“You’re not a miracle”, stated my ear, nose and throat specialist, while I sat in his office.
He wrinkled his nose, viewed my current auditory test results, picked up and viewed my previous test result records, and then looked me in the eye.
“It sometimes happens, we don’t always know why”, he stated. Then he bowed his head, wrinkled his nose, and continued to view and compare the past and current records. Hmmm…, was the only thought to cross my mind in that moment. Once again, he looked at me straight in the eyes, with what I thought was a strange expression on his face.
Well that was it, I began to feel weak in the stomach. Little Percy Stoma reacted, and left a little deposit in his bag. My thoughts then raced around in circles. Oh geez, the other shoe has dropped. Oh no, just when I’m starting to get some of my stamina back. What an odd nose he’s got.
“I’m ordering an MRI, (Magnetic Resonance Imagining), of your ears and head,” he went on to say.
Whooo’nelly, was the only focused thought I had left in my head.
“Okay Doctor, what’s going on, what are we talking about here, is there something wrong with my ear, my head, what gives?” I managed to get past my lips.
“Oh sorry, yes well, the auditory test results as compared to your previous records are indicating you are actually registering some sounds from your left ear,” he finally explained.
At this point I was unable to think or talk yet again for a number of seconds, and I do believe Percy once again made a nervous bag deposit.
This statement is nothing short of a miracle for me, although the Doctor has assured me that I’m not a miracle. You see, I have been profoundly deaf in my left ear since birth!
Hearing loss is the reduced ability to hear sound. Deafness is the complete inability to hear sound. There are many different conditions that lead to partial and total deafness. In my case it’s genetics. Several family members have sensorineural deafness. Basically the vestibulocochlear nerve, (auditory vestibular nerve), known as the eighth cranial nerve, transmits sound and equilibrium (balance) information from the inner ear to the brain. I have a nerve disorder, and so, nerve pathways in the brain that normally transmit sound impulses, do not work for me.
At birth and for most of my life the right ear has been high functioning. I’ve heard very well. But, due to the aging process my right ear hearing has degraded and now functions at a moderate hearing level. About 8 years ago I was fitted with a hearing aid in my right ear only, as it’s my only hearing ear, and it has been working as well as can be expected.
“As I mentioned Jo-Ann, this kind of thing happens from time to time, and we often don’t always understand why,” he stated. “You’ll have the MRI appointment within a couple of weeks, this is simply to rule out any abnormal changes, and to give us a clear image of your inner ear,” he assured me.
My mind started to race. How amazing, deaf since birth, and now later in life I have gained some ear function. To what extent, time, some hearing device equipment and experimental approaches will reveal. I do not at this time recognize sound from my left ear.
Although there may be any number of reasons for how this has happened, I have my theory, and it goes back 2 years and 5 months ago. I was fighting for my life, as Doctors performed extensive, invasive surgery, and Percy’s creation. My disease and the life saving surgery caused almost catastrophic damage to some organs, my bowel system, bladder and so on. Ultimately nerves were also damaged.
I have experienced a myriad of health issues and degraded bodily functions as a direct result of the nerve damage. I have been so fortunate to have had a legion of medical experts from physicians, to, physio therapists working with me these past couple of years. They have worked hard to assist me in gaining as much function and physical feeling to my body parts as possible. Each are incredibly skilled medical professionals with regard to their diagnosis, effective treatment, and good science. I have made great gains, and I am grateful.
But, it’s not all up to them, I have a huge part to play in my recovery. In the beginning I decided that one of my healing focuses would be my nerve system, and so, I began to visualize my nerves. I saw them in my mind’s eye as vibrant and glowing roots of trees, and branches of bushes.
As I built on this vision I imagined the roots and branches growing and connecting. Within the past few months I have regained full bladder function, and I no longer manifest, “drop foot”, just to mention a couple of the gains.
And now, it is becoming apparent that I am also gaining some degree of audio function, that I’ve never experienced in my life to this point. Frankly, as I flipped my eyes inward to my internal universe, from the beginning I had no idea if my visualization would manifest any results. My primary motivation was simply to increase my sense of control and well-being. My second motivation was to support healing, the regeneration of nerves, and the building of new nerve bridges where required. The mind-body connection has boundaries no doubt, but to what extent? As it turns out, who knows, it’s an individual thing. I never imagined that my mind-body journey would bring me to the potential opening of new doors of hearing I’ve never experienced for more than 5 decades of my life.
The sound world of bird songs, rustling leaves, waves lapping on the beach, the little giggles of grandchildren, and…and…and…, may very well be Percy’s gift to me. Sounds I have heard faintly or in theory only, will be music to my ears. The odyssey leading up to Percy’s creation, and my ongoing healing process is the gift that keeps giving.
James Gordon, MD, pioneer in Integrative Medicine, states the mind and body are essentially inseparable. “The brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems, and indeed all the organs of our body and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and are constantly communicating with one another,” states Dr. Gordon.
I gather in my case, my mind didn’t distinguish the difference between nerves in my abdomen, spine, nor head. It just went ahead and affected my whole body of nerves. It all began with Percy, and caused me to use my thoughts to positively influence some of my body’s physical responses. In the process, I believe, I minimized the negative effects and maximized the healthy, healing aspects of my mind-body connection.
In the spring of 2014, the specialist will outfit me with hearing aids for BOTH ears. I will work with the equipment and the audiologist for a number of months, and who knows how much of the amazing world of sound will open up for me. Thank you Percy.
Percy and I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.
Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”