I am taking the plunge and diving into the “blogosphere” and have no idea where this blog will lead me – or you for that matter! In the short run I will share my struggles, twists of fate, and somewhat funny stories about going deaf and “hearing” again with a cochlear implant. Over the next several months I will share my journey starting with my cochlear implant surgery which is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, October 25th here in Columbia, Missouri, USA.

In the long run, writing will likely be my main form of communication whether it be by email, text, this blog… or something else. Even though I am getting a cochlear implant it will not replace natural hearing. Yes, I will still function in the hearing world, but as my doctor and audiologist tell me, I will need to “re-learn” how to hear in a completely new way. Stay tuned for updates on that front.

So why blog now? I’ve been wanting to write for many years but made many excuses for not pursuing my passion (and fear). Over the past several weeks, in preparation for my cochlear implant surgery, I began to explore what other people have gone through with their cochlear implant surgeries and how they’ve adapted afterward. The blogs I read were wonderful, scary, and inspirational; they really helped shape my frame of mind going into the surgery tomorrow. this blog in the short run is my attempt to help other Late Deafened Adults (LDA) and their loved ones know that they are not alone; that there is a large community out there to help them on their journey.

Late-Deafened Adult” (LDA) describes deafness which occurred any time after the development of speech and language; often it means after the age of adolescence. Usually a late-deafened adult has identified with hearing society through schooling, social connections, etc. They are usually unable to understand speech without hearing technology and/or visual aids such as speech-reading, sign language and/or Communication Access Realtime Translation Services (CART).

This blog, in the long run, will not only be about my cochlear implant or Late Deafened Adult experiences because I feel strongly that we should not be defined by our abilities or disabilities alone. Our lives are far more than the sum of its parts. With this in mind, my blog may evolve to include short “Papa Stories” about growing up as a “Third Culture Kid” as well as stories about the here-and-now. We’ll see what happens.

Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure how to start this blog, what to include and what to exclude. I am erring on the side of inclusion that will make good use of “Categories” (see right sidebar of blog) for those folks who are only interested in reading about, for example, “Cochlear Implant” or “Late-Deafened Adult.” My family, relatives and friends may want to explore other categories that they relate to since they know many members of our family are larger than life and that we should have our own reality TV show – or so I’ve been told.

Please know that I am not very active on social media sites. I rarely use Facebook; only post basic information in my LinkedIn account and am not engaged in online discussions or forums (yet…). So this mode of communication is fairly new to me. That being said, I welcome comments and feedback and will reply when appropriate!

Several months ago (April 2013) I was fortunate to attend and present at a local TEDx event. The organizers asked that I tell my personal story, in this case about my passion for people, place and possibility. The Following video serves as an appropriate framing for the “About” section of this blog since I talk about connecting the dots and highlight how my experiences continue to shape my worldview:

So comes the end of my first blog post! This introductory post also serves as the “About” page on the site.