It's been a year since I lost my hearing.
August 14, 2012. Just before 9 am.
One minute I was leading a group of teachers in a training for the common core curriculum. The next, the hearing in my left ear was gone. Just like that. No warning. No cause. Just gone.
I thought my ears had stopped up - a common side effect of my chronic sinus infections. Nope. It was far worse than that.
"Your ears are not 'stopped up'. You have sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Your left ear is profoundly deaf, and your right ear has sustained moderate-severe loss. They are completely normal except they cannot hear, " my ENT doctor told me as I sat speechless in that chair. "It is permanent. Your hearing will not come back." I'll never forget those words.
It's been a year of regrets and what-ifs and why me's -- a year of finding new ways to do things I had taken for granted; tears of deep anguish and determination; utter defeat and the stark realization that my life has forever changed. It's been a year of discovering how strong I can be through adversity...and how weak.
I am a new person, different than before. Stronger in many ways, I think, and yet I am weak. I still cry when that fragility surfaces unexpectedly and I find myself lost, frustrated, and confused. I'm learning not to be so vulnerable to what the hearing world throws at me. I am deaf in one ear. I am hard-of-hearing in the other. I am hearing-impaired. I can acknowledge that, if not accept it; a resignation that what I have lost will never be found again.
But I am not powerless. I will find my way in this, as I have found my way before. I continue to trod into unfamiliar territory.
I'm making sense of my hearing loss and I'm seeking peace with it. Happy anniversary to me.