No More Hiding

Today I didn’t try to hide my processor.

Though I have not intentionally hiding it, I have been tucking it under my hair when ever possible.

When I got done at the gym today, I re did my hair and was getting frustrated with it. I finally put it on top of my hair and continued to get ready. It was not until that moment that I realized that I was indeed “hiding” the fact that I had a CI.

It took me some time to figure out why I would do this. I have never hid my hearing aids or been ashamed of them. At least tell that very moment I didn’t think so.

We all go through life wanting to be liked and accepted. Society has a standard of what is cool and what isn’t. Not once have I seen a model with a CI. Or a commercial with someone who is Deaf. I think maybe because I could get by as hearing before all of this is what is effecting me. Before the big hearing loss of 2015 I could get by as a hearing person. No one knew I had bilateral hearing aids.

Since then it has been more challenging. Now more than ever I have needed help re learning how to hear. This is different. I never meant to hide my CI but deep down I think I did. I dont want people to look at me different. I dont want people to freak out because I have a magnet on my head. You would think that after 32 years you would get over this fear of wanting to be accepted.

My goal for this year was to move forward and face my fears. Today I am facing my fears and showing off my CI. No more hiding in fear. Maybe I can help a young girl who has a CI be more confident, maybe I can help a parent that has a child with a CI know it will be ok, maybe I can spark a conversation with a stranger who is genuinely curious. Hiding prevents opportunities from finding you.

Be Brave.

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New Sounds. What!?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

New sound of the week – key pads on doors. Apparently they make a sound when you put in the code. I have never heard this before! As a Real Estate Professional, you can guess this was surprise to me.  What else have I been missing?

It has been two weeks since I was activated and I have started to gain some clarity in speech. One of my co workers has a deep voice, so I can “hear” him, but he mumbles. I have never been able to understand him. I spoke with him the other day and I was shocked as to how much I could understand him. I could have more than the “Good Morning how is the weather” conversation. I didnt have to do the “smile and nod I have no idea what you said” face. I could understand him.

A friend of mines mother got a cochlear 20 years ago and she sent me her journals of her journey. (Keep in mind this is a very personal journey so for her to share this with me is a HUGE deal) I am so glad she did. It was so fascinating! Not only to see the difference in technology but know her struggles and what kept her positive. Everyone journey is different. It is based on hearing loss, age, brand, Dr, everything. However, I received a lot of insight through hers.

One of her journals talked a lot about struggle. She is a very smart woman, so when she was struggling she relied on science to help her through. She explained that the sounds in her brain (nerves firing) are reacting the same way an infants nerves do when they first hear sounds. She described that in one point in her journey, her brain is like a one-year olds brain, it can hear mama and dada (repeated sounds) but not mother and father (clarity).  She continued to say that it was all about training your brain to work the way it is supposed to, like an infant does as they grow up.

It was fascinating! A completely new perspective on he struggles!

She also talked about how when she would hear a sound she didn’t recognize, she would search for it. (She said it was weird to do in Restaurants but well worth it) I have heard so many things though my CI. New. Old. But I never looked for them. I brushed them off like we all do with background noise. However,  since my last Mapping, I have noticed that I don’t have any depth perception for sound. I cannot tell where the sound is coming from. Is it behind me? Across the room? In the cubical next door? After reading her journal on this, I have decided to become more investigative. Maybe it will help train my mind to know where things are depending on how they sound. (?)

All and all it is still a very interesting journey that I a so glad I decided to take.

New Sounds New Possibilities

It has been three days since I have had my Cochlear activated and I have to say I am shocked to how I am reacting. If you remember just a few months ago I was overcome with stress, negativity, and worry regarding this choice. I was fully expecting to cry or be depressed when activated, instead, I smiled.

