Whole 30 Days 3-6

I TOLD you I wasn’t going to be able to write everyday! I thought about it, especially with the snow days we had….but just couldn’t bring myself to! 🙂

So, I DEFINITELY hit some rough patches. I sooooo wanted to quit on Day 4. Hard to admit that! I texted my Lent friend/partner in crime and a couple of my besties, though, and made it through! The snow days and being home all day had it’s pros and cons. On the one hand, I got myself back into the cooking and meal prep routine. I wasn’t the MOST prepared person, so it helped me to not be more behind than if we were working! On the other hand, I was home, alone, ALL DAY and that gives a person a LOT of time to sit around and think about food and what foods you can’t eat and what foods you miss! Besides my friends encouraging words and many, many, many (many) prayers, I think what helped me the most was remembering and constantly thinking, “This is all my choice. This is something that I want to help me feel better and lose weight.”

Attention and focus: Hmmm, about the same? I haven’t had many times when I’ve need to really concentrate on something, so hard to tell. I feel my memory is improving a bit.

Energy: Whoa. Still not exactly where I’d like it to be. But last night I was pretty much skipping through the kitchen, excited about my dinner that I’d made, all that I’d accomplished that day (Sunday, btw), and this morning I was pretty full of energy, too! Even after waking up at 5:00 am to go workout with a friend!

Sleep: Hmmm, better? Not sure, ha ha! I think I’m sleeping more, but I’m not entirely sure. 🙂 That could be a good sign, though!

Digestion and indigestion: DEFINITELY improved. I used to get indigestion and heartburn so much more before. Since I started this, I don’t think I’ve had but a couple episodes that were very minor! (and surprisingly not even after my little splurge on Sunday {more on that later}).

Clothes fitting: Same

Sugar cravings: Hmmm same? They come and go. Sometimes they have been very strong. Sometimes they are just in passing. Coffee is still actually the hardest part. Coconut milk is just not the same. Neither is no sweetener. The dates are alright, but I am a texture person and don’t like the bits and pieces in my coffee. I ordered some date syrup that should be Whole30 approved, so I’m hoping that comes tomorrow and makes it better!

Mood: Better! This morning I was in a shockingly good mood, considering I got up at 5 and went back to work for the first time in a week!

Acne: People say it looks better. I don’t see that change so far. However, I’ll take the compliments and see what else happens!

Afternoon slump: Well, today being the first day back, I expected a big slump, especially after being so hyped up this morning! I really thought that I would have been SO exhausted! Truth was, while I was still a little tired after work,  I went home and decided not to take a nap and see how things went. I’ve been surprisingly alright so far, and it’s 8:17 while I’m typing this!

FOOD

Greek Meatballs with Avocado Tzatziki sauce

Just alright. The recipe for the tzatziki sauce calls for yogurt, which you leave out for Whole30. I did that, but the sauce just did NOT turn out right. The cucumbers just wouldn’t blend right. Of course, I did not have a good food processor to use, so that might make it better. But I just saved the rest of the meatballs for a “pasta” night to come.

Sausage and egg breakfast bites

Good. Not amazing. I put salsa on these and used store bought sausage. Sue me. This was one of my first big meals and I wasn’t going the homemade sausage route. I honestly don’t love sausage or eggs, so there may not be a next time for this unless there are people to share it with and cheese to add. But if you love those foods, you’ll probably love this.

Taco seasoning

I made taco meat to put in lettuce leaves. Good. Not the same. Lol! I missed the shell/tortilla and the cheese and sour cream and jalapenos. But I made do with it!

Garlic and Lemon Chicken with Red Potatoes and Green Beans

Second time I’ve made this. And won’t be the last! Delicious!!!

Sweet Potato Hash

Definitely great! I omitted the onions (don’t like). And the beets (wasn’t willing to try a new food just yet). But even without those, it was great!

Pederson’s Bacon

Sugar free bacon. YUM. I was so nervous about this. But LOVE it!!! Definitely a winner!

I’ve also been eating cashews, pistachios, and lots of fruits!

