Wow, another year has gone by. Don't we say that every year? We had a very busy 2010 with 3 surgeries, spending July in LA at the John Tracy Clinic, and selling and buying a home. We celebrated Lucas's 1st hearing birthday in early 2010, and he's had a variety of other great experiences throughout the year. He has made great progress, and I came to terms with one very big part of this big hearing journey... Lucas is going to be okay.
I know it sounds silly, because obviously I knew that before now, but I'm not sure I believed it with all of my heart and all of my soul. I do now. Maybe it's the transition from birth-3 to 3-5 with early intervention and the stellar results from his multi-faceted evaluation (more on that later). Maybe it's the anecdotal stories I hear about his success in mainstream preschool. Or maybe it's just his zest for life and his natural, creative way of interacting with everyone he meets. Whatever it is, it no longer feels probable, but rather definitive that he will be a successful, independent part of society. And I feel free emotionally.
In the early days of his diagnosis, it was all about the unknown. We didn't know whether his hearing aids would work... we naively waited for that magical moment. It never came. Then we started from scratch at 12 months. He'd lost over a year of hearing, including his time in the womb. We wondered if he would ever catch up. But, he did and he has, and now we have a glimpse of what his future path will look like. It's bright and hopeful.
It's certainly not time to sit back and assume that his development will progress as normal. We remain vigilant and proactive. There will be bumps in the road. But we have a sense of normalcy, even with the new access to sound that he has with his left ear, and the feeling that we're starting over again. Maybe it's just our sense of normal, but it feels great.
2010 was a year of progress. Lucas made the language and hearing progress that we always dreamed he would, and we made lots of progress in our goal to have his 2nd ear implanted. There were times when I thought we would never get there, ever. But we did, and I'm so glad it's behind us. We only have the future to look forward to, with all of the benefits of having two ears. It can only get better from here.
What will 2011 bring? Many new adventures, I'm certain. Hopefully Lucas will stay out of the operating room, and will fully embrace his new ear. I really hope that I'm able to report next December that he loves his 2nd ear, can't stand to be without it, and can discriminate speech like he can with the 1st one. We've got our work cut out for us, but I'm up for the challenge.
Wishing you much peace, joy and prosperity in 2011.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9: 6
Happy birthday to my little man. I can just feel that *three* is going to be a fantastic age.
the day we brought him home from the hospital
at his 1st birthday party
right after he turned 2
at his 3rd birthday party
Last week when Lucas was standing in the middle of his play room, playing on his horn and singing into his play microphone, I did some reflecting. I started to wonder if we might have a different child without his cochlear implant(s). Would he have the same interests? Would he be as outgoing? Would he be bossy like he is? Would he have the same relationship as he does with his Nanny? I don't know for sure, but I really don't think so. I don't think he would enjoy his shows, or singing and dancing, and he certainly wouldn't be as bossy as he is. His life has been changed. Our lives have been changed. What an amazing journey the past 3 years have been.
At the freshly-turned age of 3, Lucas...
* started asking "why?" repeatedly, today, in addition to "what's that?"
* loves pretend play. Right now his green duck is "angel" and his yellow duck is "baby Jesus."
* likes a variety of toys, including his train table, his little people sets and puzzles
* likes to watch the Mickey Mouse Club
* often responds, "um, no thanks" when you ask him whether he wants something
* negotiates everything he does...
* doesn't like to get dressed in the morning
* loves to play at Gymboree
* likes a variety of food, including sushi, guacamole, and edamame, and especially Daddy's mac & cheese
* wears size 2T pants and 2T shirts
* weighs about 28 lbs
* is not yet potty-trained
* speaks as well as his age-equivalent hearing peers
* loves books, and doesn't like the sames books to be read to him all the time (that's fine with me!)
* recites his numbers 1-20 (sometimes skipping over a few...)
