New pictures… and how I became deaf

Hello lovelies!

So, I decided I wouldn’t do another post until I got my photos all organized and whatnot…I think having MOST of them on here counts, right…?  Yeah, it does.  haha 😀 But seriously, though.  Most of my artwork is now viewable on site, and if you have pricing questions, for now, just send a message!  I’ll work on getting specific pricing information on here for you all, but I’m technology-ed out for today!

Since I’m quite new to this whole thing, I though I would share a bit about myself and how I got to where I am (or at least part of it… I can talk a LOT at times):

I was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1990.  I’m the second of three children in my family, which makes me the CENTER of the family (not the “middle child”) haha… My brother, Travis, is 3 years older than me and has a lovely wife (Shannon) and little boy (Bailey), who turns ONE YEAR OLD this month!  I love that kid… a lot.  My sister, Amy, is about 3 years younger than me, is about to finish her last semester at High Point University, and is engaged to an awesome guy named Daniel… So that’s us kids… I LOVE my siblings and don’t know how on earth I would survive without them!  So many shenanigans growing up… man, those were the good ole days!

When I was five, I lost my hearing in both ears, making my profoundly deaf.  I had experienced some problems with gradual hearing loss in one ear, and when that ear went entirely, my mom asked the doctors what the chances of my losing ALL my hearing was… You know what he said?  “one in a million…”  So, I guess I’m THAT “one in a million.”  About two months later, at Myrtle beach with my family, I woke up one day and couldn’t hear anything at all.  Being my innocent and clueless little self, my biggest concern was whether or not we would still get to ride the lazy river that day… I still love lazy rivers… Man, it would be nice to be floating down one now with a good book…

but, I digress…

For about a year, my parents tried to find a doctor who could help me.  People told my mom to send me to boarding school for the deaf, and there are some great options, but my mom knew that wasn’t what she wanted for me.  I thank God that He gave her the strength and love to see that, because my life would probably not have been what it is, had she sent me away.  Eventually, my parents were able to find Dr. Niparko, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.  He agreed to do the surgery to give me a Cochlear Implant (I’ll do a whole post on how that works later), but since the surgery wasn’t approved for kids yet, I had to wear hearing aids for 6 months first, just to check that I was truly deaf… let me tell you; when you have NO hearing, hearing aids have nothing to AID, so they weren’t helpful… So, summer of ’96, my family went up to my grandparents’ house in PA, and settled in for the surgery.

I’m not gonna lie; I was TERRIFIED.  I was only six years old, and I wasn’t sure what would happen.  I honestly don’t think I really even comprehended the fact that they were going to cut into my head and insert the device and it would allow me to hear.  I vividly remember the MRI machine and the “bigness” of the hospital.  Fortunately, God surrounded me with love and family, and I was NEVER alone through the process.  The doctors even allowed me to carry a stuffed dog my brother had given me through the MRI.  They even gave the dog a hospital band that matched mine.  I was so happy!

Surgery lasted about four hours (I don’t remember this, but I’ve been told), and I remember waking up and eating a blue freeze-pop and watching Winnie the Pooh… don’t ask me why I remember that, but I do!  Haha… childhood memories are strange, I guess? After surgery, my parents and I stayed for several days at the Children’s Hospital near Johns Hopkins, and I remember how heavy my head felt all the time.  It seemed impossible to hold my head up, physically.  But spiritually, God did all the holding for me, and has, ever since.  I’m not saying it’s been easy, because, at times, it hasn’t.  There were long adjustment periods, scary nights where I couldn’t sleep for fear of waking up blind, broken Cochlear Implants (yeah, I got in a bathtub on Christmas Eve one year… the device is not supposed to get wet…), but there are also too many positive things to count. Doors have been opened to me that I never would’ve otherwise explored, and I am excited to see what comes next!

There are a lot more details, stories and things I could say, but that’s the very basic gist of it.. and I realize it’s a rather long post, so I think I’ll stop there for now… no need to flood you all with my whole life–sob–story right off the bat!  I might scare you away! haha 🙂

Anyways… peace, love and art!

-Danielle

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