Monday, January 24, 2011

Cochlear Implant Thoughts....

I have a lot of decisions to make these days, one of which has absolutely nothing to do with triathlon but everything to do with me being able to hear better.  I'm contemplating (actually i've already decided) to go ahead and have a cochlear implant surgery. I won't go into too many details on what exactly it is, it would take a while :), but here is a link explaining the surgery: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/CochlearImplants/ucm062823.htm

My older sister and my cousin both have cochlear implants and both have had tremendous success, so, why am I dragging my feet?  Laziness, wondering if i'll be patient enough to do the "homework" required after the surgery, and wondering if it will really work for me (I'm doing it in my "bad" ear-they're both "bad" but my right ear is the worse of the two). My goal is to have the surgery while we're here in Boston because they have an amazing Eye/Ear clinic here and Dave randomly worked with a surgeon who performs these surgeries on both children and adults and he was able to receive some good feedback from the doctor about the MA Eye/Ear Infirmary.  Anyway....so, i'm contemplating doing the surgery in March---I have a few things I need to look into as far as coverage etc.  My reasons for doing the surgery:  overall, just better quality of hearing, the ability to mountain bike, surf, scuba dive and other super active activities that i've never been able to do because of the risk of hitting my head (I have Mondini Syndrome which leaves me susceptible to more hearing loss if I hit my head, which i've done previously while swimming and skate boarding, both of which resulted in surgeries.).   This is not to say i'm going to run out and start mountaing biking, but just the ABILITY to be able to do something without having to worry about my hearing loss increasing.  The cochlear implant bypasses this type of issue.

Wanna know a really big reason though? I really really want to be able to listen to an iPod without having to wear those big old headphones.  Right now, I can't listen to an iPod with my hearing aid because those buds don't fit in my ear with an aid and the other "foamy" headphones fall off when I run.  So, there you have it, i'm living proof you CAN train for and complete a 140.6 triathlon without a speck of music.  Painful, but i've done it.  Twice.

And if you think I listen to music while riding the trainer, you're wrong, I sweat so much that I have to leave my hearing aid off, so I read the closed captioning on the t.v. while I ride my trainer.  No big deal that one, really.....i'm ok with that, but I would give anything to be able to have a fun "play list" and wear my iPod....

Or, even just being able to wear a hands-free headset while driving.  All these things sound superficial, and they totally are...absolutely. But, they're a "given" for most of the world and they're not for me, and it sounds like fun!

So, this week, i've made it my mission to not only try to grocery shop ahead of time so we don't fall prey to crappy food, but more importantly, get some research and information taken care of so I can be on my way to listening to some Radiohead while running. Ah, just kidding, that's on Dave's play list...i'll be aiming for some Red Hot Chili Peppers or Madonna :)

16 comments:

Melissa said...

Wow, how exciting, especially since you are in the best place around to have something like this done. What type of homework do you have to do after the surgery?

Madonna all the way!

Andree said...

I am soooo excited for you! I can only imagine what goes into making that decisoin-but now that you have...full steam ahead. It's great that you have others in your family from whom to learn the ins and outs, dos and donts. This is great Mer!!!

Shan said...

I was like, wait a minute, I thought you hated Radiohead!! lol How about Lady Gaga instead? ;-)

Mer, I think this is GREAT!!

ADC said...

Awesome. Now go and do some research... There is nothing wrong with Radiohead (Dave has a good music taste ;)))

michaelangelo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michaelangelo said...

Hi saw your post because I have "Cochlear Implant" in my Google alerts. Best of luck to you and don't stop even for a moment to second guess this decision. I have been bilaterally implanted for going on three years and it has been nothing less than a miracle. After thirty years of progressive hearing loss that eventually left me with only about 5% speech recognition, my CIs GAVE ME MY LIFE BACK with a whopping 90% increase in speech recognition. I hope the same for you. Godspeed. Michael

Joel said...

Wow. This is HUGE news, and so exciting! I'm sure I speak for all in saying that we'll be thinking of you and praying for you the whole time between now & then.

And, BTW - Madonna? Seriously? If you're going old-school like her, you should at least go for New Kids on the Block! :-)

oculartriathlete said...

I know that is a HUGE decision for you. To think of the possibilities!!! I think it is very brave of you to take this step!!! As a side note when you are at MA Eye and Ear tell them I love their clinical diagnosis book!!!! Use it everyday almost

Caratunk Girl said...

That is awesome, I am so excited for you!! Thinking of you and think it is very exciting that you are living in a great place to have the surgery. All the best and keep us posted.

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

All the best to you. That is exciting.I do beleive there is a pod cast for everyone and some Lady Gaga

Velma said...

Love me some Red Hot Chili Peppers. It sounds like you have made a very good decision. I think you are going to be blown away once the surgery is done!

Kacie Darden said...

That is awesome! One of my student's older sister's (complicated, I know!) was one of the first to ever get the surgery! Awesome!! So exciting!

Kiersten said...

Sounds like the implant will open up a lot of things for you that many of us take for granted. (and Madonna is way better than NKOTB)

Anthony said...

Good for you! Just guessing, but I bet you won't know how you got along without 'em.

Kelly said...

This is so exciting, Mer! My best friend's mother got a cochlear implant late in life (I think she was in her late 50s-early 60s) and it absolutely enhanced her life. Even the small things like talking on the telephone to her daughter were better. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Laura Wheatley said...

Wow big news! you are DEFINITELY very tough. I find that music can sometimes be my fallback or distraction- you actually have to FOCUS on all your workouts, no wonder you are a sub-11 Ironman! :)

GOOD LUCK girlfriend!!