Feb 09 2016

Strength, Inspiration and our Inner Champion – by LeAnn Caseria

Published by at 2:42 am under Blog Contributors,Open Chat Night

Blog topic written by LeAnn Caseria

Hearing loss came upon me suddenly, there was no time to gradually get used to it. Not feeling the greatest one evening, my husband and I were watching a movie and “Bam!” ….I couldn’t hear out of my left ear, there was this non-stop buzzing going on and my right ear wasn’t doing so well either . Instantly my life was harder, at work it seemed impossible to understand voices, meetings were confusing and then I’d get HOME. Home, my refuge from the world, the place where I was loved and needed but suddenly everyone was mumbling and I couldn’t hear the TV. Daily headaches and vertigo did not help….I was a mess.

When bad things happen, how do you adapt? Where do you get your hope and strength? Do you have a huge untapped inner core of strength that you tap into? And when that’s running low, how do you fill it back up? Do you have a family to rally around you and cheer you on? Or, do you have family that is used to you taking care of them and being their cheerleader? How do you cope when so many need you? Do you smile at your spouse as you go out the door saying “Don’t worry….I’ll be fine” when inside you’re thinking “holy crap, how am I going to get through today?”

If life has taught me anything, its’ that we all need an “inner champion”. That’s that place that you draw your strength from on those hard days. When you’ve been up all night with a toddler who has the stomach flu and you have that important presentation to give at work. You know “those” days when life just is really, really hard and we all know that hearing loss is HARD.

I needed all the strength I could muster to deal with my sudden hearing loss. Life was so different. Would it have been easier if it hadn’t been so sudden? I have no idea, but I was looking for inspiration. In addition to the doctors who were treating me, I saw a counselor who encouraged me to take care of “me” while I was dealing with this. He knew that I loved to read and recommended true stories of people who had overcome challenges.

Josh Sundquist became one of my favorite inspirational people. Since he’d lost his leg to cancer when he was 10 years old, he’d become a Paralympic skier and speaker who shares how you can find hope in whatever hardships you face. Once he shared how he wished that he could go back in time and talk to that scared young boy that he used to be.

Josh said, “I feel bad because he doesn’t know how much good is ahead of him. He doesn’t realize that he’s going to survive the cancer and he’s going to grow up and become everything he dreamed and more. I wish he could know that.” Then he added, “If you’re dealing with some hard situation, I feel bad for you. But I wonder if a future version of yourself would wish you knew right now that things are going to get better.”

I don’t know about you, but I doubt that I’ll become famous for anything…and most days I don’t feel too inspirational. But when I look back to six years ago when I lost my hearing, I see some really good things that have happened. I’m still working and have found some physical therapy that has helped my balance issues. In my job as a special education teaching assistant I get to be with kids who inspire me every day. Yes, it’s hard to understand what they say but I ask them for help and they try. I’ve also become better at asking for help when I need it. And there are so many great people that I’ve met through the local hearing loss association, people that face far tougher daily challenges than I. Their courage and the hard work they put into communication….that inspires me every day.

Yes, things are harder and different with hearing loss. I’ve had to adapt and change. On my worst days I may drink too much coffee, whine and drag myself whimpering through the day…but on those days when my inner champion is strong, I attack that day with a smile and laugh instead of cringe when I have to ask a co-worker to repeat herself again and again. Deciding to be the best “me” I can be….and being thankful every day.

Join us on Wednesday at this week’s Open Chat Night!

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