Sunday, December 11, 2016

December 2016

Hi everyone, 

It's been a year since I wrote an entry but with the New Year coming up, I had an entry to write about. The start of my summer had been wonderful but it got a bit scary. I woke up one morning to put on my processor and everything sounded very muffled - exactly like it sounded when the processor was first activated almost 7 years ago. I thought it was the batteries which I changed and everything went back to normal, I was relieved but within a few days, I was hearing radio static and it was the kind of radio static like you would hear on the tv and it was really loud... Loud and annoying to the point I wanted to shut it off and I did but it didn't make me feel better.... it made me feel scared to not hear anything. 

I scheduled an appointment with my audiologist and I had a great friend that tagged along with me and who kept me company on the bus and metro all the way downtown to my appointment. I was very grateful and appreciative that my friend took the day off to accompany me because I didn't want to go to this meeting alone. When we arrived to the office, I explained to my audiologist the details of what I was experiencing and she had thought it was the coil that was damaged.. and I could finally hear again but it lasted for a day, I went back again to see the problem. My audiologist pinpointed the problem finally, it was the processor acting up and why? Because there was moisture. Where I live, Canada has very hot summers (specifically in Montreal), but this had never happened during the other summers I had the processor. It was also getting old and the heat was too much for the processor, I got a replacement while waiting for my new processor to arrive. I was very grateful to hear everything and everyone around me again, especially my son who is 3 years old. 

My audiologist explained that there was a product that takes out the moisture. I knew about the Zepher box but I had no idea there was a fan that turns on, I bought the product that helps take out the moisture and every night since the last appointment, it had truly made a big difference after a very hot day, I found that it would clear up the sounds everytime I used the dryer box. 

I wanted to share my story with parents of kids who are very active with sports or even the adults who are active with sports, please protect your processors - sweat can get inside your processor and cause problems. It's truly a blessing to hear our friends and family, our processors are important and they should be treated with care. I am grateful for every sound I have been hearing for 7 years and yet still hearing sounds as if it's the first time and wondering those sounds are. It's been an amazing journey and I can't wait to celebrate my ''ear-anniversary'' on January 22nd, 2017 surrounded by my son and family. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I'm Back!

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry that I haven't been writing, I had just started my summer vacation and I didn't really have the time to write but now that school has started, I will motivate myself to write. I have a few things in mind, so please stay tuned for the next blog!

Hope everyone had a great summer vacation!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

A big thank you to my readers!

I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog and sharing with your friends and family and to those who have joined my fan page for updates, and who have been complimenting me on my writing and thanking me for writing this blog because I know people who have known about the cochlear implant because of me having one but I know others who are new to what cochlear implants are. I received a message from a friend of mine and she had said that for me to create this idea is very inspiring, not only to those who are considering a cochlear implant, but also for those who have little knowledge about cochlear implants and are learning about it about it by reading my point of view throughout this incredible experience. She found it amazingly important to read something and trying to put yourself in that person's shoes to understand better what they were feeling and she felt that by reading my posts. and you can imagine the proudness I had felt by reading that message, it was nice to see a positive comment like that.

Reading that comment made me think of this question: I would like to know what my readers are thinking about my blog so far, has it helped you or someone you know? Thank you for reading my blog, and reading your positive comments gives me the courage to keep on writing!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My positive outlook on life with the Cochlear Implant


At the moment, I am listening to music while writing. I know what you must probably be thinking, ''how can she write while listening to music?''. Listening to music while writing is no problem for me - it is rare I will get writer's block and I found a new love in music, I have always loved listening to music  with hearing-aids but I could never really sing along without lyrics and with the cochlear implant, I was able to identify which instruments were being played and what the lyrics were being sung without even needing lyrics! Although with new songs, I will need to read the lyrics and try to memorize those songs which takes a bit of practice with the CI.  The CI really changed my life, it has helped me to understand people better and to enjoy music and live my life being confidant with my speech and hearing, it takes a lot of work but it is a blessing to be able to understand the sounds I'm hearing.  

