Cochlear Implants: A Journey to Hearing
Hearing loss is an issue I’ve battled with most of my life. I’ve had numerous ear surgeries and am personally grateful to Dr. Rick Friedman of the House Ear Institute for the tremendous results I’ve had working with him. This is one of the many amazing stories they have to share about the miracle of Cochlear Implants and the work they do at the House Ear Institute. I really can’t stress enough, if you have hearing related issues – this is THE place you want to be treated.
One Mother’s Story | Cochlear Implants
by Lynn Fukushima
When you think about starting a family, you hope for the most perfect, beautiful and healthy child. But our journey took us in another direction. We waited 18 months to adopt our beautiful daughter, Samantha. We felt so lucky to have been selected as her parents. When we received our first picture of our daughter, she was precious and innocent. When the day finally came, we traveled half way around the world to meet our precious baby girl. I was excited and nervous about the whole experience. I can remember the day we met with Samantha. She was this little bundle weighing 13 pounds at 9 months old. Samantha had this determined look and did not cry like the other baby girls. We noticed on the first day that she did not respond to very loud sounds as any normal children would. We did not know the extent of Samantha’s hearing loss until we returned home to the United States. Samantha was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss at 10 months old.
How could we love our daughter any less because she could not hear?
Instead of mourning about Samantha’s hearing loss, we were determined to find a way to optimize Samantha’s hearing. We surfed the web, found sites about hearing loss, read scientific publications and connected with others about hearing loss. We were referred to the John Tracy Clinic (JTC) and were one of the lucky ones to benefit from this wonderful program. They taught us how to deal with hearing loss as a family. Samantha was fitted with hearing aids, there were lots of ups and downs with a toddler not wanting to wear them. Of course we had many hearing tests and speech therapy sessions along this journey. Samantha’s language was still delayed and we were at a cross roads, another life-changing decision for Samantha.
In Samantha’s short 5 years, she has experienced more changes than other people would experience in a lifetime. After the last hearing test showed that Samantha did not comprehend the English language very well, we decided we needed to contact the House Ear Institute (HEI) for a cochlear implant evaluation. We were hoping Samantha would not need the cochlear implant at such a young age, but it was apparent that she would be having more and more difficulty hearing as she has got older. We were given the green light to go ahead with the cochlear implant surgery. The entire process was less than three months!
We were more stressed about how to tell Samantha that she was going to have surgery than the surgery itself. How do you explain to your 5 year old that she needs to go the hospital and have someone give her a boo-boo? We spent a week playing with her dolls with bandages over the ear to help Samantha visualize and comprehend the surgery. The day of surgery was pretty intense, although I’m happy to report the cochlear implant surgery in June was a success without any complications.
After, she was fitted with the cochlear implant processor, she loves to wear it. If you ask Samantha, she says “my implant is working good!” Since receiving her cochlear implant, Samantha has graduated from the John Tracy Clinic Preschool and is currently attending kindergarten.
Today, she is a very active 5 year old who loves dressing up like a princess. And yes, her implant cover is pink as well as her new hearing aid. Samantha loves singing and chats about what she did during her day. Samantha’s hearing loss has become a part of our everyday lives. We have to work hard every day with her language skills and sometimes we just want to throw in the towel but when you look into Samantha’s eyes, it’s like a breath of pure energy. We know we have many new and long journeys ahead of us but we are so lucky to have family and friends who have embraced Samantha with open arms. She is truly the apple of our eyes. Her hearing loss has not stopped Samantha from doing anything.
Share your experiences with Cochlear Implants or Hearing Impairment.
Next time you check out at the grocery store – you might be getting a little more than you bargained for with your grocery total.
Turns out that thermal receipts may contain up to 1,000 times more BPA’s than the epoxy lining of a tin can – the most common known exposure to this prevalent toxin. Granted – we’re not likely to wad up a receipt and chew it like a piece of gum – but have you ever handed it over to your toddler for entertainment on the way to the car? Yep. Me too.
A receipt taken from a store in the District contained 41 milligrams of the chemical. If the equivalent amount of BPA was ingested by a 155-pound adult, that would exceed EPA’s decades-old safe exposure limit for BPA by 12 times.
Current evidence suggests that low doses of the BPA can cause problem’s with the endocrine system. Additional health concerns are linked to the reproductive problems and cancer.
So… we can’t stop buying groceries… but now that you know…
Here are some tips to stay safe when handling receipts:
- Don’t allow the receipts to be placed next to unwrapped foods.
