One Week until Surgery

As excited as I am about getting the Cochlear Implant (CI) next week, I’m nervous too.  I realized this yesterday.  I had appointments scheduled for this week and a dinner with friends scheduled for Sunday, and I told Stuart I just couldn’t do it.  I simply feel like there is too much stress on me right now.  With all the stress, I was making myself sick.

So what am I nervous about?  You would think I’d be nervous about the surgery, but I’m not.  I am nervous about the nurses finding a vein for the IV before the surgery, that is always an ordeal with me.   However, mostly I’m worried that the surgery will be postponed.  There have been so many delays, I’m having a hard time believing it’s going to happen.  I am expecting something to happen…I’ll get sick, my doctor will get sick or have to postpone for some reason….anything.

Now that I realize what has been bothering me so much, I’m dealing with it much better.  I know the surgery will happen.  If some unforeseen circumstance causes the surgery to be delayed , I’ll deal with it.  I know it will happen, if not next week as scheduled then as soon as possible afterward.  I still don’t want to be stressed out more by going to the dentist, having a mammogram, and having a dinner party.  These things will just have to wait.

Now, let’s talk a little about the surgery.  I’m pretty lucky really, about 90% of the surgery has already been done to me.   Since I had the Endolymphatic Sac Surgery, they don’t have to drill a hole in my head.  It’s already there.  All that has to be done is thread the wire from the CI into the cochlea, and place the implant.

There were 3 companies for me to choose my CI from, each had positives and negatives but really they were all pretty close.  I chose Advanced Bionics.  This is a very personal decision for each person who gets a Cochlear Implant, I felt that the Advanced Bionics CI would fit best in my life style.

This is what will be going in my head:

Cochlear Implant from Advanced Bionics.

I’m so happy that Duke is a two processor facility.  The processor is the part that you see on the outside.  Since Advance Bionics offers more than one processor, I was given the choice of getting 2 the same or one of each.  I chose to get one of each.  One processor is called the Harmony, it is a Behind The Ear type.  I liked this model because the T-mic (microphone) is located at the opening of your ear, so it will be easier to talk on the phone, and my ear will act as a natural buffer for noises, like your ear normally does.

Here’s a photo of the Harmony Processor:

Harmony Processor – photo from Advanced Bionics website.

The Harmony comes in a variety of colors.  I think I was allowed to choose 5, but it’s been so long now, I don’t remember what colors I chose.  We’ll have to wait and see after I get hooked up.  You can use regular hearing aid batteries, or rechargeable batteries, I’m sure you know which ones I’ll be using.  I was able to chose different types of rechargeable batteries, small and large.  The small battery doesn’t last as long as the larger one.  I ordered both.

The other processor I chose was the Neptune.  The Neptune is capable of being Water Proof, it’s the only CI that is Water Proof, so I can swim in it!  The Processor is not behind the ear (BTE) it can be clipped to different things: an arm band, your shirt, a lanyard, your hair…ect.  The microphone is on the part that fits to the head.

Here’s a photo of the Neptune:

Neptune Processor – photo from Advanced Bionics

I realize the photo above doesn’t give you a good idea of what the Neptune really looks like.  So here’s a few that will give you a better idea:

This photo shows the Neptune Processor. The thinner profile is not water proof, you must add a different piece to the processor to make it water proof, that is shown on the thicker profile. (photo from AdvancedBionics website)


This shows the Neptune on a child while swimming. The processor is hooked to the arm band. (photo from Advanced Bionics)
This shows the processor clipped in a pocket, and in a girl’s hair. (my hair is long, I could completely cover the CI in my hair if I wanted.)
(photo from Advanced Bionics)

With the Neptune I was also given the opportunity of picking all kinds of colors.  I know I picked a brown, and the lime green seen above, but I don’t remember the rest.  We’ll all be surprised when I get hooked up.

The CI will be turned on 2 weeks after surgery.  That will be the beginning of August, hopefully the 2nd or 3rd.

Anybody want to know anything else?

I know this is a LONG post, but it’s full of information, right?

We can make it, one day at a time. : )


18 thoughts on “One Week until Surgery

    1. Yay!! I’ve been thinking about you! I think it’s always better to expect the worst and have it come out so much better, than the other way around. One of my surgeries was really rough, and I didn’t expect it….that was hard. The worst part is over!!