I forgot which year but it was probably in 2011, I took sign language classes. I had met a new friend who only interacted in sign language and I couldn't interact with her which was because I didn't know any sign language but I found out where I could take sign language classes which I had enjoyed learning! I eventually learned enough signing to interact with her and I felt proud I was able to converse using sign language. Who knew you could use your hands to converse with someone? It's an amazing language! I am grateful my parents put me in a school to learn speech and to be able to talk with me, I know they would've learned sign language if that was their only option but they believed in me that much to learn speech and I did - I am proud of them! I know my siblings would too - I know them having a sister who has always been struggling with her hearing impairment had given them their own views on life and not take their hearing for granted.

I would like to recommend these two shows: Switched at Birth and Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye - both shows star deaf actors, they are both amazing shows but I strongly recommend Switched at Birth as it is a recent show that's been on air since 2011 and you can watch the three seasons on Netflix, you will learn some sign language if you would like to learn and understand the deaf culture a little more.

I would like to also share this video with you that a friend sent me. The girl's name is Heather and many years ago, her story started with a documentary/movie called Sound and Fury. This was a story about deaf families being divided over providing cochlear implants for their children. Heather's family - all Deaf decided to allow her to have one. I enjoyed watching this video and I hope you will too!

Monday, July 13, 2015

First sounds with the Cochlear Implant

Hi everyone, 

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  The last entry I had written was about the cochlear implant activation, I hope you enjoyed reading about it - I have gotten many comments on how interesting it was when I described my expectations of the CI, that it takes time for the brain to interpret what I was hearing. I was praised on documenting my incredible journey and I am very proud of all the entries that I've written and that so many friends, family and friends of friends reading my blogs and sharing with their families, friends, and possibly other audiologists and other families who are wrestling with the decision to go for the cochlear implant or not. I promise you that the cochlear implant will be the BEST decision you will ever make for yourself, your life and the lives of your friends and family who want to interact with you - but mostly for yourself if you want to hear the world. 

It had taken me two weeks after receiving the cochlear implant to be able to hear sounds, I was disappointed I didn't hear anything right away but I remained positive - I was going to work hard to achieve my goal at listening and recognizing the sounds no matter how loud they were or how low of a sound they were. The world was muffled for two weeks but the sounds came alive eventually but I still had to keep up with working out adjustments on the CI and work on my speech therapy which as I've said, my speech amazingly gotten better with the CI. If you want the cochlear implant, you have to stay committed and work hard, it takes such hard work and courage to follow through and if you do, I promise that you will feel proud that you sticked through it with the support of friends and family around you. 

Someone asked me recently since getting my cochlear implant, what my favorite sound in the world is. That was an easy question for me to answer because I knew from the moment I heard rain with the CI, it was the most beautiful sound of all to hear the water hitting the streets, the sidewalks, the windows outside of the car, and my hood. My CI isn't water-proof so I have to keep it covered during rain and snow and take it off during showers, just like you would with hearing-aids. It was an amazing experience to hear the rain for the first time 5 years ago, it still is. My other favorite sound is laughter... I love laughing and hearing my family laugh, you can really hear the happiness they are experiencing when they laugh. My family and I have these great family gatherings and laughter is what you will hear during these events, it's still a great feeling to hear them laugh and to laugh along with them! 

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Cochlear Implant Activation

Four weeks after the surgery, I went back to Quebec City to receive my hearing device for the first time and to have therapy sessions with the cochlear implant. I can't remember when, but it was probably during my hearing tests in Quebec City doing the tests to become a candidate but I remember picking out the color of my cochlear implant, there were three colors - brown, black, silver. I liked the color of the silver one, it was really pretty but I picked the brown one because it matched my hair color. I got to the hospital in Quebec City and I met the the audiologist, and she hooked my cochlear implant to a computer. My cochlear implant was about to be turned on for the very first time, and I was anxious to see if it was going to work. When it was turned on, I was expecting to hear sounds but the sounds were muffled and I was disappointed and felt discouraged.. I could hear the voices but they were muffled. My mother decided to look on the positive side, she said the sounds will come and it will take time and I had to believe that, we stayed in Quebec City for during the week and we would go home on the weekend and I remember coming home on the metro and I remember hearing the station's names and whenever I would hear the announcement even though it was muffled, it was a like a signal was sent to my brain to receive the message as I looked up on the board, there was a sound as I heard the station's names which I found kind of cool. I remember coming home and everything would be muffled, my dad would be talking to me and telling me to look away and he would knock on the table and I would turn around just from that sound, and that was a positive thing. 

