It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years, as it seems longer. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, highs and lows, and regaining skills. For over a year I struggled on my own to cope with my wildly changing emotions. It ranged from depression, regret, awe, joy, worry, and occasionally confidence and surety that I’d made the right decision.
There were a lot of frustrations with family and friends not understanding my needs, or that I had a long road ahead. Once I resumed writing last fall, that started to make a difference, and I have learned it has helped others like me as well.
I also wasn’t sure how much progress I was making. My one year post activation booth test was disheartening. Then I had an opportunity to participate in an auditory verbal therapy study. I turned the corner soon after and began making better progress. My toddler was developing his own speech at that time so it became a benefit to us both. I used my developing listening and hearing skills to pick out new words and sounds he was attempting which allowed me to reinforce his efforts. We both still have a ways to go, but I am pleased with our progress so far.
I received my hearing aid back from repairs and once I acclimated to hearing in the left ear again after a year of no sound, I began training that ear as well. While I cannot pick up high frequency speech sounds with the hearing aid as I do with the cochlear implant, I still noticed an improvement.
I was recently asked about my perspective on having the cochlear implant, and the pros and cons to it by a friend’s daughter for a college essay. It’s different for everyone, but the majority of us experience the same roller coaster ride of emotions leading to the surgery and the months after. Keeping one expectations realistic is important, but difficult, since we basically want to go from zero to sixty PRONTO. The biggest con is the time it takes to achieve the goals we set by getting the implant. How much time it takes is dependent on a variety of factors like previous hearing history of that ear, the rehabilitation we do (if at all), the support we have or lack thereof from family, friends and even the professionals we work with during this time. The biggest pro is the gains in sounds, speech comprehension and quality of life.
So although I still have a lot of work ahead of me, I have finally gotten to the point where I know that I made the right decision for myself. So to anyone reading this, wondering whether it’s worth the highs and lows, the trials to get the cochlear implant, my answer is: YES, IT ABSOLUTELY IS WORTH IT.
So here’s to another year, and next month’s two year activation anniversary. Maybe by next April 2015 I will be confidently using the phone as I once did as a teenager.