What did you say?

Jokingly I will tell you I am half deaf, which isn’t far off, since only one ear can hear worth a darn. While I noticed hearing loss before my melanoma diagnosis, the loss increased dramatically during my treatment, which prompted a visit to an ear doctor to determine if Yervoy was contributing to the decline in my hearing.

Alas, all I can attribute it to is age and genetics (hearing loss runs in my father’s family). The good news, however, is that it is a conductive hearing loss.

Have you ever seen a doctor celebrate a diagnosis? You see, there is a surgical procedure, a stapedectomy, that can be done to restore some of the hearing if the diagnosis is conductive hearing loss. I qualify for that procedure…or a hearing aid. I want something more permanent.

Now that I am months out from completing my Yervoy treatment and showing no evidence of disease, I decided to follow this path and correct the hearing. If it gets rid of the unrelenting ringing in my ear, I will welcome that, but there are no guarantees in that department.

I went to see the surgeon who does this procedure, and during the course of the exam, he asked about my cancer – where is that at right now? I told him there is no evidence of disease and treatment was over, giving it no other thought at the time.

After leaving the office and turning over my decision in my head, I reflected on his question.

While I am certain he was asking about cancer to discern what additional risks might come with the procedure, part of me wondered if it was questioning the choice of a cancer patient choosing a corrective surgery. I mean, at what point is it unwise to stick more money into an old car with high mileage? It caused me to doubt my decision – at least for a day.

Then I shook off that fog.

To not correct my hearing when I have the opportunity, and at 56 go the route of a hearing aid, or worse yet, continue to ask everyone to repeat things and miss many parts of conversations, was to me, admitting defeat. It was saying, melanoma is going to kill me sooner or later, so why bother? It was giving up and living less of a life than I could. It was not taking a chance because I was afraid of the future.

I’m still scared out of my wits about the future, of melanoma, but I don’t think about it. I don’t think any further ahead than I have to, because that interferes with living now.

I do think about living each moment as fully as possible. I think about it often and wonder what tidbits I have missed when I saw lips moving and could make out no words. If I am not going to let melanoma stop me, why the heck would I allow a conductive (fixable) hearing loss lessen the quality of my life?

Not going to happen. Surgery is scheduled for next month. Yep, sticking money into that old, high-mileage car is worth it to me.


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