So, how do I feel about all this? Just alright. The positive changes have been great. I still miss the convenience of fast food. Part of that is habit, too, I think. I realized tonight while I was making the sweet potato hash that I managed to completely forget that I enjoy cooking! I like trying new recipes. It’s fun! Sometimes it works, and sometimes not! For the most part, everything has turned out well. There is one thing, a pulled pork recipe, that didn’t turn out great. But I am changing the cut of meat and trying it again! And I do enjoy fresh fruits! I had cantaloupe and strawberries today that were divine. Seriously. Very flavorful! I really really really miss chocolate. But, despite missing my junk foods, I think it will come down to learning balance and learning to enjoy those junk foods in moderation and good quality.

Sunday I decided to have a treat. Choosing to do the Whole30 for Lent is kind of contradicting. Usually people don’t fast on Sundays during Lent. But the Whole30 calls for no treats whatsoever. I decided to go ahead with the treats on Sundays, just a portioned treat and went to Panera to get a brownie and a Mountain Dew. Their brownies are pretty decent size. Not teeny tiny, but not massive either. And I got a medium, not a large, or a gulp size, Mountain Dew. And guess what? I didn’t even finish either of them! I’m pretty proud of that! I paid attention to how they tasted and decided that I just didn’t want anymore.

So, there it is. My Whole30 so far. If you have made it this far into this post, thanks for sticking with me and sharing this experience!

Whole30 Days 1 and 2

So, for a while, I have known that I needed to make some changes to my diet. I have made changes here and there, but usually abandoned after a short time, after not seeing changes in my weight as quickly as I liked. But, it quickly became apparent that weight was not the only thing that I wanted to change about myself. My energy levels have been pitiful for only being 33. And I get indigestion and moody from either being tired, not fueling my body appropriately, etc. After watching Fed Up, I decided that Lent made the perfect time to give the Whole30 a try. It is unreal how many foods have sugar!! Even bacon and salad dressings! It is a little daunting and I’ve had a lot of people ask questions, so I decided to try to blog about it (despite my bad blogging history). This way I can share my progress and the delicious recipes (which can be made and enjoyed whether you want to do the Whole30 or not!). My goals from this Whole30 experience is to reset my food preferences and the way I eat and look at food. I hope that, as a result of that goal, that I will lose weight and gain some energy! I will post as often as I can about 9 different aspects that can be (hopefully) positively affected by this experience. Unless something major happens, I probably will only fill in those blanks from here on out. It’s just easier for this non-blogger! 🙂

Before starting the Whole30

Attention and focus: Poor. I space out so easily during lectures or even people speaking for a long time! It’s very hard for me to finish a book that isn’t a super easy read, too.

Energy: Blah. I’m always ready to go back to bed and take a nap and sometimes I’m even ready to go to bed at 8:00 at night! (especially on a work day!)

Sleep: Poor. I wake up several times in the night and never wake up feeling refreshed.

Digestion and indigestion: Definitely have some level of indigestion every day, if not more than once a day!

Clothes fitting: Lately they’ve been tighter! I have definitely gained some weight in the past few years.

Sugar cravings: STRONG! If I don’t get some sugar filled treat everyday, watch out!

Mood: I can tend to get irritated easily at things, especially if I’m tired and it’s afternoon or early evening and I haven’t napped! Plus, my motivation to do much other than lay on the couch or bed and watch tv is pretty low. Being sleepy all the time doesn’t help a person out!

Acne: Cystic acne on my chin, plus other little breakouts. I recently had a breakout from something new I used, and I’m not sure what, so that hasn’t helped much!

Afternoon slump: Blah….my sworn enemy that shows up faithfully, every single day, whether I’m at work or not!

Coffee

So, yesterday was day 2. I HATE black coffee. And putting coconut milk in it does NOT help any. I thought I was going to take someone out over my lack of caffeine yesterday evening. Luckily, I did some more research online and found the idea to put coconut milk, dates, and cinnamon in a blender. I used about a can of coconut milk, 4 dates (take the seeds out!) and a few dashes of cinnamon. Then I just poured it in until I was ok with the taste! This worked pretty well, though it wasn’t as good as my coffee before (flavored creamer with 1 packet Splenda). But, it’ll get me through! Warning: there will be some date bits at the bottom of the cup. I plan to look into either making date paste or just buying some date syrup from Amazon.

Food

Day 1:

Breakfast was 2 eggs baked in avocado halves. This was not easy! I didn’t scoop enough avocado out and then the avocados tilted in the pan and spilled the whites all over the pan. Still tasty, though!

