Happy New Year!  I can’t help but look fondly back on 2018…..Here are a few things that stand out: 

We kicked off the year taking a 10-hour flight to the middle of no where – Rarotunga, The Cook Islands. 

Rarotunga – In the middle of the South Pacific

I hate flying and always kept my flights at 4 hours max……so taking a 10-hour flight was really facing my fears, but the long trip was well worth it!  As a matter-of-fact, I think it cured my fear of flying!

In January 2018, I made a commitment to listen to more audio books – not only as a means of ‘ear rehab’, but also to expand my knowledge on different things.  I’m happy to report that I closed out 2018 listening to 22 audio books and too many podcasts to count!  As a result, I’m now a little smarter (haha!) and hearing at 98% word recognition with my bionic ear – AMAZING in such a short period of time!  Speaking of my ear……

Last Spring, I went to Mayo for help with the balance problems I was having after cochlear implant surgery (I shared all of that with you here on my blog).  It was a game changer for me – having a Mayo support team in place got me over the hump and on to brighter days.  Since that time, I’ve transitioned ALL of my healthcare over to Mayo!

I was able to spend my 49th birthday in our newly built home……Need I say more?!  It’s been a lot of fun getting settled and decorating.

In July, I went to my first (what I call) ASL Camp – AZTI – Arizona Total Immersion.   It was a 4-day retreat where you can not speak and only use American Sign Language.  It doesn’t matter what your skill level is, you can participate – mine was at the toddler stage…….you can’t get any lower than that! 

Here we are, the beginners posse – together for every class!
Here’s the whole gang!

Anyway, it was the most uncomfortable 4 days of my entire life!  Everyone that knows me, knows I love to connect with people and not being able to go deep in conversation and really get to know others was truly a struggle – my anxiety was through the roof for those 4 days!  Needless to say, I made it through, but realized I wanted to formally learn ASL – more on that later…..

One very small, brief connection made a way for me to donate my old hearing aids to a lady named Renu, she lives in Nepal.  I’m very happy to report that she is hearing very well with them and we continue to stay in touch on her journey with new hearing aids.

Here is Renu holding my old Phonak hearing aids

I was able to attend my first NASRA (National Association of State Relay Administrators) conference in Bloomington, Minnesota, which will be held here in Phoenix this Fall – I have been recruited to help my boss with planning and also helped at this last conference with set up, etc. (see below)

Went to my first concert in years – Saw Boney James, a spectacular saxophonist who plays some really good jazz!

I can’t forget getting upgraded to VIP seats at Jack Canfield’s One Day to Greatness seminar.  Long story short, I was unable to get accommodated for captioning so they upgraded us to VIP – that was a fun day with my husband and we had lunch with and met Jack Canfield!

I ended the year with getting to meet Derrick Coleman, Deaf NFL football player with the AZ Cardinals.  He’s a super sweet guy and it was great hearing his story and how he overcame many obstacles to get to where he is.

This year (2019) is already taking shape.  As I mentioned earlier, I need to improve on my sign language skills.  As a result, I am starting formal ASL classes in a few weeks……stay tuned on my progress – I’m fortunate to have so many wonderful people to sign with now!

Lastly, I would like to share with you that I’m starting to kick around the idea of getting my second cochlear implant……I know, you probably think I’m crazy after all I went through the first time around, BUT………if you know me, you know I won’t let fear keep me from anything!  Stay tuned…….