Cochlear Report #4
Thank you for your concern and good wishes.
Before I answer answer all your questions about my Cochlear Implant experience, I wanted to share with you some real good news – I was awarded a scholarship!!! to attend the National Hearing Loss Association Convention being held this year in Austin June 26th – 29th. I’ll get to immerse myself for 3 days of fun, learning and being with the hearing loss community and, I will be teaching a Chair Yoga Class 3 days of the convention!! How exciting is that! …and what a huge opportunity to grow and share. Woo-hoo!
I scooped up all your inquiries and am answering below:
1) I haven’t heard from you since the operation; how’s it going?
you are now reading Report #4
2) Can you hear better these days?
I can hear a whole lot more sounds but every-day hearing situations are more difficult than when I had my 2 hearing aids. Although it took considerable effort to get along, I could understand better what was being said.
Now I am hearing higher notes/sound in the environment like:
-for the first time since February of 1997, I am playing music in my kitchen RIGHT NOW – softly. And it’s a Snatam Kaur CD – a singer whose voice has terrorized me all these years because she sings high and is accompanied by instruments. This is awesome and happy news!
-my yoga exercise timer’s beep-beeps (I used to rely on the vibrate option)
–kink-a-chinkles of the stainless steel bands I wear on my arm
–tinkle tinkles of water
–chimes with high notes (such pretty sounds!)
–chirp-chirpies of birds with higher songs
-i can pick up on people with higher voices
-Clock ticks are still highly pronounced noise, one loud tick at a time. My audiologist turned that option down 3 notches, so it’s better than it was.
Unless it’s really really important, group meals and restaurants are something I am staying away from for now because I don’t have a way, an arrangement of my equipment that allows me to negotiate the circumstance. Prior to CI implantation, I used the T-switch on both my hearing aids to drown out the environment and tunnel-in with one person speaking to me. I can take my CI off in these type of situations but with only one hearing-aided ear on T-switch, it’s not enough.
With a lot of help from the ladies who were willing to use my transmitter, I did get-by and participate in our wonderful Khalsa Women’s Weekend March 28-30.
Some of my friends say they can tell I’m hearing better and I agree that when the environment and my equipment is just right, that can be the case.
Every evening, I take my hearing aid off for an hour and go it alone with just the CI. That’s the hardest work of the day and my husband is being patient. I try to understand the TV without reading the captions; it’s like taking a final exam – that’s how hard I have to concentrate. I can ‘keep up’ that exercise for about 10 minutes at a time, take a break and come right back to it.
During the hour that only my CI is on, all voices still sound like Donald Duck but since the last programming, he’s had a really bad cold. They say that this hallmark will go away and at some point and hearing with the Ci will sound natural.
I have no problems hearing while driving in the car and I think I’m picking up on sirens way sooner.
3) How is your implant?
Good! It’s been 3 months since the CI surgery and by now, scar tissue has formed around it. I can palpate the area without finding tenderness. The implant feels like one of those little cellphones is hiding right there under my skin.
4) Will it continue to take time for your body to adjust to the implant?
It’s my brain that needs to adjust to the implant and that can take years or happen in months – everybody is different.
5) Are you wearing your turban yet?
I braid my hair down the back and wear a thin scarf for most of the day. I wear my hair loose in the nites.
My audiologist gave me stronger magnets to experiment with turban tying but I can’t even imagine doing that right now – right behind my ear where the turban would be wrapped tightly to hold it on my head, that area is still very tender.
I’m trying to get used to seeing myself without a turban which I wrapped daily for 1/2 my life.
6) Are you having any problems?
-Still battling with the condition of candida from the antibiotics I took after surgery – this is normal for me. I’m taking mega-doses of acidophilus and pretty much holding to the low, low-carb, candida diet.
-The tip of my tongue and the gums on the right side of my mouth are still numb – eating is a very strange experience. My ENT doctor and CI surgeon just told me that symptom of post-surgical facial nerve involvement can go on for up to a year. I heard about a woman whose didn’t come back, and it’s been 4 yrs. Most people I talk to only lost their taste for a couple days – so, I’m somewhere in-between there. Thank you for holding the projection along with me that this side-effect of the surgery will resolve itself, sooner than later. I’ve had improvement since the surgery and I fully expect to return t0 normal.
-The top half of my outer ear is still numb and I can’t yet feel the processor hanging on there but I wear it all day and it’s doing it’s job.
7) How are the results?
The results are good so far. I keep reminding myself IT’S PROCESS! And, I keep focusing on the gratitudes, like that I got this chance in the first place.
My audiologist said she thinks I’m doing great. She reminds me that the CI was activated just 2 months ago and my stats on all the hearing tests taken in the sound booth are excellent.
As long as I don’t get too tired and don’t get lost in unreasonable expectations or judgments of how I think the healing and uptake process should be going, I do fine and am OK with all of this.
Of course I’m keeping our house going and also meeting with my clients, teaching my classes, writing and working a lot with building the foundation of my website. We’re working to finalize the Six Stages of Healing from the Inside Out Program – wrapping that up this week.
My rechargeable batteries for the CI arrived March 28th and I haven’t even had a chance to open the box – it’s another thing to have to figure out and I guess I’m feeling like I’m full enough with what’s on my plate
I also have to, one of these days, experiment with the T-switch option on the CI – Mary Lynn did show me that feature but it’s over my head right now.
8) How are you keeping up these days?
The thing that helps me the most, the best days I have are if I’m able to sleep until I naturally wake up. If I have to get up early, I noticed I have way less capacity to understand the spoken word.
All of us with hearing loss know it takes extreme patience to participate in the hearing world – I am finding that I need way more for this phase of my journey. Every conversation is a brave new world for me right now.
There is so much information coming in via the CI – the impact stimulates and excites me and also exhausts me, but that is my job right now to go through the induction phase, wake up the 17-years-sleeping nerves and let the brain suck it up, this new way of hearing.
My yoga and meditation practice is really helping me during this stage!
Next programming session is May 12th.
I’m trying to rearrange my schedule to go to my Cochlear Implant Support Group, Hearing Loss Association of Houston meeting this Saturday – I’m really looking forward to that and think its top priority right now.
PS – One thing I’m excited about is that 2 of the ladies in my Relapsing Polychondritis Support Group are getting Cochlear Implants soon. I created a sub-club for us called:
CocHlear Implant Recipients Challenged with Relapsing Polychondritis
Looking forward to hearing the birds chirp once again!
Thank you. one and all for your love and support – it means the world to me.
PSPS – That’s my friend Jeannette/Pavan Dev behind the mask in the picture. We just launched the new Six Stages of Healing from the Inside Out program on my website – it’s a free download and I invite you to take a peek.
Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here: http://yogic-tools.com/services/contact-us/.