Cholesteatoma, Deafness And ASL


Have you always wanted to learn American Sign Language, but didn’t know where to start?

Well, the best place to learn all of the rules, parameters and the full language, is from a certified, Deaf ASL professor. You should do that if you are able to at all. You should also try to find a Deaf community to hang out with and go to Deaf events. Most of the communities are so amazing and we welcome all levels of ASL. We are excited for you to learn and happy to help. If you want to do that, but you don’t have the money or the venue to take those special classes; the next best place to start, is by heading over to YouTube.

There are several great places online where you can get started learning for no cost. Lifeprint.com is just one example, Handspeak.com is another, but first I wanted to let you know that I do have some “ASL Basics- Vocabulary” lessons at my YouTube channel :

My YouTube Channel @ASLSuzyQ

The important thing is that you don’t just learn vocabulary, although that’s a great place to start. You need to learn about the language, culture, community and its history! I do have several videos that are a little bit about each of these things. I have one video about “How to get a Sign Name”. There are other videos that include “Deaf President Now” movement in the 1980’s. Also the Sign Language community that was living in Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts; in the early 18th century until 1952.

I’ve been using ASL since I was 11 years old. I was babysitting and hung out with a Deaf family of 6. I grew up mildly Hard of Hearing due to recurrent ear infections and numerous ruptured ear drums with scarring. I always had to sit in the front of the class because I couldn’t hear well. Later, when my elementary school performed hearing tests, they informed my parents that I needed tubes in my ears because I wasn’t hearing well. I had multiple operations from ages 7 through 12 or 13 years. However, I did not get hearing aids until much later.

I went to Deaf school events, such football games at MSD (Michigan school for Deaf). I fit right in and felt comfortable. I later went to college and a group of 16 Deaf students in the dorms, were my best friends. We watched “General Hospital” with closed captioned. We went dancing and had some great times together!

Later on, I took a break for a year and a half & went to work at a school in Arizona with Deaf preschoolers. I loved that job. I was ecstatic to find out that I’d beaten out several other candidates for that position because of my skills. I also worked at a Deaf relay center called ADARA or “Arizona Deaf Assistance Referral Association” while I was living in Scottsdale.

After working there for about a year and a half, I went back home to finish my degree in Sign language studies & Interpreting. I then got hired as an educational interpreter for a school district and stayed on Interpreting for my Alma Mater. I got married, had two daughters and 8 years later I became a single mom.

I needed to take care of my girls and I immediately got a full time job with full benefits at the University hospital. I was a “Secretarial float” & wore a pager so that I could be notified when Deaf clients/patients needed me to Interpret for them. I loved my job. At that same time, I was an Interpreter at a school district nearby. I also volunteered as a pro tactile interpreter for Deaf/Blind medical screening events a few times each year.

I continued attending workshops at my Alma Mater and one in particular stands out in my memory. I met an amazingly intelligent and kind man who impacted the rest of my life, in a good way! His name is Art Roehrig and he was a Deaf/Blind guest speaker at one of my most memorable workshops. He told stories about how he’d grown up at a residential Deaf school and discovered that he had Ushers Syndrome, when he was a teen. He shared jokes and told us all about how he was living independently. He was a public speaking and later worked at and then retired from Gallaudet University. I still email with my long time friend, Art.

Back in 2002, I was involved in an Catastrophic car accident. A man ran through a red light and I suffered multiple injuries, surgeries and a Traumatic brain injury. I went through 11 surgeries up until now, and 3 years of TBI (brain injury) rehabilitation. I am left with many medical issues, including several high pain chronic illnesses, chronic pain, a stroke, heart attack and I received a permanent dual chamber pacemaker. Since the car accident, I’ve had vision issues, such as “halo vision” and a Convergence Insufficiency. Also, due to the TBI, my hearing declined even more. Prisms were placed in my eyeglasses for quite awhile and I was fitted with two hearing aids for mild.

My hearing declined over the years and the past 4-5 years it was rapidly declining more. I was waiting until my husband retired this past year, to be fitted with new hearing aids. They’re so expensive ($6,000.00), so I had to wait until we got new insurance, that would help with the cost.

When I went for the hearing test, they were concerned because my bilateral hearing loss had very much worsened. The right side was also now a mixed hearing loss and not only sensory-neural. The ENT ordered a CT scan & later in May 2019, I was diagnosed with an auditory tumor, called a Cholesteatoma. I had a very scary & difficult brain/inner ear surgery on July 26, 2019. I got two new & improved digital hearing aids. But they’ve been nothing but trouble with one thing or another since I got them! We had to pay $1,500.00 of the cost plus $150.00 for the ear molds (which now both have split on me and I’ve only had them for a few months). I’m ready to give up on them.

