I’ve been a bit on the quiet side lately as there has been a lot on the go here. The main reason I started this blog was to chronicle my journey to sound through cochlear implantation, but also to create a platform for which to spread awareness for the need for bilateral implants for adults in Ontario. When I began this journey, I went into it fully expecting that I would never be able to hear from both ears but knowing I would fight for the right for all to be able to hear from both ears. Little did I know that God had other plans for me.
Back in May, I had my 6 month follow up appointment and it was amazing. I had my first post-activation testing in the booth and I did really well. In fact, I scored 94% on my sentence discrimination test in quiet and 75% in noise and my sound field puts me in the normal hearing range. Now, I’ve been told that at only 6 months post activation, that’s pretty remarkable. I don’t ever recall scoring that well on any testing in my life! To say I’m happy with those results would be a slight understatement.
On top of getting great test results, I also received some amazing news that day. My audiologist informed me that the CI team was putting me forward as a candidate for a second implant, due to my debilitating tinnitus. The surgeon just needed to approve it. In that moment, my tinnitus went from the bane of my existence to the silver lining on my cloud.
About a month after my follow-up, I received word that the surgeon had approved me for the second implant and they had me tentatively booked for August 8th! I was on cloud nine! While I wanted to write about it and tell the world, part of me was reluctant in that things can change so easily with the health care here. I was afraid that somehow I might jinx it and for whatever reason they would take it back. Another part of me felt horribly guilty that here I was receiving 2 implants in the span of just over a year. That’s kind of unheard of in Ontario. I know I’m a unique case; specifically with my recent deafness and maddening tinnitus. It really did make me a prime candidate, but I still feel for every person that is sitting on the waiting list to get their first implant.
Two weeks ago, I got an email from my audiologist asking if a spot opened up in July, if I would want to take it. Of course, I said yes! Well, on July 4th I had my meeting with the surgeon and he confirmed everything was a go and that they would be bumping me to July 10th. So, as I write this, I am a newly implanted bilateral CIBorg! I still won’t be activated until August 8 (ironic – that was my original surgery date!) It has been an absolute whirlwind of a ride and I am so happy right now.
It just goes to show how God can take a bad thing and turn it into something good. I had resigned myself to living with my jet engines in my head and while this surgery may not take it away (still very much there right now) it will provide me access to other sounds and hopefully with time, will diminish. Ever since I was a teenager, I always wondered what it would be like to hear well with both ears. Sounds like I’ll get to find out after all! I will continue to use every resource I have to speak up for bilateral candidates in Ontario. I still hope that one day this surgery will be readily available to all who need it, regardless of age because I truly believe that 2 ears are better than 1.
For now, I have to give a shout out to my surgeon, Dr. Schramm & his team who took great care of me with both surgeries. To Advanced Bionics for creating the amazing technology that I have in my head & the processors that give me such amazing sound – the people there are nothing short of awesome! Last, but certainly not least, I owe a huge thanks to my audiologist, Sylvie, who has gone to bat for me multiple times to get me the treatment that I needed and who I owe my ability to hear as well as I do. She is my hero and I can never thank her enough. Sylvie, you have changed my life! Thank you!!