Today I celebrate the 1st Anniversary of my cochlear implant surgery for my left ear. It hardly seems possible that a year has passed and at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago.
I remember waking up in a hotel in Nashville the morning of surgery. I didn’t sleep well because my mind wouldn’t rest but I jumped out of bed so ready to get to the hospital. I had been in the lobby for probably 30 minutes before my parents came downstairs. I remember being a little scared, but more happy and excited. I wasn’t thrilled to have general anesthesia or have my head cut into, but the reward waiting on the other side was more than worth it.
I encounter so many people who are very reluctant to have CI surgery. They worry about the surgery not working, or later failing, when they can still “hear” with their hearing aids. Usually that means they hear sounds but have a lot of trouble understanding speech. I get it, totally.
When I think back to my decision making I wonder if I should have been more concerned and cautious in considering CI surgery. I knew what the surgery involved. I knew there was a chance (a very small chance) that it wouldn’t be successful. The more I researched, though, the benefits far outweighed the risks. In addition, and more importantly, I was so tired of struggling to hear, understand and be involved with life. It would be all or nothing.
So here I am a year later. One year after surgery. I’m writing this from out of town. I spent most of yesterday participating in a cochlear implant research study. I’m humbled by all the opportunities I’ve had to help other people with hearing loss. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am if others hadn’t taken those same opportunities on my behalf.
One year ago I took the first step on a journey I only dreamed about. I guess that means I’m living the dream!