Growing up, I was just like any average girl. I fall under the “shy and quiet” type and disliked mingling. I was very much a loner but always seeking for personal thrills like becoming one of the top scorers in class. I loved challenges that piqued my interests. Especially in the language subjects.
I was never a social person and looked up to my peers who were the life of a party although I usually avoid gatherings and events because I’m not into such things.
Being a timid person, I did not dare to join activities at school and usually stuck with the same crowd who’s like me or “good girls.”
When I progressed to upper primary (P5-P6), I tried to be more liberal and mingled. I would spend more time hanging out with friends after school hours and planned meet-ups over the holidays. I loved listening to music, since way back when walkmans were the “in” thing. Then it was the discman. The habit of buying CDs developed and I would buy new ones and bring to school during celebrations to be inclusive. My friends and I exchanged contacts through diary-writing and we would be talking on the phone to catch up. Over the weekends, I’d attend religious class with my cousin and we’d sometimes hung out after that to while the time away.
I basically led a very normal life.
The ringing in my ears happened when I was in Primary 6. It came and went so I did not bother to check until it happened the second time. Luckily, if I remember correctly, it took place towards the end of my Primary 6 year therefore I had taken the PSLE without any issues.
I got referred to the hospital to check on the ringing in my ears and when the news of having a tumour in my brain broke, I was devastated. It was the era of music for me; I enjoyed listening to songs and it was also the time when burning songs into CDs was the rave. I went for annual MRIs to check on the tumour growth rate and finally needed to go for surgery when I was in Secondary 3. The first thing I thought was “I would go deaf.” It had meant that I wasn’t able to listen to songs anymore.
I was only diagnosed with NF2 after the surgery. Post-surgery, I had retained my right hearing but my left was decreased. However, I was still able to listen to music and took this for granted. I never thought about not being able to listen at all, anymore. I still go for karaoke sessions despite my tinnitus and countless of hearing tests.
Coincidentally, the same year I had my surgery, my school took in deaf students. I was amazed by their character which is the same as any of us. The only difference is, they cannot hear like us. Never had I thought I would be one of them down the road. Just that, my condition had allowed me to hear and listen during half of my life.
I took my hearing for granted because I hadn’t expect to lose it in the long run. I was happy to live with only one side of hearing; not taking into consideration if I’d lost the other one too. I did not even find out about other consequences as I hadn’t expect them to happen. I wasn’t feeling any pain at that time too so I always thought that things would get better.
I have never expected things to go downhill in the future but I sure learned a lot as I go. Check out the bittersweet “learning journey” I went through, on the next post. 😉