This is for my fellow chronic pain warriors (& me)…fighting the ignorance of those who hold the power to help Cpp’s but they’re pushing massage & other complimentary therapies instead! Opioids clearly help some of the pain community. Let our Drs choose what works best for each individual.
We are in pain & we may be “broken”-but we are worthy, we are strong & we are beautiful! Don’t ever give up! No matter how many people try to put you down or try to “break” you even more!!
The final song for this post, is more about how the chronic pain community feels about going into the new year 2020! We don’t know what’s going to happen to us! But we cannot give up fighting for what we need to live some semblance of a life!
6) “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2 by Idina Mendel/Aurora
This is a great article from Rikki Poynter and it hits home with me, too! Many of my friends who live with either Deafness/Hearing loss &/or disabilities requiring the use of wheelchair,walker or cane etc, may feel a connection to the stress that Rikki Poynter shares in this article.
Some of us are feeling also the stress of not have accessibility to proper medical care for our high impact chronic pain illnesses. This has been constant since the CDC Guidelines were implemented in 2016, without any pain physicians present at the discussions.
So I found this interesting article and I thought some of my fellow Deaf/Hoh persons might want to read about it. The link is below and it’s about a card for Deaf/Hoh individuals to have & use when trying to communicate with the authorities. This article is from Minnesota. I hope you enjoy reading it!
September marks the beginning of Deaf Awareness Month 2019. In light of this, I will be bringing you a few blog posts during this month, about the subjects of deafness, Deaf vs. deaf, ASL, Deaf history & Deaf culture, etc.
Today, I want to take a moment to truly introduce another part of my “story” to all of you. Most of you know much about me already. You also know a lot about my pain journey already, if you’ve been following this blog at all. But you may not know much information about some other aspects of my journey. You might have seen my songs done in ASL (American Sign Language) at my YouTube channel: ASLSuzyQ .
I’ve been married for 23.5 years to my soul-mate & the Love of my life, Craig. He’s been an Elementary school teacher for 40 years now & is retired as of June 2018. We have 2 daughters who are married and 3 granddaughters & 1 grandson: Olivia-6yrs, McKenzie-5yrs. & Kiera-3 yrs & Bryce-9 months. I am high Moderate Hard of Hearing (on left) & (mostly) Deaf (on right). I had been HoH (Hard of Hearing) since 2002. But in May 2019, I was diagnosed with an auditory tumor, called “Cholesteatoma”. Which turned out to actually be a rare disease because it often times comes back. It has caused pretty much total silence in my right ear. The Cholesteatoma (More information about Cholesteatoma ) had diseased my eardrum, hearing bones & mastoid by the time it was discovered & removed surgically on 7-26-19.
In short, I will tell you that I started out in life, totally hearing. By age 11, I had so much scar tissue in my ears L>R, from multiple ruptured eardrums, that I had a mild hearing loss. I babysat for a Deaf family with 6 Deaf children. My friend, Judy W. & I babysat as a team. I was fascinated to be able to talk without speaking. I was excited about learning ASL. These kids went to a residential school & they taught me colors, numbers, finger-spelling and everyday conversational signs. We played games like “Monopoly” and we played “school” & “house” etc.
I received ASL books for each holiday and I learned all that I could on my own. I went to college, then it was the only 4-year Sign Language studies/Interpreting program. After my 3rd year, my Aunt (who lived in AZ) called to tell me that she saw a job opening for an “Assistant Teacher” at a Deaf preschool. The requirements stated that a “college degree was required”. But I’d tested out of my first two college ASL classes & I practically lived in the dorm with 16 Deaf friends. We did everything together and I was just accepted lovingly by them. I’d been already Interpreting for the college classes at my own College, & I was doing Deaf/Blind medical Interpreting. So I flew 2,000 miles and applied for the job. I was so very excited to get the job, over others who had their degrees already. I worked at the Deaf school and I found a wonderful church youth group where I was involved in Interpreting for weekly church services. I also got involved in a an ASL drama (with choreography) group, called “Silent Impressions Productions”. We put on beautiful productions of ASL /choreographed songs & dances with gorgeous costumes. People paid $10 each, to come to our production at ASU. I was in “Nights on Broadway”, “One”(from Chorus Line) & “Hello Dolly”! It was such great fun! I was also in an ASL & Interpretive dance Christian group, called “Silent Praise”!
