Silent World


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!

September is Deaf Awareness Month (short 2 1/2 min video)

Why I Resigned From USPF


Hello Luvs,

It is with sadness that I write this blog post today. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. But I wanted my followers/friends in the pain community to know that this was the most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to do. I loved doing this volunteer work for USPF. They always told me that we were a “family”. Yet, the very day that I lost my Long acting/Extended release pain medication, I opened an email that was just the opposite of everything I thought we stood for. Since that email, I have contemplated resigning, but did not want to “hurt” anyone or do anything to leave them without enough board members etc. But from that day on, things just went down hill. Next, I saw a trailer for a movie that stars actress Karen Duffy and our Interim CEO, called “Balancing the Pain Scale”, that I found out has been in production for 2-3 years. As a Board member, I knew nothing about this movie until someone else alerted me. I went to the trailer and was saddened when I saw the words get “beyond the pill bottle” as I was losing the one thing that had given me some semblance of a life; and so are so many of you.

Lastly, I must add that in the past, I was sent copies of kind emails that pain patients would send in about me. I was also sent emails about patients who needed my help. I never received any emails/letters such as these since becoming a Board member. Not until a disgruntled pain patient who was removed from one of my groups for being disrespectful and unkind sent the interim CEO an email. This person spelled my name incorrectly as “Susan Stuart”, she obviously does not know me and did not know me at all. I felt belittled and reprimanded by being sent the code of ethics. Especially when the issues had nothing to do with USPF and I did not use my role in any conversations with that person. I did not receive a personal phone call, nor did anyone request any information or clarification regarding the absurd complaint; after my years of loyalty to USPF. Therefore, you can read the end result in my recent letter to the Board members below:

Dear Nicole, Wendy, Ellen, Leah & Bruce,

When I was initially asked to join the Board of Directors of the USPF, I was pleased and excited to be joining a group that I feel is  doing wonderful things and representing the interests of the pain community.

Very quickly, (due to Paul’s behaviors+)I discovered that this perception was not true. However, I decided to help shoulder the burden of guiding USPF through the trauma of the aftermath of of Paul’s mishandling of funds & more. Also to stay & help with USPF losing its founder and CEO. As time went on, shocking details of misuse of funds & other inappropriate behaviors kept adding up.kept adding up. I decided that it was my duty to stick by Nicole  & the other Board members & our legal team, to help clean up this mess & help to guide US Pain Foundation in the right direction.

I have become increasingly frustrated because everything that was promised to me upon becoming a Board member has not happened. I was told that I could represent US pain foundation at Pain week in Las Vegas 2018. I was also told that I would be put on an advisory board and be given a program of my own to run and see through to the end. I have been told repeatedly that as a Board member I cannot officially run any programs, but others do. I feel that those things I’m most passionate about are marginalized. I feel that somehow I was inadvertently sought out & appointed to the Board, because somehow, some person(s) thought that I would just agree and not ever express my own voice and opinions. But I do have opinions and a voice. I’m sad that as a board member I don’t know who any of our donors are and I didn’t find out about the movie that’s been in production for three years, I was told? There’s so many things I don’t know but then Leah told me that “there’s no one higher than the board”? It’s a bit confusing in all honesty. I feel “kept in the dark” about many things.

One big reason or probably the that I feel the need to resign from the board of directors of the US Pain foundation starting immediately, is due to the lack of  insurance for Board members & support group members. I don’t feel “safe” being involved with voting on big decisions yet being “left in the dark” much of the time. I don’t really know where money is going or where n it comes from in all  honesty. All the things that I used to love I’m not able to do anymore because “I am a board member“.

Last of all & sadly, I received an email today with a copy of the code of ethics from Nicole. A disgruntled pain patient from Canada, sent her note full of horrible lies & accusations. I was not consulted privately via a phone call or even given the benefit of the doubt. I have never had any trouble with not one person since I joined this or any organizations. I don’t speak or claim to speak for the USPF in any of my groups that I run. I only give facts with links to back up what I say as chronic pain patient.

For all of the above reasons and due to the fact that I don’t feel respected, I must tender my resignation from the Board of Directors  of the US Pain Foundation immediately.

Sadly,

Peace & Hope,

Suzanne B. Stewart

about.me/suzydukettes

Recipient of USPF’s Pain Ambassador of the Year Award‘16, Mentor & Social Media Assistant RSDSA, Staff Columnist/Ntl. Pain Report, Blog-“Tears Of Truth” @tearsoftruth.com, Patient leader WEGO Health, HoH/ASL, patient advocate for Deaf/HoH

“Out of suffering have emerged the most massive characters are seared with scars” ~Khalil Gibran~

Thank you for taking the time to let me share with you. I feel a deep sadness and broken at this time.