That day was a crazy one. I was doing really good with just one ear and felt like I could survive if I hated the CI. Chris had his Tough Mudder that day so we were outside in the heat all day, rushing to get home to shower, eat, and get to my appointment. We got there on time, and only then did I start to get anxious. Something about being in that waiting room, I couldn’t stop pacing. My audiologist fully prepared me for possible reactions. She said most people cry, they get really overwhelmed,, they get disappointed or sad.  She went on for several min explaining how I may not like it. In my mind I started to think “it really cant be that bad”. But I stopped my self mid thought and said I am going to be different. My audiologist gave me a count down and 3 … 2 …1… Sound.

It was a lot of noise at first. Sounded like feed back from a hearing aid. My audiologist kept talking, giving me examples of what people say it sounds like when first activated. Some were right on the dot others were a little far fetched. After the initial blast of feedback I started to hear a Alvin the Chipmunk on Helium (not just Alvin but Alvin on Helium) voices. It was not that bad. I new this was what it was going to sound like. This was one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want a Cochlear. This was my biggest objection. But because I was expecting it, it wasn’t so bad as it was made out to be. The next nerve racking moment was what was Chris, my Fiance, my Best Friend, was going to sound like. He handed my audiologist the phone to record my reaction. 3…2…1… he started telling me about how we met. He told me how he fell in love with me after 3 days in High school. He sounded like him. Nothing had changed. Just a few sharp SH CH sounds but he was still him! I was so excited. My Audiologist covered her face and said some colors. I could get most of them. Turquoise was the only one I didn’t get. Chris called me from another room once we set up my  Bluetooth.  He said some colors and stumped me at Aqua Marine. My Audiologist was very impressed and excited for how well I was responding. After my appointment, Chris and I experimented with new sounds the rest of the day. Crinkling paper, dropping pens, clapping, dog tags jingling, all sorts of stuff. My favorite sounds from that day are kisses and crinkling paper.

The next day I put my CI on and it was a long time before the feedback buzzing sound subsided. They say this is my nerves just reacting to being stimulated. Because they are not used to it they freak out and cannot make since of what is happening. Eventually it subsided and voices sounded more robotic less chipmunk. We had apples for breakfast and OMG that is a weird sound. I have heard this sound before but imagine it sounding like the crispest apple you have ever had in your life with every bite! My sister got me one of those kid toys where you point the arrow at an animal and you pull the lever to make the sound. HA that was interesting. Mice and rabbits apparently make some interesting sounds. I listened to some A Capella music through my CI. I could pick out songs I new but not one I didnt know. Towards the end of the day my head ached from the magnet but all was well.

Today is my first day back at work. I am trying not to wear my Hearing Aid and rely just on my CI. I brought it just in case I needed to have a important work conversation. My office is very open and we have concrete floors. I felt like I was yelling.  I couldn’t quite get my pitch right. I could hear everyone’s steps. People sound like the dog from the move UP,  (Alpha) when his voice processor breaks. It is quite entertaining! I put my Hearing Aid on for a one on one meeting with my boss and I felt like my hearing aid was plugged. It didnt sound like it used to. It is so weird. Every day, every situation, every moment is different. My brain is trying to make sense of it all. I am so excited I want to expose every sound to it! However, I dont know how much or little I should do.

I have so many questions, so many possibilities, so many opportunities for success!

I new this would be a good thing for me but I never expected to be so excited to re train my brain to hear! I didn’t expect me to be so optimistic!

Thank you to everyone for their support, advice, and recommendations!

I am so excited to document this adventure!

 

 

It is always impossible until it is done. – Nelson Mandela

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I did it.

I got Cochlear Implant Surgery.

It is officially the path I am taking right now. There is no turning back.

You would think that this would be the end of my stress. You would think the hard part/decision is over. But it is just beginning.

I severely underestimated the down time I would need for this surgery. The day after surgery I was up and about. I walked the dogs, I went grocery shopping. Sure I had minor pressure and pain but nothing to stay home about. However, the third day I was rocked. Dizzy spells, numb metallic tongue, mad sinus pressure headaches. All which are getting better but not gone yet, 5 days later.

