When One Chapter Ends Another Begins

I have been a longtime soap opera fan. In 1997, one of my favorite actresses gave birth to a deaf son. I read that she was getting a cochlear implant for him. I was really intrigued cochleaand did some research about this device. I had discussions with people because I thought, “Wow, what an amazing device… this was one lucky kid to have parents who could afford something like this.” They stated that insurance wasn’t going to cover the cost of the implant for him. I would later find out that insurance started covering cochlear implants. This was my first exposure to the wonders of the cochlear implant.

Fast forward to 2002 when I started to notice that my husband was mumbling. It didn’t dawn on me that I was starting to lose my hearing because he was the only one mumbling. I later found out that I was having difficulty hearing male voice verses female voices.  A year went by when I felt that I needed to get a hearing test to find out, if in fact, I was starting to lose my hearing. What prompted me was the constant tinnitus I was experiencing and being told that was not normal. Even at this point I was able to hear female voices well, but male voices were still difficult.

The audiologist who performed my hearing test told me I would benefit from hearing aids, but my hearing loss was only moderate. In my opinion, I was still able to hear well enough that I wasn’t ready to spend the money for hearing aids and adding to an extra routine to my already busy day.

Everything was going well for me. I was able to stay socially active and started working as a contractor for several companies as a secret shopper. This is the type of job that requires a keen sense of hearing and I was managing fine evaluating employees. It wasn’t until January 2007 during a phone evaluation, I noticed that my hearing took a sudden turn for the worse. I could not hear the person on the other end. Thinking that we had a bad connection, I told the person I would call them back. I soon found out that it wasn’t a bad connection, but that overnight I lost a substantial amount of hearing. At that point, I ended the call and decided that I needed to get those hearing aids the audiologist told me about. That was one of my wake-up calls.

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Speak Up and Be Heard



As many of you know, I lost my hearing at age 44 and am a bilateral cochlear implant recipient. Receiving a cochlear implant gave me back something I took for granted. Even today I continue to hear new sounds. Sometimes it’s a bird chirping and sometimes it’s more complexed like hearing the words and melody to a song.Kaci and Me

May is better hearing and speech month. Statistics show approximately 20 percent of Americans, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss. Raising awareness about hearing loss and possible solutions is something that I hold close to my heart. Hearing loss is not selective, it holds no prejudice and anyone can be affected by it.

Being able to hear is important to me for so many reasons. I was born able to hear and at 44 years of age, I was shocked to learn that I was losing my hearing.  I quickly educated myself on what I needed to do to gain back my hearing.  From the time that I lost my hearing to the time I received my cochlear implant and onto to present day, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of better hearing and speech. Hearing allows us to more easily socialize, interact and in some ways it also helps to keep us calm. Being able to hear things such as alarms, sirens, and verbal warnings helps to keep us safe.

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From Lemons to Hearing Again…



“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” what exactly does that mean? Well, for lots-of-lemonsmost it means making the best of a bad situation. Sometimes in life it can be difficult to find the positive things in what may be an unfortunate life event. For some, it’s a feeling of hopelessness or fear of the unknown. For others, it means making changes in your life and seeing the situation for the positiveness that it can bring. The fact is, not everything can be changed. It’s those times you have to make a change in the way you are going to live your life with those so-called “lemons” that have been handed to you. Continue reading

A Reflection on Thankfulness


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With Thanksgiving just a mere day away, we have a tendency to reflect on what we are most thankful for.  For most of us, we have so much that we are thankful for that putting it into words takes a lot of time. There is always the small things that you take for granted, things you don’t realize you’re thankful for, until you don’t have it. For instance, I recently spent 5 months training for a 10K race. HardRock 5K Two days before the race, while out running, I tripped and fell on an uneven section of the sidewalk. I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong. I got up and finished running home, albeit, at a much slower pace and in excruciating pain. As it turned out, I fractured my radial head (the end of the radius bone at your elbow).  I just recently got the go ahead to type and I can almost fully extend my arm. It’s one of those small things that I’m thankful for. Being able to fully extend my arm will make a lot of what I do daily much easier!

I know that I have a lot to be thankful for and it’s hard to say what I’m most thankful for. However, an important part of who I am is being deaf. I lost my hearing at the age of 44. When you have a life-altering event like that, it changes you. It also makes you aware of those things you are thankful for. In regards to my hearing loss, I am most thankful for all the scientists and doctors who dedicated so much time in the creation of the cochlear implants. It’s a medical miracle for those who have hearing loss and want to hear again. Continue reading

You Can Do This: Life’s Firsts

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Anytime we do something for the first time, we inevitably feel a sort of fear within ourselves. It can develop into a real anxiety that can keep us from experiencing the great things life has to offer.

My parents moved to a new neighborhood when I was five years old. It is the earliest memory I have of being afraid to do something for the first time. I remember vividly, my mother pushing me out the front door and telling me to go play with the neighborhood girls, who were jumping rope, across the street. For a five-year old and probably for my mom, it was a “now or never” situation. At that moment, my five-year old mind told me I didn’t have a choice. I did what my mom told me to do. I thank her for that because it was my first experience to tell myself “you can do this.” I made my first friend in the new neighborhood and she is still my friend forty-seven years later. However, my new friend did not attend the same grade school as me and I was once again left to experience another first, alone.