WEGO Health 2018 Awards


I am very excited to inform you that I have been nominated for two WEGO Health Awards in the 2018 WEGO Health Awards season. The two areas in which I’ve been nominated are: “Best In Show Blog” (for this Blog “Tears of Truth”) and also for “Best In Show Facebook” for my many facebook groups:

  • (International CRPS Support group, RASE for CRPS (research,awareness,support and education)
  • Dysautonomia Support Network
  • Michigan/Midwest & friends
  • Chronic Pain Support Group
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Living with Chronic Pain
  • People In Pain Unite
  • ASL Song and ASLSuzyQ (these last two are ASL, or American Sign Language groups).

Also for my Facebook Pages:

  • RASE for CRPS,
  • RASE for Invisible Diseases,
  • Dysautonomia Network,
  • Association for Ethical treatment of Pain Patients (AETOPP),
  • People In Pain Unite,
  • Gone But Not Forgotten Friends and Family
  • ASLSuzyQ)

WEGO Healt is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills and insights of the patient leaders.  They are the worlds largest network of patient leaders, working across  virtualy all health conditions and topics. click here to learn more about their Patient Leader Network.

The WEGO Health Awards  were created to celebrate those who tirelessly support the mission of WEGO Health to empower the patient voice.  With 16 award categories, the WEGO Health awards are the only awards across all conditions and platforms, that recognize the over 100 thousand inspiring Patient Leaders who raise awareness, share information and support their communities but often without recognition.

I want to thank those who nominated me and thought enough of my advocacy/awareness work to think of me for these awards. It means so much to be nominated because though I don’t do what I do in order to get anything from it; I appreciate being recognized for the work that I do. It means that the work that I do voluntarily to help the several communities that I am involved with, is not going unnoticed. Thank you so much for that.

I feel that I deserve the “Best in Show Blog” award because my blog, ‘Tears of Truth”, has become a large network and a plethora of information for patients who live with various illnesses that especially cause chronic pain. There are many resources and so much information here to address patients with various needs. I feel that I also deserve the “Best in Show Facebook” because I serve several different patient communities who live with chronic pain from various illnesses. I have created 6 chronic pain support groups and 2 ASL groups that support Deaf/Hard of Hearing community (including myself, as I am HoH). I try very hard to work closely with several different non-profits and I do not ask for anything in return. These awards, even just being nominated gives me that feeling of being appreciated.

This year, the 16 WEGO Health Award winners will be honored at an in-person celebration in Octoer, co-hosted by the Society of Participator Medicine at the Connected Health Conference. It is very important to me and I would really love to attentd this event to collaborate with industry leaders. Also, I would truly love to meet all of the people who I’ve been working with and talking with all of these years, since 2010 or so, when I first became a WEGO Patient Leader.

I’m now looking toward YOU, my incredibly supportive network to help endorse me for these two awards.  There are two easy ways to endorse me, (*Wordpress does not allow me to put a badge on this blog. Therefore the link is on the column to the upper right side of this blog (on a computer)…or you can easily choose the method below)….that will only take seconds of  your time, I promise! (I would love to be endorsed in both categories because they are equally important.

If I have ever supported you, made you laugh, given you inspiration  or cheered you on to keep fighting – please consider taking just a few seconds to endorse me for these awards. Thank you in advance, from my heart.

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Becoming Incurable Crowdfunding Campaign


Please watch this short video and see how this film producer is bringing awareness of Chronic pain and Chronic illnesses to the big screen!

If you prefer to visit my advocacy YouTube Channel to watch this, you can visit: WWW.YouTube.Com/Suzydukettes….

BUT my newest Youtube video is right here for you to watch -and it’s only about 4 minutes Long: I hope you will enjoy, learn & help in any way possible with the crowdfunding campaign, at: http://www.seedandspark.com/fund/becomingincurable

Here is a very short 4 minute video: (Thank you for Watching):

Becoming Incurable Crowdfunding Video

New Year, Old Fear


The New Year always brings hope of a new beginning and fear of the unknown. Especially in this time of unrest and uncertainty; there is a panic in the pain community. I see it around me and I feel it each new day. People are starting to come apart and pull away instead of moving together as a community to fight the thing that we all fear most.

Nobody wants to be left to die. We don’t like feeling ignored and uncared about. Drs are running away and leaving in droves. There’s no one left to listen, care or treat those with horrible & high chronic pain conditions. There are groups sprouting up from other groups. It feels as though there are many who wish to be the one to “save the pain community “. But in reality we each can be our own hero. We need to depend on ourselves to get out of this mess.

Try your best and do whatever you are able to do. I’m sure you talk with your families on the telephone? So call up your Senators office and tell him your story! You’ll probably get a staffer, but that’s OK! Write emails much? Write an email to your state reps, Senators and your Governor. You don’t need to be eloquent. They need to see faces, hear stories and come to know us as a community of real persons. Ask them if they can remember a time when they had the worst pain ever? Tell them that this is how we feel most days! Let them know that our Drs need to do the Doctoring. The government has enough to deal with; and so allow the Drs to make informed decisions. After all, they went to school for 12-15 years, some of them. They do know what they’re doing.

