Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year, New Ear!

2 days post surgery, eating a favorite snack

If you've followed Ethan's story online or in person, then you realize that he has suffered for 2 years with a faulty implant. The issue was further complicated by a lousy rep from Cochlear Corp. (who has been replaced with someone professional) and a mostly non-verbal little guy who lacks the ability to communicate his experience via the traditional/typical routes. We've been saying his implant doesn't work (and he has refused to wear it) since 2009. Finally it has been removed and a new device put in its place. He came through the surgery and recovery with flying colors and in a few short weeks the new Ci will be activated and we'll be on our way. There's a lot more to say about the ramifications of the experience on Ethan's psyche and progress, but it doesn't feel productive in the least to go into that detail.

Since my last post here, we've also found out that Ethan has qualified for a grant for a service dog! He will get his dog in August 2012 and it will be both a hearing ear dog and an autism dog. The dog will be trained in search and rescue, so if Ethan ever got away from us (as he tries so diligently to do), the dog would be able to track his scent and help us find him quickly. He can also be tethered to the dog in public so that we would be able to go places and walk normally, rather than hold onto Ethan with the death grip to keep him from running away. The way we've had to function has prohibited me from signing with him in public because my hands are too busy keeping him safe. The way in which this dog will change our lives is far reaching and I'm still not sure it has totally sunk in for me yet. That we might feel less like prisoners to his autism and more like an average family who enjoy outings together is just a dream come true.

Ethan continues to do well in school. He is in the same classroom with the same staff as last year and they never cease to amaze with their skill set, compassion, communication skills, and general awesomeness. He definitely presents them with challenges, but they don't seemed phased by it and always have a method or idea to deal with his antics. I've heard there is a little girl who plays with him during recess each day and who likes to walk into the building holding his hand. We're not really seeing anything playmate-wise translate beyond the school walls, but hopefully that will come with time, and a little extra effort on my part to make it happen.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer (early stages) in July and had a double mastectomy in October. I have surgery again (reconstruction) in February and am on my way to a full recovery. I am very lucky to have caught it so early and to have so many wonderful friends, neighbors, and family members who have come to my side for support.

We're all really hoping that 2012 presents us with fewer challenges!


Kyla said...

How did I not know you were diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy?! Facebook is good at fooling us into thinking we know what is going on in other people's lives. I'm glad it was caught early!!

Here's to 2012! I hope it is a great year for you guys!

Hetha said...

Thanks Kyla! I didn't mention it on Facebook. So there ya go! Hope your 2012 is awesome as well!

Kurt Kumler said...

Hey Heather -
It had been a while since I checked out this blog. I'm glad I took another look - it's great to get a sense of how things have been for you with Eboy. Happy 2012 - I hope its a great year for you and Richard and Ethan.

dlefler said...

Heather, I am so glad you are on your way to recovery. I am glad they caught it - here's to a happy and healthy 2012! The service dog sounds like a great addition to your family - it will give both of you more freedom to communicate and will keep Ethan safe. Plus, the search and rescue abilities of the dog sounds amazing.

Sending hugs and happy thoughts your way!

Kristina said...

It so nice to see a post from you! And, I always love the update pictures of Ethan - he sure is a cutie!

The service dog seems like something that will really change your lives and I'm thrilled that you received the grant. Way to go! Ethan sure is lucky to have a Mama like you!

Hilbychick said...

I didn't know about your breast cancer! So glad it was caught early. I hope you are feeling well physically and mentally (as much as possible). You and the family are due an incredible 2012. I'm so excited about the service dog!!!

cheryl said...

You know I am in awe of you. You are such an inspiration to me how you parent that wonderful little guy. He has been through a lot in his world, but thanks to parents as wonderful as you two, i know he is going to continue to thrive and show us all great things.
The service-dog is so exciting and will be a welcome and life changing event in your household. I am so happy for you and your beautiful family. I can't wait to hear updates.

Take care of yourself. I keep you in close in my heart and prayers.

Tiffany C. said...

I haven't been on in so long, it's great to see updates from you! Looks like little man is doing really good and I'm so glad you're doing well! Things have been going really good for Brayden this school year. He finally got an ASL interpreter and has made A-B honor roll the past 2 nine weeks! It was good to see good news from you! Keep it up girl!

Tom's mum said...

Hi Heather,
I'm so glad they caught 'it' early. My step mum has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and it's great to hear/see your positive outlook.

I've heard amazing things about service dogs.

Lots of positive thoughts from Scotland. You are certainly due a more carefree year.

Nicky, Jason, Tom and Milo xxx

Aliki2006 said...

Oh Heather, what a lot of news--a mixed bag, but more positive, and optimistic overall, which I feel must match your character!

I'm sorry I didn't know about your breast cancer, and I am so thankful you are on the mend. I will continue to think of you...

Hooray on the new ear AND on the service dog! Fantastic news! Here's to a great 2012...

mamatoadeafmiracle said...

I've been looking into getting Lucas my son a service dog for both his hearing and autism. Please email me on how you qualified for the grant,! You're blog was also given to me by Barbara Mellert and look forward to getting to read and hear more about your boy and your family!!