#WhyISign


This is my story for # Why I Sign? Transcript: Hello,, my name is Suzanne, last name Stewart. #Why I sign? I have a story: I was born Hearing & my family is hearing. I’m the past, I babysat for 6 Deaf kids, children. They lived next door. A Deaf family, full Deaf with 6 Deaf children. One day I was babysitting & something happened. But before that, we were playing games, learning signs for colors, numbers, Fingerspelling, days, months and family signs and different things. One day, one of the little girls, ohh about 9 years old was behaving badly. I said “come here… go to your room and stay there”. She was crying a little bit. She ran out and came to me bawling. She told me something but it went over my head and I understood nothing! I was thinking “hmmm… No, you need to go back to your room and stay there. She ran out to me again bawling, crying so hard. I said to her, “what’s wrong? What’s wrong? What happened? Whaaat? She started to slowly Fingerspell “b-e-e in my r-o-o-m”! Ah haa “Wonderful!!” I finally understood what was wrong! “Ohhh..Poor baby!” I felt awful! …..I said “I’m so sorry, I feel awful!”  I said “please forgive me”? She said it was Ok, she was fine! I became more fascinated in learning ASL/Sign language. I just love it so much! (*No English word exactly for “hand kiss”- but it kinda means I just love it so much” or “it’s my favorite”) … I got books and learned more signs on my own. I went to College and graduated 1985! Then I worked as a hospital Interpreter, a school Interpreter and I worked at a Deaf school in AZ. I flew to Arizona and lived there for 2 years! I worked there and enjoyed it and had so much fun! I missed my family so I went back home.Then in 2002, I was in a very bad car accident. I had so many injuries, it was bad. So many pain problems and 10 surgeries, they kept adding up! My hearing deteriorated! Isn’t it Strange for an Interpreter to get hearing loss? It’s true, I have two hearing aids. But it doesn’t matter,I’m fine. I don’t care. I’m happy and proud! I already know ASL/Sign language! THATS #WHYISIGN ….bye ..Love you!

Click here for video #Whyisign
Made with #VideoShow-https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1112850631

Please Take 1 Minute


I am excited to announce that I have been nominated for the Wego health “Best in show-Blog” award category in the sixth annual Wego health awards.

Wego helped is a mission driven Company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insight of patient leaders. They are the worlds largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually 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. The 16 award categories, the Wego health awards are the only awards across all conditions and platforms, that recognize the over 100,000 inspiring patient leaders who raise awareness, share information, and support their communities-but often without recognition.

First, I would like to say “thank you” to those who nominated me for this award. I appreciate the time, the kindness in your heart and thoughtfulness that it took to nominate me & this Blog, “Tears of Truth”. To be nominated for this award category “Best in Show-Blog” means so much to me. It means that I am reaching people and they enjoy reading what I write. I truly pray that I am helping people and reaching people who otherwise wouldn’t get some of the information that I offer and share. In being a patient leader I have gotten to work with many wonderful people, made new friends, and have had chances to do research on bio similar medications and other subjects to do with many aspects of various illnesses.

This year, the 16 Wego health award winners will be honored at the 5th annual patient advocacy summit in Washington, DC October 23 and 24th, 2017. I would love to be able to attend this advocacy event and collaborate with the industry leaders. If you’d like more information about the summit you can learn more if you Click here

I am now looking to my incredibly supportive network to help endorse me for this award. There is an easy way to endorse it only takes seconds of your time!  Click here to be taken to my Wego Health awards profile where you can click “Endorse” under my nominee photo.

If I had ever supported you, made you laugh, or inspired you to keep fighting-please consider endorsing me for this award? In advance, I would like to say once more “thank you so much”. Without you I wouldn’t have a popular blog and I wouldn’t be nominated for this honorable award.

@WEGOHealth

We Must ROAR 🐯 for PAM


Pain Awareness Month is fast approaching! September is the month for spreading awareness! This is an American Sign Language video of the song “Roar” , by Katy Perry. Let’s be strong and try to reach out to others living with chronic pain. (This will take you to my YouTube page “ASLSUZYQ”, feel free to Subscribe! Thank you!)