I would  go on the laptop and put on music, I'd put the volume on a little higher and I would hear the singer's voice but it'd be muffled. I had to practice putting on my cochlear implant because it was difficult back then to put it on but eventually I got the hang of it, I was going to remain positive because hearing muffled sounds was better than not hearing anything at all. I went back to Quebec City after the weekend, I forgot how long we were supposed to stay but our stay ended earlier than we were supposed to. I was in the office hooked up to a computer and as soon as the session was over, I walked out out of the office and suddenly I could hear sounds in the hospital. Some sounds were startling to hear and others were a delight to hear, I was so excited! I could finally hear, I could hear my mother talking to me and I could hear my little brother William who was with us this time in Quebec City. 

I stayed two weeks in Quebec City and during those two weeks after turning the cochlear implant on, I was finally able to hear. I couldn't wait to go home, everything sounded so clear and so new. I couldn't wait to explore the world with my cochlear implant, but I still had a lot of work to do with the cochlear implant as I still had my therapy sessions at The Montreal Oral School of The Deaf which I always looked forward to going but after every session, I would get tired. It was normal as the sounds at first get exhausting to hear because there is so much going on but I loved hearing everything.

It's been five years since I had my surgery, and my cochlear implant still works perfectly and whenever I see family or friends, they often tell me my speech improved since getting the cochlear implant, and I feel proud. I go to the  Mackay Centre every now and then to re-adjust the sounds as sometimes it might need a little change. I have no regrets in getting the cochlear implant, it was the best decision I had ever made for myself and my life, I became an aunt a few months after I had the cochlear implant done and it was amazing to interact with my nephew when he was a baby and since then, I'm a proud aunt to two nephews and my first niece.

Every year I celebrated the day of my surgery, it was a special day for me to remember and I remember on the third anniversary of the surgery, I was 24 weeks with my son also and I couldn't wait to meet him and hear his cries when he was born and hear his voice for the rest of my life. He is now two years old and he talks so much, to hear my son talking and laughing and exploring the world around him is truly a blessing.

I hope you all enjoyed reading my blogs, please feel free to share with your family and friends! Here is a picture of the cochlear implant, the same kind I have except the color I have is brown. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cochlear Implant Surgery

The surgery was set for January 22nd, 2010. I was very excited until near the end when the day was coming, I wanted to back out... I was really nervous for it. I remember getting to the hospital just a day before the surgery, and I had to do some tests before the big day. My surgeon wanted to check my ears and I was given some special shampoo to use to wash my hair in preparation for the surgery. The morning came and I was the first one to have surgery, it was 8:00 in the morning and the sun was just rising.. it was a beautiful sight to see but I was very nervous. I had changed into the hospital gown, and they came with my bed and I laid down and was covered with blankets, we went down to the operating room and they left me in the hallway with nurses walking everywhere - it was kind of scary but the nurses were so nice, they had given me a warm blanket because it was cold down there. A few minutes later, my doctor came and told me everything will be fine and that reassured me even more. Then, I was wheeled into the room where I met the team and they explained what they were going to do - they were going to put me to sleep, I remember looking away as a needle went into my arm and I looked up at the ceiling and everything got all hazy, and I began to get sleepy and that's when I fell asleep.

I was coming out of the anesthesia and the nurse was trying to wake me up and I woke up to her nudges in so much pain. I asked her about my hearing aid since it was put into a bag as soon as I fell asleep, but I didn't want to wear it for my right ear right away. I asked her if everything went well, she said it did. Soon, I was brought to my room upstairs... I remember my mother and sister rushing to my side, I was in so much pain and all I wanted to do was sleep. I slept a lot but was checked once in awhile to describe the pain I was having from 0-10 indicated on the paper they had given me, I had until the day after the surgery to go home and I was so excited. In the morning, I had another doctor come in, my surgeon couldn't be there so he had a replacement and he changed my band-aid that was wrapped around my head covering the left ear and checked the implant, he had written to me on paper that everything was fine and that he was changing the band-aid and that within 10 days, I can take the band-aid off at the CLSC. I was ready to go home and couldn't wait to see everyone! 4 weeks from the surgery, I went back to Quebec City to receive my hearing device for the very first time.