My hearing bones, eardrum & Mastoid were all diseased from the tumor. I received a Tympanoplasty, a Mastoidectomy (called a Tympanomastoidectomy) & a titanium Anvil, a prosthetic ear-bone. I’ve had Vertigo, a tingling, droopy top, right lip & my tongue has no sensation or taste on the right side, since that surgery this Summer. Oh… and I’m Deaf in my right ear and Moderate/severe HoH in my left ear. The deafness isn’t my problem. The fact that I have to live a lifelong battle with a reoccurring tumor, (that’s like a cancer in the way that it grows into the brain & can kill you. Also in the way it can repeatedly grow back); that is my problem! I have to go back in Spring 2020, for another of the same surgery, possibly. The micro Neuro-Otologist surgeon, told me “to be prepared”. This thing is the “Never ending story”. An endless battle that results in multiple painful & scary surgeries and deafness. But as I said, deafness is not the problem. I’ve been part of the Deaf community since age 11. It’s the lifelong battle with more pain & surgeries on top of the current pain…..that is the major issue for me.

If you’d like to follow me in social media, I will leave the links for you, below:

1) http://www.instagram.com/ASLSuzyQ

2) http://www.facebook.com/ASLSuzyQ

3) http://www.twitter.com//ASLSuzyQ

4) http://www.youtube.com/ASLSuzyQ

5) http://www.tiktok.com/asl_suzyq

6) http://www.facebook.com/groups/ASLExpress (*This one is an ASL info, & help group)

My new Hearing aids:

Tides Turning For Opioid Patients?


Hello Luvs,

This PDF was sent to me by my friend & fellow advocate, David Cole. I wanted to find a good way to share it with everyone. Please let me know if you have any problems at all with sharing it.

Thank you and I wish each of you peace, Hope, love & Light. Let’s hope that the people in Washington state will help to share their awareness with the other 49 states. I truly pray that someone who is capable and willing to help the chronic intractable & high impact pain community reads this File. I hope that someone will help us. Please start to once again take care of the sick, disabled and those living with horrible daily pain.

Please read this file about the tide starting to turn in the state of Washington for the pain community. Our voices are finally being heard. Share this everywhere far and wide with News Media & On Social Media! We deserve to live some semblance of a life; same as everyone else. We are not “less than” other people who haven’t gone through tragedy or illness. We are worth it!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tibqrx8clichs39/Opioid-PatientsINS2019-02.pdf?dl=0

Update On Upcoming Skull-Neuro-Ear Surgery


Hello Everyone !

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: tearsoftruth@yahoo.com

Love ❤️

Suzy

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!

9 Pieces of ‘Health Advice’ It’s OK To Ignore if you Have Chronic Illness


Hello Luvs,

Well, I’m sure that you all have those friends &/or that family member who always has “advice” for your chronic illness? Don’t you just want to make them feel how you feel for about 30 minutes, at times? Let them feel the pain and suffer as you do, just for awhile? Better yet, don’t tell them that it’s only for 30 minutes! Let them think they’ll feel that way forever; for life! No end in sight just like you(us) and no cure! What if they thought they had to live with it forever? Do you think they’d be changed?

I get so tired of people giving advice, when they have absolutely no idea what it’s like to look pretty much “fine” on the outside; while feeling so much pain & fatigue.

9 Pieces of ‘Health Advice’ It’s OK to Ignore If You Have a Chronic Illness https://themighty.com/2018/12/bad-health-advice-chronic-illness/

They Fell like Dominos: My License, My Certification, My Profession


Hello Luvs,This blog post is actually something that was written and sent to me by Dr Mark Ibsen, MD, a physician from Helena, MT. He wrote and says:

“I had similar experience. 
Guilty. 
Not even “guilty until proven innocent”
Just guilty. 
Once they set their sights on you,
You
Are
Fkkd. 

This system is feudal. 
Primitive. 
Insensitive. 
Ineffective. 
Unchecked, as in no checks or balances. 
Run by appointed people who are completely unaccountable. 
No recourse. 
In the name of “safety”, 
With no evidence of harm. 
Like a trip to the Gulag. 

The key is for patients to realize that doctors have become so vulnerable that we cannot risk ANY exposure to ANY accusations. 
A risk-averse environment due to the hostile regulatory environment we now have. 

So, as more and more patients despair over being abandoned by this system, the sacred physician patient relationship is further tarnished. 

I, for one, will continue to stand by the patients I can, and pray for those I cannot.” 

Here’s the article that accompanied the email from Dr Mark Ibsen, MD:

They Fell like Dominos: My License, My Certification, My Profession

Mark Ibsen MD
Helena MT

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.

Making Peace With My Pain?