Please Help This Blog Win?


Hello Luvs!

This year for the WEGO HEALTH awards, my blog/this blog……our Blog; “Tears of Truth”, has been nominated “Best in Show””-Blog”! It was nominated through the WEGO Health awards website! We are so excited! Please just take a moment of your time and endorse my nomination by visiting the ensure below and just click on “endorse Suzanne Stewart”. I need your help to walk with me through this every step of the way, if you’d do me the honor? I did not participate last year when I felt that I couldn’t beg people to vote for me. But this year I feel like this blog deserves the award and “it” has been nominated. It’s not so much “ME”, but this Blog, that deserves the nomination and maybe, hopefully the award for “Best in Show-Blog”… here’s the link to endorse this blog! Thank you! So much! Please also “share this link”….thank you so very much, from the bottom of my heart!

 Here’s the link:

https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/562

Hope Is A Verb


img_7869We all lose hope at some point in our lifetime or another. We get sad and start feeling hopeless when too many things happen all at once; that we consider to be “bad”, hurtful or depressing. We may start to feel overwhelmed and this causes some of us to lose hope. Sometimes it is the way we feel inside because of something or some “things” that others have said or done to us or said about us.  Certain words or situations might hurt our feelings or even our ego possibly? The holidays seem to bring about an overabundance of  feelings, situations and even hopelessness. At a time when Charles Dickens’ ghosts would be telling us that we need to learn from our past, live in the present and look forward to our futures. It’s not as easy as it seems. Even the Hallmark Christmas stories, have characters who, by the end of the story, are healthy, happy and hopeful. Those of us living with daily chronic pain are not immune to the difficult, hopeless feeling situations that actually multiply for us during the holidays. You see, we get these feelings on top of  debilitating pain and most often, that brings with it, several illnesses and disabilities.

You might say to yourself, “What is she talking about? Why is she writing such a “downer” as this, during what most see as a happy time of year?” I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. It is this 4 letter word “HOPE”. It can be anything you make it, if you just think about it for a moment. People want “HOPE” to be brought to them. They want it as a “gift” from God. Some others think of it as a noun or a “thing” that we are entitled to. But in my lifetime I have come to love this sometimes mysterious 4 letter word. It intrigues me so much that I wear it on a chain around my neck. I have worn HOPE around my neck for years and years. It is my favorite of all words.  I always thought that I’d get out of a bad situation if I just had “Hope”. Things will get better if I just keep “hoping”.  I always thought that if I continue to wear my “Hope” necklace, then one day I will have “HOPE”; the noun, the “thing” that others seem to have.

But I did not “get” HOPE because you cannot wait for it, for the noun or the “thing” to come to you. I have learned that “HOPE” is a verb. A verb is an “action” word.  I have found that HOPE is also an action word and you have to DO something in order to have and keep HOPE! If you keep waiting for it to come to you, that is when you will lose it. For example; as a chronic pain patient, in order to find a good Dr., one whom you trust and respect; you must continue to look. You can’t sit back and “HOPE” that others will find the Dr. for you. You must do the work of looking, hunting on the internet and reading the different reviews about many many physicians. You might have to do the tedious work of going to 3, 4 or even 5 different Dr’s before you find the right “fit” for you. But after you do the actions, then you can receive the “HOPE”.  It will be rewarding to actively do the “work” or the job of looking for and getting what you want or need for yourself. Along with this comes the feeling of accomplishment and when you put those things together, you will feel more secure, happy and hopeful.  See how it works? If you choose to do nothing, feel sorry for yourself most of the time, and let others do it all for you; then there cannot be much HOPE. If you try your best and keep making the end goal of having and keeping HOPE; making it a verb and doing the actions; I think you will be surprised at how much better you feel inside.I’m not saying that you can never feel sad, loss or grief.  It is OK to feel sad sometimes, as long as you can get yourself back in time, before the loss of hope comes.