* sings the alphabet (with some parts missing) and recognizes the majority of his letters
* knows his shapes and colors
* still lets Mommy give him 500 kisses a day
* loves to play with his cousins and friends, and asks about them too
* still talks about his teachers and friends from JTC, as if we were just there yesterday...
* remembers everything I tell him right before bed the very next morning
* is my biggest inspiration, the reason I get up every morning, and my little hero
I still have a 2-year-old for a few more days, but we celebrated him turning 3 this weekend. Last year it snowed heavily on the day of his party, so we had a birthday brunch instead. We liked it so much that we decided to do it again this year. Everyone in the family was able to attend, and it was a great day!
This picture is Lucas's birthday sentiment in a nutshell. "Happy Birthdaymas". It feels like Christmas, it looks like Christmas, it sounds like Christmas and it smells like Christmas. I guess that's the way it will always feel. It was especially fun to sing to him this year, because he sang along, with his own version: "happy cake to you..."
He asked for a brown cake... so he got one!
getting ready to sing...
Today Lucas was supposed to have his 3-year pictures taken, but that fell through, so we decided to continue the celebration at the Strasburg Railroad. It was chilly, but so much fun. His reactions to the big trains were absolutely priceless. He got to see Santa, and there were strolling carolers and musicians on the train too. He kept asking where Thomas was though...
pointing at the other big trains
trying to get the window open
getting tickled by Daddy
riding the cranky train
We also visited the Choo Choo Barn to see a huge indoor toy train display. That was quite impressive.
I can't believe he's all but 3. My how the time flies...
The first week post-activation was not particularly easy for Lucas. But I think we're getting somewhere. Maybe it's the fact that he's on program 4 now, or that he has had a week to adjust to new sound, or maybe a combination of both, but we saw a great improvement in his willingness to wear his 2nd CI today. Maybe it's also because today was his birthday party (more on that later), or because all of his favorite people were at our house today, but he didn't even try to take it off and hand it to me.
We're making progress.
On Friday, when his wonderful AVT was here, he even wore his new CI all by itself for an entire hour. That might not sound like a big deal, but it really is. We noticed that he was okay wearing it until we made him listen, and then he would get frustrated. He was responding to sound, but not really speech, but he repeated "ore" when he heard the word "more." I was seriously excited when I heard him say that.
We're looking forward to Tuesday, when Lucas has a new mapping session and 4 more programs to work through.
Lucas is at that age when it's really fun to take him places, and he benefits a lot (in terms of language) from new experiences. Being out in public = lots of curious stares. We're used to it by now, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't get to me from time to time. I haven't handed out any of my Lucas cards lately, but I'm finding my voice more and more when people stare.
Up until last week, people especially noticed his ear when it was dark. Why? Because the Cochlear Freedom blinksred, veryred. Please understand that adult cochlear implant users turn this option off (and we will eventually also), but most pediatric users utilize it so that we, the parents, know whether or not the processor is working. But, why did Cochlear choose red? Red means stop, warning, caution...
I guess we weren't the only ones who thought the red blinking light was a little much, because the N5 doesn't blink red, it blinks green! When I'm not bribing encouraging Lucas to wear his new processor, I'm admiring these new green-blinkingprocessors. Not only are they smaller, thinner, lighter and sleeker, but they no longer blink red. Green is much subtler and more natural. To me it means go and be happy, not stop and stare.
Other features that I love about the new N5s are the tamper resistant batteries and, of course, the increased water protection. As much as I wish he could have gotten his 2nd implant a while ago, the N5 has certainly been worth the wait.
Little Lucas had breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning, and thoroughly enjoyed sitting on his lap. When asked what he wants for Christmas, he responded "presents." I guess he will be easy to please.
We are on day 4 of post-activation bliss, and it's going... I would estimate that Lucas is wearing his new ear about 80% of the time. He won't wear it in the car, and it keeps falling off his ear, so that's not helping things. Then, there are the times when we're not looking and he takes it off and hides it. It's good that he's so verbal that he can find it for me when I ask where it is. I found myself telling him several times today, "you have until the count of 5 to find your ear..." We NEVER had this problem with his old ear, because he is so attached to it. He simply cannot stand to be without it. 2nd CI... not so much.
