08 February 2017


On 20 January I went to hospital for an operation. One operation in my right ear consisting of - Removal of the existing cochlear implant and a spacer inserted
- Removal of necrotic tissue, a result of cancer treatment
- Removal of the spacer and implantation of a new cochlear implant
- A ‘blind sac’ to fill any space created by the removal of the necrotic tissue, seals up the ear canal.

The operation took 4 to 5 hours [I was unconscious] and was apparently successful. No stitches or staples, the ENT doc used something called skin glue to finish off. I think it’s something they use for burns patients but don’t quote me. feels kind of plastic behind my ear.

Third switch-on was on February 7 and was also successful.
I have just had the initial switch-on but no fine-tuning [starts next week], but already I have regained useable hearing. I had chipmunks at first, but just a day later it's waning. AMAZING how quickly the brain has adapted.
Remote - took up were I left off
TVStreamer - operational
MiniMic - works well
PhoneClip - excellent

Hearing thru one device for that period really made me appreciate having TWO implants, functional. Now I’m coming back to how I was in early January, which is pretty good. There will of course be a period of retraining over the next months while I’m getting accustomed to the new implant [same N6 processors]. What an experience!

Thanx Cochlear for the fantastic devices!
Thanx Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, especially Audiologist Erika!
Thanx Cochlear Implant Experiences for being there!
Thanx ENT surgeon and medical staff at Mater Sydney!

Nearly back to bilateral…

And a switch-on movie

21 January 2017

Blind Sac right side operation

The operation was performed on Friday 20 January and has been proclaimed a success.
Previous post

I'm in recovery mode now and the right side of my head hurts! Pics below [slight gore alert]

The operation apparently took about 4.5 hours [5 mins from my point of view]. My poor partner had to go and divert herself. Luckily a good Indian restaurant was found, for lunch.

What they did
The operation was to remove dead/dying/necrotic tissue in my right ear. So they removed the implant, inserted a spacer, removed the affected tissue, implanted a new implant [hardware upgrade] and made a graft using muscular tissue to fill the gaps and finished off by sealing the ear canal - the blind sac.

Why it was necessary
The tissue was receding in the ear and the implant could be seen in the ear canal. This might have led to ear infections, the implant no longer functioning, or worse.

How it came to be like this
In 2002 I had treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The treatment affected my saliva [none now, and the lack will affect my teeth], energy levels [not great]. Ear functions were also affected, including hearing [implanted 2008 and 2010] and balance. I can hear because of the incredible devices and I walk with a stick if I'm out and about.
I have a pre-blog blog covering the treatment time - John's Carcinoma Diary

I wont need to use earplugs again. Previously I had been using plugs to protect against getting exposed tissue wet when showering, swimming. Water can convey and harbour bacteria.
So I can swim, bathe and shower without a second thought!

A hardware upgrade
The implant on the right side was implanted 8 years ago. As with all technology there have been nine generations since that time! I've had an upgrade on that side [2013] and expecting another in 2018.

What's next
I'll see the ENT surgeon next week and check healing. He's confident and so am I.
After that and when I'm able I'll start the switch-on process. I hope I can get up and functional as well as before within a month or two. Time will tell.

In the ward after the operation

Bandages off, at home

Side view