Our baby was high-risk pregnancy and was born 15 weeks early and weighed 1 pound 13 ounces. We named him Cade, which meant “Fighting Spirit.” We felt it was very appropriate considering all he would have to endure, being born only 2 days past viability. From day one we were on a roller coaster ride of emotions as Cade claimed residency in the NICU for the next 5 1/2 months. We were told to say good-bye to our little angel many times during his stay. After 2 months I was allowed to hold him for the very first time– it was the most touching moment I’ve ever experienced. Cade struggled for his life from his first breath forward. He had a total of 6 surgeries while in the NICU. Several times he wasn’t expected to pull through, but his Fighting Spirit kept choosing to live. We witnessed one miracle after another.
At his birth we were told that Cade would have poor vision, but it wasn’t until he was 5 months old that we found out he also had hearing loss. Cade was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy—a condition that makes it difficult to understand speech even if you can hear it.
We were discharged from the hospital with his heart monitor, oxygen, and instructions on all the machinery and were also thrown into another world of the unknown—that of his hearing problem. I flew to a conference in Houston and met a mother whose son was a few years older than Cade: he had a cochlear implant and was doing great. She gave me all the information I needed to contact Dr. Peters.
We met Dr. Peters and his staff and were given a much awaited for “road map” to a solution for Cade’s hearing loss. He recommended a cochlear implant and we moved through the evaluation process. On our first visit with Linda Daniel before the implant surgery, she asked us what our expectations were for our son. Since we didn’t really know what to expect, all we could say was that we wanted Cade to function in life. Cade was soon scheduled for surgery. After the surgery, audiologist Leslie Lianos and Auditory-Verbal Therapist Linda Daniel were our guardian angels. Leslie guided us through the technology that was so new to us. On the day his implant was activated, we were amazed how his eyes lit up. We traveled from San Angelo to Dallas for therapy with Linda once or twice each month. Cade was soaking it up like a sponge. After several years of long distance management, we moved to Plano so Cade could work with the implant team on a regular basis and attend a school that focuses on teaching deaf children to speak. Cade now receives therapy 2 times a week and is doing great! He receives all of his educational instruction verbally and talks all the time at home.
With a lot of hard work, Cade has surpassed our original goals by miles! We have seen huge improvements in his hearing and speech as well as his overall development as a growing boy. Cade now interacts with everyone, everywhere we go: he doesn’t know a stranger and loves to do everything he can. He is a good reader and is learning so many new things every day. We know his progress and bright future are largely due to the expert staff at the Dallas Ear Institute and HEAR In Dallas!