A Prayer Request for Lily

2015-08-04 14.43.00

Friends,

 

Lana and I would like to ask you to join us in prayer for a specific need we’ve encountered with Lily Bird.

 

Since Lily was very little, we wondered whether some of her inability to speak and interact had to do with a problem hearing. We had everything tested several years ago and confirmed that she had only slight hearing loss – which everyone agreed would not be enough to impact speech development. We moved on to other areas of focus related to her health, and haven’t been back to address her hearing since 2009. When a child has Autism-type behavior, it often makes you wonder what she can really hear and what she just fails to acknowledge.

 

A couple of months ago, Lana pointed out that Lily seemed to startle when Lana walked into a room with her – even though she had been talking to her before entering. That led us to schedule a sedated ABR – a hearing test in which doctors put her under anesthesia and test her brain’s receptivity to sound prompts. That took place about a month ago, and kick-started our latest adventure.

 

After the exam, the doctors led us into a conference room – which we’ve learned by now usually means we’re going to get some heavy news. Sure enough, the test revealed that Lily had lost a significant amount her hearing. She has mild-to-moderately-severe hearing loss in her right ear, and profound hearing loss in her left ear – meaning that she hears virtually nothing out of that one. They recommended that she receive hearing aids as soon as possible, and then follow up with another hearing test in six months to see whether the condition is getting worse or has stabilized (and in case you’re wondering, they have no idea what caused it). After that test in six months, she’ll meet with a doctor who specializes in cochlear implants to see whether she is a candidate.

We anticipated hearing about some measure of hearing loss because of the observed behavior, but the magnitude of her loss was a big blow. We haven’t shared it with many people up to now because we needed some time to collect our own thoughts and pray about what comes next.

 

Once you have all of the information about something like this, it’s easy to look backward and see evidence that she could not hear: Many of you know how much she likes to watch the Backyardigans on her IPad. For some time, she has been holding the IPad up to her right ear rather than watching it so she can listen to the music. Looking back, she’s only held things to that ear for a while now. As you can imagine, such revelations make us feel awful that we didn’t investigate sooner, but we’ve remembered two things: we did ask our doctors about it and ran tests on these things, and wouldn’t have imagined that the hearing loss would grow worse for no apparent reason. Second, all of Lily’s challenges tend to combine with such an overwhelming set of needs that it’s easier than you would imagine to miss the clues for one specific problem.

 

On the other hand, we see this as an opportunity for tremendous breakthroughs in her development. Who knows how much of her speech development – or ability to learn – has been hindered by being unable to hear?

 

Lily will receive hearing aids this afternoon (October 8). The doctors have made it clear that they will have a profound impact on her life right away. They have also shared, however, that the hearing aids can only offer amplification; they cannot offer clarity. That means, depending on the damage, it’s possible that she only hears a louder version of muffled sounds.

 

So as she receives the devices today, would you join us in praying for two things?

 

  1. That she would have CLARITY as she begins to hear again.
  2. That she would not lose any more of the hearing that she has right now.

 

God has brought Lily through some tremendous challenges in her young life, and we have no doubt that He can bring her through this one. We’re praying that this new obstacle could actually be the key that opens the door to a new world for the Bird. Thank you for joining us in prayer!

 

PS: If you join us for the “Arbor Fun Walk” on October 24, we can celebrate Lily’s “new ears” together as we raise funds for The Arbor School – a wonderful organization serving children with all sorts of disabilities in West Houston. You can register here for “team Lily”: http://www.arborfunwalk.org/event_info.php

 

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