As many of you know I been apart of the HLAA-Bucks chapter. They recently asked me to write my story out for the newsletter. It was offically published in the Spring newsletter
My mom taught me that God created me special and unique and that I was his special children. She reminded me of this often as I went through numerous learning and health issues in my life. And despite this she taught me never to give up and push through.
I was born into a hearing world, so when my hearing drastically went on me it was quite scary yet shocking not for myself but also my family. I am a very active person and love to bike, run, kayak and gardening, as well as other outdoor adventures. I am also very passionate with working with young children and currently employed at a childcare center as a teacher.
It is quite a mystery of when I actually started losing my hearing and if I was actually born with a mild loss but was misdiagnosed and over looked. The reason I say this is I struggle with processing disorder and they also diagnosed me with ADD-inatttentive type but the medication never helped. It was not until 2009-2010 that I noticed and my work noticed that there was something not right and creating difficulties in my work. I also started having dizzy spells at this time. It was not until after pushing my local ENT for a year to conduct a simple hearing test that I was officially diagnosed with a permanent moderately severe hearing loss. Well things continued to spiral downward as I continued having dizzy spells and my hearing decreasing more and more. Three months after the ininal test I was profound hearing loss and hearing aids were not helping me much.
After many appointments, tests and second options, I finally found hope with doctors at John Hopkins who figured out what was causing my rapid hearing loss and also the vertigo issues. I was diagnosed with bilateral menieres disease, vestibular migraines and profound hearing loss. At this point my hearing and the condition had affected my work, resulting in a leave of absence in October 2011. During this time the doctors and I decided the best treatment for both conditions was to implant my ears one at a time. It was not an easy decision for myself, more my family, but I knew I needed to do it for myself. Part of my decision came from meeting others through HLAA and my family and friends. I received my first implant in march 2012 and went bilateral October 2012. The surgeries were harder on me than most people. Not only did I have to relearn to hear, but also regain my balance. But I was determined and push through and it all paid off.
My hearing loss has not only affected me, but also my family and friends as it came to a shock, yet something that we are learning to accept. I have fully come to accept it and realize my hearing never will be like normal, but it is to the point I can function in the hearing world.
After being out of work for 15 months, I am back to the same job, teaching my kids. Hearing childrens voices is the one thing that brought tears of joy and something I truelly missed. My balance and menieres is well controlled and I am back fully to all my activities with running, biking, kayaking, etc.
One thing I learned from my hearing loss is having a disability is not about what you cannot do, it is looking beyond and learning what you can do. Anything is possible regardless of disability. Yes my deafness is part of me but does not define me. Two quotes that my mom encouraged me as she battled cancer and I battled my hearing “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain.” And “God did not promise days without pain, laughter without tear, nor sun without rain. But he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way.