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Merry Christmas 2014

Let me start off by saying Merry Christmas to you and your family. Secondly, like most of my posts I also want to apologize for the length of time it takes me to posts in between posts. But like many of you, we are busy, busy people. If its not a night of sports practice then its a school play, or a trip to the library, gym, or a buddies house to play. I've now become a Chauffeur to our oldest son. As I look back on this year and reflect I remember the good times with my family, the traveling for vacation, baseball tournaments, and camping trips. My sister-in-law had baby number 2 (baby #1 is 15yrs old). Yes, she was a SURPRISE, but we are blessed to have her in our family. 

Overall I would have to say it was a great year. My boys are growing up so fast. My friend just pointed out to me that its only 9 more years until my oldest goes off to college. Nine years, WHAT??? Where did the first nine years go??? I'm not sure I'm ready for that. Then I have to think if my oldest is that close to going to college, then I'm that much closes to forty. Eeeekkkk....I remember when my parents were forty and I don't think I'm ready for it yet. I feel like I still have a lot to accomplish like traveling the world and a bunch of other stuff. Don't get me wrong forty is not old and decrepit, but its just another milestone in our lives that I don't want to think about just quite yet.

Recently my youngest son was diagnosed with hearing loss. He is in kindergarten and they test the children for hearing. My son took the test 2 times and failed both. That's when I got the call that he needed to visit the audiologist for a "real" hearing test. So I told my family that Carter had to have his hearing check because they think he might need hearing aids. My oldest son of course made fun of him, calling him deaf, which didn't help the situation. But in all honesty it didn't surprise me one bit when I got the call from the school. I had always had a suspicion that he may have trouble hearing. From the day he was born and in the hospital, they did a hearing test on him and he failed. They had me back to re-do the test and the second time they passed him. On multiple occasions I told our pediatrician that I was concerned with his learning. My oldest son was talking up a storm at age 1.5 and never stopped. But our pediatrician said that its normal for the younger child to talk later because he has an older sibling to speak for him. Being an older sibling i understood this. But as he turned 4 and kindergarten was just around the corner and he still was not speaking in full sentences that were clear, I brought it up again to our doctor, this time in a different town. I told her i was concerned with his speech. She then wrote me a referral to see a speech therapist for an evaluation. Well we went to the appointment and by this time a few months later his speech had improved and he did very well on his evaluation. I wasn't thrilled that the person giving the evaluation looked like she just got out of college or was interning, but I watched as she did her evaluation and felt good about how he answered the questions. Carter had been in daycare and pre-school so he was learning and I always had good reports from school so I didn't pursue it any longer and off to kindergarten he went.

The first conference we had with his kindergarten teacher she asked me if his speech had ever been evaluated, I told her about our visit and my concerns. She said the school also does an evaluation and she would let me know if any speech therapy was needed. Now fast forward to our hearing appointment and my son failed his hearing test, both ears. I got the news that he needed hearing aids. My heart sank and I wanted to cry, but I had to be strong and be an adult. If my little guy saw me crying then he might think it was a bad thing to have hearing aids. I wasn't sad that he had hearing loss and had to wear hearing aids, but how other kids would react to him. Would they make fun of him and call him names. I know how cruel kids can be and its an awful feeling. I would hate for my children to go through that from something that I caused. So I shook my head in an agreeable motion and said, OK Whats the next step? So we met with the ENT physician and he asked me questions about family history etc... The funny thing is that I was just diagnosed with Mineares Disease a month earlier from the same doctor (I'll save this story for another day). The physician asked if i ever suspected hearing problems and I told him yes, Carter asks me to repeat myself a lot, and I just thought he was saying "What, What" out of habit. He told me that it could be genetics (I have to wonder if its because when I was pregnant with him I had to have emergency surgery on my broken leg and went under anesthesia etc.) But when I told him I went as far as seeing a speech therapist about his speech he asked why they didn't ask for a hearing test? I told him I had no idea. He then began to ask Carter questions to hear his speech and pointed out to me that he cannot say or pronounce S, TH, CH etc... I guess like him I just filled in the blanks. I knew he as saying Stocum (our last name) but never really heard how he said it. He pronounces it like Tocum. he completely drops the S. Our doctor said that he had never actually seen a 5 year old with hearing loss and speech issues because of the hearing loss. He said my son will need hearing aids as soon as possible and speech therapy once he gets them to learn the sounds he has been missing. So a week or so later we met with another audiologist to get fitted for hearing aids. Building up to that appointment we looked online at kids with hearing aids, and talked about the movie Spy Kids where that kid wears hearing aids and how cool it was to turn the sound up and down. Then I started to have questions like how much do these cost and does insurance cover them. Can you wear them in the water? I just had so many questions.

We went to Spokane ENT and Columbia Hearing and absolutely had the best talk with the audiologist. She took the time to explain the hearing graph and what it meant. She told us about the hearing aids and how they worked and what to expect going forward. She said that hearing aids are so advanced now that you can Bluetooth them to your phone. I know its pretty cool. She also said that kids at this age are so adaptable but once they get into Jr. High all bets are off. You could wear the wrong color socks and get teased. So she said lets take it one step at a time. Then she said that next year in first grade she would like the teacher to wear an FM system. Its a system that the teacher wears and her voice goes directly into the hearing aid so he can learn better and not struggle with all the background noise. So this January Carter will get his hearing aids Green & Blue of course Seattle Seahawks colors :). Our family is so excited for Carter to get his hearing aids and hear how we all hear.

With that said we are so thankful for healthy children and husband (well almost healthy, my husband has knee surgery scheduled December 31st.) Anyway typing this helps me to understand why I have been stressed out. I guess I only have a few things going on in my life on top of work, sports, and Christmas :) But I am thankful for this awesome year, my friends, family and GOD.



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