Cause i'm gonna hear better than you one day!
Today I went to 3 doctor appointments, 2 of which were ear related. The other I won't go into until I know more, but I had a CT scan done on my head, to check and see if my temporal bone is bad. I don't know where in the world your temporal bone is but hey.
So after my CT scan I go upstairs to meet with the ear specialist who has never seen my case before. This is my first official ear appointment since moving away from NC and leaving behind my regular ear doctor that knows my ear like the back of his hand. I was hopeful that nothing would be wrong.
There is good news, and there is 'bad' news, if you want to call it bad. First the bad news: I need surgery again, for the 5th time. My stapes bone has 'slipped' and is no longer functioning like it should. It is just having it's own little party in never never land and isn't attached to the maleus which is where it should be. When I had surgery number 2 the doctor had to remove my incus, replace my stapes with a prosthetic ear bone and just build a 'bridge' to my maleus but linking my stapes to my maleus and my inner ear.
here is a picture:
Just picture the incus totally gone, and the stapes forming a 'bridge' connecting directly to the maleus. Mine is no longer touching the maleus like it was meant to do in the 2nd surgery.
The picture below is an overview of where the ear bones are
So my obvious decision is do I or do I not have the surgery? The no brainer would be to have it. I am not opposed to doing that, that is until I had the 'baha' experience. The 'baha' Bone Apparatus Hearing Aid is a hearing aid that would be implanted into my bone permanantly for the rest of my life, the part that would be implanted would be the size of a pencil eraser behind my ear (feel the hard bone behind your ear? that is where it would be implanted) and would be titanium metal so I would be able to swim, shower, basically live a normal life. The next part that would be my aid would be a snap on little diddy that is maybe 1''x1'' 'box' that would have a battery, a volume control and would amplify my sounds bypassing my disastrous middle ear and getting all the information straight to the business center of my inner ear. I had no idea what to expect when the doctor hastily ran away to his office to get the sample version of it for me to try in the room. The 'sample' version isn't as effective as the 'REAL' version, but it got the point across BIG TIME. So he puts it on my head and quietly whispers into my left ear 'test 123' and a smile jumped across my face like no other. He then continues to tell me that because my stapes bone is unattached my hearing loss is 50-60% now and that blah blah blah blah blah blah blah (not listening to him anymore because I am currently crying my eyeballs out from tears of sheer happiness) Yes, folks, the BAHA made me cry...in a good way. He was such a soft spoken, understanding man and tells me that it's alright to cry because i've not heard this well in a long time. He was very sweet.
He has done 11 surgeries total of this surgery, 4 while he was in practice and all of them have had positive results. He said that insurance companies will now pay for the surgery, but not all will pay for the aid, which could cost 1-2,000. The piece that attaches to the implant isn't too stylish, but he said that technology would update possibly and it would become smaller, possibly even a blue tooth technology.
Here is a website with pictures to show you what it would look like:
Somewhere in between the tears I managed to squeeze out a couple of questions about the procedure like, recovery time (5-7 days) surgery (lasts about 1.5 hrs done under general anesthesia) and whether or not he could repair my stapes bone while the baha is inserted. He said that he wouldn't need to do both.
My thoughts are this (these) . Despite the fact that the BAHA is amazing, and gave me dog ears, I am hesitant on something being so permanant. It would be drilled into my skull basically, forever seems so scary. I feel like I should get my stapes bone repaired again, but then there is another chance that it would slip again, because thats what they do, and I would be in the same boat. I think I also remember my doctor in NC saying that my hearing would never be normal again because of my prosthetic ear bone, no incus and possible nerve damage in my inner ear. So even repairing the stapes, I have a feeling would never give me the sounds that I heard today. What then would be the point of having it if it didn't effect my hearing? I want to call my NC doctor tomorrow and have a chat with him. We'll see how that goes.
With the BAHA I could hear background noise, AND have a conversation. I could also hear very clearly out of my left ear. I could hear whispers, I could hear termites in the wood (kidding). There is also a volume level on the 'box' that you can adjust. The doctor had mine first on '2' which would give me vibrations in my ear with loud noises. He then turned it down to '1/2' and it was still very crystal clear and miraculous.
I can take the Baha home on a trial basis and see if I like it, if I do, then I can have the surgery. Since this hearing aid worked for me, I asked if just a 'regular' one would work for me, and he said that I could absolutely try one, (despite my middle ear being messed up - that would be the part that would be used with a 'regular' hearing aid so it might not work as well) so on October 1st I am having a hearing aid evaluation with the audiologist and we'll see how that goes. I may even opt to have a 'regular' hearing aid with the stapes surgery repair and if need be get the baha years down the road. Maybe? Heck, I don't know.
Up until today I had just assumed that I would be deaf in my left ear in 10-15 years and had accepted that fact and come to terms with it. Now I have a whole new outlook on my possibilities. Now I just need to think about what I want to do with them. I value all of your thoughts and opinions or any questions you may have because maybe I should have them to. Please ask away and leave your comments here or email them to me. PLEASE:) Like I said, I value all of them.
Please say a little prayer.
On a side note, please pray for my friend Lisa's baby. Her name is Evelyn Rose and she has been diagnosed as having Myoclonic epileptic seizures, had strokes while in the womb, areas of her brain have died and are now damaged and will develop cerebral palsy when she develops although the doctors don't know to what extent all of this will have on her little body. Please pray for her miraculous healing and for strength and peace without understanding for her family during this difficult time. All prayers are very much appreciated.