The CI MARATHON RESTART
I am back and running in the CI marathon! When I published the #hearingspanglish blog titled “Marathon Setbacks”, I was hesitant to share with all of you this part of the story. Why? It is hard to tell the story when the “wounds” are open, and the emotion is high. It is much easier to retrospectively share when “scars” heal and there is time to reflect. Putting on my patient hat and taking off my audiology hat, I felt like telling this part of the story was an open wound that I was not sure how it would heal. Putting on my audiology hat, I read articles and talked to professional colleagues about the incidence of reimplantation and the outcomes afterwards. I found that revision rates ranges are estimated to be low (4%-11% depending on what journal/source you look at). Articles as well as professionals in the field also share that CI performance after reimplantation are known to be comparable (and sometimes better depending on cause) when compared to initial implantation. Armed with this knowledge professionally, I am still the patient facing the emotional open wound and not knowing how this injury would heal.
December 14, 2021 was the successful restart of my CI marathon. After time to identify the “injury”, taking the next step of re-implantation, and 10 days of rest and recovery following surgery, the day had arrived to see how my open wound and injury was healing. RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL are the theme for this action-packed appointment and emotional day. Let me share the RELIEF and GRATEFUL checkpoints of my Dec 14 appointment for my successful CI restart.
- CT Scan: Successful insertion of electrode array! RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL
- Post Op Appointment: Dr. Adunka was able to recap the surgery and was pleased with the results as well as post operative healing. RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL
- Hearing Test: One of my greatest fears was losing the residual hearing that was preserved during the initial CI surgery. I felt that I was still hearing some sounds in the re-implanted ear but was not sure of the levels. Unaided audiogram proved SUCCESS in hearing preservation with similar results to pre surgery audiogram. Stellar surgery with a stellar surgeon. RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL
- CI and Hearing Aid Equipment: A silver lining in the whole re-implantation process was being able to upgrade both internal and external hearing equipment. I am a hearing technology fan and being able to upgrade was a light at the end of the re-implantation marathon race. I am thankful for my CI company’s support through this process and their commitment to improving lives by developing technology so patients like me can continue to achieve my highest potential. RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL
- Re-Activation!!! My audiologist (Dr. LaPrete) and AB clinical Specialist (Dr. Sabol) and my husband (Troy) were all present for the excitement of re-activation with all new technology! Cannot stress how important it is to have a trusting relationship with your CI audiologist (thank you Dr. LaPrete), I was not sure what to expect being without sound for 10 days, not having a fully active previous CI, and now upgrading to new equipment.
The mapping appointment started by checking the impedances of the electrodes which were all good! We then proceeded to re-program my previous processor to ensure an effective back up if needed. Then the fun, exciting part of getting new equipment!! The mapping process was much quicker for establishing individual electrode comfort levels. However, my brain was being awaked to sound once again from a quiet world to a very vibrant sounding world. I would describe myself as a step up from a novice listener (when I just heard beeps, chirps, and whistles) to an advanced beginner listener. I was hearing speech and voices, but it was not quite clear speech…. yet. Also, my new hearing aid which is compatible with my CI was programmed, which at this time was doing some of the heavy lifting of hearing. My brain now has the tools it needs to get used to this new upgraded electronic sound and fuse it together with new acoustic sound. RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL
- Aha moments! Although all this sound is overwhelming and it takes time to process exactly what I am hearing and what needs to be changed, I did experience exciting aha hearing moments! Over the past 2 years I have utilized my speaker phone as the primary way to talk on the phone. At this appointment we connected my new hearing devices via Bluetooth to my phone. WOW! To press a button on my CI, answer the phone, and be able to seamlessly stream to both ears and have an effortless conversation will be a game changer.
Christmas Music!! Listening to Christmas music all the way home was a chance to focus in on the instruments that I have been missing. So much more fullness in music when you can hear all the high frequency musical instruments and voices. RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL
- Next Steps! Will be putting on my calendar focused, listening practice with my new CI, enrolling in auditory training therapy, and keeping a Grateful Listening Journal of new and improved sounds and listening experiences.
On the 2-hour drive home from my restart appointment, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a radiant afternoon blue sky with puffy white clouds and sunbeams shining through. This picturesque backdrop made my eyes tear up as it reminded me how blessed I am to have my faith during these challenging times as well as how grateful I am to have all of you cheering for me on this CI marathon. RELIEVED and GRATEFUL and ready to restart this marvelous CI marathon. The Sky is the Limit!