      Can’t wait to hear about when they turn it on. still thinking of you. wendy


      1. I know, I have 12 days until they turn it on, about another half hour until I can take the bandage off and see how big the scar is… I can’t wait to get the bandage off… its causing a lot of pressure, and making my left ear hurt.


  1. Thanks for explaining all the pieces that makeup your “bionic” ear; I have a better understanding of the equipment, and how it works. Waterproofing is a fantastic idea; you can join others in the pool!
    Wishing you an easy surgery and recovery period.


    1. Phylor,
      Thank you. I had no idea there would be so much equipment. Or even how it worked. So I thought I’d share what I found out.
      I’m excited about being able to get in the pool and hear, because I want to go back to Aqua Physical Therapy…for my hip and pelvic area.
      I couldn’t do it when I couldn’t hear, I have to hear the PT. There’s also a local pool I would like to go to, but I was too scared when I couldn’t hear.
      It’s hard enough without my glasses.
      Thank you for the well wishes. I do hope the recovery this time will not include vertigo like it did in December.


  2. Lisa Tomey

    I am so excited for you! I saw this on a show but have never seen this in real life. I feel like I will now know a celebrity. The bionic woman, cochlear version! WOO HOO! Seriously I hope all goes well and that before long you will have great improvement! Pulling for you!


  3. Pingback: Neptune’s Sunshine | 20 LINES A DAY – an exercise in discipline

  4. Wendy, I’m SO behind as I have not been online as much this year. But, I’m thrilled to hear you are getting the cochlear surgery done (or already have….I didn’t see the date in the post). I will be thinking about you as you recover. So cool that they don’t have to drill another hole! Looking forward to hearing about the process. In my pre-chronic life I worked as a speech language pathologist. I actually assisted professors in research 12+ years ago on children with cochlear implants (this was before it was FDA approved for little ones). Sorry it has been so long. But glad to be catching up with you. Hugs!


    1. Kelly, I understand. I haven’t been around as much for months now either. The surgery is tomorrow. The 19th. Early in the morning! I need to catch up with everyone too. I hope you are still doing as well as you were the last time I read your blog. You have inspired me to work on my endurance, but it’s hard! You are an amazing woman!!


  5. deb

    Hi Wendy!
    I hope the surgery went well. I was thinking of you yesterday as I sat in a hospital going through a battery of tests! All is well with me so I hope you are well too. Praying for a speedy recovery for you!
    Deb 🙂


    1. Thank you Deb, So glad to hear all is well with you. I’m recovering. Surgery went well. I think I’m a bit of a pansy though….this hurts! : ) But then again, I hate taking pain pills, so it wouldn’t hurt so much if I took them huh? But they make me feel like I’m going to have vertigo. I’d rather have pain than vertigo. And i’m just so tired. Can’t seem to sleep more than 1-2 hours at a time. I get back to sleep, but again awake in an hour or two. Don’t think that’s very restful. (and I have been taking pain pills at night to help with sleep…it just doesn’t.)

      I hate sitting in the doctor’s office waiting on tests. I’m glad to hear all yours came back well. Or did it leave you with more questions? I hate that too.

      hugs to you. w


  6. Hi Wendy,
    this is HUGE, a big deal, an AMAZING, BIG DEAL. Of course you are a little nervous or a lot. It’s life changing and TRY not to think of all the other things, it being postponed, you getting food poisoning, the dr. getting shingles, there are way too many possibilities so try not to think of ANY of them. Keep yourself busy, art? reading? and breathe deeply, gentle hugs are heading your way. Love, Laurie


    1. HaHaHa…..Luckily I didn’t read this until after my surgery! My doctor getting the shingles? Oh my word!!! You know the surgery I had in December had to be postponed because my doctor tore his rotator’s cuff! So there was some real fear there. haha. Stuart asked him how he did it, he said…very calmly…”Knife Fight.” We just died! You would have to know my doctor, he’s very mild mannered, and soft spoken. Will a good sense of humor, obviously.

      But it’s over now. My hearing in my right ear decided to take a trip, so I’m not hearing well at all right now! Frustrating, I had this surgery to help my hearing, but I won’t see the results for a while, and in the mean time, my other ear decides to do wonky things.

      Thank you for all the well wishes. w


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