“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” – E.B. White
Yesterday, a miracle happened to me. No, I did not find a cure for MS which I have lived with for the past 20 years. Even though I live with a chronic illness, that brings its own set of challenges for me, that does not make me immune to other health concerns. Ever since I was a child, I have been plagued by issues with my ears. As a toddler, I had ear tubes placed in my ears many times due to frequent ear infections and pain from pressure build up. It required numerous hospitalizations and a lot of pain. As an adult, I have learned to live with the pain of ear aches and pressure in my ears. That became my “normal” and how I maneuvered through the world. I have not given up and have sought out numerous doctors to try to see if I could find some relief. However, what I have found through my journey with multiple sclerosis, is that the diagnosis provides an easy out for other specialists.
Numerous specialists in the past have told me that my ear and hearing problems are related to having MS. That never rang true for me because of the fact that I had these problems since birth. Much earlier than my MS diagnosis. But when you have a complicated medical history, sometimes you have to pick the most serious issue to deal with. This year I have had an MS medication change to deal with and a tumor removed. Issues with my ears where not in the limelight.
I have travelled a fair amount in the past few years which have brought it more to my attention. When I am on a plane and start the descent, I am in so much pain in my ears that I often think about it being easier to jump out of the plane than to bear the pain. For this reason, I talked to my family doctor about it who referred me to an ENT to try to find answers yet again.
This brings me to my miracle. I went yesterday to see Dr. Tayem. He is a specialist in ear, nose and throat. I was not optimistic heading in. I often have gone to specialists to be told, “I think your MS progression is affecting you hearing.” This was not the case yesterday. Dr. Tayem did say that MS might be affecting my hearing loss that appears to be happening. Especially the fact that I mishear things often. However, he did not leave it at that. He also told me that I had barely any membrane left over either ear drum and my right ear drum was pushed right into the bone in my ear which was making a huge imbalance in the pressure within my ears. He said I must me in an immense amount of pain. I almost burst into tears. Someone was finally looking beyond my MS diagnosis! He suggested that we put temporary tubes in my ears to see if it improved things. He also explained that things have changed tremendously since I had them as a child. He could do them right in the office that day. It would take about 15 minutes. Crazy. So that is what he did. I’m not going to lie. It hurt like hell. However, instantly once they were in, the popping and feeling of pressure in my ears vanished. It is such a hard thing to describe how I felt. I felt lighter. Everything felt quieter around me without the swooshing full feeling I had lived with for at least 20 years. When I first spoke, I couldn’t believe how loud I sounded. I had to lower my voice to not hurt my own ears. I also felt my balance had improved. When I left the clinic I felt like I didn’t even need my cane. However, I’m also realistic and did not try an experiment with that that could land me on my face. The doctor told me that I would come back in 6 months, and if they helped me, he could put in permanent tubes.
On the drive home, I could not believe how quiet the world was. I called my husband and my mom to tell them how gobsmacked I was over the experience. I felt like a new person. I went home made dinner, went to yoga, and then came home and went to bed feeling amazing.
Next comes where the title of my entry came from. The “going” part of the miracle. I woke up this morning, and instantly felt the popping and pressure in my left ear. I almost started to cry. Even though I have lived with this for so many years without making a big deal of it, I didn’t realize how horrible it was until I had a day without it. I called the doctor right away but have not heard back yet. I am so disheartened by this change of events. However, after thinking about things, there are some things I realized.
- I found a doctor who looked beyond my MS diagnosis
- it is possible to have the buzzing and popping stop
- if it happened once, it can happen again
I’m not going to lie. I am really frustrated. I am hoping to get a call saying that the tube might have shifted and to come back in and they can adjust it. Or a call saying this is common the day after the procedure and things will calm down in a few days. I then looked through my art journals which I often do when looking for wisdom and came across this early painting that I did. I will never stop looking for wonder and hopefully my hearing will find wonder again soon. I hope you all find a miracle today. Keep pushing. It can happen.