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  • Encouragement for stapedectomy patients...

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    Old 07-17-2008, 09:04 PM   #1
    apricott06's Avatar
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    Location: Mt. Pleasant, MI, USA
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    Encouragement for stapedectomy patients...

    I am a 20 year old female student that had received a stapedectomy on December 21 2007. Seven months later, I am so grateful for my decision to have the operation.

    When I was 5, my mother noticed me not responding to people talking to me in noisy environments, when I was occupied with something else, or just in general. The school I attended did an annual hearing test on me and they discovered a slight hearing loss in both ears.

    My mother set up an appt with an ENT, and he declared me to have otosclerosis at that young age. Fast forward 13 years down the road, and my hearing had plateaued at about 40 dB below the normal range. I could still hear, but I found myself relying heavily on lip reading and loud talkers. I didn't even realize I was doing that!! But everyone around me did!!

    Going back to the ENT yearly was something I did anyway, but as I was getting older, he began to talk with me about the possibilities of hearing aids, and surgery. It was still believed I had otosclerosis, and he believed my hearing would soon start to get worse as I got older, and I was referred to the man that changed my life, Dr. Telian at U of Michigan hospitals.

    Dr. Telian did not believe I had otosclerosis because my hearing had not changed in a few years, and started when I was way too young. He ordered MRI's and everything...he then told me he thought my hearing loss was due to the fixation of my stapes bone to my inner ear, and it was cognitive, meaning not progressive. However, he would not know unless he opened up the canal to see.

    After two years of seeing him ( and becoming the legal age of mom just wanted me to get hearing aids, I wanted to fix the problem..)
    I decided to go ahead with the stapedectomy.

    I arrived at the hospital at 6:00 am. Dr. Telian asked me at my pre op the day before to stay awake during the procedure so I could inform him of any changes in my hearing while he was "in there" playing around. I agreed, I don't mind that stuff anyway. So I got ready to go in, and they put me on some relaxers, but didn't knock me out.
    He had decided to only operate on my right ear, because that was the worse one... my left is about 37 dB below normal.

    Once he got in there, I felt myself feeling like I was falling through the operating table, as he was messing with everything. Then he said looks like the problem is in fact a fixation, and not otosclerosis, so we are going to fix it now. After a few moments he asked me how my hearing was and I COULD HEAR!!! RIGHT THERE IN THE ROOM!!! I asked if the machines had always been that loud...and he said yes..all I could say was WOW!!!!so they packed me up and put me in recovery.

    I had been drifting in and out of sleep after the operation, and as soon as I was fully awake I had to vomit. As soon as I stood up to use the bathroom I felt very sick and dizzy. I got back into bed and asked if I could go home. They said yep and I was out of there by 10 am.

    On the road I was getting sick, but I was hungry. My jaw was soooooo stiff, and it cracked ( I already have TMJ, so that is normal) and that was painful, so was yawning.I vomited one more time and slept the three hour trip home.

    By the time I arrived at home, I was up walking around without any dizzyness at all, and ate pizza hut with no problem. I slept for a few more hours and was fine.

    Christmas with the big group of family was hard, I was getting dizzy with all the noise and all the commotion. It was hard to concentrate because only one of my ears worked and I began to feel crappy ...but that went away a few days later..

    Over the next few weeks I began to discover new sounds I had never heard before. The fridge noises were ABSOLUTELY was the dishwasher. It was like the TV in the same room as me was drowned out by those things all the way in the kitchen. Sleeping was uncomfortable for a while, because my left ear, that wasn't clogged, was on the pillow and my right ear, the one operated on, was up, I couldn't really hear anything and felt like I was going to miss my alarm or something...not sure why I felt that way. But it was annoying.

    Mid January I went back to have packing removed...I COULD HEAR!! FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE!!! Holy crap!!! IT was AMAZING!!!

    Then...February I began to notice a "Crunching" sound when I had a radio on, or certain voices (especially mine) were going on around me. It was similar to a blown speaker noise. and a high pitch noise once in a while. So I went back early and had my 3 month hearing test hearing was at 5dB when it was a 40dB deficit!! Dr. Telian said my hearing was that of a new born baby. I was soooo excited to hear that. He then looked in my ear and said there was dried blood still on my eardrum and to see if that was the cause of the "Crunching", if it was, I would be fine, if not I had a few options..
    and it wasn't the cause

    1. deal with it. He would rather not go back in, since it runs the higher risk of losing what we gained.

    2. Wait a year and see. He said after the surgery my ear would develop around the piston for about a it could go away

    3. Go back in to see if the wire was crimped.

    I decided option number 1, and am doing great!! I hardly notice the crunch anymore...but when I do its usually when I have gotten water in my ear, when I am sick and stuffy, or when my allergies are acting up. I go back in February again for a followup and I am going to see if he will do the surgery on my left ear now!!!

    I know there are so many risks with this surgery...and I know people get scared. But for me, (and I know everyone is different) it was the best decision I have ever made in my life!!!!! I had no idea how much I was missing out on!!! From the little things; like actually hearing mumblers talk for the first time and not having to pretend to have heard them... to important things; like not having to sit in the very front of class anymore to hear the prof talking. To the valuable things; birds chirping, whistles, whispers, things moving around me!!

    The only thing I have a hard time with is loud noises. ALWAYS WEAR EAR PLUGS. The fourth of july was kind of difficult...I put a plug in and was still a little startled by the fireworks. Also, I am a security guard at a casino, and I work concerts occasionally, and that was tough too. I cannot wear earplugs because I have my radio, so I was not feeling well after that...but its all good now..

    I am so thankful to Dr. Telian for helping me to have the gift of hearing. I didn't know how much of life I was missing, and now that I know ... I am eternally grateful.

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    Old 07-19-2008, 08:05 PM   #2
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    TXMommy27's Avatar
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    Re: Encouragement for stapedectomy patients...

    Just wanted to say Congratulations, and Good for You! And Thanks for your encouragement to others.

    There is something about having this surgery that does make you want to shout from the mountaintops, isn't there? I just had mine 4 days ago, and already I can tell a difference. Sometimes it is painful - my kids are way noisier than I realized! I get worried about when the packing is out and everything is even louder, but reading stories like yours gives me hope. Trying to watch TV is sometimes hard right now, since the voices are so overpowered by the music and sound effects. I just need to give my brain time to catch up to my ear! I too look forward to getting my other ear done.

    One of the best moments I've had was being wakened by the telephone the morning after surgery. For years, I could not hear the phone ring w/o my hearing aids (and sometimes even with them in). But with my "good" ear against the pillow, my operated ear muffled with gauze, I could hear it ringing loudly, and knew w/o a doubt that, however crappy I might feel for the next few days or weeks, it was all going to be worth it!

    You are in good company - I am so glad I didn't chicken out, or let a couple of horror stories change my mind. I was VERY nervous before the surgery, but I am so glad I had the nerve - and support - to do it anyway!


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