I've asked him what it sounds like, just to see what he might say. He responded, "beep, beep" and "silly." Interesting.
He will let me work with his new ear alone a little bit. When his SLP was here on Friday, he was in quite a silly mood. He wanted to keep turning on this little music box that plays for about 10 seconds then turns off, so we played along and would freeze when the music stops. Then I suggested to him that we try with just his new ear. He played along for a little bit, but kept putting the old ear back on. But, then he initiated the game himself by voluntarily playing with just the new ear. It was great.
Before bed, I've been trying to condition his new ear with the Ling sounds. I will face him without covering my mouth, while he's still wearing both ears. I'll pick a ling, say it with both ears, remove the old one so that he's listening with the new ear alone, and then say it with both ears on again. I'm kind of sandwiching the sounds so that his brain learns to recognize them. I realize it's still premature, because he doesn't have full access to speech with his current settings, but I feel like it's a start.
So, things are still going well, but it's a little bit of a struggle still. We'll get there though, we'll get there.
We had... a GREAT day. I'm exhausted, and am a bit in overload, but we couldn't have asked for a better 2nd activation experience.
We started out early and even went out for breakfast to start our day. Lucas's audiologist was running a little bit late, because he had another activation this morning. We got to see that family as they were leaving, with two sets of grandparents in tow and everything. I engaged them in conversation, because they were excited to see that Lucas had a CI too. When we were in those early stages, I always wanted to talk to people in the waiting area, but others were not always as interested in talking to me. The father asked me how Lucas is doing, and I started crying... you know, that quiet cry that you try to hold in to no avail. All of the emotions of our almost 3 year journey to bringing sound to Lucas rushed to me in that moment, and I was unable to hold it together enough to express to him how well Lucas is doing. Words came out, but were not exactly what I wanted to say. There were really tears of sheer joy and gratitude, and he sensed that, but I wanted to say so much more. I wished them well and they were on their way.
Lucas did really well all day long. He looked a little concerned in the car as we talked about going to the hospital to get his 2nd ear. We assured him that there would be no ouchies, no jammies, and no going to sleep. He then grinned from ear to ear and his body language changed dramatically. Phew. We talked to him about how his new ear might sound silly, and how his old ear would have to be connected to his head, but not on, and how that would be temporary. I guess it worked.
I promise that I dress my child in more than an undershirt when it's 34 degrees outside, but inside this mapping room it was 90 degrees. He really had some great reactions to the new sounds he was hearing. You could tell that he was somewhat unsure, as his eyes would often just move to the side when he heard the beeps. But, other times, he would say "beep, beep". We thought that was really neat. He wasn't so sure about all of the new sounds, but he was definitely a good sport. Hopefully I'll be able to edit our video footage and post a highlights video this weekend.
He was pretty happy to build this tower...
I love the N5s. There is such a marked difference in size. See for yourself. The side by side view does not look as different as the back view, but there really is a big difference on his head!
I never said I was a hand model... please excuse my very dry hands!
This is the very sleek remote control, that I still must learn how to use!
So, our day went as well as it could have. I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning with all of my excitement. We love the new N5s, but I'm admittedly a tad overwhelmed with figuring out how to work the remote in coordination with both implants. I need to check out the online tutorial this weekend and practice. I think it's a great feature though.
Lucas did amazingly well today, and took it all in stride. I told him how proud I was of him tonight before he went to bed. I must tell him that pretty often, because the other day I overheard him telling one of his bears, "I'm so proud of you." Priceless!
