Saturday, April 4, 2015

What just happened? Why? What do I do now?

I am on the verge of a major step because of Meniere's disease and I am a bit introspective.

April 8th I undergo my second Cochlear implant surgery. Hard to believe that just 2 short years ago I didn't even really know what one was, or think I would ever have or need one, and now I will have two. I keep finding myself asking the 3 questions in the title of this post.

It is still a bit surreal.

Yes, it came on a bit more slowly than just the last two years, but they have been the ones with the most dramatic effect on my life. It has been a time of major change due to how the disease affected me, and how I handled those effects. It has been 2 years of soul searching I never thought I would need.

You may have read some of the other posts and my discussion of my hearing loss. The fact is, for 18 years I was deaf, stone cold deaf, in my left ear, and at the same time, had perfectly normal hearing in the other. I am not diminishing what people with hearing loss go through, but in reality, during those 18 years I did not have any hearing disability, just a minor inconvenience of not hearing in one. Then one day it all changes. I have been through this before. It's part of the disease. It will come back, it always has before! But it didn't. Except for a temporary reprieve of four months following a steroid injection that even shocked my ENT. Instead it just started a downward trajectory that could not be reversed. It seemed as though every time I had a hearing test it was down more.  You just don't know how much it can affect you, until it's gone.  I hated, yes hated, trying to talk to people. I just felt stupid. All I could do was stare blankly. Worse, I felt there was no upside. A life of silence, except for the constant ringing, was all there was for me.

I knew it could happen, it wasn't a total surprise, yet I still find myself in a bit of a state of denial. I will wake up from this dream and my hearing will be back. They have to find a cure soon, don't they?  This isn't really happening, is it?  But it is.

The why question is one that I will never know the true reason in this life.  I can only trust that in God's infinite wisdom, it is for my best. I still find myself looking back to search for the cause. What did I change? What changed around me? How could I have prevented it?  Truth is, the answer may very well be- nothing.

So here I am with only one way to go: forward. I can't change the past, I can only try to figure out the best way forward.  For me, the first step in that direction is the implant.  I love my first one. I hope to say the same of the second.

I am fortunate to find myself in the hands of a man widely regarded as one of the best ENT/Surgeons in the country at one of the best clinics in the country.  I can go forward with the confidence that I am going to be well taken care of.

I can go forward knowing that I am much more open to opportunities as they present themselves.  I have no idea what those will be, but I am open and willing to look at anything.

I can go forward hoping that the worst of Meniere's disease is behind me.

I can and will go forward with a smile on my face and a positive outlook on my life.

I can go forward with rediscovered hearing that only 1 or 2 generations ago was not even a dream in someones head.

I can go forward knowing that whatever is in my future, it will be for the best and that gives me the most peace I have had in a while.

'Til next time


Dennis

Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness

6 comments:

  1. Wishing you the very best outcome possible and a quick recovery. Please let us know you how're doing when you're able. Take care Dennis.

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    1. Thank you so much, and yes I will update my progress during recovery and activation.

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  2. I pray that all will go well for you Dennis. Your blog provides great comfort and help. As a fellow Meniere's sufferer, I know that staying positive as much as possible with such a debilitating and invisible condition is not an easy thing to do, but you seem to manage it and it comes across in your blog. Keep up the good work!

    Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

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    1. Thank you so much, Glenys. I really appreciate the support.

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  3. I am right there right now. My "Good Ear" recently abandoned me and my bad ear has dropped below the point where my hearing aid will do any aiding. My Doc just started talking to me about the implants. He also prescribed Serc which is not officially available in the states and may very well be a placebo based on what I have been reading. I think that has more to do with getting me used to the idea then hoping for my hearing to return. How long did it take between your initial conversations on the subject and the actual implant?

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    1. Wayne, when I first asked about anything to help with the hearing loss, I did not think I was a candidate for a CI. I thought I could not be helped. I asked in June of 2013. The Drs. immediate response was "you are an excellent candidate for a CI and I would be surprised if you don't get 80-90% of your hearing back." After that conversation things moved very rapidly and I had my first implant surgery just 2 months later on August 22, 2013, and was activated on Sept 23, 2013. I was more patient with the second one and fit it more into my schedule. This one took 5 months from the time we decided it was time until the actual surgery.

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