Lunch: Chicken with avocado salsa

This recipe actually called for salmon, but I’m not much of a fish eater and wasn’t going too far out of my box on day 1! So, I subbed the salmon for chicken and baked it in the oven. DELICIOUS!!!

Dinner: Carne Asada

The tomatillo avocado salsa in this recipe is sooooo good! I didn’t have a jalapeno, but I wasn’t changing my plans or going to the store. It was still delicious!

Day 1 was a great success!

Day 2:

Breakfast: just a banana and some dates. Basically skipped breakfast here. Just didn’t want to cook anything!!

Lunch: Leftover chicken from day 1 with leftover tomatillo avocado salsa (the recipe makes a lot for just 1 person!)

Dinner: Salad with avocado and leftover chicken from day 1 (I’d made 6 really small chicken breasts) and homemade balsamic vinegar dressing.

By the way, nothing I have made so far has had onions, because I hate them, lol! More on day 3 later!

Belated Update!!!

So, obviously I’m not any better at keeping up with this blog than I am my old (and abandoned) blog! It’s been 3 ½ months and I hadn’t even realized it! Since my last post, a fair amount has happened. I went back to the surgeon January 9th and was released from any more follow up appointments. YAY! I noticed while I was meeting with him that I could understand him SO much better than I had at my past appointments. He has a foreign accent that I can’t place and accents have always made it more difficult for me to understand the person speaking.

That same day, I had another mapping appointment. Things were tweaked and the volume went up quite a bit! At first, it actually ended up being too loud, especially in noisier situations. I always turn the volume down now in the car, but by now I find I am able to tolerate the volume more in most other situations. I still have to turn the volume down in the car if I’m listening to music. The 2 sounds, music and road noise, are just too much. The day or 2 after the mapping appointment, I noticed that I could hear a sound in my classroom when most of my students were out at a related arts class and I just had my preschoolers in the room during their nap time. I asked my coworker and found out that it was one of my preschool students snoring! I had known that she snored some (I just thought it was sporadic, but apparently it is an everyday thing), but before I had to kneel down real close to her to be able to hear it. For a while after that, I didn’t really notice any huge changes. In fact, all my changes and improvements have been very small, nothing huge. I attribute this to the fact that I did have some benefit from hearing aids before the surgery, though not a whole lot. But basically, I wasn’t completely deaf in that ear before the surgery, so I think that has made it so that I don’t have huge changes in my progress. This past week, I really noticed a few new things. One day, I was standing in the cafeteria, several yards away from the kitchen area, and heard a faint noise that I couldn’t recognize. Sometimes I swear I hear phantom noises, like my cell phone vibrating when it really isn’t, so I thought that’s what it was. I asked the interpreters standing there with me and they said that it was the ovens in the kitchen buzzing. Apparently they go off every day while we are in there waiting for the kids to finish eating breakfast! I don’t know if it was just quieter that morning or if I just have been adjusting or what, but it was kind of cool to hear a sound from so far away! I also heard my iPad chime with a new e-mail from halfway across my classroom. That was definitely a quieter situation (if you don’t count the snoring from the preschooler).

I still struggle a LOT with noisier environments, but again, I have noticed improvements in those situations, too. I went to dinner with my family in January and we were at a noisy restaurant (aren’t they all, though?). There was one point in time when I had my face turned away from my mother, who was sitting on my right side (the implanted side). She said something and I realized that I actually had understood what she said. That was pretty cool!

Last night I worked at the Prom of the Stars in Knoxville. My battery died and I realized I had left the spare batteries at my parents house, so that left my semi-one-eared (if that makes any sense). It is amazing how much clarity the implant adds to sounds. On the way to the prom, I rode with friends. I sat in the back seat and was surprised that I could understand my best friend, who was sitting in the front seat, without ever seeing her face. I definitely missed a few things she said, but I pretty much got everything by context clues, by what I did understand. After we left the prom, which was pretty much immediately after my battery died, I couldn’t understand a word she said and she ended up having to text me the plans for the rest of that evening. I went home and picked up my batteries, which helped a LOT.

