Coincidentally, it’s #deafawarenessweek and John’s currently in surgery for a cochlear implant. I’ve learned a lot of new terminology over the past year concerning his hearing and I have a feeling we’ll learn even more in the coming weeks. Here’s a little background into what we’re experiencing this week.
Click here to read a post I did two months ago about our hearing loss journey up until now with John’s hearing loss diagnosis.
After surgery, John will be “bi-modal” with his hearing (one side cochlear implant and one side hearing aid) for now. His left ear is holding strong with a hearing aid and he’s able to access sounds, so we’re keeping it for the time being. His right ear doesn’t have access to high frequency sounds with a hearing aid, so that’s why we’re here today.
Please keep our sweet boy in your prayers, he’ll be out in recovery in about 2 hours. Pray the implant works and that ALL 22 electrodes are activated and work in his implant and that the surgery is a success. We have one of the best doctors out there operating on him. He’ll be activated/“turned on” in 2 weeks.
We will be overnight in the hospital tonight and hopefully be discharged tomorrow. We’ve been told that he’ll likely be nauseous for the first 24-48 hours and off balance for the first 1-7 days, but that he should bounce back pretty quickly after surgery. Kids are so resilient aren’t they?!? We will likely be confined to mostly playing inside for the first two weeks in hopes of lessening any chances of trauma to his implant side and trying to keep him injury free. Easier said than done with a three year old boy 😉 I’m predicting lots of lollipops, ice cream, and Paw Patrol for us for the next two weeks!
For the two weeks following surgery, John will likely not be able to hear out of his right ear. His surgeon will try his best to preserve any residual hearing that he can, but its not always likely and every case is different. This was probably one of the hardest decisions for Steven and I, as parents, to make the decision for surgery because he actually CAN hear without his hearing aids on if you are talking to him right beside his ears. How well, we aren’t very sure, but he can definitely respond and communicate without them. This won’t necessarily be the case anymore with his implant, but we know that with the implant on he will have so much better access to being able to hear ALL sounds rather than just some of them. (Sidenote: Another perk, is he can swim with his implant, which is not the case with hearing aids. We sure do love the beach, lake, and pool, so we are very excited about this!)
So, two weeks of no hearing on the implant side and then his Activation Day! Many parents call this their Hearing Birthday and celebrate it every year. I know this time next year we will be so happy we did this for him and his speech and hearing will benefit greatly. You can youtube videos of Cochlear Implant activation and its pretty remarkable (sidenote: get your tissues if you watch these!!!), but this reaction is not always happy and sweet. Many times babies/kids are hearing for the first time ever, and since this won’t be the case with John its likely that he may cry and become upset when activated. The sound is very different with hearing aids (like a microphone/amplified) and cochlear implants (digital). The sound will not be what he’s used to with just hearing aids, but the remarkable thing is his brain will almost immediately (within a few minutes) begin to adapt to his new way of hearing with two different devices. Slowly over the next 4-6 weeks after activation, we will turn his hearing up for him to adapt to the sound and be able to use the implant at its fullest capacity.
I think thats about it for what I have to explain today.
As always, in true Carly fashion, I have to end with a little encouragement for y’all for whatever you may be going through.
When Steven and I pulled into the hospital parking lot this morning (at the late morning time of 5:45am), we were talking about how hard this is and the journey we are about to be on with John. We were talking about how we’ve endured it and why its happening to us and that its just really not fair. BUT, in the midst of this thinking, I keep having to remind myself and Steven of the bigger truth- just HOW faithful God has been to us through ALL of this. I could go on and on about how His faithfulness and love has trumped all the bad/hard/challenging things we have been through as a family in the past year.
Proverbs 3:3 (ESV because I love how this verse is translated)
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Friends, lean into Him, release the burden to Jesus. He wants to carry it for you. He wants to sit with you in your pain, comfort you, and give you peace.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Thanks be to God!