I will admit, however, that Lucas is not super excited about the new implant. He's tolerating it well, but he expressed several times today, "I don't like it." He always says it calmly though, and there haven't been any tears or tantrums about it. While driving this evening, I removed the new ear because I knew that he would take it off as soon as I shut the car door. We keep telling him that he must wear it so that it stops sounding silly. He happily lets me put it on his ear, and then he runs off to play and forgets about it. I can't ask for much more right now. He must adjust to having sound in this ear for the time, well... ever. I'm looking forward to his ear healing completely too, so that he can go back to wearing wig tape to keep it on his head. For now, we're just using the snugfit, but it's not nearly as effective as the wig tape.
We have four programs to work through until we return in a little over a week for a new mapping session. He definitely has access to sound right now, but it's very quiet, and he's unable to discriminate speech. The goal is for him to get used to wearing the processor and to gradually increase his maps so that he has full access to sound.
Over the next few weeks, we will try to spend some time each day with his new ear alone. We will start again at step one... sound detection. We will teach him to recognize the presence and absence of sound. Then we will be move up through the 4 levels of auditory development to discrimination (hearing the difference between 2 different sounds), identification (recognizing and labeling sound), and comprehension (understanding the meaning of sound).
I am pumped and ready to work with this new ear! But first, some sleep, and time to let this all sink in. It will take some time to get used to seeing two processors on his head. They will always be there. They will never go away. Sometimes, even on the best of days, it's hard to really digest that reality. But then, he will walk into the room and say the most magnificent sentence in the clearest, sweetest little voice, and it makes it all worth it.
Our baby is a BILATERAL bionic boy. Happy hearing birthday to your new ear, little Lucas.
Tomorrow's the big day! Lucas's 2nd CI will be activated. My emotions are just about everywhere... I'm nervous, anxious, thrilled, elated, excited, worried, relieved. I feel like we've been waiting so long for this day. I still remember his first activation day, and asking his surgeon when we could schedule the 2nd surgery. He told us no time soon. I was crushed, seriously crushed. I never gave up hope though, and here we are, 1 month short of 2 years later, and Lucas is about to get bilateral access to sound. I can't wait to see how the 2nd CI enhances his hearing abilities. can.not.wait.
I believe that he hears with his current ear as well as he can absolutely, possibly hear. It is utterly amazing to see what he can hear, what he can understand and what he can discriminate with that one bionic ear. I'll say it once, and I'll say it again - I never in a million years thought that he would hear this well. Never ever. You really have to see it to believe it. It's indescribable.
In so many ways, I'm worried that he will have a difficult adjustment period to his new ear. He will not be able to hear well with it tomorrow. We are seriously starting from scratch. It will be beeps and buzzes. I've been told that it will take less time for his brain to make sense of this new electronic sound than the first one did, but it will still be an adjustment.
I'm totally up for the challenge though. In some ways I miss the fervor with which I approached teaching him to listen the first time around. I lived it and breathed it for so long, and then it clicked. We've just kind of been coasting along lately, because he's doing so well. No complaints. I'm ready to pull some old tricks out of my sleeves and get to work though. But, I need a cooperative almost 3-year-old with which to work. When we were at CHOP in October, Lucas would not let the audiologist map him. He could not stand for the magnet to be on his head and not be turned on, even when I explained to him what was happening. There will be a lot of that tomorrow. I've been told that 3 is a magic age though, so we'll just wait and see, and hope for a good day.
What can I bribe with with? I know... Baja Fresh. Wait, that's for me!!!!!!!!
We are counting down to several things these days... activation on his 2nd CI is 1 week from tomorrow. I'm so excited to begin this new stage of the journey. I'm ready for the challenge.
We are also counting down to Christmas, starting today. I realize I'm not alone in this, but Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. From cutting down our tree as a family to decorating our house and tree, I look forward to December every year. Last Saturday we ventured out to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. After a ride in a horse-drawn wagon, we cut it down amidst the snow flurries. So fun!
set up tree...
add lights & an angel...
add ornaments and tinsel...
and it's done!
