Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Year Later

A year ago today, we took our sweet boy to Hopkins for his Cochlear Implant surgery. I remember feeling so incredibly scared about all of the unknowns:

Would he get through the surgery ok?
How will he recover?
Are we making the right choice?
Will we know what to do with it?
Will he ever be able to listen and speak?

Well, if I would've known then, what I know now, it would've saved me alot of heartache and worry (and glasses of wine).

Christian was up and around the day after his surgery. Over the following months, his incision has healed so perfectly, that you can't even see it behind his ear. We made it through the whole process without ANY complications.

Leading up to the surgery, I remember worrying if we were making the right choice for Christian. Would he resent me for doing this when he gets older? Should we wait for better technology or medical advances? What about his residual hearing? We got over those fears, and pushed ahead. We knew that if we wanted to give Christian access to ever opportunity that he deserved, that a Cochlear Implant was the way to do it. And from this past year's experience, we are so very confident we made the right choice.

When we picked our implant brand, I was more than overwhelmed with the equipment itself. I couldn't imagine knowing what to do with all the cables, cords, and accessories. Now, I feel like a pro. I can troubleshoot the thing like an expert. In fact, I can handle Christian's CI better than our cable box. It's easy. It's THAT easy.

While Christian was an exceptional hearing aid user, I wasn't quite sure how he would be with a CI. Even with a severe-profound loss, Christian was able to pick up some spoken language. We were prepped by our team at Hopkins, that his CI rehabilitation could take many months, if not years to get him to speak. We were prepared for a very long road, and just prayed that he would be able to use his CI. Activation day came, and we expected little. When Christian showed immediate responses, and even repeated Lings, we knew our prayers were answered. Never in a million years did we expect Christian to do as well as he is doing now. 10 months post activation, Christian is testing at and above age level in receptive and expressive language. The kid is carrying on complete conversations with us, using 5-7 word sentences. His articulation is incredible. Christian is incredible. This whole journey is incredible.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings. As we approach his official hearing birthday (for all those outside of the CI community, the day your CI is activated, is technically your hearing birthday), we have much to celebrate, and much to consider. With his CI and hearing aid, Christian has amazed us. We can't help but wonder what an implant in his other ear would bring. For now, we'll take what we have, and celebrate our amazing little boy who will always, ALWAYS be my greatest inspiration.


tejl said...

Tina, you and Chuck deserve a lot of credit too!! I'm sure Christian wouldn't have adjusted as well as he did without your support, guidance and dedication. Technology like a CI is nothing without people around to support it! All three of you amaze me :)

Drew's Mom said...

WOW! It's been a year? That is so hard to believe!

I know no matter what you decide about the other ear, you will make the best decision you can for Christian. Hold on to that! There is always something to worry about, but when you see how wonderful these little guys (and gals) do, it's hard to see why we worry!

Cindy said...

Celebrating with you in San Diego! :)

The Multi-talented and Menially Employed, J.D. said...

So proud of you for always putting what Christian needed first and not being deterred. Hooray Christian!

Melanie said...

So exciting!

Lily's Mom said...

I'm glad Christian is doing so well. I know how hard it is to make all those decisions...I'm going through it right now. I can't wait for Lily to have her surgery because she isn't responding to any environmental sounds with her hearing aids.

mishkazena said...

That's great that he is making terrific progress.