- Wash your hands after handling receipts – BPA’s can transfer from the paper to your skin. Logic then dictates… from your receipts to whatever you touch with your hands.
- Don’t allow children to play with thermal receipts.
This is a great presentation by the President of the EWG, Ken Cook.
The risk of Cancer in the United States is higher than any other country in the world. Invest a few minutes to watch this video. For the health and safety of your family – it’s eye opening.
In our home we take a number of preventative measures. Then I have the tools I use before the storm and then the whole arsenal is in rotation if we end up in the eye of the storm.
I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, it’s just one mom sharing her toolkit.
It’s the most important tool in fighting cold & flu. We use the PND Foaming Handsoap and water and wash for 30 seconds. We often sing a song. Don’t use antibacterial soaps which likely contain triclosan and aid in the development of Super Viruses. Wash often, wash well!
I give both my children a daily multivitamins. My pediatrician thinks it’s a waste of money, but harmless. My Internist (an Integrative Doctor) thinks it’s worth while.
Lil’ Dude & Diva get a daily dose of Vitamin C (250 mg) during the school year. I feel like it helps their immune system.
Lil’ Diva has been having ongoing issues with a morning cough this fall. We’ve put a humidifier in her room to help her sinus’ move any congestion and it seems to help. The extra moisture in the air is supposed to help the little hairs in the sinus’ clean better (according to Dr. Oz).
Personally I take a plethora of vitamins that help keep me healthy – more on that another day.
I don’t use this for prevention, but many people do and swear by it.
Perhaps you’ve seen Dr. Oz demonstrate the Neti Pot on Oprah or now on his own show. I haven’t tried it with my kids, but have seen pictures of children using them on flckr.
Using the Neti Pot with a solution of warm salty water will help thin out mucus, clear your sinus cavity and flush out the very area were the little buggers are multiplying. While I know there are benefits to using this daily, I use mine when I’m feeling a bug come or when one has set it.
What they don’t tell you when you see it being demonstrated? The first time you use the Neti Pot it feels almost like you’ve taken a dive in the swimming pool and the water went the wrong way. The good news, you quickly get used to it.
The Neti Pot is also useful for people with Chronic Sinus Problems. Dude uses “Sinus Irrigation” for his asthma and feels that it helps (he uses the plastic bottle – it looks more like a nasal spray).
If you must use the plastic bottle, don’t feel compelled to buy the packets to add to water… simple table salt will do the trick just fine without the waste and expense.
WHEN YOU KNOW IT’S COMING
They aren’t sick yet, but you can see the signs. You have multiple children and one is sick, it’s time to give the siblings systems a little help.
If one child is sick and the other healthy we give echinacea to the healthy child only. My understanding is that echinacea doesn’t help once the virus has settled in – it only aids in building immunity prior to being sick. It also shouldn’t be used for more than 14 consecutive days.
If they are showing signs of congestion I will rub them down with tiger balm. It can be a little burning on sensitive skin, so I’ll use a layer of Un-Petroleum Jelly first and add the tiger balm on top. I rub the chest and glands on the neck.
My understanding of Methylcobalamin B12 (Melthylated B12 or MB12) is that it is Vitamin B12 that has been to enable the body to absorb vitamin B12 better, in it’s regular form B12 doesn’t readily absorb.
My first experience with MB12 was in a nasal spray. To get a nasal spray you need a prescription and a compounding pharmacy – this is the only one I know of that produces the spray.
The good news is this is now available without a prescription in a lollipop form called Revita Pop! Much easier for the kids!
The minute I get a sore throat I take the MB12. It typically instantly makes it go away, if it comes back again the next day, I take it again. I also give this to the littles when they are coming down with something.
Many people are using MB12 in their battle with autism, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome and other maladies as well. It’s worth looking into if you have health concerns.
Look for a review and giveaway for Rivita Pop soon!
This is a remedy that my husband and I use, but not as consistently as other remedies and I haven’t used it for the children. Zinc is found in Cold Ease and a few other products. It’s great to take if you are going to fly and helps prevent you from getting sick if you’re around others with cold and flu. Apparently it works because it attaches itself to the same part of the cell that the virus would attach to, so if the real estate is occupied it has no place to go. Zinc may interfere with the absorption of antibiotics.
When I know it’s coming – I start the irrigation. It would be better to use it daily – I just don’t have the time!
