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Many of you will know the ache in your heart on receiving the news: "Your child is severely/profoundly deaf" - i will never forget that first moment/second, i felt so alone and devastated, not even having my husband and family around me could make me feel any different at that time or stop the tears. Now today after lots of tests, scans, hearing aids and loads of tears, with the help of God, family, friends and our church, we managed to raise the money needed for one implant. After 1 year of raising funds JD had his operation on the 10th of December 2007 and on the 10th January 2008 JD's cochlear was switched on. I will never forget that moment, the fright he got on hearing his first sounds and then amazement in his eyes.........they gave this device the correct name, because they gave JD freedom..........to hear.
With no medical aid or insurance, we could not manage to raise the money for the second implant and after receiving the news that since JD was born severely deaf, he could not get any implants after turning 4 (which was yesterday 22, September 2009) we eventually gave up all hope of ever giving him the second implant and now we pray and work very hard so that JD can learn speech with his one implant.
He can definitely hear, he responds beautifully when you call him and is now starting to imitate words, some still not recognisable, but his "ling" sounds are progressing beautifully and he started calling his sister, Zuné......."Né" since last week and I can just burst with pride when he attempts to say something. Even a "aa" makes me jump for joy. To think JD could not hear anything for the first nearly 2 and a half year of his life. What a miracle.
JD is attending the most wonderful school (Carel du Toit School for the Hearing Impaired) here in Cape Town, South Africa and here we go for parental guidance once every two weeks and speech therapy every week. We now started using some Makaton signing along with his speech therapy and he is learning so fast, that I have to teach myself in the evenings when he is asleep just to make sure I stay on par with him.
I thank God and all the blessed people out there who made it possible for JD to enter this wonderful world of hearing and speech and although it is going very slow, it surely is going and I'm not crying anymore......at least when I do they are tears of joy.
Wow, it's been ages since I've been on here! Such a lot happened. I got divorced, we had to move into a small flat and the adjustment for the three of us, JD, Zune and myself, now living alone and coping alone was huge, but we're surviving and JD is now 5, turning 6 in September. What a roller coaster ride!! He is still in the Carel du Toit School for the hearing impaired and improving at a very slow rate. Last week we had his assessment and they did the "Griffiths" tests on him and he is still so far behind. Speech wise he is now at around 29 months and struggling with nasal sounds, but on the upside I'm staying positive and I know that since he is turning 6 this year, this might mean that he will be going to a special school I still feel so proud of this little young man. He is trying so hard and I applaud his little sister Zune for helping him and being so patient, giving up so much of her time even time with me so that we can try and help her little brother.
Today Zune had to do a project for school which she must present herself and one of the questions was what makes me happy/unhappy. I felt so sad when she wrote (she is now 8) that what makes her sad is that her little brother was born deaf and is now so far behind with his speech.
Sometimes I wish he was older so that he could give me an idea of what he was hearing and what I could do to help him improve with some of his language skills, but unfortunately we still have to go with what we think he hears and work with that. (It would be wonderful if someone can tell me what exactly it is that you hear with a cochlear implant? Do you hear the same sounds that a hearing person hear???)
Thinking back on the uphill battle to raise the money for his first implant and where we are now, it was all worth the effort and time it took. The price I/we had to pay (the divorce/cope with less/time) was nothing when I hear JD say words, or even now starting to say two/three word sentences. You go JD!!!
Well now the next uphill stares us in the face since we do not have a medical aid and I was told last week that the perfect solution for JD would now be too upgrade on his existing implant and try and raise money for the implant on the right ear.
What I will aim for now is the upgrade, since that is cheaper than the other implant. I just wanne do so much for him and hopefully in time I will be able too, but as I'm sure most of you know, the cost for upkeeping on implants are high and every time a cable breaks or a casing crack, you tend to lose faith but I know and trust that JD will one day be a man in his own right and that he (believe me he is strong willed) will not let his deafness get in the way of what he wants in life. Just as long as I know that I tried everything in my power to give my little man all the advantages there is out there.
I will keep you up to date on how our fundraising is going. I just fell in love with the look of the upgrade and hopefully in the not too far distance my son JD will be able to have the priviledge of taking off his old bulky cochlear and replace it with the sleek new design.
To all of you out there, who went through what we are going through now and even the new parents, who just discovered that their little ones are deaf, it is not the end of the world, it is just the beginning of a new world. God bless you all. Angelmom out....