Sunday, September 27, 2009

Unexpected Endings

Whenever I thought about possibly going deaf, it always seemed a remote possibility…couldn’t really happen to me. The further I got from my NF2 diagnosis, it became even more distant. Then I lost my right ear’s hearing through the operation…but still…my left ear’s hearing was outstanding. I still remember though almost the exact moment I lost a chunk of my “good” ear’s hearing. I was standing out in the garage for a sale we had that morning, and I realized my ears felt stuffy and I wouldn’t be able to understand the customers. At that point I thought it was just a cold or allergies, nothing more. Then over the next few days it didn’t improve. Oh I could still hear some. I could even hear voices, but I could not understand what was being said.

It happened during a stressful time in my life anyway so this certainly didn’t help things. I will always be thankful though that I lost my hearing in gradual phases. The Lord was so gracious in allowing me time to adapt. It gave me time to adjust a little each time I dropped to the next level and to grieve the changes it caused as a result.

This year after I had my hearing test and never had to push the button when I heard the beep…because I heard never heard a beep. After looking at the test results the doctor asked me if my hearing aid did me any good. I assured him it at least helped me hear when my dogs were barking that someone was at the door. My hearing couldn’t be so bad that a hearing aid wouldn’t even help at all, could it?

A couple of weeks after that appointment I was honest with myself. It made no difference whether my hearing aid was in or not, I couldn’t hear anything going on around me…no matter how loud it was. I decided it was time to quit wearing my hearing aid. Silence though was not an option. That’s when I learned being deaf wasn’t about no sound. Now instead of voices, laughter, dogs barking…I hear whistles, bells, trains…all kinds of “fun” noises. Sometimes I can even manage to make a song out of the noises, to at least make the tinnitus less annoying. The worst though is when it sounds like someone is singing or playing a piano out of key! That grates on my nerves after “listening” to it all day long. The noises change or get louder when I move my eyes. The other day the tinnitus almost sounded like a bell choir. Well when I moved my eyes different directions the pitch changed. If anyone saw me they would have thought I was insane, but I started moving my eyes back and forth and all around. It was like getting to hear a bell choir playing a song again. Whether it is a roar, a screech, static or a bell, I have learned these are the Sounds of Silence.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What a Weekend!

I told my son last night that this weekend the two events that changed my life the most are celebrated. Today is my son's 13th birthday, and of course tomorrow is Easter, the celebration of my Lord's conquering sin and taking my punishment. Wow, that's a lot to honor and celebrate in a two-day period.

I hope everyone has a meaningful and loved Easter!

Until we meet again...

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm still here...

although you wouldn't know it by my lack of posts on here! I seem to keep waiting for life to slow down so I can catch up on would think by now that I would have learned that doesn't happen, and I need to figure out a way to get everything done regardless.

I am a list maker. In the recent past, I have struggled with not completing my list or it being outdated by the time I can get to it. I was trying to be diligent and stick to one task until it was completed and then to move on. I had a lightbulb moment in realizing that does not work for me. I thought of that saying about keeping all of the plates in the air spinning. If I spent all of my time twirling one plate, then the others would crash. If I rotate between them, they may not spin as quickly...but for the most part they will keep spinning. Now I am trying to work on a task for a certain amount of time, move on to the next plate and so on. I try to not have too many plates in the air at once, since tasks do need to be completed at some point...I find Doss is a little picky and insistent on having clothes to wear...pre-teens! ;) I rotate between a few, and as I finish one off add another one in. During the weekday I mainly switch between work items, and then later in the day focus more on home items, but they do intermix to a certain degree.

This manner also lets me pace myself physically. I try to alternate something more physical with something where I can sit down. For instance, I will fill some orders and then enter product in the store. This may not be rocket scientist stuff, but it is a new way of doing things for me...based on new situations and limitations.

Oops, I am about to drop a plate, so I had better switch to the next one. :)

Until we meet again...

Friday, November 28, 2008

I've Gained...

Besides any weight I might have gained eating holiday goodies ;) I've also gained many things, as a result of my hearing loss and even through the things I miss. Let's get right to it tonight.

I've Gained...

  • a unique relationship with my son...he often is my "ears" and as a result it requires he and I to communicate even more than we normally would...which is a great thing
  • a more compassionate son....he is so tender and aware of other's needs because of my situation. He's also comfortable around anyone, no matter their situation or disability
  • a walk with the Lord that isn't always easy but it is real...some aspects of my walk with the Lord I had always taken at face value, as far as what I believed...the hearing loss and difficulties from it, resulting in my questioning things, and as a result believing because I know why I believe them...not just because that's what I have been told.
  • a thankfulness for life would have been so different even 20 years ago...there are so many amazing ways that technology makes my life easier and allows me to frequently keep in touch with those I love...and there are new products constantly being developed too.
  • I can easily focus in the midst of chaos...noisy restuarant, music blaring...I can't hear it so it doesn't distract me :)
  • I don't have to listen to those pesky telemarketing phone calls!
  • seeing such a tender and amazing side of not only those I know, but also strangers. Just this past week, I went to Sonic (a place I frequent all too often!). I am able to order there over the speaker if I am just getting my normal Route 44 coke. I don't need to be able to hear them on the speaker for that, which I love. The week prior I had gone with Doss after school and gotten a few things there, and the guy taking my order had come out to clarify a couple of things and found out I couldn't hear. Well this past week, it was the same guy, and after I had given my order...he came out to my car and he had written down my order on a piece of a paper, along with what the total would be....just to verify he had it correct and so I would know the thoughtful is that?! I would never have seen that thoughtfulness if I could have easily heard him. People go out of their way to communicate in a kind way to make sure I understand them. I also go to a small group at church and often miss what is discussed. One lady, Emily, is always thoughtful in making sure she sits where I can read her lips and swatting her hubbies arm if he ever blocks his own mouth from my view. :) One lady Brandi, just came up with an amazing and generous idea....she is going to bring her laptop from now on and type throughout the meeting what everyone is saying so I can not only "hear" but also be able to participate....WOW! That is so generous of her to do that...her fingers will be tired. :)
  • I've seen on a daily basis in real and tangible ways the grace the Lord gives me to handle my hearing loss and other issues. He is so faithful...really!!
  • SO much more than I have lost, and I never dreamed I could honestly say that...but I can!
Until we meet again...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Almost Thanksgiving....Impossible!

