Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recovery period

The recovery period of a cochlear implant surgery is different for every person, for some people it is fast and for others not so much... Some of the temporary side effects are: facial paralysis (may or may not happen), swelling in the operated area, dizziness, little bleeding in the ear, pain in the scar and nausea.   

This is the only picture my audiologist took of my CI before my surgery...

Five hours after my surgery I woke up and I was so, so hungry I needed a cheese burger! Thank God on the way home we stop at Burger King.
Even though my audiologist told me to eat light because if you eat too much you might puke. Fortunately that didn’t happen.

This picture is at home, seven hours after my surgery.

The following sequence of pictures show the healing process of my scar; today is a very thin line (last picture).


My recovery process was quick and smooth, aside from my partial facial paralysis and some dizziness. Now I’m completely recovered and the physical therapy - for the paralysis - was a key factor towards my full recovery. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My story...

Progressive bilateral hearing loss

My hearing loss started in July 2007 I had my first audiometry and it registered a hearing loss of 18% in my right ear and 11% in my left ear. The doctor at that time didn’t give me any solution to stop or to treat my hearing loss… Years went by and in June 2009 my husband noticed that my hearing wasn’t getting any better, so I went to an audiologist and it turns out my husband was right. I have a hearing loss of 39% RE & 26% LE. Obviously my hearing loss was progressing; an ENT specialist prescribes me some steroids. The steroids treatment didn’t work, and my hearing loss kept progressing. The ENT specialist then referred me to an Otologist who suggested the use of hearing aids in both ears. I used them for a few months but my right ear needed a cochlear implant because the last audiometry showed a 100% hearing loss (anacusis which is a state of complete deafness). My left ear is not doing great either 98% hearing loss.

Besides my deafness I had other symptoms like, dizziness, headaches, disorientation, and my ears were ringing all the time. The diagnostic for my illness is called tinnitus. I was feeling very sick.
For me this whole thing of being deaf wasn’t easy to deal with, because I was losing one of my senses and this made me feel so vulnerable I have to rely on my husband for many things like making phones calls, to know what people are telling me… I wasn’t independent anymore. But on the other hand I could count on him, I’m so lucky.

5/13/2010. This was the day of my surgery and cochlear implant. All went good. My recovery was very good and quick. Two weeks later I got activated and also got my hearing aid, it was incredible as I could only hear "shhst shst shh stshst" no words whatsoever, but on my left ear I hear pretty normal with my new hearing aid. Now was the time to adapt to this new gadgets and hope for the best.

When my hubby was at work I was at home alone with my black Labrador Onyx.  I was very uncomfortable with my CI; my hearing was awful, it was so confusing I couldn't identify any sound because all sounds sounded the same for me. For my surprise he started helping me with that too. When the phone rings he comes to me and point me the phone and the same thing was with the doorbell ringing he puts his head in my lap and take me to the door. That way I learned how all I mentioned before sounds. I have a natural born hearing dog!!

To improve my hearing I search lyrics of my favorites songs and I read and listened to them at the same time, so I can associate what I’m hearing to the lyrics…

8/17/2010. This particular day was a shock in my life. As I was sleeping I heard a loud beep on my left ear that woke me up, I knew what this was… Later in the morning I put my hearing aid and turn it on, my husband was talking at the phone and I couldn’t hear him at all! It was what I suspected.... I’m completely deaf now. It was a very sad moment for me and my hubby, my hearing aid didn´t work for me anymore. Now I only depend upon my CI…
By the end of the year 2010 I was able to recognize syllables, but people voices sounded like chipmunks.

2011 arrived and my hearing is so much better; my audiometry with the CI showed a 100% of hearing gain. I accomplished my goal! I’m extremely happy with my CI!
Now I’m a hearing person by day, a deaf person by night!