My Deaf Journey


I was mild HOH growing up. At first my teachers had me sit at front of the class.  When I entered upper elelmentary,  I was given a hearing test at school and ended up having to undergo 5 ear surgeries, starting at age 5. Like many parents, mine just wanted to “fix” me. Most of my hearing loss in the beginning, was from reoccurring ruptured eardrums, repeated head trauma and abuse.

As a preschool age little girl,  I remember being curled up in a ball, in a chair or in my bed, rocking and crying uncontrollably because the pressure in my ear was so painful. I had horrible ear infections, one after another constantly. My mother would look at me as a 4 year old child and tell me “don’t worry, once your eardrums rupture, you will feel better”. Of course, this is true; but why not get help for me right away?  Why not take me to get help before the ear infections get to the point of rupturing my eardrums? Once the school nurses detected a hearing problem in elementary school, then I was taken to an ear, nose and throat Doctor. I had numerous Myringotomies (ear tube surgeries) between the ages of 7 and 12 years old.

When I was 11 years old, I met a Deaf family. They taught me so much about Deaf language/culture/history & community.  They took me to their residential Deaf school, Deaf football games and to Deaf events. I learned my first ASL vocabulary from that Deaf family. I was at their home constantly because they let me babysit and I became immersed in Deaf community and culture.  I had to learn quickly because they were a full ASL family.  Later on, I became an ASL Interpreter after I graduated college. I was a hospital/medical and educational Interpreter. I also interpreted for my Alma Mater & did that for several years. I continued working as a University classroom Interpreter, part time, even after becoming a Mother.

In 2002, I was in a catastrophic car accident. I suffered multiple injuries/surgeries & a traumatic Traumatic Brain injury (TBI). My hearing & vision declined. I diagnosed with a Convergence insufficiency in my eyes, halo vision and Extreme Dry Eye syndrome (because my eyelids don’t close 100% due to the head trauma & stroke). I got special glasses with prisms in them. I also had to get a pacemaker because my brain would not tell my heart what to do. It was at that time that I got my 1st set of hearing aids.

As time went on, my hearing declined more .  In 2014-2016, I had repeated double ear  infections again.  I lost more hearing. Later in 2019 -May, I went in for new hearing aids and they found an auditory tumor called “Cholesteatoma” (Information regarding Cholesteatoma & information regarding Cholesteatoma ). It had “eaten away” at my 3 ear bones/ossicular chain and mastoid bone. My eardrum was torn badly. I lost most of the hearing in my right ear and there’s severe loss in the left. I was also diagnosed with Tympanosclerosis (Information regarding Tympanosclerosis) or hardening of the eardrum. *{There’s more information about this below}.

I’ve been communicating with ASL & have been a part of the Deaf community since 1973! During college, I used to go every Thursday evening to the D.A.D. (Detroit Association of Deaf) bowling events. I had a Deaf boyfriend for quite awhile during those years & hung out in the dorms with my 16 Best friends; who happened to also be the Deaf students. We had so much fun and got into a tiny bit of fun trouble! Lol…

Later, I joined 2 ASL drama groups; after moving in 1982 to Arizona. In one group, “Silent Impressions Productions”, we had costumes & choreography. Tickets were sold & people paid money to see our show “Nights on Broadway ASL”, at Arizona State University. I was also in a Christian ASL Drama group at the ASU Neumann Center. We did ASL Christian song covers & Interpretive dance. That group was called “Silent Praise”.

I had originally moved there in order to work with Deaf PRE-school children! We taught the children during the day & in evenings, weekly; we taught their parents/families ASL. I KISSFIST (love) that job! After a year & half, I missed my friends & my home & so I returned to Midwest!

After coming back home, I did a little modeling & went back to Interpreting at my Alma Mater. I married & had 2 baby daughters. Fast forward to 1991, & I had to take my baby daughters & myself to a domestic violence shelter because I had been abused again for the past 8 years. As long as I felt that my daughters were safe, I stayed in the home. Once I saw my ex husband, kick our dog in front of our daughter, I knew it was time to leave that marriage. No matter how scary it may be “out there in the world as a single Mom working full time”- it was more scary to stay & continue on that way.

After I served him with divorce papers, I was offered a job within 3 days, as a school district interpreter! It was my dream job! Then later, I got a job (to get better health insurance) at a University hospital. I was a secretarial & clerical “float”. I learned 500 people jobs and worked all over the hospital wherever needed. I also wore a pager and was called to interpret all over the hospital. I got to keep interpreting for the school district on 1/2 day Weds. & on Fridays.

In approximately 1994, I made a new friend. She is Deaf & she introduced me to her two daughters & to her friends, who are also a part of the Deaf community. My daughters became good friends with her kids! She and I are still good friends today in 2020.

