Everything else is is just a tourist trap…they try to rob you of your money. We had fun though. We rode the go carts and played putt putt. We did get ripped off on one attraction. So, please talk to me before you go. I learned a great way to enjoy some of what Pigeon Forge has to offer…. Of course I learned AFTER we got ripped off but that’s okay. Life is full of lessons.

I seriously have so much I want to share. However, I can’t do it all at once. It’s just not humanly possible. Let’s start with today’s date…today is June 23 which means that I can officially say that I’m having my implant surgery in LESS than a month! How exciting is that?!!!! Over the weekend I was so busy hanging out that I didn’t really think about the waiting. Heather and Justin were sooo patient with me regarding my hearing issues. Of course Heather is used to it as I’ve been hearing impaired since before she was born but as I've mentioned before I seem to struggle more these days. I appreciate their patience a lot. People make faces even though they don't realize it. I think hearing people forget we rely on facial cues so we pick up a lot more than the common person. The car is the hardest part especially at night I can’t read lips. I had Justin open his phone so the light could reflect off mouth so I could read his lips. That worked out really well. They both just had no problems with the hearing issues at all. I love them for it. Big thanks to both of them!

I did get the book Rebuilt so I’m going to start sharing the insights I get from Michael's book.Try to keep a look out for those posts. I'm not sure if I'm going to make whole posts for it or share links to it. I'll figure that out soon. I have also been catching up on my blog readings. Everyone had a great time at the HLAA convention. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to go. I really am. I am going next year. There are so many people I want to meet. (Random thought: I wonder what the chances are of Abbie getting on a plan again? Haha!!) You know now that I think about it, I’m not even a member of the HLAA yet. I’m not sure how to go about that. I’ve been to 2 meetings but that’s it since we don’t meet during the summer. I wish I could use my current degree (Marriage and Family Therapist/Professional Counselor) to help hard of hearing/deaf people. However, I don’t see how. I am becoming increasing frustrated that I have a Master’s degree and nothing to show for it. In fact it is beyond frustrating. Although I must admit I can’t leave my job now for anything because I am about to have surgery and I have benefits and short term leave. Plus I plan on going back to school to become a nurse. I just wish I didn’t have to go back to school to become a nurse and I could find something with the degree I have but I’ve looked everywhere. That’s my soap box for another blog and another time. I went off topic. That won’t be the last time it happens....so I will apologize for that another time.

Right now I must go to sleep. I will try to share some more tomorrow…I promise! Right now I’m so tired I can’t even think straight! After work we had to run a billion errands ONE of those errands included picking up my husband’s blackberry! YES, he got one too. Haha. We LOVE the phone. I’m telling you we are gadget freaks. I’m surprised we don’t have a remote control that will flush the toilet. Now that he has a blackberry we both have the same phone capabilities such as email and blackberry instant messenger. I’m so excited. It will really come in handy that's for sure. We love our toys...serious toys!

Okay, I'm really off to bed. I'm getting grouchy. I'm so tired I don't think I can finish the rest of this pos......zzzzzzzzz.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keep A Look Out...

This is going to be a short post today. (Well, I thought it was and then I wrote the whole thing and had to come up here and add this sentence about how it's really not that short at all...oops!). I was checking out other blogs and came across Mike Chorost's website. Many of you probably know him from his book REBUILT. I've read about him previously but for some reason didn't really check out the book. I know it was due to the fact that I wasn't sure if I was getting an implant and didn't want to get too excited about it and read the book only to find out I wasn't a candidate. Now that I know this is happening I'm all for any info I can get. If you go to his website http://www.michaelchorost.com/ you can read the first chapter of his book. I just happened to do that about 2 nights ago and was mesmerized! YES! He really opened my eyes to a lot of things I haven't thought about. I sent him an email thinking I would get a reply weeks from now or something....I don't know why I thought that. However, he replied a couple of hours later. I let him know that I bought the book (though it has not arrived in the mail yet) and that I would like to share it on my blog. What I plan on doing is read each chapter and then talk about it here. He told me I didn't need to ask him permission for that but appreciated my asking and thought it was a cool idea. I knew in advance that I didn't need to ask permission but I felt like I should ask out of respect. I do not plan on doing a "review" if that's what people think. Basically, when I read a book (except for fiction books) I write notes on the margins and underline things that "speak" to me in some way. Well, with his book I'm going to do just that but I get to share what's in the margins and what I underline right here on my blog. I have no doubt that he and I will have different experiences and I will talk about that but with the utmost respect. :-) I hope it will be interesting and thought provoking for all of us. So, keep a look out for some of those posts. :-)

Now I just need to wait for the book to arrive. Does anyone see the running theme in my life? I NEED PATIENCE! I'm always waiting for something. It's annoying.