Where does the time you remember when you were younger (okay it takes a bit of effort, but I can remember a few things from back that far!) and time seemed to tick tock slowly by....holidays seemed to never get here, summer vacation was never long enough. Now, every time I turn around it has been another year. I feel like I just finished last year's holiday season. I wish I could figure out a way to slow things down. I want to enjoy each season, each holiday, the everyday moments in each day, but so often things are just a blur. This is something I plan on focusing on this coming embrace the moments, both good and bad, and enjoy the precious gift of watching my son grow up into a fine young man.

In light of my effort to embrace everything in my life, I want to do a couple of lists. The first is an "I miss" list. I've grieved this year over my hearing loss. Even though I haven't been able to hear well for several years, this year I pretty much lost the rest of it. Plus, in previous years I had other things that I had to focus on so I find I hadn't really dealt with the loss. Just like any loss in our lives, there is grief that comes with it and the sooner we deal with it, the sooner we begin to heal.

I Miss...

  • Hearing Doss' voice...especially since he's at the age where his voice is changing. I will never have heard his new deeper voice. I could always imagine his voice up until now because I can remember what he sounded like when he was younger.
  • Music....oh my I miss music. Music was always a catalyst for worshipping the Lord. It just touched my heart in ways nothing else can, and I felt so close to the Lord during the music as a result. I miss being able to turn on fun music to get me going while cleaning the house. I miss hearing Christmas Carols this time of year when I am out driving and running errands.
  • Being able to eaily multi-task. I find I can only do one activity at a time, and not even that if I need to talk during it. I used to scrapbook with friends, but now if I do it, I don't get any scrapbooking done since I have to look up and focus on the person's face when they are talking. If I am doing the dishes, I can't casually visit with someone sitting at the dining room table. I miss the overall ease of doing any activity and being able to communicate without effort.
  • Being able to talk to my sister on the phone! Years ago Julie and I rang up MANY high phone bills through our multiple calls each month. It was nothing for us to talk two hours....over important, critical matters :) It stinks that now that we have the cellular world and we could talk whenever (even during the day!) and for us long as we would like, without worry of the cost, that we can't do it. I miss when I am excited I can't pick up the phone and share it with her. I miss when I am hurting I can't talk to her about it. Of course we do email and chatting, but there is still a loss from this. You can tell so many things from a person's voice that are hard to know just by reading what someone has to say.
  • Being able to have a conversation without stressing out that I am going to say something wrong or silly because I didn't understand what was said. I dread that look I get when I say something in response to a question I heard wrong, and the person looks at me like I am either losing it or am very slow. I get now where the deaf and dumb expression comes from...though I don't like it. Because communication is so difficult, I avoid a lot of it and if not I struggle and miscommunicate many times....making me not seem very intelligent.
  • hearing the doorbell ring, my dogs barking, the phone ringing, the sound of kids playing outside, hearing laughter...

Many things, but I have also gained many things as a result of my hearing loss. My next post will be what I am thankful for as a result of losing my hearing. The Lord is faithful to give us the grace we need, and He has done so abundantly and given me such joy in the midst of it.

Until we meet again...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Well hello, this feels a little odd writing my first post...especially since no one will probably read it. :) I am writing this more for a way to focus on what is going on in my life and what is working and what is not. Hopefully I can learn from others through your comments as well. As I said on my profile, my heart's desire is to see myself through the Lord's eyes and to let that define me.

It is so easy at times to view myself through other people's eyes, or even my own, and those views are not always accurate. It took me a while to figure that one out. :) The only one who can always see the situation as it is and can see my heart is the Lord. The world's standards are so different than mine so if I use people and the things around me as my guide, it will always be "off". I also can easily get myself in trouble too. I am a people pleaser so if someone sees something "wrong" with me then I am quick to want to change. Now of course the Lord can use people to show me areas in my life that need changing or adjusting, but just because someone says I am missing the boat, doesn't automatically make it so. I must first consider the it wise counsel in love...are others seeing this same issue....and first and foremost take it to the Lord in prayer. Now these are the things I SHOULD do....that doesn't always mean that is what I actually do....okay, let's be honest here...many times I don't. I get caught up in trying to please the person and show them how great I really am :-) rather than focusing on pleasing the Lord.

Hopefully this blog will give me accountability too. I am committed to being honest and true to who I really am, so it would get old to have to sign on here and repeatedly tell you how I have failed. ;) That will be a good motivator!

Please always feel free to leave a comment...I would love to get to know you!

Until we meet again...