I had the best 2 years of my younger life ! It was such fun! I did miss home & my friends. I also needed & wanted to go back & finish my degree!
I came back home & finished college. Afterwards I was so excited to land a job as a school district Interpreter by day and as a University, “night classes” Interpreter, at my Alma Mater. I later married and had two children. At that time, with 2 small young children, I just Interpreted the night classes for several years. I continued with the medical Interpreting for Deaf/Blind.
I was in An abusive marriage and after 8 years, I got the courage to get my 2 baby girls & myself out! We went to a domestic violence shelter. I was so proud that My babies & I left on a Saturday early evening; & by Monday afternoon I had a full time job as a professional Interpreter for a school district. I Interpreted for the High school, Middle school & Elementary school.
So to speed things up a bit…. I divorced & re-married 7 or 8 years later. In the meantime I was offered a job with much more money & great medical benefits. I would be a Secretarial “float” (meaning that I had to learn everyone’s jobs so that I could cover for them). I had to learn 500 Drs schedules. I was also assigned to be the research secretary for a well known lung transplant doctor. I wore a pager and was paged multiple times weekly; if not daily, to interpret for Deaf patients who came into the hospital for either an appointment or to the ER.
One night that I particularly remember, I got called from home after I’d already gone home; to interpret for a Deaf patient. He was in the emergency room having a heart attack. I had to be precise in telling the doctors exactly how the patient was feeling. It was then, that I realized Just how very important an Interpreters job really is.
All was going well until the end of Summer in 2002. I was with my husband at a Summer art fair on a lazy Weekend day. During the drive home, we were going through a green light when another person, a man, went through a red light and crashed into our minivan. We were “T-boned”! It was classified as a “catastrophic” accident. My kids were not in the car! I thank God for that always! My husband was not hurt, but he was bruised up a bit.
Unfortunately, I was unconscious and ended up having multiple injuries and many surgeries. All in all, I also acquired several high impact chronic pain illnesses. Some of these include: Systemic RSD/CRPS, Polyneuropathy in Collagen Vascular Disease (aka EDS Type 4/heart & vascular), Degenerative Disc, Disease with multiple herniated & bulging discs at C5,6,7 & L4,5 & S-1 (along with spinal stenosis), Dysautonomia/POTs, Gastroparesis & more, including Cholesteatoma now as well. There’s more but I won’t bore you with all of that! I will add that I suffered a TBI that gave me lowered vision (prisms & convergence insufficiency) & hearing loss (I acquired 2 hearing aids in 2002-3 after the MVA). The TBI was such that I required brain injury rehab for 3 years.
After the Cholesteatoma & Surgery, I now identify as “Deaf/HoH”. The reason for this change (from HoH), is because now I can hear pretty much nothing in my right ear. The left ear is moderate/severe hearing loss. I’ve received two new Signia hearing aids & I’ll be re-tested again in December ’19.
I’ve stayed a strong advocate for Deaf/HoH. I fight oppression, audism & ableism alongside the Deaf community. Please feel free to follow me on Instagram ASLSuzyQ Instagram , Twitter ASLSuzyQ Twitter, Facebook My ASLSuzyQ Facebook Artist/video creator page and my Facebook group ASL Express Facebook group and YouTube My ASLSuzyQ YouTube channel . My ASL group on Facebook is called “ASL Express”. We express ourselves using ASL & with this group, I try to bridge the gap between Hearing, Deaf & Hard of Hearing worlds. I try to expose beginners to Deaf history, Deaf culture & Deaf community. For the more advanced and/or native and/or ASL fluent; we have a comfortable place to share & hang out online!
Above is a 37 second update from my appointment today 6-10-19. Thank you for the outpouring of love ❤️ and support! You’re the Best followers/fans/friends ever!!
