In the Grand Scheme of Things…

I’m processing some new information. Clinic days are hard, and I feel pretty emotionally fragile after 5 hours spent at the hospital today. Overall, it was a good day and we are still happy to celebrate Gavin’s great scans of last week. But – this morning in audiology we learned that Gavin has, in fact, suffered some hearing loss.

I am trying not to react to this news like our world is about to fall apart. Since the beginning of treatment, I have been constantly reminded that “in the grand scheme of things” hearing loss is not the worst that could happen. Of course that is true, but it’s still difficult to accept. I was always so happy and triumphant that Gav’s hearing tests came back normal.

We all know someone who suffers from a degree of hearing loss. For many of us, it will be an inevitability of aging. Others happily motor through life with little hearing in one or both ears. Some are helped by hearing aids, others not. At this point, we don’t really understand what is going on with Gavin’s hearing loss, so will only begin to get a picture of what this means after seeing ENT and doing some repeat testing.

We had expected to potentially see some HIGH-frequency hearing loss at some point in the future, as the chemotherapy drugs Gavin received are extremely ototoxic in the high frequencies. Oddly, Beanie’s hearing loss is only in the LOW frequencies, and only in the one ear. The thing that irks me, is that in the previous test we had done in April of last year, the audiologist assumed that Gavin had “lost interest” in the test and was just no longer paying attention. I remember at the time feeling that something was off, but I didn’t trust my instincts, as I wanted to believe her. Now almost a year has passed in which Gavin has had this loss and nothing has been done about it!

On the bright side, it doesn’t seem to have affected his speech at all. He has a few pronunciation issues but can easily make himself understood. Repeated testing today was kind of inconclusive, as well. We know that there is some loss, but not how much. Gavin still has his eternal cold, so that congestion did not help either.

Sometimes when I begin to add up all the difficulties the Bean must face, it’s just really, bloody discouraging. The limited swallow, the skull defect that will necessitate a major future surgery, the permanent hair loss, the high blood pressure and poorer kidney function. The shunt. And now hearing aids, maybe. I can handle these one at at time, but taken all together…

Yesterday, I felt great about Gavin’s progress, today, a bit battered. He is happily watching Backyardigans in the other room, at a normal volume, I might add. As one of our oncology doctors pointed out today, the important thing is that he is continuing to develop and grow normally. And he is! Over the last couple of months, we have seen quite amazing strides, physically. He is running faster, able to jump now, (not so gracefully yet) and his balance is much stronger than it was before.

Clinic is always a reminder of our blessings as well as our challenges. Gav is not in a wheelchair, he may be balding but he is not still going through treatment. He is happy and hilarious and spent his day tearing through the hospital at top speed, towing Bubby behind him in a rowdy game of hide-and-seek.

So. In the grand scheme of things, what’s a little low-frequency hearing loss?


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