I have an example for you, and it just happened to me during these past few weeks.  I was feeling sorry for myself and a bit hopeless. Silly as it seems, I had taken off my “HOPE” necklace and everything just appeared to be a bit bleak. I was experiencing higher pain levels because we live in Michigan and it’s been so very cold. I don’t like going out much or at all during this part of the year because of the higher pain levels along with extreme cold. But I do want to go out, because this is my favorite season of  helping others, HOPEfulness and cheer. I love the lights, the music and the Christmas trees. I usually feel happier even when staying inside with my cat in my warm, cozy chair. I enjoy drinking something hot and watching the overly dramatic Christmas movies. But these past few weeks I had been feeling down and a bit hopeless.  I was feeling that I was trying even when I didn’t feel good enough to try anymore. I continued “doing” when I didn’t feel well enough to do the things that I just wanted to do.  But I was adamant about doing those things anyways. I realized that you must stop and take a time out, when you need one. It’s OK to be sad for awhile, but just when you feel that HOPE is lost, that is when you are keeping it as a noun and something that is given to you. But things will turn around when you remember to keep HOPE as a verb. Keep it as an action word and one in which you have to do something in order to have it. When you make HOPE a verb,something always happens to change the negative feelings in your life.

Just when my HOPE was draining, I received a large envelope in the mail.  Inside was a blue folder with the seal of Michigan on it. When I opened it, I started to cry and I was ecstatic. What I held in my hands was a “Special Tribute” from the Michigan House of Representatives  and from the Governor,  Rick Snyder!  I’ll Post a photo of the “Special Tribute” here so that you can read it. I have been rewarded when I have never asked for any rewards. I received a special tribute for the advocacy work that I do and my “compassion for others”.  I don’t have any idea where it originated?  I know who signed it and sent it to me; but what, how, why me?  All I know is that I was feeling down and tired of constant pain, even though my pain is somewhat controlled. I was losing HOPE because I was waiting for someone to give it to me. I had to remember again, that it is an action of “doing something”. Though I did receive something in the mail that truly cheered up my spirits. In the end, I did something to make it happen.

Don’t lose hope because it’s not something you can “hold or touch”; it’s something that you “DO” or “act upon”. My hero was an Advocate, Helen Keller.  She was blind and Deaf, but she never gave up. She was tenacious and I strive to be like her. Especially in that I’d gone to University to be an Interpreter for the Deaf and blind. I worked at a major Hospital as an Interpreter and at magnet schools for hearing impaired children. Then, in 2002, my car was hit by a man who ran through a red light. I won’t go into the multiple injuries and surgeries. But I will tell you how ironic it was/is that I am fluent in American Sign Language. Deaf culture & ASL have always been something that I love.  As a result of the car accident, I also suffered a “Traumatic Brain Injury”.  Part of that includes hearing loss and vision issues. I have a convergence insufficiency, chronic dry eye, my own hearing aids and prescription eye drops that I must use on a daily basis in order to keep from going blind.

Whenever I feel that I’m losing HOPE, I remember all that I have been through and all that I still CAN do. I try to remember to never stop doing the actions that keep my HOPE alive. Lack of action makes hope die and that is when I remember what my “hero”, Helen Keller, once said: “Your success and happiness lies in you.  Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

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Respectfully And Humbly Health Advocate Decides Not To Pursue Awards


2019

Hello Luvs,

If you see the pictures on this page you will notice that I was or have been nominated for a few, “WEGO health Activist Awards” this year for 2016. I was really excited to find out this news. I mean, I worked really hard this year and it’s such a “high” to think that someone thought inspired enough about the things that I have been doing all year.  I was nominated for: Best in show: BLOG …for THIS BLOG….now that is pretty cool, right?!  Next up is: Best in show : Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. How fun is this, right?

