CT Scan: Requirement for Cochlear Implant Surgery #CalEars

Nia has finally been implanted last May 10, 2021. The whole process was such an ordeal, because 1. Nia is just 1 yr old. 2. This pandemic, so if you have an elective surgery, it usually gets pushed back because they need to prioritize emergencies first. Anyway, I still want to document her journey here and everything that we had to go through to finally get her cochlear implant. Please be patient with me, I don't get to post it in here real time. In between dealing with Nia's condition, having active twin toddlers, Robyn's distance learning, handling our household, I get quite busy. I've dealt with mental, emotional and physical fatigue. More on that next time.

I wanted to focus on the requirements prior to her surgery, for now. Since we already knew we wanted cochlear implant for her. We met with her surgeon last February. After meeting her, she requested for CT Scan of Nia's Temporal Bone to see what she's dealing with, basically, to see the anatomy of Nia's head and ear. I don't have much photos because it's very difficult to hold my daughter and hold the camera at the same time. Most photos are from my phone.

We scheduled her CT Scan at a hospital. It was obviously already challenging because of all the protocols because of the pandemic. I also had to relate that the patient is only 1 yr old. This is something I always disclose early on so they know that it's a pedia case.

For the CT Scan, they needed Nia to stay still so they recommended for her to be asleep during the procedure. This way, they will be able to take better images since she is not moving.

I was a little nervous but I decided I will keep her awake and schedule the procedure during her nap time. When we got there, we still had to wait a bit, fall in line, fill up forms and wait for our turn. They didn't allow prior reservations. It was on a first come first serve basis. Good thing my husband always comes with us when Nia has any appointments. Also grateful that my sister, Dane, was staying with us this time, to look after Robyn and Niko. (Seriously, I wouldn't know what to do if my family weren't there to help us out with the kids.)

I asked if there was a quiet room I can stay in with Nia, so I could breastfeed her and make her nap. And also because I wanted to keep her away from other people as much as possible. They were nice enough to let me stay in a small room. I breastfed her and she fell asleep right away.

We were ushered to the CT Scan room and it was my first time to see such giant machine. I honestly got a little more nervous seeing it. It just made everything more real, you know?

I put Nia down on the bed and the technician gave us this suit to put on. He just laid it on top of Nia, and I wore mine. (By the way, I was asked if I was pregnant. I think this is similar to XRays, pregnant women can't have an XRay because of the radiation). I stayed with Nia for the entire scan. It was quite quick because she was fast asleep and wasn't really moving.

The scan took no more than 10 minutes and they asked us to wait for the result. 

When we got the results and films, we sent it over to Nia's surgeon. When I read the result, it all said everything is normal, but when I sent it to the surgeon, that's when she saw that Nia has a condition called LVAS or EVA. Enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome is a congenital ear malformation. The surgeon mentioned that there are studies that show evidence of genetic predisposition, so my husband and I may have been carriers of this. It can be progressive too. Nia has LVAS on both her ears. However, because her right ear is her worse ear (profound hearing loss), that's what we wanted to be implanted. Her left ear, is still okay so far. We are still praying that it won't progress anymore and it will jus stay that way. 

This was the first requirement that the surgeon needed aside from the report of Nia's therapist (AVT). The report basically shows that Nia is indeed not benefiting enough from just hearing aids. And that her therapist is recommending cochlear implant for language and speech.

Once we got the CT Scan and after our meeting, we scheduled Nia's surgery and placed our order for the processor and implant. We were also given list of tests needed prior to her surgery. These lab tests will be submitted to both the surgeon and Nia's pedia for a pedia clearance confirming that she is healthy enough for the surgery. And that's when our ordeal started.

To be continued... 

For Nia's #calears journey, click here. And for continuous donations for Nia's therapy and other medical expenses, you may refer to her story here. Thank you so much.

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