Monday, July 8, 2013

Wait, what?

I really thought it was no big deal.
Really.

I'm not a girl who goes to the doctor often.
In fact, I usually have to be falling down sick or have my back totally go out in order to end up there. {I usually just figure that whatever is wrong- a cough, a cold, or sore throat- will work it's way through my system so there really is no need.}

So when I had a cold several months ago and my right ear stopped up, I thought nothing of it at first. But when my cold went away- and my ear was still stopped up- I did think it was a little odd.  A friend who is also doctor looked in my ear and suggested that I take some Musinex D to help clear it up.
So I did.

And my ear didn't get better. But it didn't hurt so I just kind of adjusted to it. I used my left ear to talk on the phone and tried to sit on the right side of friends at dinner and the movies. It would occasionally irritate me but it didn't hurt so I figured it was just some fluid in my ear. After some time I tried another round of Musinex D.
No change.

During this time my back went out {oh the joys of getting older} so my ear being stopped up was the least of my concerns. Until one day a few weeks ago when I was in my office and picked up the phone to make a call. For some reason I put the phone to my right ear. When I did I thought...."Oh no! My phone is broken."
because I heard nothing.

I moved the phone to my left ear and heard a loud, clear dial tone. And immediately became concerned. There was a dial tone- I just couldn't hear it at ALL with my right ear. I used that phone immediately to call and make an appointment with my doctor for the next day.

I truly expected to go to the doctor, have him look at my ear, say that there was some fluid trapped in it, and that he would drain it and all would be well.

That's not what happened.

He looked and saw nothing wrong. He had his nurse give me a hearing test- which I failed completely in that ear. Twice. The doctor was concerned  {and he's not usually very excitable} and started throwing around the phrase "permanent hearing loss" which freaked me out a bit. Okay maybe more than a bit.

He started me on a bunch of steroids, called to get me a series of hearing tests, and in to see an ENT specialist as soon as possible- three days later. I left in shock thinking- wait, what?

Three days later I went through a bunch of hearing tests in a sound proof booth with a sweet audiology doctor who told me at the end that I did have permanent hearing loss in my right ear. She explained that it affected my ability to hear voices- not just sounds. {So basically  I hear muffled voices in that ear.  If you turn up the volume in that ear, I don't hear better, I just hear louder muffled voices.} I went straight from her office to the ENT doctor's office where he performed a bunch more tests, looked over the results from the audiology doctor, and confirmed that the loss was permanent.

I sat there stunned thinking...wait, what?
I'm 43, not 83. How can I have permanent hearing loss?

The doctor explained that it was most likely caused a virus and that it just sometimes happens. He said the only hope for restoring hearing {and it was a very small hope} was taking large amounts of oral steroids and steroids shots {in the ear!}. He said due to my age he wanted to do an MRI just to make sure there wasn't something causing the hearing loss other than a virus and scheduled it for the following week.  He said afterwards we could talk about hearing aid options if that was something I wanted to explore. I left his office with a bag full of steroids, an MRI appointment, and a follow up appointment with the ENT for the next week.  I sat in the parking lot in shock that this was permanent and most likely irreversible.

The following Thursday I had the MRI {first one with contrast- so NOT fun} and assumed that I would just talk to the doctor about the results the next week at my scheduled appointment.

I was wrong.

19 comments:

  1. Shannon, I am so stunned to read this...from your earlier post I don't think there is a happy ending, but I know with your faith and prayers you will make the best of this difficult situation. You have done so much for others, so now we will put you in our prayers. Thinking of you...

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  2. OH sweet Shannon, I am steadily praying for you.

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  3. My husband is 42 years old and this could have been his story. He went through EVERY step that you did - from his doctors. They basically told him they couldn't find anything so he just had to keep taking his steroids until they ran out. It eventually went away on its own, after hefty medical bills that gave us no answers. I hope yours turns out much better. I'll be thinking of and praying for you.

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  4. Oh my goodness. What a frightening time for you. I am praying for you as you take on this journey, and please let us know if there's anything we can do to help. Thinking of you!!

    Jenny

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  5. I'm praying for you and hoping that cliff hanger at the end isn't as bad as I'm imagining.

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  6. Shannon, I just wanted to let you know that I am 42 and went through a similar experience about a year ago. My symptoms were a little different but they lasted for months - loud ringing in the ears and eventually disabling vertigo. My doctors were also concerned that I may have permanent hearing loss, but thank goodness in the end, I did not. After months of not really knowing what this was or if I would ever be rid of the symptoms, my doctor determined that it was caused by a virus called Labyrinthitis that attacks the nerve of the inner ear (causing no pain and very little in the way of symptoms, at first). My first ENT was a jerk and told me to come back in a few months to see if I lost my hearing and that there was nothing he could do to prevent my hearing loss or horrible vertigo. The stress of not knowing what it was or how to treat it was causing my symptoms to become worse. I am a teacher and missed many days of school because of it. I finally found an ENT who I trusted and ran every test possible including the MRI w/contrast. After several months elapsed, the symptoms lessened in severity and were less frequent. I am well now and I will be praying for a full recovery for you too!

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  7. So very sorry to hear of this trial you are suffering through. Lysa Terkerst wrote several devotions on her blog last year when she was also having ear issues. Here is one that is a great reminder of God's presence. Will be praying for you!

    http://lysaterkeurst.com/2012/04/this-is-news-this-is-not-truth/

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  8. What a scary thing to go through. I'm praying for you.

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  9. So sorry to hear about your hearing loss. I am no medical expert, but it would be in your best interest to seek out alternative remedies as well. Will be praying for you.

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  10. You are in my prayers!! *hugs*

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  11. I am praying for you!! May the Lord heal your ear and give you strength and comfort in this challenging time!! Blessings!

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  12. Just found your site for the first time, from a link off of Pinterest of a printable. Then I read this story! I will be checking back to see what happened to you with the MRI. Meanwhile, I am praying for your healing. Not like just praying God's "will be done", but I am praying His healing fire from heaven rain down on your (precious to Him) body!

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  13. A new reader and I feel like you are a good friend already! Will be praying for you on this new path!!!

    Tara

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  14. Praying for you! It is scary to have something going on with your body that you have no control over and there are no clear answers.

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  15. Thank you so much sweet friends for your prayers!

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  16. Oh goodness, I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. My thoughts are with you during this time, and I'm sending prayers up for you.

    Hang in there,

    Gayla

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  17. Bless your heart! I'll be praying for you!

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