Friday, April 17, 2009

The decisions never end....

Can I just take a minute to feel sorry for myself? I think I will.

Sometime I feel like the responsibility of making life altering decisions for my children will overwhelm me. I thought that Max and Claire had all of their hospital time logged, but now I don't know. Claire is doing better with her implant, but she is still lagging behind Max's pace. Everyone seems to think that the obvious answer to catching her up is a second implant. I can see the benefits of that option, but the thought of subjecting her to another surgery makes me weak in the knees. I know how safe the procedure is and I know how skilled her surgeon is. However, there is always a small risk, even with the least invasive procedures. Will the second implant improve her learning rate? Will it work as well as the first one. If I knew the answers to these questions, the decision might be a little easier. I don't however, so as usual, the decision is not easy at all.

This leads to another question. If we get Claire a second implant, should we do the same for Max? He is doing well in school, but could he do even better if he had a second implant? Am I holding him back because I am scared to do this for him? The thought of putting my big man through another surgery makes me sick. He is vibrant, healthy, smart and loving. Should we take any risk considering how well he is doing? Am I keeping him from accomplishing great things by not taking that risk?

I just don't know and all of these decisions make me weary. I know that I should give the stress to God, but many times that is easier said than done. Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. I'm sure that God will lead our family in the right direction. If there is anyone out there that has bi-lateral implants or has a child with bi-lateral implants, I would value your opinion.

Max says he has 5 girlfriends now, by the way!!!
Claire's favorite word is hey-ya!!


Rachel said...

Hi there!

As you know, I am a bilateral cochlear implant user, and I can tell you that it's one of the best decisions of my life. There is no comparison between hearing with two implants and hearing with one implant. The sounds sound richer and fuller. My distance hearing improved. For instance, I can have conversations with people who are in a different room. My hearing in background noise is also better. I could go on and on with the benefits. You can see more information about it on my website here -

Also, I understand that Mary Ann Costin worked with Max. She told me on a few occasions that she has personally noticed that when her clients got a second implant, their language development improved dramatically.

Another important thing - the nerves begin to close and lose its plasticity after the age of 9 years old and so, I would get them bilateral implants while they're young so that they can receive incredible benefits.

I truly think it's worth going through the surgery for better quality of hearing!

Also, an advice for you - I would wear an ear plug in one of your ears for a week - this will give you a better idea of how your kids are hearing with one implant.

Samantha Brilling said...


Have you thought about trying to put a hearing aid in the other ear for Claire to see if that helps with getting more sounds on both sides?

I have a CI in my right ear and a hearing aid in my left. This really helps me by getting sounds through both ears. And since I benefit with the hearing aid, I'm holding off on the surgery to go bilateral.

But I am sure, whatever you decide, you're kids will be just fine! :) Good Luck!


Rachel said...

While wearing a hearing aid on the other ear may be an option, a good number of people cannot benefit from it because they have too little to no residual hearing.

Even if they have some residual hearing, the benefit of having a second implant is still incredible. I know a few people who had residual hearing and still got a second implant, and they tell me that they hear a lot better with two implants than with one implant and a hearing aid. If you would like for me to, I can connect you to a few cochlear implant recipients who have bilateral CIs and used to wear a hearing aid on the non-implanted ear.

Jenny said...

I'm praying for you and Stephanie. I do have to say that Rachel's advice sounds really good!!!

Greg Hawkins said...

Thanks for the insight everyone. I'm sure that you will getting more questions from me in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to tell you how beautiful your family is. They always have been, but the new pictures are just great. I can't believe how big Max is...and so handsome! My, my, where does the time go? Tell Steph hello!

Laura said...

No advice...only prayers. God could never have chosen better parents for Max & Claire than you two. Love you guys!

Nana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nana said...

Amen to Laura's comment!