I’ve been asked many times since the surgery if I regret having the surgery or if I’m happy that I had it. I definitely don’t regret it and never have. I still have a ways to go before I am where I want to be. I don’t think I’ll be there by the time the first year is up. I also don’t have plans to get the other ear implanted any time soon. Maybe one day, but for now, I am happy with what I have and happy to work on that. There are a lot of pluses to having a cochlear implant, but there are some minuses, too, and I am content to just have the one and not bother with 2 yet, if ever. There is a definite sound difference between the implant and the hearing aid. I feel I am adjusting well to that and mostly it doesn’t bother me. Music is sounding better as time goes on, but still sounds better with the hearing aid as well, and I don’t want to give that up right now.

Well, there is my update! I didn’t put any of the testing results from the last appointment in this post because I want to ask for a copy of the report before I do so. Also, while the testing results show a huge improvement and I do think testing is important, it’s not real life and therefore doesn’t hold a ton of importance to me. I have another appointment in a few weeks, so hopefully I’ll have more to post then! (And maybe before!!)

Slow Going!

Well, I got fussed at this weekend for not posting more often, so here’s a bit of an update! 😉

 

Things have slowed down considerably. During the first 2 weeks post-activation, it seemed like everyday I was experiencing something new or had more and more progress. I actually got nervous and e-mailed an audiologist who also has Med-El implants about a week ago to ask questions about what I am experiencing and able to do, expectations, etc. Thankfully she feels like I am right on target and gave me some suggestions about playing around with the settings to see what works for me. 

After my last mapping appointment, I received program settings for anytime, loud/restaurant type settings, far away/presentations, and an overall loud program. I must say that I really don’t notice a lot of difference between each setting, so that may need to be tweaked at my next mapping appointment. (That was another factor that made me nervous. My next mapping appointment is actually later than they typically schedule the 4th appointment, basically so I can save time, gas and money and have my next follow-up appointment with my surgeon on the same day.) I have yet to really try playing with the microphone sensitivity in my classroom, but I have had the chance to experience some other settings. I’ll just number them below.

1. Hearing aid only. This is not a setting, but I have had some times when I’ve worn my left hearing aid only. Wow. The difference between sound quality and speech understanding is AMAZING. While I did struggle quite a bit with one aid after the surgery, I think that my brain has just adjusted to the CI so much that now to be only with my hearing aid is pretty much impossible, at least as far as speech discrimination goes! I was in the middle of an IEP meeting and had an interpreter, so I was ok, but my CI battery died and I didn’t have a charged battery to use. I went from understanding some speech and using the interpreter to fill in the blanks (I had been wearing both my aid and my CI) to not understanding any speech at all. Crazy!!

2. Implant only. I still must have visual cues/lip reading cues to really understand everything I hear, but I now can understand speech and know when I’m hearing speech and when I’m not. When I was first activated, you may remember me saying that I couldn’t even tell when I was hearing a voice!! So this is definitely progress! I have gone out to dinner with a friend who doesn’t sign and we’ve also gone on a shopping trip and I haven’t had to turn on my hearing aid at all. When I’m home at night or on the weekends, I try not to turn on my hearing aid at all. Voices and sounds are also much more natural sounding, though not completely.

3. Hearing aid and implant. This is preferred for me right now. I have noticed that if the volume on my hearing aid is considerably lower than the implant volume, then I dislike the sound and it’s almost disorienting, even though I can handle the same volume and sound without the hearing aid. For example, this morning, I had the radio on and my hearing aid self-adjusted to the volume of the radio and got quieter. I had to both turn down the radio volume and turn up my hearing aid volume to get to a happy point. But I am starting to understand a little bit more without visual cues when I have both the implant and the aid on.

 

