Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Must Read....Jennifer's Post

My friend, Jennifer, posted a very moving and poignant post is a must read! She shares her bilateral cochlear implant journey from her heart at SURROUND SOUND...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Part II - The People I Meet - 2009 HLAA Convention

Here are a few more pictures from the Convention. I don't want to leave anyone out but I didn't get pictures of all the new people I met there.Barbie & Ken (Sunny & Captain Mark Brogan)
I finally got to meet Mark's wife in person at the Convention. She is a sweetheart! And is so supportive and understanding of Mark's hearing loss. They make the cutest couple, don't you think?!!!
Sandy Cohen, Director of the Library Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing at the Nashville Public Library
Sandy has a BIG heart for the deaf & hard of hearing. She has worked hard for 10+ years at the Nashville Library to make sure that the deaf & hard of hearing have access to EVERYTHING they need. You name it, she has it. The Nashville Library Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing is the largest resource on this side of the Mississippi River. If you are ever in Nashville, this is a "must-see" activity, as well as the rest of the library, which is a gorgeous facility in the heart of Downtown Nashville.
Thom Roberts and I
Thom is the Executive Director for the TN Council for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing, which meets four times a year. I met him two years ago when he asked me to serve on the Council with him. He is also hearing impaired and amazes me with all that he does!
Valerie, Jenna, & I
Valerie and Jenna are mother & daughter and this was their first convention experience. I love these two ladies! Valerie has bilateral cochlear implants and got them AT THE SAME TIME several years ago (she's a brave woman)! Jenna is so supportive of her mom and reminds me of how thoughtful and considerate my own kids are for me with my hearing loss. I met them in Gatlinburg (which is only about 40 minutes from my house) last year when Jenna had a dance competition. Valerie writes a blog at Tales From A CI Gal about her CI journey.

Karin Robertson

I met Karin a few months ago when she started coming to our HLA of Knoxville meetings. I found out later that she was a past President of our chapter! She is still involved with the deaf & hard of hearing and works for the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville.

Me with Zac LaFratta
I met Zac last year at the HLAA Convention in Reno. He is going to Gallaudet University to become an audiologist. And he has a hearing loss as well. There is no limit to what anyone can do! There were several audiologists and hearing professionals at the convention, which amazes me because I thought one needed to "hear" in order to be in these careers.
Rosemary Tuitte and I
Another amazing woman! Rosemary is a regular participant in the HLAA CI Chat on Monday nights. We've chatted online and traded emails so it was such a delight to meet her and her hearing dog, Janet.
Jennifer Thorpe, Jeffrey Johnson, & Mike Turner
This picture was taken at the Volunteer Dinner the night before the Convention. Jennifer, Jeffrey and I volunteered (along with several others) at the HLAA Convention Table in the Nashville Airport the day before the Convention started. I met Jeffrey briefly at the Tennessee Walk4Hearing in Chattanooga the month before. We had a great time talking while assisting and greeting people flying in for the event.
Mike Turner and I have been friends for a while and he spoke at one of our chapter meetings about videophones and Hands On Purple VRS (Video Relay Service) about how the deaf, hard of hearing and even the hearing customers can have access to high quality communication services through video relay.
Me with Mike Turner's Wife, Colleen
Here I am with Mike Turner's better half, Colleen. We met for the first time this past February when I was in Nashville for a Council meeting and hit it off right away. I felt like we had been friends for years! Colleen was at the Convention every day, helping Mike with his booth in the exhibit hall. Colleen & Mike both have hearing losses and make a great couple.
Arlene Romoff and I
Arlene wrote the book "Hear Again" about her cochlear implant journey and how she regained her life back in the hearing world as a late deafened adult. This was our first meeting!
Deb McClendon and I at the Birthday Party Celebration
Deb & I also met last year in Reno. She is a bilateral cochlear implant recipent and is a hoot! She is very involved with her chapter in the San Diego, California area.
Tom Vorjohan The Magician
Tom provided some magical entertainment for a day in the exhibit hall. His tricks were incredible and amazing! He is also my neighbor and has a wonderful family. I always ask his kids to do a trick or two for me when they come to my door selling fund raising items for school! It must be fun to grow up with a magician in the house!
AND.....ELVIS!!! (Ken Arcia)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Part I - The People I Meet - 2009 HLAA Convention Pictures

