Monday, February 27, 2006

17 Days And Counting...!

My implant surgery is in about 2 weeks (3/16), and I'm flying as high as a kite on a blustery day! I had my pre-op appointment today. I'm getting the Advanced Bionics Auria HiRes. I chose the color of the BTE processor and the transmitter (silver, to match my grey hair) and some funky snap-on covers (4) in kind of a techno-tie-dye kind of look. I get four rechargeable batteries; I thought I only got two. I’m so totally spazed out and grinning like a goofball. I was talking a mile a minute before supper, telling my husband about this and that details in random order as I remembered things. He was teasing me… “So, you had an ‘okay’ kind of day today?”

My left ear, the one to be implanted, starts at about 70dB in the low frequencies and goes down from there to nothing in the high frequencies. From what I understand, with the CI, I should be a straight line across at 20 dB. It's nothing short of incredulous.

AND they told me my hook-up could be as little as 8 days later! The surgeon will be out of town the next week, so that’s when he has to take out the staples on the top half of the incision. The lower half gets dissolvable stitches. We went ahead and scheduled the next three mapping appointments. If my incision is not healed sufficiently by 8 days, I’ll get hooked up at the next appointment, about a week later.

I've got the heebie-jeebies, and I have to get to sleep so I can be functional at work tomorrow... (Wish me luck!)

binaural HA user since 1/29/92
implant scheduled for 3/16/06

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Healthy Signs

Someone on a cochlear implant web group sent me congratulations on getting off my blood pressure meds. This is what I wrote back to her:
Thanks for the congrats on my Weight Watchers success so far--I can hardly believe it myself! I had lost 25 pounds about 5 years ago, then scrapped it for stress eating after 9/11. Not only was there the national horror and grief of the terrorist attacks, but that also happened to be the day I had the hearing test where I found out I was no longer just "hard of hearing" but that I was indeed going deaf. I just freaked out. Food became a friend to help me "cope" by numbing out.

Last year I tried to trick myself into being more healthy by signing up to participate in a half-marathon with my husband. Hooooo, boy. I completed it, alright, practically crawling the last mile. And I managed not to lose any weight in the process. I'm a stubborn little cuss! So my doctor started me on the blood pressure pills.

So.... finally losing (some of) the weight and getting off the blood pressure meds shows a good measure of emotional healing and getting a grip on things. It's also one of the few things in my life I can control right now...not in a bad way, like being anorexic, but in a way that is choosing to take care of myself. I'm also learning to advocate for myself more and more confidently when I need help because I can't hear or understand something.

It's a long road we are all on, isn't it. I appreciate [my ci friends] so much already! The sense of support is deeply important to keeping from feeling alone in the challenges.

A Prayer to Regain Perspective

This is straight out of my prayer journal this morning...

Dear God, I have so many things going on with my emotions and my faith and my job and my body! As my counsellor puts it, I have a lot of things on my plate; I pointed out, that "plate" feels like a huge Thanksgiving serving platter! Help me see it all in the context of who You are--Your power and might and love and strength; Your majesty and surpassing glory.

I praise You and thank You for giving me the fruit of the Spirit that is self-control with Weight Watchers, that I have lost 14 pounds and that my blood pressure has gone down enough to be able to get off my bp meds. I am SO delighted and grateful that You have given me that gift of discipline that I just don't have on my own strength. You are gracious, O Lover of my soul!

I praise You and thank You for giving me the opportunity to get a cochlear implant. Thank You for preparing my body with lower bp to better manage the surgery. Thank you for Dr. Micco and Pam Fiebig and their professional staff that have trained and become skilled to do this surgery. Thank You for the nameless thousands who have gone before me, contributing in their own many little ways to my success with a cochlear implant.

I praise You and thank You for giving me this beautiful home, that is physically warm when it is so bitterly cold outside. I pray that You will help me, that You will give me the fruit of the Spirit that is patience, endurance, self control - to be able to do the cleaning up and decluttering and organizing and discarding that are important to the emotional and psychological warmth of my home. I thank You and praise You - deeply and profoundly - that You have graciously helped us maintain our sense of love and unity as a family, even with David and John's struggles to figure out who they are and what they believe and how it relates to the reality of their lives. Thank You that they have chosen to keep the lines of communication open, and that You have opened their hearts and minds to know and believe that we love them and will never reject them. And I pray for that all to grow and deepen in all of us.

I praise You and thank You for David and John's incredible minds and hearts. Their tender heart of compassion for those who are in need touches my soul. Their ability to think and reason is a wonder and delight to me. I pray, Father God, that it will begin to extend more and more into maturity and discernment as well. Help them to gain a longer perspective than the next few minutes, hours, or even days - to begin to see how their choices now will affect their lives long into the future.

Help me to keep a heart of praise, to be able to keep my struggles in perspective of Your unfailing love, power, mercy, and grace.

Thank You -- and I love You,

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This is good.

According to my scale at home, I have lost 14 pounds since December 28. This is good. I went to see my primary care physician yesterday, and he was delighted. This is also good. Then he took my blood pressure. I predicted it would be lower, based on taking it at home with a small home unit. He took it three times, one right after the other, saying nothing. I couldn't stand it, so I asked:
"So...what is it?"
"It's better."

"Is it good?"
"It's good."

"How good?"
"It's *very* good."

What a tease! He finally told me the numbers, and it really is a very good improvement. In fact, it's enough of an improvement that he asked "if I would like" to stop taking my bp meds!! "YES!" This is VERY good!! I hate the meds, they make me weary and drowsy, and they muddle my mental capacity. So I am unreservedly delighted to be OFF them so quickly after starting Weight Watchers!! I've been dancing around telling anyone who will listen. It's a huge answer to prayer, and a big thank you to any of you who read this that have prayed for my blood pressure to go down with my weight loss.