I had started a “Sign language club” at my daughters’ elementary school. I did it for my friend , her daughters & my own kids too. I also interpreted for her daughters’ IEP’s.

In 1997- our Sign language club “Silent Impressions”(yes…named after my old choreography/ASL group in AZ), was invited to Madonna University (& other venues) to put on a little ASL performance. It was a great time in my life! I was given an award from the school district, called “Volunteers in public schools Award- (VIPS award)”. It was for my volunteer work. I had been the elementary schools’ jump rope team coach. But I also helped: in classrooms, during field trips, in the the library & initiated & ran the Sign Language club. I was honored, but my reward was not that; it was giving inclusiveness to my friend. It was also about educating our children & many others & giving them a good experience along the way, in their lives.

I Re-married & finally to my soul mate, in 1997. We have been happily married for 23 1/2 years. But in 2002, we were involved in a catastrophic car accident. A man drove through a red light. Luckily, my husband only got a few bruises. I was hurt badly & unconscious for 30 minutes. I suffered a TBI, 11 surgeries (along with multiple painful diagnostic tests) & many injuries. These included more hearing loss & vision lowered due to Convergence insufficiency & halo vision. I ended up with 9 years of PT/OT and 3 years of brain injury rehabilitation. I got my first pair of Analog hearing aids, from my ENT & audiologist. Lastly, I had a stroke, a heart attack and a pacemaker! I was diagnosed in 2007, with the most painful nerve autoimmune illness known to mankind, “RSD aka CRPS” (#47 out of 50 on the McGill pain scale). The RSD/CRPS led me to several other connected & painful health issues (EDS-4, Chiari, Gastroparesis, S.I.B.O., Dysautonomia/POTS, Atrial fibrillation & Sick Sinus Syndrome (a heart condition) . I had to go on disability & have been living with mobility aids, including leg braces (AFO’s), loft-strand crutches, a walker & wheelchair etc.

But nothing has been as scary to me as the diagnosis I received after my hearing started declining more and more from 2014 to 2019. I actually was Hard of Hearing and I did fine with ASL and hearing aids. Yes, I can speak but I prefer ASL. I was diagnosed with an auditory/brain tumor called “Cholesteatoma”. It destroyed my 3 hearing bones and my inner ear. I had to have a Tympanomastoidectomy with oscillar chain & Mastoid bone cut & cleaned-out. I did receive a prosthetic Anvil (Incus) earbone also. But I was also diagnosed with “Tympanosclerosis”(Information about Tympanosclerosis & Hearing loss). This means that my eardrums are hardening & will continue. With this diagnosis, added scar tissue & the tumor (which has a 50% chance to return); my hearing will continue to decline. For now, my right ear has severe mixed hearing loss and Left is high moderate/severe sensory neural hearing loss. I also have pulsating Tinnitus. I received new Signia hearing aids in May 2019 and they are a tool. But since the auditory tumor surgery 7-26-19, I identify as Deaf instead of HoH. I belong to Michigan Association of the Deaf & a few online Deaf groups.

I have my own Facebook group called “ASLExpress” & a Facebook page called “ASL SuzyQ”, where I advocate and share Deaf history, culture and ASL. I also have My YouTube Channel @ASLSuzyQ and My Instagram @ASLSuzyQwhere I share Deaf memes, ASL songs & other fun stuff, including Deaf experiences & stories. *Then there is my TikTok page where it is just all in good fun! My TikTok Channel/Page

Link to “This Is Me” in ASL by Keala Settles (from Greatest Showman)

This was me a year or more after the
catastrophic car accident in 2002

This is me, post-op, after my auditory
surgery 2019-July
This T-shirt was a gift from the parents of kids
This is me at my “Silent Praise” group

A newspaper article honoring me for the
VIPS Award

My class with me at Deaf pre-school

Let Freedom Ring


As I sit here tonight, I am afraid.  I don’t often say that,  due to my history (*living with a lifetime of abuse, pain, chronic illness, loss, multiple surgeries and more).  I have been  through so much during my 58 years on this earth. I may be a bit anxious and have physical disabilities, but inside, I am a very tenacious and strong woman.  I am a fighter.  I can plainly say that it is not the Coronavirus or COVID-19, that I’m afraid of today. (**even if I were to get this nasty novel Coronavirus, I still would prefer to live free until I am unable to live any longer. I hope and pray that this does not happen, but I know that there is always a chance. I’m willing to take that chance to live a free life outside of my home).  It is those  people who have made “being safe at all costs” more important than living life at all.  I fear those for whom this virus has yeilded power; they are our biggest threat. If you think about living in pre-COVID-19 times, you will remember that waking up every day and going out into the world is not and has never been “SAFE”.  But still we went out every day and lived our lives in “unsafe mode” constantly and consistantly.  Just think about it for a moment.  Getting into the car and driving, is not safe. Getting into an airplane and flying, is not safe.  Going to the mall, where there are a multitude of germs, is not safe. There are people who have gone sky diving, parasailing, skiing, race car driving and even gone to concerts and full football, Baseball or Hockey stadiums in the past.  Yet today, those same people are now still hiding inside of their homes, terrified of something that has a fatality rate lower than expected and close to the Flu’s 0.1%. Study” Coronavirus Fatality Rate Lower than Expected, Close to Flu’s 0.1%