The 2009 HLAA Convention in Nashville has come and gone but the memories are some pictures for you to enjoy!
This is my local chapter (click on the above name to access our Chapter blog) and I was so pleased that some of our members were able to come and experience this convention. Every time I saw one of them, they looked like they were having a great time!
Mark Brogan and I
I am so PROUD of Mark! He shared his story at the Opening Night Ceremony about how he lost his hearing in both ears as a result of a suicide bomber in Iraq three years ago. When he first started coming to our meetings in Knoxville, I knew that there was something special about him. His story is incredible and he has been through a lot. His wife, Sunny, is his biggest cheerleader and they will be on the cover of the HLAA magazine in the near future.
Sam Spritzer & I
Sam is a very special online friend. We met each other via my blog in April of 2007 when he was starting his cochlear implant journey. We've kept in touch regularly online and he has a blog HERE. He had recently had scare last week with a heart attack and is so thankful to be alive. This picture was taken at the Nashville airport where I was volunteering and was our first meeting in person. I knew who he was right away when he started walking towards me with his smile!
Me with Judy Martin
Judy is the President of a HLAA Chapter in Florida. We've kept in touch online for quite some time. She has been a great help answering my questions and giving me support for the Knoxville HLA Chapter. It was fun to finally meet her in person!
Tracey & Susan
These two beautiful gals were my roomates this year. This was Tracey's first convention and she was very interested in the seminars and exhibits. Susan is the first person that I met with a cochlear implant and was the one who was so supportive and helpful when I started my CI journey. She has a blog HERE about her CI Journey. Both of these gals work as nurses in my ENT/CI doctor's office, so I was well taken care of!
Debbie & Steve Bottles
This wonderful couple are a sister and brother team from Idaho. I met them online in the HLAA CI Monday night chat and they are just as charming as they look! They both have cochlear implants and received them together at the same time a few years ago. And doing great! They have a blog as well at (Insert Blog here)
GIRLFRIENDS! (Click on their names to access their blogs)
Left to right: Me, Abbie, Tina, and Jennifer
I met all three of these gals via blogging. Abbie and Jennifer were my roomates last year and are great fun. Joining us in this picture for the first time is Tina from Washington, D.C. who writes about her young son's cochlear implant journey. Tina is a GREAT advocate for her little boy and is doing everything she can for him and other children with hearing loss. Abbie was the Convention blogger this year and you can access the Convention Blog HERE. Jennifer is the current President of the Nashville HLAA Chapter and had a beautiful welcome speech on Opening night. Sir Tom, Me, and Big Bear
I met these two men last year in Reno and and also online in the Monday Night CI Chat room. They both have cochlear implants (Tom has one and Big Bear has two.) Sir Tom and his wife, Judy, have been guests in our home twice this past year and are such a great couple. They brought their Wii the last time they came and we played games during their whole visit! Big Bear (Wayne) is has been part of HLAA for over 20 years and lives in New Jersey, working for Sprint CapTel.
My Brother, Doug!
I was SO excited when my brother decided at the last minute to come to the Convention for one day! Doug and I are the only ones in our family with a hearing loss. He came specifically for the Hair Cell Regeneration Symposium on Friday, attended some workshops and visited the exhibit hall. He would have liked to have stayed another day but was around long enough to experience what HLAA has to offer and meet some HLAA friends.
Just me and my Hubby!
Last, but not least, is a picture of my other half! The Convention was close enough to home that he was able to come over for one day. It was such fun to introduce him to the Convention experience and share how much it means to me. He also brought a friend from church, who wanted to get some information about putting in a loop system.

I don't think I stopped smiling for days! My face hurt from all the smiling, laughing, and talking we all did! But it was such a wonderful and uplifting time. I have more pictures to share but will save them for another post since it is challenging to upload so many at one time. Until then, enjoy!