Our intention was to continue to journal and share Hannah's journey through the first few years of her having cochlear implants, yet it seems that the past 2+ years have flown by and Hannah has been doing so well.
She was recognized last week for being on the honour role for the 2nd year in a row (grade 9 and grade 10) and she is now in grade 11 and she continues to excel.
Since her surgery she has also been working part-time for over 2 years now at a small country market (all year around). She works in produce at least one day a week. Her dedication to her work (no matter if it is school work, her place of employment or at home), is incredible. She goes above and beyond.
Hannah also attended her very first concert as a way to celebrate her 16th birthday. Why is this a big deal? Well, in the past (when she had hearing aids), it was not recommended for Hannah to attend a concert for the sake that her hearing could become more damaged (what little she had). The hearing aids also would have amplified the sound which would also pose a potential problem with her ears. When we went to her last check in at Sick Kids in August, we confirmed that now that she has cochlear implants, there is no longer fear of damaging her hearing, because the implant mimics the cochlea and the processors will help cancel out excess noise so that it isn't so loud for her. (I have a feeling she enjoyed the sound of the concert much more than I did...and she didn't seem to hear the roar of the people screaming in the Air Canada Center when we watched and danced to Pit Bull's incredible show).
The amazing thing about all of this is that she has access to an FM system to use when needed. She hasn't once needed it in the past 2+ years and yet, she is still able to hear (a lot better than before) her teachers and when students speak in class.
Some may not be aware that when Hannah sleeps or has a shower, she takes her processors off. When she does this, she is completely deaf. A few months ago she decided it was time to get her own alarm clock. Up until that point my husband or I would wake her up each morning. The alarm clock that we found that works best is one that has a disk that she puts between her mattress and headboard. When the alarm goes off the disk makes a loud vibration noise. We hear it in the house and she feels the shaking of her bed/headboard. We've tried one that turns on a light slowly (like the rising sun) but this didn't work for her at all.
Most mornings Hannah likes to get ready for school in silence. She comes downstairs to make breakfast and lunch and she cannot hear anything because she hasn't put her processors on yet. It's her way of saying, I am not ready to talk or listen to anyone just yet. :)
Just last week Hannah heard a song on the radio that she hadn't heard in a long time. She said, "It is so neat to hear songs that I listened to and loved before I had my surgery. Now when I hear them, I hear new beats, sounds and instruments that I never heard with my hearing aids". These are the moments to cherish. The gift that Hannah received with bilateral cochlear implants on March 5, 2021 is a gift she will always be grateful that she said yes.
I guess you could say that her decision was the best decision she has ever had to make in her life so far. She is grateful each day for the gift of hearing through medical advancements and tools such as cochlear implants and the technology that goes with it. She continues to be grateful for her team at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. When she goes in for appointments, she gets to see them and they always love hearing about how she is doing (and watching her grow up).