Turn your fear into action and if you’re just too sick; see if someone will advocate on your behalf? If nothing else, we need to realize that we are worthwhile individuals. Each of us has something to offer in this life and we are not expendable. We deserve to have love, respect and caring. We have a right to be taken care of just like anyone else does.

We must remember that there are bad people in every walk if life and in each profession. There are the good and the bad; the ying and yang with a balance someplace in the middle. There are good and bad politicians, teachers, and more. Drs, go into this career mostly because they want to heal and help others. There are bad patients too, but most of us just try to do whatever we are told and we follow protocol.

The thing that those in power are forgetting, is the balance. They are going with an all or nothing attitude. Why not realize that there are many precautions in place now with the PDMP and more? The people who want to break the law are going to find a way to do it! Those who are good, law abiding citizens living with daily chronic pain are the ones suffering. I think somehow they know we are physically weak. They think we are unable to fight for what we need and therefore they will make decisions above and for us. But we are not mentally weak. We must join together as one voice and support each other. There is no glory or fame here! There are peoples lives at stake. The right of every human being to live in some semblance of comfort.

Becoming Incurable Magazine Feature


Hello Luvs

I’m really excited to share this with you today! The US Pain Foundation has teamed with Victoria Suan, the producer, creator & Director of her Documentary “Becoming Incurable “. I’d written to you about 6 weeks ago regarding the feature film etc. But today I want to share this online magazine that she’s made to compliment the video compilations and her Documentary!

I am the middle of 3 persons being featured in this online magazine. I’m being featured for the illness of CRPS. This is thrilling and just so very exciting to be a part of this beautiful project to spread awareness of chronic pain and illness.

Becoming Incurable magazine feature

Run Forest, Run!


This was written by Dr Mark Ibsen, MD, who has become a close friend of mine; as has Dr Tennant. My thoughts and blog post on this subject will be forthcoming ASAP! But for now, just for this moment, here are Dr Ibsen, MD’s words regarding this abhorrent situation with Dr Forrest Tennant:

Dr Tennant recently came to Montana to testify for Dr Christensen. Sadly, while in the home state of many of his intractable pain refugee patients,

His home was invaded and business ransacked by agents who allege he was “overprescribing”. 

Just what IS overprescribing?

And what would Underprescribing look like?

This term would imply that there is a ceiling dose of a medication that has been prescribed. 

It would also imply that there is a “Goldilocks Dose” that is not too high

Not too low, but “just right”. 

Dr Tennant,

An endocrinologist,

Has been on the forefront of research and therapy for the intractable pain that patients developed after years of medical or interventional management, or mismanagement. 

These are patients with adhesive arachnoiditis, complex regional pain syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, failed back syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and various other accidental and iatrogenic pain syndromes. 

The law enforcement and regulatory agencies Who are threatened by the Obi-Wan Kenobi of pain medicine do not have the sophistication,

compassion,

Or training to realize that they are not dealing with El Chapo. Drug dealers don’t actually care how their clients are doing. In fact, when a drug addict dies of an overdose, sales most often go up. Dealing drugs that are unregulated and often fatal is not what doctors do. 

Most people who suffer cardiac arrest have some type of medication on board. We don’t arrest their doctor for prescribing a Statin or aspirin or blood pressure medication in an attempt to enhance or prolong a persons life. 

People have hypoglycemic reactions every day,treated for their diabetes. We do not arrest their doctor for “overprescribing insulin”.

All doctors are required by their oath to do no harm-to try to hit that “Goldilocks dose”

When cancer patients die,

Do we blame there oncologist for killing them?

There’s a reason medical doctors train for 12 to 20 years, then continue to study and research the literature their entire careers. Could it really be true that Dr. Tennant is sidelined by a DEA agent with 12 weeks of training?

Are doctors no longer protected by the regulations outlined in the Controlled Substances Act?

Dr. Tennant treats the sickest of intractable pain patients. I too have referred intractable pain patients to him, I have taken his courses and follow his protocols.

Now, who will testify for me and protect my patients?

According to the World Health Organization North America provides the best pain care management on the planet. Dr. Tennant has always recommended following the world health organization pain ladder. 

Doctors like forest Tennant, William Hurwitz MD, Ronald Myers, and Chris Christiansen are simply guilty of trying to relieve the suffering of their intractable pain patients. 

This often requires us to

“Increase the dose”

If we as a culture continue to punish pain patients and the doctors that serve them no one will be safe accessing the incredible medical system we have developed in the US. 

Yes, complications occur. 

Yes, people are dying. 

From heroin/ fentanyl injection ODs,

Not

From responsible informed and well researched treatment of those in intractable pain who have failed every other therapy available.

“Run, Forest, run!”