The  real struggle is my mind. I keep thinking that this is going to be permanent. I keep thinking I will have this metallic taste in my mouth forever. Which could be a possibility. I keep freaking out about this being my new normal. However, I am only 5 days out of surgery where they implanted a foreign object into my skull.  My body is like WTF and it is  trying to protect itself. Knowing this, I still keep going down the wrong path mentally.

I cannot control if they hit my nerve while in surgery, I cannot physically change the outcome of this issue. I cannot control how my body is reacting to this foreign object. The only thing I have control over is my mind, and I am struggling to get that right.

I keep going between the two extremes, completely over the top positive and optimistic (almost unrealistic), to end of my world dramatic negative. My in between is closer to the the negative side. I keep listening to podcast on how to control the mind and training the mind to get through things. None are sticking. David Goggins says to write it out until you understand it, then don’t go back down the path of not knowing. Total hard ass, just do it attitude. This works for about 10 min. Another author says to recognize the worry for what it is, dont be afraid of the facts, and have confidence that it will get better. Way to sugar coated to be effective in my case. I am terrified of the facts.

Then I opened my inspirational Quote of the day email and it said this ” The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible” – Arthur C. Clarke.

“It is always impossible until it is done” – Nelson Mandela

For what ever reason, these quotes are giving me the push to be positive. These quotes, these unspecific, vague, optimistic quotes, are giving me hope. I am a free spirit, it is hard for me to be bogged down by facts. I need the option to overcome facts, I need to believe that even though it may not have happened before, it could happen to me.

When I was writing down what I wanted (per David Goggins) I wrote this

“I am going to be in the 70%. I am being healed 100%. My hearing is intact and all of my nerves are healing and functioning properly. ”

This is my miracle. This is my possible. This is what is going to happen. It is going to happen because I am choosing for it to happen. I am at the point in my mind where it is becoming debilitatingly negative. This is the time that I need to push past that governor (like in a car) in my mind, and keep going. I need to dream big. I need to believe it is happening. I need to know that it COULD happen. What if it does get better attitude.

You never know until you try, and to try completely you have to believe.

Wish me luck.

When You are Wondering Why

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Do you ever have those days were you just scream “why me!”? Do you ever just get so angry at who ever you believe is responsible, and say “if you are all powerful why would you do this? Why would we have wars? Why would you allow this to happen?”

Well I hope to ask the big boss that someday, but for now, you just have to believe that it is happening for a reason. I know I know easier said than done. Trust me I am not here to say it is easy. I f***ing sucks. Take my life for example: my debt has increased substantially in the past two years. So much so that I believe the stress of money is causing my medical problems. Ever since we went to Buffalo we have been in a downward spiral. When we moved back we were so excited to get started on saving and fixing everything that went wrong. Only to find that it was about to get worse.

When are are living in the worst it is hard to see any way out. You are angry and wonder what you ever did to deserve this. Well a week after my little pity party, me and my boyfriend start a financial peace class. The teacher talks a lot about relationships with money and how money effects our personal relationships. 80% of divorce is because of money issues. Now if we didn’t go through what we did in Buffalo, and what we are going through now, we would have never gone through this class.  We would have been 40 years old, divorced, and in the 80% statistic. This class is helping us better communicate about money and in turn helping us grow. Is it worth all the pain… I will let you know when I am 40.

Stuff happens. You cannot plan for all of it. You can however, learn how to properly deal with it. For us in our life money is our #1 stresser. Yes we have medical stuff happening but guess what, we cant control that. I cannot control my hearing. I cannot control how strong my dogs ACLs are. I cannot control the lumps growing in my body.  BUT I can save and prepare to take care of them though.

I am in troubled water but my enemies are sinking. I am learning how to sail my ship. I am learning how to adjust my sails to get me to where I want to go.