I went to a workshop that was hosted by TSD (Tennessee School for the Deaf) this weekend and wore only my implant during the sessions. I did use an interpreter at all the sessions, but I was still able to take note of what I was hearing and how it sounded to me. People who spoke from the “audience” were unintelligible and sometimes not heard at all. The presenters were all female and 1 had a deeper voice than the others. I found it interesting that the presenter with the deeper voice was MUCH harder to understand and I don’t think I really understood anything she said. The others had higher pitched voices and were a little easier to understand words spoken here and there. This was, of course, without lipreading cues, because I was looking at an interpreter. I just would “check out” for a minute here and there and try to not pay attention to the interpreter (without being obvious, I hope!) and I tried to listen to the speaker, just to see if I could understand anything that was being said. I was happy that I was able to understand a few words here and there! At one point in time, my coworker was asking questions of one of the presenters and while I was waiting for her, I decided to try to eavesdrop on their conversation, just to see how much I could understand. I couldn’t get full sentences, but I did get words! I got back home that evening and I was texting with my dad. I left the phone on vibrate on the bathroom counter and went into my bedroom to change clothes. I was only a few yards away, but while I was in my bedroom, I heard a noise that sounded like my phone going off. I didn’t really think it had, since I have struggled to hear it vibrate while in the same room, but sure enough, it had gone off! That was exciting, to have heard a sound that quiet from another room! I also can understand some voicemail messages that I receive. I have worn both the implant and hearing and just the implant in a restaurant setting and the difference in sound is pretty different in that situation. The implant definitely is easier to listen with than the hearing aid. Background noise is always an issue, but it was less severe with just the implant.

 

Overall, I’m not sorry that I choose to have the surgery done. I admit that when changes starting slowing down and I didn’t see the progress happening as fast, I did get frustrated and nervous. I’ve come to terms with that now, after talking with others who have implants, and I feel more patient about what’s to come. I’m thankful that my residual hearing was saved, because when I go to the gym, I’m able to wear my earbuds and still hear the music on my iPod without any amplification. It doesn’t really bother me that I don’t always understand the lyrics because I’m so used to that already. At this point in time, I don’t know that I will implant the other ear. I do have residual hearing in that ear and with the implant AND hearing aid, music is more enjoyable right now. I know that with time, music will begin to sound better. But right now, I’m ok with what I have. I will say that if I had nothing in the other ear, or a much more severe hearing loss, I definitely would be looking into implanting it. There is a big difference between unilateral and bilateral hearing and I definitely prefer bilateral hearing!

One funny story I will share: I was at work and a student came in without their listening aids (I won’t specify any more than that, to help preserve identities!). My coworker was not thrilled with this (nor was I, but, sadly, sometimes it just becomes expected and all you can do is do what you can while they are there).Anyway! I was looking down and working on something and my coworker was talking. Suddenly, I heard, “Sending their kids to school without pants!” I looked up and said, “WHAT?!?!?! Someone sent their kids to school without pants?!?!” Turns out I completely missed the first part of her sentence where she said, “Sending your kid to school without their [listening aids] is like sending them to school without their pants.” LOL! I’m very relieved that no one was sent to school without pants, but I do wish they would all come with whatever listening aids they have! Until next time!

New Changes!

Thought I’d write a quick update! I haven’t started my mini-journal, but I have noticed some changes. I have pretty much worn only my implant Saturday, Sunday and today (Monday). I did wear my hearing aid during dinner out with a friend last night and for about 10 minutes today at school, but otherwise I left it turned off. We had an after school meeting today and I had a sign language interpreter because I had to make sure I got the information. I know I missed some information, though, because it was my first meeting since activation and I was really curious what I could understand of the speaker without looking at him. I was surprised at how many words I could understand him say without the visual cues! I really wish I could have counted the words or tried to make a list of what I understood, but that’s hard when it’s a normal speed of speaking and it also would have given away my purposeful mental absence from the presentation. 🙂 I have noticed a slightly more normal sound to speech, though not entirely normal by any means. At least my voice doesn’t completely get on my nerves now! MAJOR plus! 🙂 🙂

Tomorrow night I was supposed to have a staff meeting, but I found out that’s been canceled. Whoo hoo! So I’ll post some pictures of the processor, some of the stuff I got and the audiogram with a bit of explanation about that. It’s the hearing test I had done before the surgery and on the first day of activation. Hopefully I can find or get my hands on an audiogram that shows the sounds that people hear and where they would appear on it. This usually helps people understand a little more about what I can and can’t hear without any kind of hearing aids or the implant.