*********PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE!!! WHAT GOT POSTED IN “NTL PAIN REPORT” TODAY (9-22-18), WAS EDITED AND CHANGED INTO SOMETHING ELSE. I’M NOT A WHINER NOR AM I WEAK! I HAVE A VOICE & I’M VERY STRONG!! I SENT IN SOMETHING WRITTEN FROM MY HEART & SOUL. IT’S BEEN CHANGED INTO SOMETHING UNRECOGNIZABLE! THOSE ARE NOT MY WORDS OR THOUGHTS AT ALL. THIS IS MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE AND BELOW, YOU CAN READ MY OWN THOUGHTS AND WORDS:

Hello Luvs,

In this time of uncertainty for chronic and/or intractable pain patients please stop telling us to “make peace with our pain”. Until you have walked in my shoes, do not try to dictate what is best for my situation. If you hurt your back momentarily or you have several aches and pains, then by all means, use “mindfulness”, “accept your pain” and then “make peace with it”. I don’t care what you do with it honestly, but stop telling me/us to “make peace” with now, uncontrolled chronic daily pain at a 7/8, knowing that it’s forever. My health decline has continued year after year with increasing medical issues piled on top of the old injuries; going on 16 years now.

Unless you actually live with daily intractable pain, don’t to tell me/us how to manage it. If you’re a writer, motivational speaker or a politician, stop giving advice when you don’t truly understand the nature of living with 8 chronic pain illnesses. If you have one chronic illness and “accepting the pain” or “making peace” with it works for you, then by all means, go for it!

Let me explain for those who don’t really know the person they are preaching to on social media. It’s not always Psychological, hysterical or a history of abuse that causes ongoing pain. Sometimes things just happen that cause a very strong person to live with very high pain. When that pain gets more complicated and worsens as time goes by, and it is forever; that is when acceptance, making peace with your pain, grounding and mindfulness don’t work very well.

I was a very active single mom with two young daughters. I had a career as an Interpreter for the Deaf at a major University hospital and school districts. I taught aerobics and was the jump rope team’s coach at the Elementary school. I visited different schools to share Deaf culture and American sign language. One day a man ran a red light and changed all of that for me. Afterwards, I worked very hard at 3 years in TBI rehab, 9 years of PT/OT, driver rehabilitation and speech therapy. I ended up with 2 hearing aids and prisms in my glasses for a long time. For 3 years I refused opioid medication due to the stigma or “taboo” of taking it. I did Biofeedback and the red line was “off the charts” showing that my pain was very high and I needed some other intervention. I was the woman who graduated with honors, never drank or smoked. I was not taking that medication. I worked with a pain Psychologist at a pain clinic. I had several epidural nerve blocks, trigger point injections, cortisone injections and other medications(*most either made me violently ill or I was allergic). I endured 8+ surgeries, including 2 screws and a pacemaker with a cardio messenger box next to my bed. They told me to “trust them” and take the opioid pain medication or I was going to stay in that hospital bed in my home. I finally accepted the fact that just as people with hearing loss need hearing aids and those with vision issues wear glasses and Diabetics take insulin; I needed to take pain medication to give me back my life, or some semblance of a life.

For 13 years, I’ve been as active as I can be. I don’t lay in my bed and wallow or feel sorry for myself. I have been a US Pain Ambassador, on the Board of Directors and even won “U.S. Pain Ambassador of the year 2016”. I’m a patient Leader for WEGO Health, have been on 3 different radio shows and I have been a mentor for newly Diagnosed CRPS patients. I have a popular blog and write for National Pain Report. I’ve done many fundraisers, awareness events and still currently lead several online groups while helping several non-profit groups with whatever they need help doing. I live with several high pain chronic illnesses, including: systemic/full body CRPS, EDS type 4/vascular, Chiari (with migraines), Right Long Thoracic Nerve Neuropathy, Autonomic Neuropathy, R.A., Dysautonomia/POTs, Coronary Spasms (Prinzmetal Angina), Degenerative Disc Disease with multiple herniate and bulging discs, Spinal Stenosis, Chronic erosive Gastritis, Gastroparesis, SIBO and multiple heart issues.

I’m at 25% of of what I was taking for the past 13 years. Two of my specialists wrote letters on my behalf, to my pain Dr.; explaining that with the multiple illnesses that I live with, the patch is and has been proven to be the very best thing that works for my pain. One of my specialist physicians wrote “why break what doesn’t need fixed? She’s been active and doing so well and this could land her inpatient and in declining health”. My pain Dr. said “this is Bullshit, his license is not any better than mine. If he wants you to have the patch then let him prescribe it”.

I continue to be quickly tapered against my will. I’m in my “Lazy Boy” recliner 16-18 hours every day.