I have stopped using all Splenda and never give this or any sweetener to the children. I have no scientific data, I used to use splenda in my daily coffee and I would drink Diet Black Cherry Hansen’s soda everyday. It seemed that I would get every bug the kids dragged through our home, I was healthy for a week or two, sick for a week or two – seriously. Since eliminating splenda – no cold or flu.
NO MORE DENIAL – THEY ARE SICK
Apparently Black Elderberry contains an enzyme that inhibits the ability the virus to spread. There seems to be evidence to support it helps with both Influenza A & B. We use the liquid form. It actually tastes pretty good and the kids are always trying to cough so they can have some.
I was careful with Little Dude, because he has some berry allergies, he was fine with the Elderberry. Meaning the first time I gave it to him I tried a small dose during the day.
When I feel a bug I start to load up on Vitamin C, I’ll also boost the children’s dosage.
I use acetaminophen to reduce fever in for my children, and when I get headache and such. Others may opt for more natural alternatives. For the number of times we actually use Tylenol, I’m OK with it. It is so effective at relieving symptoms and easing the discomfort. I am careful not give them more than they really need.
When I’m actually sick, I use the Neti Pot to help keep my sinus’ moving. I will use it multiple times a day.
I keep this going until we’re healthy again.
I’m sure there are many other remedies that work for you. This is simply a compilation of what works for us.
Please remember, I am not a doctor. The information in this post is simply to share what we use in our home and what works for me. It is not a substitute for advice from your own doctor!
Love PND? Please support our work and take a minute to visit our sponsor hessnatur – a world leader in the natural clothing industry. They offer a great selection of organic and natural fashions for the whole family.
Summer is coming – which sunscreen will you slather on your skin?
Sunscreen is a product that we are encouraged to use to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays while enjoying the outdoors. If you’re a parent, it’s likely you are even more concerned about protecting your children’s sensitive skin and making the safest choice possible.
But what to do we really know about the safety of the products we are choosing – in my research – it seems clear that we don’t know enough.
Note – be prepared when switching to safer sunscreens you are going to move into products that are going to be thicker, whiter and slower to absorb that other sunscreen choices. This is because they rely on a high concentration of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block the suns rays.
At least 7% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for UVA & UVB protection.
What to Avoid:
Spray and Powder Sunscreen
Sunscreen insect repellent combo – pesticides absorbing into your body
Ingredients; Oxybenzone or benzophenone-3, skin absorption, allergies, hormone problems
Brands; Coppertone, Banana Boat and Most Neutrogena
From the EWG:
No one understands the health implications of our exposures to complex mixtures of industrial compounds and pollutants: remarkably, federal health standards do not require companies to test most products for safety before they are sold, including nearly all chemicals in sunscreen and other personal care products. Little is known about the safety of most industrial chemicals. In the absence of data the federal government approves new chemicals for the market using computer models to predict if they are toxic to humans.
After 30 years of debate,the government has failed to set mandatory sunscreen safety standards. Companies are free to make their own decisions on everything from advertising claims to product quality. FDA now stands in direct violation of a Congressional mandate requiring the agency to finalize sunscreen safety standards by May 2006, flouting not only Congress but also consumers, who are reliant on sunscreen to protect their health.
EWG’s Top Ten List:
California Baby (SPF 30 or Higher)
CVS (with zinc oxide
Jason Natural Cosmetics – Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock
Kiss My Face – Paraben Free series
Neutrogena – Sensative Skin Sunblock
Olay Defense Daily UV Moisturizer with zinc
SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense
Solar Sense Clear Zinc for Face
Walgreens Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears
After studying the EWG’s extensive list the following products have an EWG score of 0-3 for toxicity. My selections are for individual products, not the brands in general, as brand scores can vary widely.
Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas: Mineral Based Physical Sunblock SPF 30+
Kiss My Face Sunscreen Spf#30 + With Oat Protein 100% Paraben Free
Nature’s Gate Organics Be Solective Sunscreen for Face, SPF 30
All California Baby Sunscreens
Dermalogica Super Sensitive Face Block, SPF 30
Mustela Sun Cream for Sensitive Areas, SPF 50
Kiehl’s All-Sport ‘non-Freeze’ Face Protector, SPF 30
DDF Organic Sunblock, SPF 30
CVS Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, SPF 45+
Walgreens Sunblock with Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose & Ears, SPF 45+
Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, SPF 30 – Available at my Target
No-Ad Ultra Sunblock Lotion, SPF 60
If you must use a spray – these are your best bets:
Almay Sun Protector for Body Spray, SPF 30
Dermalogica Waterblock Solar Spray, SPF 30
Banana Boat Ultra Mist Kid’s Tear Free Continuous Spray Sunblock Lotion, SPF 30 – Only SPF 30 the SPF 50 is rated 9!
