With encouragement from Mitch my fear of regression began to fade. What I had to do

was settle into the wait when the research could resume. In the meantime I continued my

studies at MATC keeping my eye on the prize – transferring to UW-Madison for that

counseling degree.


Back at MATC I painstakingly kept up with exhausting hours of studying, writing

papers, preparing for exams, all with the help of that trusty made up ruler I developed and

the support I received from the Disability Resource Center. For the first time since the

ototoxicity took over my life, I felt perhaps, just maybe, I might find a way to make my life

work. Still I struggled with convincing myself that I could really do that; I still felt the fear

disability would be the only thing I could do, research success or not.


Then the note appeared: I still believe it was a divine sprinkle of hope for me to catch. I

was sitting at my kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee, wallowing in self pity as I stared

out the window. There was a note pad on the table staring at me and out of nowhere I

began to write. I had no inclination for writing anything and certainly nothing positive, the

words simply appeared:


     I often think, why did this happen to me? Why have I been

pushed into this condition? What did I do to deserve this?” I’ve

thought about this for a long time and you know what? There

are no answers to these questions. It is as it is and I have to

learn how to live with it. I must accept it. For if I don’t, I’ll miss

out on the many remaining beautiful things my life has yet to



Yes, I have to do things differently. I have to look at things

differently. I won’t be able to do some things as well as before,

but I have to try.


Losing something so precious, so secure, a life balanced with

the world, has forced me to observe things as they really are.

Many things look so different now – there is so much I hadn’t

noticed before. I am surrounded by awareness unexplained. I

feel more, appreciate more, and I love more. I’m discovering

things about myself I never knew existed. It feels good to

approach it as if living a new adventure each day. Many of these

adventures will lead to frustration, anger, sadness and fear. But

as I face each of these roadblocks I need to be open to learn

about them. How I do it will raise awareness about me, my

feelings, my spirit, my heart and my thoughts. Being faced with

frustration will teach me how to be inventive. Anger will teach

me relationships with myself, people, and society. Sadness will

teach me to feel, it will fill me with compassion. Fear has

already formed my impression of strength and endurance.

When I combine these, how can I not succeed in living like I

never have before? I’m still me, “just in a different skin”.


I need to learn to love my new self and stand proud to be me.

I need to continue to live as I am. “Disability” is just a word – the

only disability is in my mind and what I allow it tell me. I have

to present myself to others as I do to myself, whole in heart,

mind and spirit. For others will overlook my “flaw” and see a

person, a friend, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a co-worker, a

loving, happy and giving person. I want to be unique,

inspirational, motivational and respected.


I want the world to see that I can do anything I want to. I can

succeed, I can learn. Most of all I can live and love doing it. I

want to teach others that each of us has the will and ways to

beat adversity to turn life changing experiences into the most

incredible experience of their life. It all begins with acceptance.

From there on, there are absolutely no limitations to what I can

do. I will do things as I always have. If there are things I

struggle with because of my change, then it’s up to me to be

creative to meet the change in myself.


There will be things I just cannot find a way to change, they

just can’t be. Those are the ones I need to accept. I should rejoice

in that I once had the opportunity to experience them. Memories

are like photographs; I can bring them out any time and re-live

the joys they brought me. Most importantly, bring the strength

of my experiences into my life right now. Those experiences are

filled with skills that will serve as my foundation upon which my

creation of a new life will be set.


Each change I make will burst into meaningful satisfaction

and pride knowing I did it. This will build my strength and

endurance to keep going, keep learning, to keep trying and keep



Appreciation – you know, it makes me sad to think for many

people there lacks an appreciation for the abundance they are

blessed to have. Many are blind to gratefulness. I have learned

to never take anything for granted again. Appreciate all you

have and all that is yet to come.


Confidence is probably the hardest thing to learn. Confidence

is intimidating. I have to be out in the world, seen, heard and

watched. I need to love myself in order to be confident. This,

again, begins with acceptance.


Bad days, man do I hate the bad days. These are the days that

make me feel helpless and stop me dead in my tracks. These are

the days that squeeze me into feeling alone. I feel there is no one

anywhere on the face of this earth that can possibly understand

what I am going through. But that’s where I’m wrong. There are

others out there just like me who feel the same pain and sorrow.

I’ve learned that without bad days I can’t appreciate the good

days. Through appreciation maybe the bad days won’t be so

bad. Perhaps I can turn a bad day one into a good day by –



I read somewhere a quote “Laughter and tears are both

responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to

laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” I’ve

learned that where there are tears, there is sadness. Where there

is laughter, there is hope.


There are two ways to relate to adversity. One is to withdraw

and enclose yourself in constant pain and bitterness. The other

is to pick yourself up and continue your life journey with a new

direction, take detour. Change can be a wonderful thing if you

let it. I’m in a “new life” now. I must make the best of it. When I

am out, I must stand tall and proud. I must smile, laugh, and be

as I always have been. People will then overlook whatever is

“different” about me. I have to remember, it is true, God does not

give you anything you can’t handle. Look people right in the eye

and demonstrate how wonderful life is.


With this sprinkle of hope came a liberating change. It helped me realize I had put so

much attention and energy into what was wrong with me, of trying to make it through one

more day of transformational pain, that I couldn’t see a hopeful day was rising on the

horizon. It was here that I realized how meaningful it was to appreciate me. This is where I

began shoving self pity down the drain. I set out to kill that controlling beast that was

holding me in a dominion of believing I couldn’t do shit with my life. The more I shoved

the beast away, the harder I worked to push it down the drain, the more I pushed it down

the drain, the more I let the garbage disposal eat it away. I let go of how the beast was

controlling me. I blossomed into understanding that I was in control of the beast. Oh, how

liberating that was.

About Cheryl Schiltz Photography

Thank you for visiting, I hope you are enjoying my photography. I've happily been a photographer for over 25 years making it a passion of mine. My work has been inspired by places near and far, those I never thought I'd visit and by the work of others I so very much respect from whom I've learned so much. The vibrant colors of the outdoors take me home and when they stand still just long enough for me to admire and capture them in landscapes, forests, flowers, all things our beautiful world holds, I find myself complete. I hope you enjoy my work and give my page a like. I'd love to see you here.
This entry was posted in Acceptance, Aminoglycosides, Appreciation, Biomedical Research, Clinical Research, Disability, Discovery, Gentamicin, Inspiration, Institutional Review Board, Mitch Tyler, Motivation, Non Fiction, Oscillopsia, Ototoxicity, Paul Bach-y-Rita, paying attention, Perception, Pity Party Over, Rehabilitation, Research, resilence, Self Help, Sensory Substitution, Subject Zero, The Noise of Disability, Tongue Display Unit, Transition, trauma, Understanding Disability, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vestibular System, Vocational Rehabilitation, Yuri Danilov and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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