Well, it might be fun, or it might not? I never mind the hard work part. I love social media, computers, gadgets,  and technology in general. But I remember a few years ago, when I was a finalist for the “unsung hero” award. I realized that just being nominated was exciting. Becoming a finalist was very fun.  I humbly and gracefully accept these nominations. But I am respectfully pulling myself out of this “game”.

I have been a health advocate since 2005. I started out a Chemo-Angel and I’m still in that program. I am a Card Angel, Chemo-Angel, prayer angel, and special assignment angel for the program. When I got Diagnosed with RSD/CRPS in 2007, RSDHOPE.org put me in touch with a “mentor”. This was someone who’d had the diagnosis much longer and could answer my questions and just sort of “take me under their wing”. Later, I became a Mentor for newly Dx CRPS patients, myself; and have been one ever since that time.

I have always worked alone, never really a part of any big group or “family”. I was part of the Orsini family at RSDHOPE.org, since 2007. I still worked alone, made up my own awareness events, and started my own fundraisers. In 2014, I made several RSD/CRPS bracelets. I raffled them off during the month of CRPS Awareness, which is November. I made $250 and sent it in to RSDHOPE.org..   Mom Orsini was so kind and thankful, I’ll never forget her kindness.

So now I have joined a bigger “family” and it is the U.S. Pain Foundation. I joined this group, this wonderful, loving and kind group of fellow “Pain Warriors” just last year in 2015.  I love being a part of the U.S. Pain Foundation family.  We look out for each other, and they look out for me. My husband and I went to their advocacy retreat in August, this Summer 2016. I/We had  some of the most awesome times of  our lives. We made real lasting friends and memories to cherish. I have found my little places in the pain world and they are with the  U.S. Pain Foundation and RSDSA. I have more than enough to keep me busy and they always tell us to “take care of ourselves first”. We cannot be any good for anyone else, if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first.

I have great respect for the people and the organization at WEGO Health. I have done some research for them this year and enjoyed the online discussions afterwards. I got to meet “Julie” and I have become close to her. I would and will always help them at any time they need an extra set of eyes, hands or ears. I feel like our organizations together can empower pain patients by working side by side and giving a sense of “belonging”. This then makes us feel less alone on our pain journey.

I am very proud that WEGO health recognizes health activists and advocates annualy. But I am very happy to have been nominated because that nomination alone is a little bit of validation that I am inspiring someone and/or making a difference. To me, this is my “winning”.  I want to do wonderful things and help the underdog, the sick, the people with chronic pain and invisible illnesses. I honestly, do not want to spend my time getting people to vote for me so that I can “win” an award. I have my “win” and it’s in my heart and soul. My “win” is hopefully that I’m helping others like myself. I pray that I am spreading HOPE and even inspiring others. We need to keep HOPE alive in order to make sense of some of the outrageous things that have happened lately in the world of chronic pain patients. We cannot let things turn dark or lose HOPE. We have each other and together we are empowered and we are strong.  This nomination is enough for me and I thank you so much for those because that is my win, just being nominated.

This month was very busy and the next few months are going to be very busy for me. I have full body /systemic CRPS, along with many other health and pain issues from “A to Z”.  I need to put my energy into raising awareness for Chronic pain and for U.S. Pain Foundation. Spreading optimism and positive energy is where I wish to be. I will also be very busy with the quickly approaching  month of NOVEMBER. It is the month of spreading awareness for my invisible most painful illness of Systemic CRPS! I will be on the front lines with RSDSA, raising awareness and hopefully fundraising for them during this upcoming November 2016. As I’ve said before, “HOPE” is a verb.  You must DO SOMETHING in order to have it. Then you must continue to do something in order to keep HOPE ALIVE. I just prefer to spend my time helping others, tweeting, writing and blogging for the pain community and the RSD/CRPS community. I don’t want to spend my time begging for votes from people and bothering everyone I know to vote for me every day so that I may be recognized or “win” something. I am winning now. I am winning half the battle just by trying to be as kind and loving as I can to all people I meet. I am winning by spreading awareness and optimism and Hope. If I can keep one person’s HOPE alive, then I have already won. If I can keep my HOPE going along with it, that ‘s all the better!