Mapping Appointment #3

Wednesday afternoon I went for my first CI rehab appointment with a friend of mine who also has a CI. I did well. We started with days of the week in a closed set. She used a screen to hide her face so I couldn’t lipread and said 2 days of the week which I had to repeat back. We gradually worked up to all 7 of the days of the week. One day I missed often was Thursday. After that, we changed from days of the week to months of the year, starting with 4 months, again gradually working up to all 12 months of the year. February was a hard month to get sometimes. Then we moved to states. I remember missing Iowa (I thought she said Ireland, even though I knew it’s not a state!), Hawaii and Ohio. We worked our way to combining all 3 topics, days, months and states. Overall, it was a good session that made me feel better about where I’m functioning with the CI. It helped me to realize that I’m doing better than I thought I was doing and gave me the courage to go most of the morning Thursday and Friday with my implant only. I did fairly well, though I had to have visual cues either with signing or lipreading and really the only reason why I turned my aid back on Thursday was because my voice was just so robotic sounding it was driving me up the wall! I decided that it was time for a break and turned the aid back on. Friday I probably was without my aid much more because I had a half day at work and went to Vanderbilt for a mapping appointment. I pretty much only turned my aid on when I was at the drive thru getting lunch and dinner and sometimes for music, though not always.

At my mapping appointment, I explained that the only sounds that really bothered me was the classroom toilet when it flushed (it’s a VERY loud toilet!) and a screaming baby. Not so much the volume, more that it was a higher pitch sound. We went through the tones “test” again, where I had to listen to a tone and tell the audiologist when it was too loud. I feel like I’ve messed up some of the previous mapping, because I am starting to understand more about the process and how things sound with the implant, but I am trying to remember that there is not a right or wrong way, only what works for me, much the same as hearing aid programming. We did have to turn down some sounds because I could either feel a vibration on the implant sight or I felt like I could hear it in my left ear. We picked a sound processing mode and set up 4 programs: a main program, one for noisy situations, one for sounds that are farther away, and a program that’s simply louder. I’m supposed to go back in 3-4 weeks, but at the moment I don’t have another appointment scheduled. We are going to try to coordinate an appointment with the surgeon, since he wants to see me again in 3 months. Hopefully something will work out so that I won’t have to drive for an appointment with him, only to be out of the office in 5 minutes! It will be interesting to see where I am in the next month or so and how much I adjust to the new settings and what future adjustments we will be making. I will probably start carrying around a little notebook and keeping a mini-journal of sounds I hear clearly, sound quality (when the audiologist spoke, it seemed like her voice sounded more natural, though most everything else does not necessarily sound that way), background noise and how much difficulty I have understanding people in those situations, etc. Also, it will be good to document when I can start understanding things, even just a few things, without needing to have those visual cues all the time.

It’s funny how many people think I am miraculously hearing great. I can completely understand this from people who, prior to meeting me or reading this blog, knew nothing about cochlear implants. The crazy thing is the people who I HAVE explained that it’s a process and sound is not normal for me and that I have to relearn how to hear and understand sounds. I received an e-mail yesterday from someone whom I suppose I should call a coworker, though I really don’t like to. This e-mail was sent to several people and explained to them that I am “hearing impaired, but due to a recent procedure now can hear much better.” I really don’t know where this information was received, because not only did I never say this, but I had to ask the person to repeat what was said several times!!! And that was with my hearing aid on. I think the best thing that has come from this whole experience is knowing that I have helped to educate a few people about hearing loss and what hearing aids and cochlear implants are really like.

Update and new Sounds!

Well, it’s been an interesting few days since my last post! There’s a lot to say, and I probably should have blogged again before! Let’s start with Friday.

Friday, I did more environmental listening than anything else. I also played around with the processor and practiced taking it apart, using the direct link cable and changing out and charging the rechargeable batteries. Since I chose Med-El, it has a lot of little parts and is quite different from Cochlear. A brief explanation of why I chose Med-El: I don’t think that one brand is more superior than the others. They all have different features and anyone will benefit from any of them, I believe. Med-El offered a longer electrode array than Cochlear. I had been e-mailing with someone who has Med-El and who also previously had Cochlear (she had Cochlear explanted due to medical reasons and was re-implanted with Med-El). She felt there was a big enough difference in sound quality between the 2, and music appreciation, to make her prefer Med-El over Cochlear. Having said this, there are pitfalls to picking Med-El, but hopefully, over time, those will be resolved. One pitfall is the processor is not very water or sweat resistant. Therefore, I will have to be very careful to use a dry and store box on a regular basis and wear a cover. Anyway, I had been leaning towards Med-El because of the longer electrode array and the fact that it was designed for hearing preservation, so it wasn’t hard to decide upon it. Again, any brand would be better than hearing aids after a while! So, that was my day Friday. I didn’t really notice any big changes or milestones. I went to a Thirty-One party that evening and ended up with a headache just from wearing the processor all day and all the sounds coming in that I’m not used to. I didn’t really understand anything that was said at the party and had to keep my hearing aid turned off a lot.