If anyone hasn't read the book GET IT! Let's read it together. I think it will be fun and inspiring. I hope that Mike will be able to check out the blog from time to time and see that what he wrote is helping many of us!

Well, I will sign off for now...oh...and if you need any comic relief please go check out
Abby's recent post about her flight to Reno for the HLAA convention...TOO FUNNY! :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The time to hear is NOW!

I credit Laurie for the topic of this post and thank her for the infinite wisdom she has. In my last post I talked about my thoughts and questions about what may happen 10 or 20 years from now when technology is even better. Cyborg Queen and Laurie offered their wisdom about the situation and I appreciate it so much. Sheri I assure you my brain is a constant tennis match going back and fourth but like I said I think it’s healthy for the most part. :-) It doesn’t consume me. The waiting consumes me though. I'm constantly trying to plan stuff to make time go by faster. Is it July 22nd yet? I can’t imagine how those 4 weeks of having the implant and waiting for activation will be. Grueling I’m sure! Lord be with me.

So, I wanted to touch on Laurie’s words which spoke to me LOUD AND CLEAR! I will repeat: THE TIME TO HEAR IS NOW. I agree! I wonder if I can convince Dr. Merwin of that…let’s speed up the process here. But seriously…why wait for what could be the next best thing? There is already a GREAT thing out there. It’s not like this is first generation stuff. Although I am so thankful for those who went before me and I’m talking about those who have the 1 channel implants (yet they still have the ability to upgrade to the current processors...amazing!). If those people didn’t do it then where would many of us be today? They were thinking THE TIME TO HEAR IS NOW…and it was and it still is…and I agree with that completely. I wish I could explain it more but I can’t. All I know is that phrase touched me. It inspires me.

I hope this concept helps someone down the road. Someone who is wondering “should I get an implant”? “Should I get better hearing aids”? The answer is YES. I don’t know why I never thought of it that way. Perhaps this is why I’m getting a Cochlear Implant now and not years ago when I should have. I am not bitter though I think things like this have a way of working themselves out.

I must say I’ve been thinking more and more about the implant and what lies ahead. I’m moving past some questions/concerns and gaining others. I am getting excited too. It’s hard though because I really, really, really don’t want to get my hopes too high. Just because other people experienced great success does not mean that I will. I promise you this…I’ll work at it though. I will do everything I need to do…listening to audio books, have my husband read to me, wear the implant only (no hearing aid)…whatever needs to be done. I will do all of this not only because it cost 80,000 bucks but to the fact that.... THE TIME TO HEAR IS NOW! :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What happens later?

When I started entertaining the idea of becoming a cyborg I did a lot of reading and even soul searching...tons of it. That's how I started reading blogs in the first place. In fact, blogs have made a huge impact on me. I've also met people. I started going to the HLAA meetings which I never even knew existed until my Audiologist told me about it. I've been hearing impaired (in both ears) for over 21 years and never knew of HLAA. It's a great resource. I really wish we were still meeting over the summer but we are not. I like having access to all these people who have been before me...they are already cyborgs. I REALLY enjoy hanging out with cyborgs...it gives me peace and hope and SUPPORT!!!! I wish I could talk to someone everyday but I can't because people have lives, you know unlike myself. I guess part of me feels like...well, I can't even explain it...where are the words? (Taping finger on desk...thinking, thinking some more) Lets try it this way... I guess by talking to Susan and Laurie and other people in the blogging world...I feel CONNECTED and that this is going to happen! Despite the fact that my surgery is only a month (and a week) away, it really seems like light years. I don’t know, I think talking to others who have been through it or are about to go through it makes me feel like I’m involved in the process and that I’m keeping myself busy. It is exciting talking to others and to learn about their experience. There is another side to all of this…I think I’ve been deprived too. I never really had anyone else to talk to about the frustrations of being hearing impaired. In fact, I didn’t even think my own frustrations where real until I read about other people having the same feelings as me! It’s like this amazing realization! Now I feel like I have an outlet a place to share all the things that I’ve had to hold back b/c I didn’t really have anyone to turn to. Maybe I should just buy a punching bag? :-)