This is what my “forever” is looking like now. I went from teaching aerobics, American Sign Language, being the Elementary schools’, Jump Rope Team coach and an active mother and then grandmother, to “living” in a recliner daily. I’m not focusing on the pain, in fact I’ve done everything to not focus on it. I went through 43 hours of labor and then a C-section, twice; while being sent home with Motrin 800 per my own choice. I’m not a “baby”, nor am I an “addict”. In fact I have a letter from the Pain Psychologist, stating that I “do not have an addictive personality”. So stop telling me to plant my feet (with open sores on them, by the way) into the earth to practice “grounding”. Don’t tell me to “make peace with my pain” or accept it; unless or until you have walked one full day in my shoes! If you haven’t experienced pain on these levels, then stop preaching to the choir. I, for one am getting very tired of defending myself and the rest of the pain community on the subject of opioid pain medication therapy. It does work for some of us just as Insulin helps the Diabetic to continue living.

**The Article Ed edited & changed totally & which appeared to be written by an illiterate 5th grader. Is in its entirety at the Ntl pain Report but for your convenience I’ve recopied what Ed Coghlan wrote in place of what I had sent to him:

Making Peace With Pain (by: Ed Coghlan)

Please stop telling me to make peace with my pain.

I can’t right now and haven’t been able to do for many years.

And it’s getting worse.

My health decline has continued year after year with increasing medical issues piled on top of the old injuries; going on 16 years now. If you have daily intractable pain, you know what I’m talking about.

It is not always psychological, hysterical or a history of abuse that causes ongoing pain. Sometimes you just hurt—a lot.

I was once a very active single mom with two young daughters. I had a career as an Interpreter for the Deaf at a major University hospital and school districts. I taught aerobics and was the jump rope team’s coach at the Elementary school. I visited different schools to share Deaf culture and American sign language.

Then a man ran a red light and changed my life. I have endured 8+ surgeries, including 2 screws and a pacemaker with a cardio messenger box next to my bed. They told me to “trust them” and take the opioid pain medication or I was going to stay in that hospital bed in my home. I said ok

For 13 years, I’ve been as active as I can be. I have been active with a national pain advocacy group and I contribute to the National Pain Report and have worked to advance the wants and desires of the millions of people like me—people who suffer from this cruel condition.

This “reduction” in opioid prescribing has hit me hard. I’m taking  about 25% of what I was taking for the past thirteen years. Specialists who treat me have written letters to my pain doctor explaining that with the multiple illnesses I live with, the patch is the best thing for me. My pain doctor, feeling the pressure of the CDC guideline, refused to do it.

Now I’m in a “Lazy Boy” recliner 16 hours a day because I’m being tapered against my will.

Not what I want. Not what I’ve been.

I could tell you much more, but if you’re like me, you know.

It’s not fair.

Suzanne Stewart is a chronic pain patient (and advocate) who lives in Michigan. She is a contributor to the National Pain Report.

***Lastly,

This Bio which is usually on all of my NPR articles, is missing today….. here’s what it normally says:

Suzanne has lived with a Systemic CRPS & several other chronic pain illnesses since a MVA in 2002. Prior to being disabled from chronic pain, she was an Interpreter for the Deaf at a hospital & worked with Deaf children. Since 2005, Suzanne’s been a patient Health advocate, support group leader & Mentor.  She continues doing these things today, but also does public speaking, awareness events and she’s a Writer/blogger & an Ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation. The statements and opinions that she provides are her own and should not be taken as the stance, position or viewpoint of the U.S. Pain Foundation. For entertainment she creates advocacy videos & uplifting ASL cover song videos on You tube and she writes in her own blog Tears Of Truth. You can follow her here: TearsofTruth.com

This was my photo + Bio on them”staff columnists” Page under the “Our Team” Tab.

This is the email I rec’d from Ed Coghlan, after I was trying to let him know how upset I was that he “gutted” my (this) article. He added words that I hadn’t written. He changed the powerful message that was in my original story; to one of weakness and whining! Needless to say, I don’t want to write for someone that would call this an “edit”. Then send me an email at 12:05 AM, saying that he was going to publish this article in the morning (6 hours later); without ever allowing me to see the “edits”! I finally asked if I could please see the final copy and about 1:00-1:30 AM, I received the skeleton of my former original article. I begged him not to post it as it was. He’d gone to bed and scheduled it to post at 6:00 am! I was getting all kinds of comments from persons who recognize my writing when they see it and when they don’t! The rest is history!

PS- Btw, he couldn’t get hold of me on Saturday because I have recently been quickly tapered against my will; from my LA/ER pain medication that I’d been taking since 2005. I was in horrible pain from the added emotional strain from my resignation from US Pain Foundation Board of Directors & from USPF. Then the very next day this happened.

My husband called Ed in my place because I’m conscientious and would never just not respond. He told my husband that “he was not comfortable talking with him”! Well he’s also my caregiver and I wasn’t able to speak at that point. It all came tumbling down!