Shopping at Target:
I was recently at target, they had walls of sunscreen. I could only find one of the above products – After an hour of research using my telephone I was able to find 2 sunscreens that were an EWG 3 and the lowest score for a spray was a 5.
Coppertone WaterBabies Pure & Simple – SPF 50 – oil, fragrance & dye free
Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion – SPF 60+
Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen – SPF 50
To learn more:
If you know me – you know about my battle with Dude’s little cigar smoking hobby. I can’t argue with him about it anymore… but at least I can blog a few of the facts!
The information that most surprised me was how addictive Cigars are – nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes. Cigarette’s contain 1-2 mg while a Cigar contains 100-200 mg.
Don’t be mislead by thinking because you don’t inhale you are safe. The nicotine is absorbed in your mouth through your saliva.
Data for this was from About.com – Written by Terry Martin
It’s a common misconception that cigar smoking is less dangerous than cigarette smoking. Not true. Cigars are not safer than cigarettes, but because they are used differently, the health hazards differ somewhat as well.
How does cigar smoking differ from cigarette smoking?
- Approximately 75 percent of cigar smokers don’t inhale and don’t smoke cigars on a daily basis.
- Cigarette smokers do inhale, and most smoke 20, 30 or more cigarettes every day.
These differences in smoking habit explain why cigar smokers are generally exposed to less of the poisons and carcinogens present in cigars than cigarette smokers are to similar toxins in cigarettes, and why there are fewer instances of cigar smoking-related disease and death than we see with cigarettes.Let’s take a look at a few facts about cigars and cigar smoking — some of them might surprise you.
Facts About Cigar Smoking
1. One cigar may contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes.
A single cigarette typically has less than a gram of tobacco, while a single cigar may contain as much as 5 to 17 grams of tobacco.
2. Cigars are addictive.
Cigar smoke breaks down in saliva, allowing the smoker to easily absorb nicotine through the lining of the mouth in quantities sufficient to causeaddiction, even if the smoke is not inhaled. And, the amount of nicotine in a single cigar is many times greater than what is found in a cigarette. A typical cigarette contains one to two milligrams of nicotine, while the nicotine content of a cigar is 100 to 200 milligrams, with some as high as 400 milligrams.
3. Cigar smoke is more concentrated and toxic than cigarette smoke.
Secondhand smoke from cigars varies from that of cigarettes for a couple of reasons. First, the manufacturing process for cigars requires a fermentation period. During this time, high concentrations of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are produced. TSNAs are some of the most carcinogenic compounds known to man. Secondly, cigar wrappers are not as porous as cigarette wrappers, making the combustion of a cigar less complete. These two factors result in higher concentrations some of the toxic chemicals in cigars than in cigarettes.
4. Smoking as little as one cigar a day increases the risk for cancer.
Cigar smoking has been linked to several different cancers, most notably those of the oral cavity, which include lip, tongue, mouth, throat and larynx. Cigar smokers who inhale are also at an increased risk for lung cancer, cancers of the pancreas and bladder, as well as heart and lungdisease.
5. Cigar and pipe smokers are at risk for early tooth loss.
In a study published in the January 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, it was discovered that cigar and pipe smokers are at an increased risk for early tooth loss, compared to that of their nonsmoking counterparts. Cigar and pipe smokers are also at an increased risk for alveolar bone(the bone that holds the tooth in place) loss.
6. Cigar smoking has been linked to erectile dysfunction in men.
Smokers are twice as likely to be impotent as nonsmokers due to the adverse effects smoking has on circulation, hormones and the nervous system. Cigar smoking and exposure to second hand smoke in particular have been shown to be significant risk factors for erectile dysfunction.
All forms of tobacco have risks associated with them, and cigars are no different. Steer clear of cigars, and avoid the secondhand smoke they produce.
There is no such thing as a “safe” tobacco product.
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Dr. Oz has HFCS listed this as his number 2 of foods to avoid on his Oprah.com food hall of shame…
What’s wrong with it after all?