Lucas also has his own Christmas tree and nativity play set (great language opportunities!) in his playroom. I'm not quite sure who's more excited about the little tree, him or me. :)
Then, last week I got this great idea from one of my favorite money-saving blogs, Saving with Shellie. The idea was to make an advent calendar out of baby/children's socks and place a small gift in each sock to count down the days until Christmas. I found most of my supplies at the Dollar Tree, and some at a local crafts store, and in about 45 minutes, I had this set up:
I used red ribbon, mini clothes pins, various Christmas-themed socks, and little dollar store toys. Each sock has a number sticker on it.
It was so much fun to make, and I can't wait to open a sock with Lucas every day until Christmas. I think it's a great way to make Christmas more tangible for a child his age. It provides many language rich opportunities also. We will count the days, and look at the numbers, and talk about what's on the socks and in the socks.
When we met with the surgeon Monday morning, he asked us whether we wanted Lucas to be implanted with the N5 (sticking with the same company as the old ear), or whether we wanted an AB (different company) implant in his left. We joked about it for a few minutes, thinking that it would be silly to have two different devices, but he told us that some people seriously do have one ear from each company.
I thought about it for a moment (and really just a moment), thinking about the possibilities of having the benefits of both devices. Advanced Bionics implants are advertised as giving increased musical benefit to recipients, which I see as a big drawing point. We originally chose Cochlear, mostly because of the versatility of the babyworn processor to go easily between being clipped to the body and being worn completely behind the ear. We've been pleased with our decision, but I'm sure we would have been happy the other way around too.
On Monday, we decided to stick with status quo, as I've been dreaming of the Nucleus 5 device ever since it was released. I also am a big fan of symmetry. Having 2 different external processors brings more attention to his ears, in my opinion.
Well, I believe we made a good decision. The day after Lucas's surgery, AB voluntarily recalled their HiRes 90K implant, and retrieved all unimplanted devices in distribution. We would have missed the recall by a day. Apparently there have been 2 reports of recipients experiencing severe pain, overly loud sounds and/or shocking sensations at 8-10 days after initial activation. You can read the press release here. This may have caused Lucas to be explanted. I'm not sure what they would have recommended, but I'm very thankful that I don't have to deal with another element of stress in this whole process.
I've heard many, many good things about this company, and I sincerely hope that the problem gets solved soon, for both the company and the recipients.
This message is brought to you by our little turkey himself!
We spent a relaxing Thanksgiving day today at my parents' house. Little Lucas is back to his joyful, silly self. We are managing his pain with acetaminophen now. He got to take a bath today too! Lucas had a busy day! He...
... watched Daddy carve the turkey ...
... broke the wishbone with Daddy ...
... ate lunch with a turkey on his head ...
... showed Opa Mommy's new toy ...
... played intently at Oma's train table ...
... spent time with his (and my) Nanny ...
... and was a good sport while posing for lots of pictures ...
We are so thankful this Thanksgiving for everything in our lives... our health, our jobs, our new home, our loving and supportive family, and our beautiful son.
It's hard to imagine what life would be like without Lucas. At his first Thanksgiving, we were anxiously anticipating his 1st cochlear implantation. At his 2nd Thanksgiving, we were celebrating the miracle of his access to sound. This Thanksgiving we are celebrating successful 2nd implantation and are awaiting the arrival of surround sound to augment his already awesome ability to listen and speak. I don't think we can top this next year. I will be content with a quiet holiday, and I look forward to looking back at Lucas's 1st bilateral year.
We continue to be unbelievably grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who have shaped and continue to shape Lucas's outcome. From his weekly therapists, to the audiological and education team at CHOP, to his talented CI surgeon, we feel very lucky to have such amazing professionals working with him. Cochlear implants change lives. We are thankful today, and e.v.e.r.y d.a.y for this medical miracle. 2nd activation is in 2 weeks, and counting!
Yesterday morning started very early, just like we like Lucas' surgeries to start. We left our home at 4:30 for a 6 AM arrival time. By 8:10, Lucas was being taken back to the operating room. It was 4 hours... 4 long hours before we would see him again. Nate and I decided to go to the cafeteria and grab some breakfast, because we knew it would be a long morning.