**ADDENDUM: SURGERY WILL BE JULY 26, 2019** they scheduled it today…. JUST WANTED TO UPDATE YOU ALL… sending peace, hope, love & Light…
Feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heres my Instagram post today too:
So I saw the Skull base/neuro/Ear surgeon today. I will be having the tumor removed soon. I will have a Tympanoplasty(they’ll reconstruct my eardrum using a “disc” made from cartledge & Skull fascia. This is to prevent this from returning. The 3 little bones needed for hearing are diseased. I’ll be getting possibly prosthetic bones? Also I’ll be having a “Mastoidectomy”! Removal of the diseased part of the mastoid bone. It may make my HOH/ “hearing”worse or same but must do this because if it gets into the brain it can kill me! It’s really scary! Many times people hear nothing afterwards, many times people get extreme dry mouth from damage to salivary glands during surgery. Many people get worse “white noise” or pulsating in ear after surgery. Many people get a strange taste for months or forever. They try to not injure the facial nerves by doing EMG during entire surgery, but it can happen… I’m honestly not scared of the white noise or pulsating or worse/same HoH —but I’m frightened of the brain surgery part. They say they’ll be conservative with my hair being cut but still a 2 finger radius around my ear will be cut… just wanted to update everyone. It will be in 2 months because it’s very slow growing tumor and may have been there my whole life?? But it takes time to get the 4 Drs clearances that I need and also his schedule is booked until then. Now I’m happy to have my Summer but still scared because I now have too much time to be thinking about it all!
Many of my “regular” readers may remember that I am “Hard of hearing”. Hearing people usually use the term “hearing impaired”. We prefer to be called “Hard of hearing”. Mostly because we don’t feel that we are broken or “impaired”. Technically it means that Im not totally “medically possible 100% deaf”. I can hear a few various pitches, frequencies and sounds. With my hearing aids in, I can hear a little bit during a “one on one” conversation. But add in background noise and people who mumble or talk very fast; and then it’s nearly impossible. Next, add the situation of trying to “listen” to several people at once, in a crowded room or restaurant? Lastly, there are those with facial hair all around their mouth and lips. They are the group for me, who have the most frustrating lips to read! Then again, it’s not really like “reading”. Because it’s more like piecing together bits and pieces of a puzzle & then trying to “fill in the missing pieces”.
In case you’re not familiar with my hearing loss journey; I’ll recap just a little bit for you. When I was a child, I had recurring ear infections. During those times, I could often be found literally rocking my body back & forth, while curled up in the fetal position. My memories start as young as age 3 years. It was always pure hell while I was living with horrible ear infections. When I complained to my parents about the excruciating 😖 throbbing Pain in my ear (or ears), my mother would always say same thing. She’d tell me “Once your eardrum ruptures, the pressure will go away and you will feel better!” Well, it did feel better after the pressure was gone. But each time that happened it caused scar tissue to form in my ear drums. It also caused mild hearing loss as I was growing up. I remember asking the teachers if I could sit closer to the board to try and hear them better. Therefore my audiologist (in 2002) & ENT Dr. felt that I’ve had mild hearing loss since I was a child. I had tubes put in my ears when I was about 7 or 8 years old. They were surgically placed multiple times and for several years.
Later in 2002, I was a passenger in a car driven by my husband. We were just driving along through a green light when we were hit by a car running through a red light. It was considered a “catastrophic accident”. I acquired a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and had multiple injuries and 9 surgeries. I went to brain injury rehab for 3 years & had 9 years of PT/OT, balance therapy and speech therapy. I acquired a pacemaker, glasses with prisms (for lowered vision), 2 screws in my left shoulder and 2 hearing aids. I also got a wheelchair, a seated wheeled walker, a motorized scooter, loft strand crutches, a cane and several other helping aides for activities of daily living.
I won’t bore you with all of the chronic pain illnesses that came out of that accident. That’s not what this post is all about. But I also acquired a bi-lateral sensory neural hearing loss in both of my ears L>R (but currently (2019), it’s R>L & it’s a mixed hearing loss). Along with the many medical issues, I also acquired lower vision. I saw a Neuro-Othamoligist, who put prisms in my glasses to try and correct some of it. The prisms really bothered me. Today I just have a very strong prescription for eye glasses. Everything has a bit of a halo effect.