Kindergarten can be a scary experience for children and I was no different. I remember the classroom with its three very long tables and the chairs that sat neatly along the six sides. It was after I examined these tables and thinking where am I going to sit, that I saw it. She called it the “dunce” chair and it frightened me. The dunce chair was for those kids that misbehaved. I vowed right then that I would never sit in that chair. I never did. I made it through another first, paving the way to more and more successful firsts in my life.

If we let fear keep us from doing things, we would live life in a box, never to experience what the world has to offer us. I get through most of life’s first by telling myself what my mom indirectly taught me that fateful day she pushed me out the door, “you can do this!”

There are many times I’m not confident, but I know in my heart that if I don’t jump in with two feet, I am going to miss out on something big. You see, anytime you let go of the fear, you end up with something bigger than you could imagine. You gain an experience that is gratifying and possibly life-changing. It will also boost your confidence to overcome that fear and give you the determination to go for it.

Losing my hearing wasn’t something I had any control over. I couldn’t tell myself “you can do this, in the sense that I had a choice. On the contrary, I told myself “you got this.” I could have felt sorry for myself and asked myself “why me?” Instead, I grabbed life with everything I had and forged ahead. Looking back at what I had was not an option for me. I couldn’t change that I had lost my hearing and I had faith that a cochlear implant would give me back what I lost. I am fortunate that it did. I continued to enjoy a whole new set of life’s firsts. Continue reading

What is Courage?



Courage, what does it mean for you? I know that it means different things for many people. For me, it means having the strength to push through your fear. I feel that there are many kinds of courage. It’s one of those things that can’t be compared. Lately, there has been a lot of comparing of different kinds of courage. The one comparison that has weighed heavy for me is the courage of a soldier vs. the courage of someone who is a public figure and announces that he is transgender.

Both have courage and both make an impact on people’s lives. A U.S. soldier fights for our freedom. He or she pushes through the fear and puts his or her life on the line to give us our freedom. We can all agree that we are very thankful to every U.S. soldier who has put their lives on the line and those who have given their lives for us. It takes a lot of courage to move past that fear and commit to a life of serving our country. Then there is the courage it takes for someone who is a public figure, who had won the gold medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics and set a world record in the decathlon, to announce to the world that he is transgender. She too, is impacting people’s lives. Albeit, in a different way than a soldier and why I say that courage comes in different forms. Her courage has hopefully opened the doors for others to be able to live the life they want to live. I am positive that her courage changed the lives for many people. I applaud both and I thank both.  Continue reading

Out with the Old, In with the New


Last week, I went in search of hangers for the clothes I just pulled out of the dryer. Amazingly, I couldn’t find a spare hanger in my closet or my husband’s closet. This seems to be a weekly occurrence for me. And every week I find myself pulling hangers out of the guest bedroom closet. At this rate, I’ll soon have no hangers left for guests, so I jumped into my car and headed out to the nearest store that sells hangers. For me, that was my local Target. Halfway there I thought to myself, do I really need to buy more hangers and shove more clothes into my already packed closet? No, so I turned the car around, marched upstairs into my bedroom and opened the closet door and examined. I did not physically go through my clothes, instead I just stood back and looked at them. From where I stood, I could see all the clothes I no longer wore. Why was I saving these clothes? One reason is, most of my clothes are in great shape and barely look worn. It wasn’t because I didn’t wear them, but because I’m a bit anal when I do laundry. So much so that my husband has been told not to wash my clothes. It’s tough to get rid of clothes that look almost brand new. The second reason is, that while I may not wear these particular clothes now, you just never know, I may want to in the future. This reason is a little crazy because I have clothes I have not worn in years. When I did wear them, I loved them. Why don’t I love them now? It’s not that I don’t love them now, I just got tired of them. So when I start to reason it that way, I have to tell myself, even though I once loved a particular piece of clothing, I no longer enjoy wearing it. What makes me think that in the future, I’ll go to my closet pick out this particular piece of clothing I haven’t wore in years and suddenly decide I want to wear it again? I won’t, that will never happen. Then of course, I have a small space in my closet that houses my sentimental pieces. Clothes that belonged to my brother who passed away in 1987, clothes that my mom made for me more me than 20 years ago and a Halloween costume I made myself, because you never know when you might want to be a flapper again.  Continue reading

Why are certain people planted in your life?


People come into your life for so many reasons. Sometimes you know the reason immediately and sometimes it takes years before you know why.

The first thing I notice when I meet someone is their smile. I’m not sure what it is about a person’s smile that makes me comfortable, but when I see someone’s pearly whites smiling at me, I always have such a warm feeling. When people make you feel warm and fuzzy, you naturally gravitate towards them and want to know everything there is to know. Where do you live, what do you do, are you married, do you have kids? It’s an endless list of questions trying to learn what you can about someone who has crossed your path. Sometimes those chance meetings grow into lifelong friendships.

My husband and I were recently on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. We have always liked having a set time to dine. We like having the same waitstaff and dining with the same people every night. It’s part of the cruise experience. We love finding out what everyone did that day, did they explore a place we haven’t, did they find great deals that we will have to remember for the next time, did they have fun! That’s probably the most important thing….fun. Everyone wants to have fun on vacation.  Continue reading