We returned to the waiting room before 9 AM, just in time for our first nurse update. During the second update we got, she reminded us that she wouldn't be entering the OR from that point on because of the ear being exposed, and the risk of germs. She got a thumbs up from the surgeon though, so we took that as good news. At around 10:30 AM, we spoke with the audiologist who tested the implant. He reported that it was working great and the surgeon was just closing up. We got some relief from that news. Around 11 AM we saw the surgeon. He said that surgery went as expected - he was able to get a full electrode insertion, but he also hit a CSF gusher, just like last time. He was not surprised by it. Luckily, he was able to manage and control it quickly, so it shouldn't be a problem.
After we spoke with the surgeon, he told us that they were taking an x-ray (to make sure the implant was placed properly), and then they were going to do the heart echo. Yes, another heart echo. Because of Lucas's heart condition, he has a heart echo every 6 months. He had one in June, during his trigger thumbs surgery, so I decided to call his cardiologist and inquire as to whether he wanted to do another echo under sedation. He decided it was a good idea, so we scheduled another "two-fer". Hopefully we'll get a good report.
We got to see Lucas around noon, and he was discharged at 1:00. We were surprised that Lucas's head was not wrapped, like it was last time. They wanted him to be able to wear his processor, so they didn't wrap it. I was concerned that his incision was exposed and that he would pick at it, but so far, so good. It is well sealed with Dermabond.
Lucas never really woke up before we left, and he slept the whole way home. The nurse said he only needed to be "wakeable", which he was. She kind of rushed us out of there. We were worried that he would throw up on the way home, but he saved that until he got home, but certainly made up for it. The anesthesiologist gave him "double" anti-nausea medication, but it definitely wore off by the afternoon. Lucas slept on and off the entire afternoon/evening, only being awake for about 10 minutes at a time... long enough to beg for juice and crackers, throw it back up, and go back to sleep.
The discharge instructions said to call the ENT resident if Lucas threw up 3 or more times at home, so I did. She was very nice, and called in an anti-nausea medication to our local pharmacy. We couldn't give Lucas his pain medication or antibiotic if he was just going to throw it back up! CVS told us it would be an hour before the prescription would be ready, so I gave them my "sob" story, and they had it ready in 20 minutes. I'm glad I spoke up. We gave him the med, but didn't wait long enough to give him food/drink/medicine, so he threw it up anyway. But, that was the last time (7:30 PM) he has thrown up, and he ate pretty well today.
He actually slept through the night, but with me sleeping next to him, and both of us on the floor of his bedroom. I set up a little bed area for me, and he wouldn't leave my side, so that's how we slept. He woke up at 6:45 AM, and went strong all day, playing, walking and running. I have not noticed any increased balance issues or dizziness, so we're really grateful for that. I'm very happy to report that Lucas is pretty well back to normal.
Yesterday we really felt the effects of major surgery, but today you would barely know it. Other than the fact that Lucas would not take a nap today, even after 2 consecutive car rides during which he fell asleep, he had a great day. He expressed to me that his ear hurt when he woke up this morning. I was surprised that he was able to express that to me so well, but also very thankful.
Yesterday was no walk in the park. My stress and anxiety were really high. I couldn't concentrate on anything for more than 3 minutes at a time. I spent a lot of time pacing, and updating my Facebook status on Nate's iPhone, which is time consuming because it's not my phone. Several day surgery staff told us that we looked familiar. You know you're there too often when... This surgery was just different than the other surgeries though. We knew what we were in for, we knew what we were up against, and we knew what we had to lose. So far, the outcome has been as good as we could have asked for, minus the gusher. We are unbelievably thankful for that, and attribute it greatly to all of our wonderful local family/friends and our worldwide CI friends, who were praying for and thinking of our little Lucas. With 5 surgeries, 2 sedated MRIs and 3 hospitalizations in less than 3 short years, we're hoping this is our last major procedure for a long time.