It’s ironic and very awesome that prior to that MVA (motor vehicle accident), I had been an ASL Interpreter. I worked at a Deaf preschool and then I interpreted for a school district. In the end, I was a medical Interpreter at a University hospital. I even did volunteer work doing medical interpreting for Deaf/Blind at free medical screening events. I had gone through a 4 year SLS/Interpreting program and finished with a 3.8 gpa.
Back in the 1980’s when I went to college, I practically lived at the dorms with my 16 Deaf friends. We watched CC “General Hospital” daily at 3:00 pm. We even tried to schedule our classes around it! It was a social hour. I’d been learning ASL since age 11 & even “tested out” of the first fingerspelling class.
The Deaf community accepted me and they were kind to me. At that time I went to Deaf bowling every Thursday with DAD club. I had a Deaf boyfriend whose sister was a cheerleader at MSD & we went to all of the football games and even the homecoming dance! Me and my group of college friends, who happened to be Deaf, used to go out dancing on Friday nights. One time my friends & I were on our way to a dance club and we got pulled over for a slight bit of speeding. We were all packed in the back of a mini van signing with each other. One of my friends told me to “talk to the officer”. I was terrified and I told him “No way! I’m afraid! Since I’m with you guys, I don’t want to talk to him either!” We all laughed as the officer just let us go with a handwritten warning on a piece of paper. That was a fun and I felt included.
Just to back track a little, I started learning ASL at age 11. My best friend & I babysat for a Deaf family who lived next door to her. The parents and 6 children were Deaf. The children went to the Lutheran School for Deaf at that time! They included me in many Deaf social activities and I learned the language & received my sign name from them. First we played games and I learned colors, numbers, family signs, days of week and more!
I’ve always felt accepted by the Deaf community. I always respected the language, ASL. How ironic then, that I lost a moderate-severe percentage of my hearing & was already prepared with the tools I needed!
I’ve lost touch with some of my old friends from DAD (Deaf Association of Detroit). But I still have a some close friends from the past, who are Deaf. I still feel a part of the community. I’d like to become even more involved again! But living with several high pain chronic illnesses makes it difficult to get out due to persistent pain.
I’ve found my own ways to reconnect and to feel not so “in-between” two worlds. I get to teach ASL vocabulary with the Deaf Socials on their Instagram and Facebook pages. I love & look forward to each new vocabulary list they give to me for teaching! I truly enjoy doing that and doing song covers to ASL on my Youtube channel: My YouTube channel at: ASLSuzyQ . I also post to my Instagram A link to my ASL Instagram and Twitter A link to my ASL Twitter with the same name. I do this for fun and as a volunteer and advocate for Deaf Awareness.
Lastly, I used to love being a part of two ASL performance groups during the 80’s, when I lived in Arizona & worked at a Deaf preschool. One group was called “Silent Impressions productions”. We performed in choreography and ASL to broadway show tunes and in costumes! We put in shows at ASU and it was so much fun! The other group to which I belonged, was called “Silent Praise”. We performed Christian songs while others did lyrical dances. We did that at the ASU Neumann center. It was such a fun time in my life. My friends and I also interpreted for our church community at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Scottsdale, AZ.
After reminiscing in this post, I feel so grateful that I had already been involved with the Deaf community & had many years of experience with ASL, before I became more (*I was mild HoH since elementary school) Hard of Hearing. As ironic as it seems, it’s not all that crazy. I had a mild hearing loss and then it worsened due to the TBI.
I mostly seem to write about chronic pain illnesses. I’ve been writing about the rights of chronic pain patients to have access to much needed opioid pain medications. We need these medications because without them, people like me wouldn’t even be able to do the small amount of activities that we try to do. I was forcibly tapered from my long acting pain meds after doing pretty well on them for almost 14 years! Now I sit in my recliner for approximately16 hours daily. I try to get up, put I make up and do some online activities every few days. But my life is not the same with so much less help for the pain.
Although I still want to continue advocating in that area, I’m doing more & more advocating for Deaf awareness, inclusion and preservation of ASL. I thought I’d put my hearing loss story and ASL history here in my blog too. I’ve written a few posts about Deafness and trying to live in “two worlds”. But I’ve never explained the details of how I became who I am today. I’m a survivor of long time childhood abuse, domestic violence and then a catastrophic car accident. I’m not a “victim” but I am a “fighter and a survivor”! Don’t ever give up!!