So, of all the questions I have asked other cyborgs one still remains...what happens later? What happens 10 or 15 years from now when the technology is better? What do I do? I know some people already have "older" models and the processor is backward compatible. But what if something REALLY spectacular comes out later? It's a hard thought to reconcile with. I guess it's one of those things that can never really be answered. It's all a gamble and I'm just hoping and praying that I win the jackpot! I can compare this issue with other gadgets like computer and cell phone…definitely cell phones (lets not forget my cell phone addiction). For example I just bought a Blackberry Curve 8330 and they are about to release the Blackberry Bold which is going to much better than the phone I have. It sucks knowing that something better is going to be out there then what I have. Although I have to admit I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got…but if I see the Bold up close and personal I may get jealous. The same thing with computers…you can buy a computer today and then a month from now something much better and faster will be available. It’s frustrating. Now, if this happens with the implant I may turn into the Hulk b/c it will seriously be frustrating since the “COMPUTER” will be IN my HEAD and it WIL NOT and CAN NOT (without surgery) come out! I do not have the power to take it out. That’s another thing that it hard to grasp. With the hearing aids…I take it out…I control it...ME ME ME! However with the implant not so much…in fact, not really at all. The only power I have is to turn it on and off but the computer part of it does everything else. Talk about scary! Okay, I’m getting too deep here...time to move on to something else!

Believe it or not I think my thought process is healthy. I must come to terms with all of this the best that I can. Despite all the stuff I have mentioned I still want the implant and I have no reservations about getting it. I’m more excited that I am nervous. The things I’m nervous about has more to do with how I will respond to the implant. I'm nervous about the acivation b/c I know things will sound like...well thinks will sound YUCKY. In the mean time I just have some questions and thoughts to reason out. The “What if” questions are always the worst and can never really be answered. I am aware of that. All I know is that July 22nd seems like light years away so…maybe my questions will make for a good post and perhaps keep me occupied until then. :-)

I hope everyone at the HLAA Convention is having a blast. I can’t wait to read all about it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Tribute to...My Blackberry!

About a 2 weeks ago I updated to a blackberry. I call him "buzz"berry. I named him buzz b/c he's usually on vibrate and buzzes a lot. I updated to the blackberry for several reasons. The main one being that I have a serious, SERIOUS cell phone addiction. As I mentioned before I LOVE gadgets and cell phones are on the top of that list. I think my husband wishes I had a cheaper addiction. -sigh- However, I think I'm content now! I have a AWESOME phone. I don't think you can get much better.

I had the EnV (Verizon Wireless) prior to this and that is a darn cool phone too. However, I decided to do an early upgrade and spent a lot money for my cell phone addiction....okay I do have some GOOD reasons why I upgraded. One reason has a lot to do with my up coming surgery. You know that 80,000 "gadget' that's going in my head. I won't be able to hear for at least four weeks and who knows how long it will be before I can use the phone again? Right now I use the "speaker" phone for my conversations. This is not private at all. However, I did buy a t-coil connector thingy and that works really well when I want to have a "private" conversation. I think I'm so used to using the speakerphone though.

It's comforting know that I have ways to "communicate" with other people via email/text message. I think I depend more on that then the voice plan. Of course b/c of my new "toy" I'm almost out of text messages for this month. That may need to be updated down the road.

My goal for now is to get my husband a blackberry but we'll have to buy it off eBay b/c he isn't up for a renewal until Feb. Besides, it's a cool phone why should I have all the fun! :-)

So if anyone is thinking of updating to a new phone you must talk to me first because I researched this for a while. :-) Now go get a Blackberry and we can talk on Blackberry Messenger!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

::WARNING:: Blogger Is VENTING! Read at your own RISK!

So, I realize that my blog was created to document my implant journey. But I’ve decided I get to vent too and that’s what I’m going to do today. So be warned this is not a happy go-lucky post. I’m SURE there will be some sarcastic humor but just know I am FRUSTRATED!!!! Let's just hope that the people I am discussing do not have access to this blog. I already know they don't so I wouldn't mention it. Besides, right now I could really give a rat's...okay you get the point..

You know when I was young…and even up until now I’ve never really had any major complaints about being hearing impaired. Hec’ I was more frustrated with the fact that I have type I diabetes than the fact that I’m hearing impaired. However, that has changed…or I’m starting to change or other people are changing? I don’t know the answer and it seem answer can be a thousand things. I went to school and graduated with my Master’s degree in Therapy so obviously I am going to “analyze” things from time to time (or everyday).


