When I was born, all 5 of my senses (eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and touch) worked! At the age of 18 months, I lost one of my senses due to a fall. My sense of HEARING no longer worked. Of course, being the ornery 2 year old I was, I did not let it affect my way of life.

After the initial shock wore off for my parents, they took action immediately by finding the funds to purchase hearing aids and finding speech therapists who came to the house and other therapists that my parents took me to. My mother even opened a preschool in the home to help me learn how to interact with children via lip-reading and sign language. I always tell people I received my PH.D in preschool because I attended preschool for 5 years!

My brother and sister would help me communicate with friends at school and the teachers adjusted their environment in order to help me succeed in the classroom. I had an IEP (Individual Education Plan) from kindergarten all the way til I graduated high school. I spent lots of hours each week with a speech therapist. She would teach me certain sayings like “it’s raining cats and dogs” or if there was anything I struggled with in the classroom the teacher would inform her and she would help me with that situation.

I grew up in a small town in Western Oklahoma where everyone knew the deaf girl that played sports. But I was known mainly for basketball. I was valedictorian of my class, Female Athlete of the year for Oklahoma, and I even won a the gold medal in the Deaflympics. I graduated high school and went on to a Junior college to play basketball. That was when I decided to receive a cochlear implant to help me hear a little more than my hearing aid. The hearing aid never really helped much! Everything sounded monotone, with my cochlear implant I am able to hear different pitches/sound waves.

I received a cochlear implant in May of 2004. I furthered my education by receiving a Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene. I married the love of my life and we have 3 boys! I even breastfed all 3 of my boys and have donated around 2,750 ounces of breast milk to the Oklahoma Milk Bank! I am also a director with Monat so I stay busy caring for teeth, caring for hair, and also caring for my boys!

Why am I telling you all this? SIMPLE…ANYONE can achieve their dreams if they want to. There were individuals that told my parents or me that I would never be able to accomplish anything in life. I grew up with the saying “the only disability in life is a BAD attitude.” If you want to be a farmer, GO FOR IT! If you want to be a nurse, DO IT! If you want to be a MOM, find a way to be one whether it’s your own, or thru adoption! Don’t let a disability or anyone keep you from being who you want to be!