Lucas's incision site looks great right now, and I believe it will heal quickly. The N5 implant is remarkably less noticeable on his head than the Freedom. I can barely feel it! The Freedom protrudes. The N5 looks much for comfortable. But what do I know.
Now the countdown begins! Activation is scheduled for December 9! At that time, he will get 2 N5 processors (one intended for back-up), but he'll wear them on each ear! He'll then have the Freedoms as back-ups. He'll be hearing with 2 ears before his 3rd birthday and before Christmas! YAY!
Here's the short version... tomorrow I will write a longer post. Hopefully Lucas will be feeling better then, and I will have gotten some rest.
It's been a very long, rather stressful, but successful day. We are home. We were discharged at 1 PM. The surgeon was able to fully insert the N5 electrode array, and it is working appropriately. It's been a long afternoon/evening though, because Lucas has not been able to keep anything down. He wants to eat anything and everything, but much to his dismay, he can't. I'm happy to report that he can walk though, although he's a little bit wobbly from the anesthesia. I hope he has a good night, and I'll write more tomorrow. Thanks for all of the prayers and well wishes.
Graeme was born at Build-a-Bear last weekend. He, of course, was named after another famous Graeme. Graeme got two "cochlear implants" last weekend too.
Lucas only has one cochlear implant, but will be getting one tomorrow, just like his bear friend, Graeme.
I can't believe this day has finally come. It's been an emotionally rough week for me leading up to this point. For every good reason I can give you for getting the second implant, I can give you a good reason for not.
What it comes down to is this. We want the very, very best for our son. We want him to hear the very best that he can, to make the rest of his life easier for him. We don't want to ask ourselves for the rest of our lives, "what if...?" If we're going to do, it has to be now. So, here we go. I can't wait until it's over. Please pray for an uneventful day, strong, steady surgeon hands, and a quick recovery.
Lucas will be a bilateral bionic boy tomorrow. Wow.
Lucas is not thriving right now just because he got a cochlear implant. His access to any sound at all is made possible solely through the miracle of the cochlear implant, but his ability to discriminate that sound and mimic what he hears through speech is all thanks to the hours upon hours of therapy he has participated in.
Last year I was asked to be my school district's United Way representative, because Lucas receives services from United Way funded agencies. I was thrilled to share his story, and share the miracle of the cochlear implant. I wanted to show people that deaf children really can listen and speak, and what early identification and aggressive intervention does for young children. Lucas accompanied me to many district faculty meetings, but couldn't come to all, so I made this video to chronicle his journey.
Our local United Way agency caught wind of this video and asked if Lucas could be the star of this year's campaign video. We were really happy to continue to share his story with an even broader audience this year - the whole county. It's been really fun meeting strangers who recognize Lucas, and hearing from friends who have seen Lucas's video. One friend in another school district told me that they exceeded their donation goal for this year, thanks in part to Lucas's story.
Lucas is my miracle baby. He is an inspiration. He has changed my life. I hope his story touches yours.
Lucas went trick-or-treating for the first time Friday night. Yes, I said Friday night. For some reason, our county decided to trick-or-treat on Friday night because Halloween fell on a Sunday. We went with it! The last 2 years, we just dressed Lucas up and gave out candy. This year, we went door to door in our little cul-de-sac. It was perfect for a little guy. He seriously had a blast. He would scuttle up to the door, ring the doorbell (if he could), and say, "knock, knock, trick or treat." He got to go with his cousin, Ryan, too. They were quite the duo.
Lucas was born with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss to two hearing parents. He wore hearing aids starting at 3 months, but he got no benefit from them, as we soon found out. He received a cochlear implant in his right ear 3 days after his first birthday. His second ear was implanted 1 month before his third birthday. Cochlear implants have changed Lucas's life immensely. This site was developed to chronicle his life and progress learning to listen and speak!