First I’m going to go off course and I promise it will come full circle. You know I have a LOT of funny stories about being hearing impaired. YES, funny things have happened. You have to laugh at stuff like this in order to stay sane. For example, when I was around 10 or 11 years old I used to play hide and go seek. I grew up with a handful of kids that lived in my neighborhood. There were like 8-10 of us and of course I was the only girl and the only hearing impaired kid in the group (duh). We had a lot of fun though. Well, one day I found a GREAT hiding spot…or so I thought. I was hiding for well over a hour and then I finally decided to run to base. Well, I ran to base (my friend’s back porch) and there was everyone sitting down eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I was like WHAT? They said, “Karen we yelled “Game Over” like 10 times but you never heard us. We thought you may have gone home”. “I said “Oh, well can I have a sandwich”? LOL…it’s FUNNY admit it. I love to share that story because it’s one of those things you have to laugh at. Needless to say I learned my lesson after that I always hid WITH someone. :-) I never said I didn’t learn from my mistakes!


I think by nature when you have a “disability” people feel pity. I like to use the humor and even the plus sides to being hearing impaired to show people NOT to feel pity. So, I have many stories like that and love to share them with people I get to know. Well, lets move on to the implant business. I think it’s interesting. I’ve had someone working on my computer at work and I just had to stand there while he’s working on it and he mentioned my cell phone and how cool it is (like I don’t already know). I explained to him I’m hearing impaired and it comes in handy. We got to talk about the fact that I don’t hear well and the whole lip reading thing. “You read lips, really”? I don’t know why that’s so shocking. Anyway, after we started talking I told him about the implant. I thought another person would be interested in this but boy was I wrong. His remark was “You are ‘choosing” to do this”? I was like “yeah”. I wanted to say “trust me you would too if you were in my shoes”. So, my computer still isn’t working. I admit I lost my temper today (as it’s been a week and a half and this is his umpteenth visit) and he happened to be the one to catch the bad end of it. I was frustrated. I can’t do my work b/c my computer is broken and they switched the computer today and now it’s even worse than it was before. So, he calmed me down and all was well. He started getting really frustrated when it was time for him to go and the computer still wasn’t working. He told me what the plan was for tomorrow and I asked him to say that just to make sure I got it. Oh boy…this is where I was MAD. He repeats himself but says it EXTREMELY fast on purpose to be “funny”. I said “ You know...I know sign language and I'm about to show you some of it, so just repeat yourself please”. He said “What”? I said, “nothing” with a sarcastic tone. My neighbor/co-worker heard me (as he was semi involved in the conversation) and repeated what I said and didn’t know what I meant. Well the computer guy said “I think she means she’s going to give me the finger”. I said “yup that’s exactly right”. I promise I love Jesus but I was MAD. At least I didn’t actually give him the finger. Why do people think they can do stuff like that to me and I’ll think it’s funny? Plus I was already frustrated. Don’t do crap like that. Ever since I’ve transferred to this new department I’ve had one problem after the other and it’s infuriating. I’ve already confronted someone about it (very professional way) and this person was very rude. Don't bang on my desk really loud until I turn around and everyone else can hear you. Don't talk "slowly" because you think I'm stupid and can't understand you. Don't get annoyed when I say "what" or think it's funny. The list goes on.

I need a new paragraph. Sorry…I am typing to much that starting a new paragraph makes me feel better. I no longer trust other adults with my hearing problem. I never had a problem till now. Perhaps it’s because I’m more “sensitive” about the issue b/c I’m not doing as well. However, I think people are getting ruder (not sure if “ruder” is a real word but works for me). I used to be very open about the fact that I’m hearing impaired. It was important to me that people are aware of the situation. I’ve come across like a snob and rude so many times because people are unaware of the issue. I’m really not a snob. However, I no longer feel the need or desire to tell people. It seems to end badly. Even the little things… If I say “what” people get so annoyed but you know what’s funny hearing people say “what” too. Get a grip people. Grow some patience (like I should talk…but I will b/c I’m frustrated). Just think of all the people who are going to miss out on my funny deaf stories b/c I no longer feel comfortable talking about my hearing loss.

The thing is the implant isn’t going to fix this problem so that’s not encouraging. I am going to stop talking about the implant because people really aren’t interested. I guess I’m bias but it seems like something “cool”. You know? Oh, well. I guess the important thing is my husband thinks it’s cool and is very supportive! I think it’s cool. I’m not basing all of this on “one” person just so you know. There are several people who have been disinterested in the entire thing so that’s why I say that.

I think I’m done venting now. I’ve decided that the next time someone is rude I’m going to call them on it as NICELY as I can. I think the computer guy got the message that I didn’t think he was funny but I’m not sure. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I wonder who will be the next person to say something stupid? All I have to say is “Bring it on”.