I may not know why but I am learning a lot along the way.

Have faith.

It sucks. You will have days. But never give up.

Never give in.

When Life gives you Damn Lemons

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We all have days where we want to give up, when the clouds come in, when the lemons keep coming. Well, yesterday was one of those days. I cried, and cried hard.  I kept sobbing “I am so sick of these f***ing lemons!” I cried before and after my workout in my car, for a good half hour. I know what it is like to give up and I know it is not easier, though at the time it always feels like it. I had to keep reminding myself of this. I had to keep reminding myself that it can always be worse. I had to keep reminding myself that I have a plan in place. I had to keep telling myself that I am strong enough. It was a continuous battle.

These lemons are just distractions that keep us from moving forward. Even when I feel like giving up (like yesterday), I told myself to just cry for a bit, take a moment to feel this. Lets face it, life sucks. It really sucks. It is OK to feel sorry for yourself. It is OK to have pity party, because you know what, no one else is going to feel bad for you! Cry it out! Yell! Scream! Growl!  Just be sure to pick up some salt and tequila when you are done.

Put your big kid pants on, take a seat, and do some shots (figure of speech). We cannot control everything in life but we can control how we react to it. Crying is normal, it is an act of strength. But we cannot stay at your pity party. We HAVE to move forward.

I get it. Trust me. It is not easy. I cannot change my hearing. It is not getting better. It is effecting EVERYTHING in my life. I cannot even get laser hair removal (TMI), that I have wanted for a long time,  because of the meds that are supposedly supposed to give me my hearing back. It is effecting my relationships with my friends because I am too suborn to ask them to repeat things more than twice. It is effecting my job because I cannot hear in the conference room. It is effecting my ability to make friends at the gym (my only social interaction) because I cannot wear my hearing aids at the gym. It is effecting my relationship with my hunny because I am angry all the time. So I try to not be angry and that stresses me out, creating more anxiety. To top it off I have other medical problems, along with two other surgeries for my pup!

Trust, me I get it.

I have my fair share of Lemons, and I am sick of F***ing lemonade. But I have my little pity party, cry it out, then I put on my  big kid pants. I grab some tequila and salt and say Bring IT! 

Stop – Look – Listen

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In light of the New Year, I want to talk about resolutions. Not the same old ” I am going to loose weight”, “I am going save money”, resolutions. I am talking about the life changing resolutions. The HOLY SHIT resolutions.

Life sucks. It is hard. None of us come out alive. So why do we go through ever year saying ” I will start Monday” or “Maybe next year”. If I have learned anything this year it is that tomorrow is not promised.

Do it all today.

When my boyfriend asked me what my resolution was for this year I told him that I want to do more things that scare me. When I got my motorcycle license in 2010 I was terrified. Everyone told me I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t coordinated enough. I wasn’t strong enough. I did it though. I have my licence and it was the most liberating experience of my life so far. I want more of these moments. I want more of these smiles. I want more of this confidence.  It was contagious. It was exhilarating. It was the best high of my life.

We are responsible for all of our life choices, and because of those choices we are where we are. I am not where I want to be because I have not taken any risks. I have not made any scary choices. I have not jumped off the deep end and tried something that scared me so much that I may just have to grow from it. I have played it safe.

I have learned that I am afraid. I am afraid of getting sick (like cancer sick), I am afraid of not making the right choice, I am afraid of what people will think of me. And I make my choices based on these feelings. These feelings of fear and uncertainty.  I look back on last year. All the suffering, all the medical bills, all the unknowns, all the debt. I see nothing but fear and disappointment. I dont want to look back next year, hell I dont want to look back at tomorrow and feel this way.

I am not going to make any more broken promises to myself. If I want it, I need to go after it. I am going to do things that scare me. Guess what? I am going to survive them with flying colors, just like I have survived the fear and sorrow. The difference is…. I am going to be better for it. I am going to smile, I am going to laugh, I am going to thrive.