10,000+ Sertomans’ Stories. Endless Possibilities.

Debby Larsen, President

July 13, 2015

At our last National Convention our focus was on Story Telling. Not just any story but our story. We heard how important it is to tell our story so that others become interested in Sertoma. So I thought this would be easy. I had two great ideas but which one to pick. So here goes…

How many of you have had your hearing checked and it was fine? Then you have it checked again and find out it isn’t. I started by having my hearing checked at a regional convention. I thought I had done a good job and was very surprised when they indicated I should see a professional. Of course I didn’t – my hearing was just fine. The following year I attended another regional convention and they had a hearing booth/truck so I thought I would do it again. I still needed to see a professional. Two years went by and I finally made an appointment with my ENT. Results showed hearing loss in my left ear and I should be re-evaluated in six months. Of course I didn’t follow through in making an appointment.

Another two years went by when I finally called to make an appointment – not for a hearing test but for some ringing in my right ear. Now I had two problems: loss of hearing in my left ear and ringing in my right ear! My ENT told me that the ringing would either disappear or I would get used to it (not what I wanted to hear). Tests showed significant hearing loss in my left ear. Surgery might be able to correct it. I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where I met with Colin L. W. Driscoll, M.D., Chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology. (Isn’t that a mouth full?) After discussing my symptoms he suggested a scan of my ear – it’s a wonder what you can see on the screen! He showed me that my Stapes bone was not vibrating because of buildup of bone.

There were three suggestions made that day:

  1. Do nothing and live with the hearing loss;
  2. Use a hearing aid to help with the loss of hearing; or
  3. Have a stapedectomy.

We reviewed the three options. I made the decision to have the stapedectomy. A stapedectomy is ear surgery done to treat hearing loss caused by otosclerosis. Otosclerosis causes a buildup of bone around the stapes (stirrup bone). This buildup keeps the stapes from moving, resulting in a type of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. In surgery a prosthesis replaces the stapes. Of course we also covered all the things that could go wrong during and after surgery.

Decision made. I wanted the outpatient surgery as soon as possible, but I needed a driver. For someone who would rather be behind the wheel, this was tough. I had surgery but needed to wait until August 6th for my hearing test. I was able to turn down my television and radio so I knew that my hearing had improved, but by how much? The doctor informed me that my left ear was almost as good as my right ear. The surgery was very successful!

My story doesn’t end here. As it turns out four of my five siblings have had the same surgery. My brothers were first, then me and finally my one sister. Will my other sister need the surgery, she doesn’t think so but at least there is a way to correct what we have. Others are not that lucky but there is some help and Sertoma is here to educate and help with needs in the communities we are in. Let’s tell our stories so that we can grow our organization. We all have a story or two and we need to start telling others about what we do. I suggested at my club meeting that we start contacting other organizations to be speakers. You never know until you try it. The goal is endless with 10,000+ Sertomans telling their story.


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