Thank you so much everyone for your kind words and your faithfulness. Thank you for these nominations below and I will wear them with pride. I want to keep inspiring and winning the war against stigma of invisible illnesses and chronic pain patients. I want to fight against our losses in the medication issues we face now days. This is where I want to focus my little bits of energy each day. I want to stay focused on the issues stated above and  not on myself and “me, me, me” . I prefer to focus on YOU, my chronic pain family  and on my darling  very young granddaughters.  With these I have JOY along with HOPE and that is the best of both worlds for a chronic pain patient. I thank you again and I humbly want to withdraw from the WEGO Health awards 2016. Good Luck everyone.

 

Canton woman is a pain warrior


Joanne Maliszewski, jhometownlife.com 5:31 p.m. EDT September 9, 2016

Suzanne Stewart of Canton lives in pain – all of the time. And she knows plenty of others who share a similar lifestyle.

“It’s up there with cancer, childbirth and amputation of a finger without anesthesia,” said Stewart who suffers from a nerve or Neuro-autoimmune disease (RSD/CRPS). She also lives with: Chiari, R.A., O.A., Degenerative Disc Disease, Dysautonomia/POTS, Polyneuropathy in Collagen a Vascular Disease (= to EDS type 4,Vascular) and other issues.

As an ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation, Stewart – who attended an educational retreat in August – has a host of events and displays this month in Canton to spread awareness of living in chronic pain. The U.S. Pain Foundation serves as advocates for pain management through a variety of methods, including medicines.

Stewart’s life of pain began following an auto accident in 2002, which led to eight surgeries. She has since had a pacemaker installed, has had a stroke and heart attack all by her current 54 years of age. “One in three Americans lives in chronic pain,” Stewart said.

Suzanne Stewart and her husband, Craig, showing the
Suzanne Stewart and her husband, Craig, showing the display for awareness of chronic pain. (Photo: Submitted)
As a result of the auto accident, Stewart suffered nerve damage – a cause of much of her continuing pain. At times she is in a wheelchair, other times she uses a walker or a cane. She suffers continual swelling on her left side and has lesions from one of the autoimmune diseases.

As society fights against some types of prescriptions, Stewart wants the public to know that those medicines are necessary for her and others with chronic pain, to live their lives. She also wants the public to know that while no one can see her chronic pain, it’s there and it is very real. Offering an example, Stewart said she has a handicapped permit for her car. But she has had people gawk at her and question her because she does not look ill or handicapped.

“They don’t see it, but I can feel it,” Stewart said.

That has led to her making fliers and signs that say, “People with pain matter,” because she urges others to avoid judging those who live as she has to. “Don’t judge what you cannot see,” she added.

As part of increasing awareness and understanding, the U.S. Pain Foundation has kicked off a project asking those with chronic pain to send in their stories. “It’s really more of creating an understanding,” Stewart said.

Locally and for starters, Stewart has a display in the Canton Public Library through Sept. 16. It’s a display of facts and information about chronic pain and awareness, as well as information about he U.S. Pain Foundation and additional data about RSD/CRPS, the autoimmune diseases from which she suffers.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, she will attend the Canton Township Board of Trustees’ meeting to accept a proclamation designating September as “Pain Awareness Month.”

Other activities will include:

Wal-Mart in Canton, store No. 3476 on Ford Road: 1-3 p.m., spreading awareness of chronic pain with items from the U.S. Pain Foundation.
Monday, Sept. 12 from 10 a.m.-noon, Stewart will have a booth for “Senior Day” at the Canton Summit ..She will hand out items to increase awareness, as well as offering 400 bags of information and items for Seniors.
Stewart also plans to fundraise for the pain foundation and plans Someday, to head to Washington D.C. to meet with officials of individual states to raise awareness and to make changes for people living in pain, she said.

 

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original article is here:  http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/2016/09/09/canton-woman-pain-warrior/90134682/