Consumption of HFCS prevents your brain from making a chemical that enables your brain to signal to your body that you are full, causing you to consumer on average an extra 100 calories.
It is widely used because of it’s highly concentrated sweetness making it less expensive in food manufacturing.
I have virtually eliminated HFCS from the diet of our family. If it’s on the ingredient list I look for an alternative… it is really surprising just how many food products are made using HFCS.
Look for it in Sodas, Breads, Ketchup, Relish, Baked Beans. Syrups, Salad Dressings and my favorite it’s even in Mott’s applesauce… and so on.
If you check the labels – in most cases you will find that one of the brands does not contain HFCS.
I’m not going to pasture a cow in our backyard, but have I decided that I need to opt out of the mainstream meat production as much as I can.
The first step in “buying our cow” is acquiring a deep freeze. If you aren’t going to get your meat from the market, you’ll likely be buying it in larger quantities and that will require a freezer.
In an effort to ensure anyone could do this - I found our deep freeze on craigslist in the free section. It took a few weeks of steady checking – but one day there it was – an upright, clean, free deep freeze.
I don’t think we’ll buy a whole cow, we don’t eat that much meat – a share will do us nicely.
So why am I doing this?
It’s my belief that the food system in our country is very broken and one of the areas that is of particular concern is the meat industry. It’s no wonder so many people turn to being vegetarian. About 70% of ground beef in America contains a filler product that is washed with ammonia in order to kill e-coli – it’s time to for a change.
For me and my family that means eating less meat, higher quality meats and whenever possible – supporting local farmers and ranchers.
Recently, I had an great discussion with a farmer named Xenia, from Rainbow Ranch Farms in San Bernadino, CA. She used to be a vegetarian – now she has a farm, and on her farm she has chickens, goats, cows, and 2 dogs. She raises these animals in the manner that we imagine all the farm animals are raised. Unfortunately meat we are getting from conventional grocers isn’t raised in this fashion.
Xenia can’t sell to any stores, she can’t sell to whole foods, she can only sell to folks who are shared owners of her farm. The good news is anyone can become a shared owner of her farm or many of the other CSA farmers around the country!
More good news – there are farms that are licensed to sell without requiring a CSA share. Farms like Lazy 69 Ranch in Central California. They will ship anywhere, but see if you can’t find a great ranch like this one close to you.
You can also find local farmers who sell meat and eggs through the Farmer’s Markets.
Watching Oprah a while back – I was shocked to hear the story of Kristen Hunter who passed away after contracting MRSA. At one point in the story – as told on Oprah – what concerned me was that she was treated with antibiotics for what the doctors suspected was a virus. Am I accurate in the understanding that an antibiotic will not help a virus? Why are they still being prescribed in these situations?
Dr. Oz went through a detailed graphic on what the MRSA looks like, and how it is different from the other Staph strains, he said that giving the incorrect antibiotic will kill off the other strains and leave the MRSA virus to thrive rampantly. It wasn’t stated, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the incorrect antibiotic could actually create a more favorable environment for this Super Bug.
There is a now a test for MRSA widely available, so it can be quickly and accurately diagnosed.
We are blessed to have wonderful medicine and treatments available to us, but they should not be used without careful consideration or we will find our country facing more and more of these strains that will be deadly because we don’t have anything left to kill them.
The good news for MRSA is that we can treat it when accurately diagnosed.
For more information on MRSA, how to recognize it, and how to prevent it look at:
When to seek medical advice:
My thoughts and prayers are with Kirsen Hunter’s family, for more about their tragic story:
St. John Wort – Increases the potency of some drugs.
S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) – Interacts with drugs that affect serotonin.
Garlic – Avoid if taking anti-clotting medications.
Ginseng – Avoid if taking anti-clotting medications.
Ginger – Avoid if taking anti-clotting medications.
FeverFew – Avoid if taking anti-clotting medications.
Ginko – Avoid if taking anti-clotting medications & can interfere with anti-seizure medication
Kava – Avoid if you have liver problems or taking cholesterol medications
St. Johns Wort – Image from Shandchem
I use natural remedies myself – but it is important to remember that natural remedies CAN interact with prescribed medications – just like any other medicine! My personal choice is to work with an Integrative Doctor who prescribes both prescription and non-prescription drugs. If you see a traditional Doctor, or don’t have an Integrative Doctor in your area, be sure to keep your doctor informed of any natural therapies you are using.