Sitting in the sound-proof room for the hearing test, I repeatedly glanced at the vent on the wall to remind me that there really was air flowing into the room. With a ceiling just over six feet tall and a floor space of not much more, it didn’t take imagination to feel like the room was closing in.
Having finally submitted (after a long struggle) to wearing headphones, Chase sat on my lap, waiting as he had been instructed to put a piece of the puzzle into place every time he heard a sound.
A high-pitched noise rose muted from the headphones – as loud as a scream in the quiet room.
Chase sat unmoving. He heard nothing.
The sound came again – this time, louder.
It’s hard to describe the sadness…sitting there, hearing a noise that he should hear and letting the knowledge sink in that he did not hear it. There are moments that I fight guilt for feeling this sadness. After all, my child is alive. Seven months post diagnosis and he lives and breathes! How dare I feel sad? But I do. Observing these “collateral damages” of the cancer and treatment are intense and challenging even though we fully acknowledged the risks involved many months ago.
Finally, the tenor and volume of the sound changed and Chase immediately sat to attention with a gasp and practically threw the puzzle piece onto the board. He had been waiting a long time for the sound.
After the test was complete, they showed us a paper with a graph – a gray bar along the top of the chart. Pointing to the gray, the tech explained “This area here is considered ‘normal’ range…” and as she continued on, I studied the graphed lines – not a single part of which were in the gray. I answered the questions as they came: yes, we had noticed his hearing was bad, yes, he does struggle to form words…
Yesterday, we met with more doctors and confirmed that there is most likely damage from tumor and treatment, but there is also a lot of fluid (a common problem from radiation). It was decided that it would be in Chase’s best interest to have a minor surgery to drain the fluid and put in tubes. It may not restore his hearing, but it will hopefully improve it and at least give the doctors a more true idea of what his hearing range is.
As admittedly silly as it sounds, I had hoped and prayed the the solution might be non-surgical, but that wasn’t meant to be. As we processed this news yesterday, the words to a favorite song came to mind: “Whatever my God ordains is right, in His love I am abiding. I will be still in all He does, and follow where He is guiding…” conluding “He holds me that I shall not fall, and so to Him I leave it all”.
With these words fresh in our minds, reminding ourselves of God’s perfect plan for Chase and clinging to the promise that we will not fall, we press through these sad side effects. After all, as I was lovingly reminded by a dear friend:
“Chase does not need perfect hearing to hear the voice of God.”
Moment by moment.
[Surgery date is set for Monday, March 25th as Chase will be in the operating room already for a lumbar puncture and chemo]