On thanksgiving it is fun
Volleyball is fun too
End of "I love"
U are my favorite
Ta-Da! Iloveyou. love, nan's
Sweet, eh? :)
After which Malia proceeded to grab the nearest towel and wipe her little fingers "clean," while repeating this mantra over and over.
Oh, the pride I felt. (I'm kidding, sort of.)
In all honesty, my biggest fear has been my children's fear of this change (of which they have exhibited almost none). So, while Malia was appropriately reprimanded for being rude and on the verge of hurting Mommy's feelings ("I'm so sorry, Mama....but it is busgusting."), I was secretly relieved/amused by this latest contribution to the English language.
And, no; I don't know where she got it from.
Anyway, I had surgery yesterday to start the process of correcting my atresia-microtia, a condition I was born with; my "symptoms" include a little ear ("micro" and "otia"), no opening in that ear, or real ear canal (atresia), and hence, no hearing on my right side. This is what it looked like (close your eyes and scroll down if you are easily frightened; my girls took these pictures, so you're a wimp if you do! :p Just teasing):
So. I was actually fairly oblivious to this for the first 15 years of my life. I mean, I knew that my ear was not normal, but I honestly recall no negative experience surrounding it. My parents did not make a big deal about it, or treat me as anything less than capable, and so I wasn't. :) My peers seemed fairly "oblivious" to it as well, despite the fact that I was a regular ponytail wearer; if they did become aware of it, they just asked. Or maybe I could just never hear them teasing me. Hmm. :p Either way, I was very fortunate not to have to deal with things like that. The change for me came when I was accepted into a "prestigious" boarding school my junior year of high school; it wasn't the first time I'd changed schools, by any means, but this time was different. I think I already felt out of my league in the first place, and felt my ear was just one more difference. So, from that day on, I started to wear my hair down. Constantly. Except for meeting, of course, but I'd already known those people all my life, so that was okay.
Anyway, that continued on into adulthood. I wore my hair up more often as I got older, but always made sure there were "wispies" to kind of camouflage my little ear. During this time, it occasionally crossed my mind to look into doing something about it, but there seemed to be real no need, aside from my own vanity. :p My hearing in my left side is completely normal, and I was/am able to function in most situations; I certainly was not going to address appearance, if there was no need to address function.
Well, that changed once I started helping out in my girls' classrooms. Spending more time in generally noisier environments helped me to realize how difficult it was for me to localize sound; all the background noise kind of drowned out the voices of anyone speaking to my immediate right. At this point, I also realized I had been avoiding noisy social situations as well; I didn't make the connection before that perhaps I was not enjoying it because I couldn't really hear anyone, and could only hear everyone all at once. It was confusing. :)
Anyway, I didn't even know if anything could be done, but started looking into it very casually. (Translation: I Googled it. :p) Found a lot of information, but finally decided to actually see a doctor about it. I've had the good fortune of working with only excellent doctors on this, so that has definitely made the process easier. Here's an excerpt from an email to Kat:
"Anyway, I’m sorry to spring this on you as if you knew what was going on all along; it’s been such a long “should-I-or-shouldn’t-I” decision-making process, and an on-going conversation with so many people I can’t keep track of who I’ve spoken with. And, of course, once I made the decision to go ahead with it, things moved really fast. In fact, I had gone in on a Monday (back in early May) to see the doctor, feeling all brave, and saying “Let’s do this!” and he shoots back with, “Well, do you wanna do it on Wednesday?” I’m like, “You mean, 2-days-from-today Wednesday?” My husband has never seen me back down so fast! I SO was not prepared for THAT! Anyway, we obviously agreed on a more-reasonable-to-me date, and I quickly figured out not to act all tough around my doctor! :9 Seriously, though, he’s really awesome; he’s the director of the Hearing For Life center at Virginia Mason, and does a lot of the bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) procedures, but has not had opportunity to work with much microtia (little ear) like mine. When he first came in, you could see the slightly crazy look in his eye, like he wanted to just put me on the operating table right then! lol Initially, that made me a LOT nervous, until he walked back in after reviewing my films and said, “You know, I’d LOVE to do a reconstruction on you, and build an ear canal, but you’re just not a good candidate.” At that point, I understood him to be the kind of doctor who put my well-being above his pipe dreams. And I’m glad for that. You hear all these horror stories about docs who lose sight of the fact that their patients are humans, and not just test subjects to further their craft on."
So, as you can tell, I feel like I'm in really good hands, and that helps SO much. Yesterday's original surgery plan was to remove my little ear, and install the posts to which the hearing aid and ear prosthesis will be attached, but the doctors came across the unexpected need for additional thinning, and were concerned that attaching the posts now would restrict blood flow to the site, hindering healing, and actually possibly causing the skin to die and fall off. I know; sounds great, eh? So, after a quick consult with my hubby, the decision was made to just hold off on the posts until after this first procedure heals completely. I should be going back in late July/early August to complete that stage. After that surgery, I'll need to give the posts 6 weeks to "osseointegrate" before going in to fit for the BAHA; then I'll walk out a bilaterally-hearing woman, like the rest of y'all! Pretty exciting! I was able to "test-drive" the BAHA, and I'll tell you: I didn't know what I was missing, quite literally! It was amazing, and I can't wait until it's official.
So, now you know. :) I hope I didn't weird anyone out; I've been so grateful for the care and support I've received, sure don't want to scare anyone off now! :-9 By the way, let me just say my husband has been amazing through this; I think he likes being the hero. ;-9 He's taking really good care of all of his girls, and has gotten amazing help from Josh, and our neighbor Michele. The girls stayed with Michele during surgery, and she is so awesome with them . I was telling Uncle Rob, whenever the girls stay with her, they don't want to come home; I have no hurt feelings over this--it just makes me love her more! And Uncle Josh took the girls with him to meeting last night; I thought that was so brave of him! :-9 And they were thrilled, of course; they love their uncle!
So, I think this is more than enough for now. I've definitely got some great pictures to post of things other than myself, but have been kind of busy. :) Hope this finds you all well! Until next time, I'll close with a picture to remind you of how cute my kids are--I sure did miss them yesterday!
Vehicles of the Rich and Famous.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Marianne Williamson, "A Return to Love"