Saturday I had plans to go to Pigeon Forge with my family. In the morning, I was on the couch reading and had my hearing aid off. My sister came in the room and I could hear her and my mom talking. I did NOT understand what they were saying, but at that point in time, I was able to tell when people were talking and the start and stop of them speaking. I did understand the word “gym” from my mother, so that was exciting! We went to Pigeon Forge that day and again, I ended up with a headache from all the sounds. I had even taken the processor off while trying on clothes in Loft, but it wasn’t enough of a break. All of this, Friday and Saturday, was on the first volume setting, the lower setting. By the end of the day, I had written a few notes of sounds that I had heard and noticed through the day:

  • Makeup brushes clicking when I put them in their bag (this was pretty loud, too)
  • The hair dryer in the other room. It sounded very mechanical.
  • I started noticing that when listening to the tv and music, I would have to take the magnet off so I could tell if I was really hearing with the implant or if I was hearing something with my residual hearing. It would seem too “clear” for either. By “clear,” I mean I felt like I could almost understand it, but at the same time, I still had that tinny/robotic sound.
  • Driving on the interstate, the tiniest bump sounded like the shooting in an arcade video game.
  • I think I could hear the drums in music
  • When I was playing solitaire on my iPod one time, I could hear the clicking sound and hadn’t realized the volume was turned up some (not even all the way!)

By dinner that night, my headache had gone away and I was able to move up to the louder setting, since we were sitting outside at the restaurant. It was VERY hard to follow conversation, though, and I missed a lot and made a lot of out of context comments because I hadn’t realized the conversation topic had changed.

On Sunday, I went to lunch with a friend. I had to wear my hearing aid a lot during the lunch. On the way home, I was listening to the radio and it was a long commercial break. I understood some things that were said during the commercials, though.

  • $9.99 a lb
  • $5 dollar donation now
  • Get your tickets now

Don’t ask where any of that was because I couldn’t tell you, but I understood those phrases!

Monday, I went back to work. I wore my hearing aid all day and had a headache at the end of the day. I vowed to keep the aid on less so that I could get more used to the implant. I did notice that when I took it off at around 2, because someone wanted to see it, my voice sounded very weird when I talked. Crazy to say that, because all day my voice had sounded robotic and annoying, but apparently I have been getting used to wearing it and hearing that, because I sounded different without it! Not sure if that’s a good thing or just normal, but I think I’ll take it! I did have my school audiologist test my hearing on the lower volume level, but I’ll post about that later.

Today, I’m finally convinced that when I listen to music with just the implant turned on, no hearing aid, I’m hearing some normal sounds (meaning no robots) in my left ear. Now remember, my right ear is the implanted one. I still hear a tinny/robotic sound in that ear, but I’m definitely noticing a bit of clarity in the left ear. It really feels like the sound that happens is already in my head and not really going through my ear. It causes for confusion sometimes, because I don’t always realize I’ve heard something. But I’ll get used to it. I very clearly heard my student, from across the playground, yell “hey!” when she wanted my attention today. She is in preschool and we play on a different playground, so it was quieter where we were, but considering that I’ve been struggling to understand, and sometimes hear, peoples voices when they are up close, I thought this was pretty cool! I bumped up the volume to louder setting and have been fine with that, surprisingly. I’m glad about that, because at first it seemed so loud that I wondered how I was going to work up to that by my next mapping appointment on Friday! Things still sound robotic, but I feel like I’m nearing some clarity (hopefully). Tomorrow will be my first day working with a friend who does CI rehabbing, so that ought to help. I found some free audio books on YouTube and I plan on listening to a reading of The Hunger Games tonight. I started tonight and listening and having the words in front of me really helps me understand what’s being said.

Tomorrow I will post again and hopefully it won’t be as long as today’s post! Thanks for sticking with me and any time you have questions, feel free to ask!