The threat seems to be coming straight from those elected officials who are supposed to be governing at the pleasure of the people! They were not elected into the office of Governor, to become dictators and tyrants.  One of those dictator tyrants, for example, is our Michigan Governor Gretchan Whitmer. At the first sign of trouble; they order us cower in place and then dictate from their basements (or their second or third homes, after ordering the rest of us not to travel to any second vacation homes).  They are fear mongering instead of uniting. They are telling us to stop thinking for ourselves and listen to & follow their outrageous orders. We, the people,  are shrinking instead of standing tall. But standing tall and fighting for freedom is what Americans have done best for hundreds of years. Please let it be known that I do not condone violence.  But peaceful resistance, writing, calling, getting petitions and recalls out there; are proactive steps, made by “Free People”, and I definitely do believe in and support these peaceful actions, especially now.

Our Governor and several other Democratic Governors have made hundreds of executive orders.  They have claimed that they are being driven to these Executve orders by Science and data.  But all of the Science and data that I have read, has been incorrect time and time again. The data has been incorrect, misrepresented, and downright skewed to make things appear much worse than the situation truly is.  The CDC’s own Dr. Fauci has admitted that he has been wrong! He also told us in March 2020, that masks were “not necessary” and that they “won’t protect us” from COVID-19.  But then a few months later, informs us that we ” MUST wear masks” to keep us “Safe”. He also is the same person who told us that these lockdowns were necessary to “flatten the curve”.  Well we did that and flattened the curve on or about mid April 2020. It is now almost June and we are still quarantined and under “orders to stay at home” (except for essential travel for food or necessary items to sustain life etc.).  Now Dr Fauci, our expert Immunologist who has been advising our President and the COVID-19 taskforce, says that a second wave is “NOT INEVITABLE”–and he is “feeling better about” preventing it. 

Many of the same ideas that have been going on inside of my head, were said aloud in a courtroom in Illinois this past week. Judge McHaney, who presided over a case against Governor Pritzker, verbalized and put in court transcripts, many of the things that have been eating away at my inner self.  Here are some of the things that he said:   Mainerv. Pritzker Transcript – Let Liberty Ring :

Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred:”

  • I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy
  • Selling pot is essential but selling goods and services at a family-owned business is not.
  • Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential but a family – owned business in existence for five generations is not.
  • A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will.
  • We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled.
  • Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will.
  • If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will.
  • Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.

These are just a few of the examples of rules, regulations, and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense.  State’s attorneys in this state, county sheriffs, mayors, city councils and county boards have openly and publicly defied these orders followed by threats to withold funding and revocation of necessary licenses and certifications unless you obey.

Our economy is shut down because of a flu virus with a 98% -plus survival rate.  Doctors and experts say different things weekly.  The defendant cites models in his opposition.  The only thing experts will agree on is that all models are wrong and some are useful.  The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces.”

“The defendant in this case orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential.  One initial rationale why the rules don’t apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed.  Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain.”

“When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled.  Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws.  They are royal decrees.  Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled.  The last time I checked Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don’t get ruled!  The last time a monarch tried to rule Americans, a shot was fired that was heard around the world.  That day led to the birth of a nation consensually governed based upon a document which ensures that on this day in this, an American courtroom tyrannical despotism will always lose and liberty, freedom and the constitution will always win”

As I sit here contemplating a smooth ending to this post/article, I realize that #1: our Governor in Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, has been one of the top tyrannical dictators. She has done and said similar scenarios as the Governor of Illinois. Yet, our Michigan court somehow sided with her? Her family went up North last weekend to her 2nd home. I saw photos of her in a restaurant without a mask and with several other people. Her husband was exposed as trying to get a favor, because he is “the Governor’s husband “. He asked a boat dock company to let him “jump the line” because of who his wife is. She first said it never happened. But later went on Television & explained that “it was his failed attempt at humor”. Which one is it? The same rules have been applied to Michigan, but even more arbitrary and nonsensical. How can Lottery tickets be essential, but a knee replacement which would alleviate great pain, is not? I cannot top those words just above. I would like to reiterate the judges words and say to you….”Liberty, freedom and the constitution should always win”…..thank you for being here.