IT’S COCHLEAR IMPLANT ACTIVATION DAY PLAYAS!!
I don’t know if it’s the impending release of the Tupac biopic or that Too Sh$rt happened to come on the radio during morning drop-off, but I’m really feeling my 90’s hip hop lately. So much so that I yelled “I got five on it” while purchasing my overpriced salad at Whole Paycheck today.
Aside from listening to “Rumpshaker” on repeat, there is a slightly more important thing happening today…
My cochlear implant is getting activated. Which means that I may or may not be able to hear out of my right ear for the first time in 21 YEARS.
No Biggie Smalls.
Besides feeling gangsterly on this thuggish ruggish Friday, there is not one word in the English language that adequately describes the shmoregasboard of emotions coursing through my veins. Of course, “anxious” is the first word that comes to mind, although those of you who know me know that I pretty much live in an anxiety-ridden K-hole, so to ask whether I’m feeling anxious about my implant being activated today, is like asking if I took a breath this morning.
And “ecstatic” is an understatement. I’m a giddy, “can’t-feel-my-face” type happy. Similar to that feeling you get when your parents offer to take your kids off your hands for a month or two. That’s never happened to me, but you could imagine what that would feel like right? I liken it to the moment in “Shawshank,” where Tim Robbins takes his first whiff of freedom after breaking out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
“Apprehensive” would also be gross mischaracterization of my feelings, seeing as how I’m ready to do the following:
- Throw on my Wonder Woman costume (with lasso in hand)
- Back-flip my way into the audiologists office (also with lasso in hand)
- Flip the miracle switch
- Scream “How ya like me now?”
So, how am I feeling??
Like I’ve come down with a severe case of “apprecitement” (a healthy combination of excitement and apprehension).
“Excited” to see what this device will do to improve my hearing and ultimately my quality of life. It would be nice to go to the movie theater and actually hear the movie, as oppose to sitting next to your six year old during “Trolls,” and accidentally (and awkwardly) laughing during the more somber scenes. Insert look of disgust by said six year old.
However, I’m also about 20% apprehensive–nervous about the extent to which this device will improve both my hearing and quality of life. On one hand, I desperately want to hear the glorious sound of my three year old telling me what to do, (yep hell hath frozen over friends). But on the other hand, I’ve been trying to convince myself that ANY sound (even static) would be cool, as it would be a vast improvement over hearing nothing at all.
Further adding to the stress associated with my recent “apprecitement” diagnosis was the unexpected meltdown/extreme adult tantrum that I experienced after my big reveal a couple weeks ago. For those of you who don’t know my story, I decided on a whim to put my anxiety, fear and pride aside and announced to the world that for the past year I have been living as a closeted deafie with neurological Lyme disease. I stepped out of the closet on a Friday and spent the rest of the weekend doing cartwheels on my front lawn and high-fiving reluctant strangers at the community pool. I was finally free. I didn’t have to hide behind my usual “I’m cool, I got this” exterior, pretending to be okie dokie when at times, I felt like my world was caving in. In addition, I received an overwhelming amount of genuine love and support from friends, family and even strangers who were brave enough to reach out to me and say “Hey girl, I get you.” I felt as if a 45 pound kettlebell was lifted off my shoulders. The clouds parted and the rainbows came streaming through. I was a f*cking invincible and magical unicorn galloping off into the sunset with my fellow deafie unicorns; our hearing aids and implants leaving a trail of glitter and sparkles in our wake….
But the following Monday this magical unicorn was headed for the glue factory. I crashed. And crashed hard. And it didn’t make sense to me. I finally had the chance to better myself and my circumstances with the support of this wonderful community that stands behind me and refuses to let me go to the Darkside.
But in the words of Yoda, “Darkside I went to.”
There is a certain freedom and liberation in being honest with the outside world and ultimately, yourself. However, letting the public (and those outside of your circle of trust) in on the most horrific, traumatic and exhausting experiences of my thirty eight years on the planet, also left me feeling exhausted and vulnerable. Like I was standing on a picnic bench in the middle of downtown Danville wearing nothing but my implants and shouting “I’M DEAF, DAMMIT” into a megaphone. And let’s not forget the huge target on my forehead. Haters and internet trolls took this opportunity to throw intense shade, both trivializing my story and writing me off as just another ticket holder on the “Woe Is Me Train.”
But perhaps what hit me the hardest is this–even though my experience this past year resembles a plot line in one of Stephen King’s horror novels, complete with cringe-worthy twists and turns and visuals so disturbing that you’ll never be able to “unsee” them, it’s not just a “story.” It’s my life. And I have to freaking live it. Everyday.
I’m the one who, at ten o-clock at night, set off the alarm in the house and couldn’t call the police to tell them to cancel their visit. I’m the chick who’s car broke down in the middle of “get-me-the-f-out” ville and waited for five hours for Triple AAA because I couldn’t pick up the phone and explain where I was. (The prostitute and pimp running a little side biz behind my car were super cool though). And still, I’m the little old Pitiful Patty that has to rely on someone else everyday to function semi-normally.
It’s frustrating, exhausting and I’m in a place of wanting and needing it to get better. I miss my old life.
It’s similiar to mourning a death of a loved one. The old proverbial phrase “time heals” is a load of crap. True, as time passes, you are more equipped to deal with and process the grief surrounding that person’s death, but you don’t miss them any less. In fact, with each passing year, you miss them even more. With everyday, every week, every month that passes, I miss my hearing. More.
That being said, in sharing my journey with you, I hope to strike a healthy balance between realness and victimness, with a healthy dose of sarcasm and dark humor thrown in. Because while I love a good Lifetime movie (especially the one depicting Tori Spelling as the straight A student turned Glade-sniffing addict/victim), I’m determined not to become one. However, I do want to share the real, raw, unadulterated and sometimes downright depressing reality of living with profound hearing loss and chronic disease. It’s a dichotomous world after all–fraught with extreme challenges and small, but impactful victories; unfathomable disappointment, but also glimmers of hope and is both life-altering and affirming at the same time.
And I do have to say despite the sh*t storm (or more like shit-Armageddon) that has rocked my little old world to the core, writing and sharing my story with you has been the best medicine.
So thank you friends, family, readers and amazing people for taking the time to read my work. Even though most of you are not living my day to day, you are with me. I feel you. Through my computer screen, my phone, my writing. And not in a Poltergeist kind of way but rather a “Glenda The Good Witch” way.
I love you.
Did we just have a moment?
Yep, we sure did.
Okay, I’m off to Stanford.
I feel like I’m going off to war. And in a figurative sense, I am. A war is waging inside of me both physically and emotionally. And while the tide has turned against me a bit and I lost the battle this week, I’m determined to ultimately come out victorious.
Recent update: Now that I’m “live”, activated and ready to take on this new challenge, I have one serious, deep regret about this day. I wish I had showered, changed out of my activewear and at least ran a comb through my hair. WTF?
Stay tuned for next week and the beginning of my Summer Essential Series! I’ll not only give you the skinny on safe sunscreen, but also stop talking about myself! Winning.
And what are my favorite recipes, health and lifestyle tips, products and kid-related things?
Follow me on Pinterest
WATCH!!!! This is intense and super exciting. Laugh, cry, scream, bite the heck out of your nails, just don’t forget to enjoy it!