I am very aware that I am not the source of the self-control necessary to accomplish this amount of weight loss. A number of weeks ago, I felt the boldness to ask, in my Bible study group, that they would pray that I would experience more of the Fruit of the Spirit that is self-control. I have been striving to submit to God, He is graciously also giving me the ability to make good, sustainable choices about what I eat.

Thank you, God! I am so incredibly, very grateful. I'm certainly not following the whole plan perfectly, but I'm also certainly making a great deal of progress. This is good.

God is good.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weight Watchers Progress - February

I looked in the mirror this morning and was caught a bit off-guard: there really IS less of me! I've been on the program since Christmas (six weeks) and have lost 12 pounds. That's their recommended healthy rate of loss of 1-2 pounds per week. AND I've been eating healthier than ever before in my life (or at least my married life--you did a good job, Mom!). My family loves it because I'm putting more thought into dinner, so it tastes better to them, too.

Ah, the sweet aroma of success!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Insurance Approval!

My cochlear implant surgery is four and a half weeks away, and I just got my insurance approval! YAY! I'm surprised how deeply that touches me, even though I "knew it would come through."

As the count-down numbers get smaller, it's kind of like an out-of-body experience: " this really going to happen to me?" But it hits me in the gut every time I say how many days or weeks, a bit of panic. I've wanted this for so long, yet it's also rather unnerving. Another part of me is saying, "oh my, I'm really going through with this!!" I'm nervous about the surgery and managing the days of healing, managing the time with only one functioning ear; and hoping for a good outcome, but knowing they can't guarentee it. It's a lot.

BUT--so was having twins. What I learned, at home with two newborns, was if I thought too hard about how on earth I could manage, I froze up. It immobilized me, for fear I would do something wrong (like drop somebody!). But if I just thought, "Ok, now, what's the next step?" I did just fine. I imagine this process of adjusting and re-learning to hear is much the same. All the stories I've read so far seem to confirm this. The ci users on the Yahoo! group are a bunch of go-getters, and they are good company for me to keep. They do whine some, but that's how I know they are honest human beings. They also overcome the difficulties and share the celebration of their progress, victories and joys.


Link to ci group -

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Another Major Milestone in Our Family

This time it's for ME!

I just today got my official, embossed, sealed, American Montessori Society issued Montessori teaching certificate!

I began the program in 2002, after the sudden and precipitous change in my hearing in 2001. I sat in my car in shock at the discovery that I was no longer just "hearing impaired" but that I was going deaf. My first thought, coming out of the audiologist's office, was, "Okay, God, I guess You want me to go teach at AGBell!" This has been a very long journey, especially with two kids in high school (and one struggling), having my hearing gradually get worse and worse to the point of qualifying for a cochlear implant, changing churches (with less than ideal attitudes toward it), having my dear friend/therapist/mentor/pastoral shepherd die suddenly, and just the many vagarities of life in general.


"And I'd like to thank my dear husband, Joe, and my two sons, David and John for their love and generous support, putting up with their wife/mom being distracted, busy or gone to class and not taking as good care of things like housekeeping and making dinner. And I'd like to thank Andrew Cole, post-mortem, for all his care and encouragement over the pasts 10 years, and his belief in my gifts and talents with children that helped me begin to believe in them, too. And I'd like to thank the directors and teachers of the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center for their patience and for modeling the Montessori philosophy even in their everyday interactions with us as adult students, for being positive and encouraging and believing in me when I struggled to believe in myself. And I'd like to thank Kimberly for being my first deaf student way, way back when and introducing me to cochlear implants and to Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School. And I'd like to thank her mother Karen for telling me for four years that I should go teach at AGBell, because now I love it there and I have never felt so completely in the center of where God wants me to be. And I'd like to thank the staff, parents, and students at AGBell for being so welcoming and gracious and loving as I have taken so long to get through this whole certification process, and especially as I have continued to adjust to my slow onset of deafness. And I thank my precious Father God, Who gave me these gifts and talents in the first place, and Who continues to give me great joy as I use them; to Him be glory and honor and praise! Thank you, thank you, thank you all!!" (You'd think I watch the Oscars or something...)

(Yes, I am grinning my silly little face off!!!!)

I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up!--and not a moment too soon, as I just turned 47 a week ago.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human

This is an incredible book I bought a while ago and am just getting around to reading. The author, Michael Chorost, is an incredibly articulate and observant person who writes very clearly about his experience. He was born with a severe hearing loss and wore hearing aids until age 36--when he suddenly and inexplicable lost the rest of his hearing in a matter of hours. He was able to get a cochlear implant within a couple of months. He mixes in a lot of scientific background information in a readable style. He weaves it into his own experience of losing his biological hearing then slowly gaining a completely new cyborg sense of hearing.

Anyway, I'm glued to it, so I thought I would pass the title along. He has a website,, and wrote an article for "Wired" magazine. (There's a link on the website.) My surgery is 40 days from today, 2/3/06! Oh--and he has the same CI I plan to get!!

Three Cheers for John!

John, two days before his 18th birthday, has just received his first college acceptance letter! It's his second choice place, and he has yet to send in his portfolio to get into the school of architecture within the university that has accepted him. His first choice school doesn't do freshman portfolios, but instead has a test of some sort to indicate one's architectural potential. It has only seven questions!!

I gave him the Red Plate at dinner last night. :-)