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As you know I have mentioned that I was born deaf, with a mild Cerebral Palsy which is invisible and I was pretty upset when I found out I couldn’t hear when I was at young age. My parents found out I am deaf when I was only three years old and took me to couple hospitals to do hearing tests to determine whether or not if Im deaf or not. I remember going to the specialist to request for an operation but unfortunately the doctor told me that he couldn’t do that due to the fact that it could kill me. After a while, I came to understanding myself as a deaf person and accepting who I am. My parents put me in a regular school where they provide an assistance for me in order to learn how to read and write. A lot of my friends wanted to learn sign language so they could communicate with me. The school wanted to set up a class where the students could learn to communicate with me and then I started noticing all of my friends that learned how to sign. I started hanging out with the same group of friends and I feel blessed to have them in my life through school years. When my helper was sick, my friends would offer support so that I wouldn’t miss what my teacher taught us. I used to take notes from the black board and looking at interpreter at the same time and I didn’t feel it was hard for me. My family all took their time to learn how to sign as well and I had someone coming in once a week named Brent Paul. He is the one who taught my family and myself how to sign in order to communicate with each other and my brother named Will, he’d get involved with what Brent Paul had taught me. The media press got involved and wrote an article in the newspaper about what my life was like in the hearing world and school and they were impressed.
I was told by the school that I would have interpreter in high school, she also signs ASL (American Sign Language) that deaf people use and I didn’t even learn that yet. I didn’t understand clearly why they had to do that and I was upset that my helper had to change. Mrs Nickel was the helper for 8 years with me and I was uncomfortable with her leaving because she was great with me. I was signing S.E.E (Signed Exact English) that my family use and having an ASL interpreter was a big challenge for me so I begged interpreter to teach me ASL so that I could communicate with deaf people in general so she did for me; I admit when I learned ASL, I almost gave up to learn ASL because it was so hard to change my first English language. In grade 8, the school offered me to visit the deaf school for a week, I was really nervous because I knew nothing about deaf school or their language. I came back to regular school telling them how my visit was, it was a little awkward for me and I didn’t want to go back there.
Through my childhood life I never got to meet deaf people, their culture, their language and it was hidden from me for years. Every time I try to meet deaf people, have conversation with them and when they find out I was from the hearing world they would automatically ignore me or to create limit conversation and would not make me feel welcome. I did some research on deaf culture and their way of life and the more I learn about them makes that easy for me to understand them. I would have to disagree with one of their actions that they think they need to throw other deaf people away just because the they are from different world or different country but their identify is same. I am speaking from my experience with them and how I felt through times. I then got use to being around hearing people more and more because I feel they could understand me better and I understand them better. What are there any different for anyone that we live in many diversities in the world? What do you expect world to do for you? We all have to accept the way individuals are and just love them who they are.
I am now a full time makeup artist and photography as well. I love to meet interesting people as much as enjoying my career and that I can make people feel good about themselves when I make them look beautiful. I like to see that my clients are satisfied with my work and make it a success.
By: Carolyn Bulsink
So many asked me to write about the story of my life of the struggles and I have decided to share with you guys!
I was born hearing impaired, with mild cerebral palsy (which is invisible) and also epileptic as well. During my childhood, the deaf school fought with my parents trying to persuade them to send me to their school in London and my parents refused. They told the school for the deaf they will be keeping me at home and attend regular school with my siblings. My parents were approached by the deaf boy telling them to keep me home and get me all education I needed so they took that guy’s advice and my parents knew exactly what I need and my best interests. I finally had a full time interpreter at school and I was amazed what school had done and supported me through all of this, my friends, my teachers including interpreters and they all tried their best to assist me in school… My interpreter had after school classes to teach my friends to learn how to learn sign language and I begin to notice all of my friends knew how to sign and I felt so happy. A teacher from the deaf school attend my home once a week to teach me and my family how to sign before I go to school.
My teacher Keane and my mom planned a trip to London to pay a visit to the school for the deaf to see if they could further assist more for my education. Mrs. Keane, her daughter Allison, my mom and I all went to visit the school and I really liked was “swimming pool” and the school permitted me to swim in their pool and my mom asked me after I got out of the pool “are you going to tell Barb” and I replied “Yes.” On our way back to Owen Sound, my teacher told my mom that she wasn’t feeling well and my mom agreed to drive so that my teacher could rest so my mom agreed to drop her off to the hospital in Owen Sound. Her daughter, Allison, my mom and I were all waiting for an hour on Keane’s condition but unfortunately the doctor came to us giving the bad news telling us that she had died from a brain tumor. We all attended her funeral and I didn’t understand why she has to go same day after we went to London. I know she tried her best to help me and I am really glad that she is in a better place with the creator of the universe.
I was with a different interpreter for 8 years after that and her name is Mrs. Nickel and she worked and helped me so much. I was diagnosed with epilepsy and struggled with it for approximately 10 years. My doctor put me on epilepsy medicine and my mom didn’t believe in any medication but he told her that I really need them to control my seizures, after three nights she realized he was right so she agreed to have me on medication. He told her that I will take pills for the rest of my life and doctor warned my mom that I’d die from seizures and he estimated I would die at 14 and it worries my mom that she’d lose me. When I was camping outside of my parents house with my sister and we were enjoying our time and then I went to sleep it occurred that I almost died. I could remember my whole family were crying so much and they thought I was gone but when I woke up and my family was in relief that they didn’t lose me. My sister was in her tears and said, “Carolyn, we almost lose you” I told her “I am still here and alive so you should be happy” I can tell you that I am always afraid of seizures and so scared of it through my childhood and I struggled. I would panic after I had seizures and my doctor had to give me calming medication for it. I totally understand how people feel about having seizures and living with it. My condition had improved when I entered in high school and I was in relief. I prayed to God that I didn’t want to have any more seizures and I kept going on my life and I think he is answering to my prayers. I did complete my education and received diploma and certificate. Then I moved out from Owen Sound relocated in Kitchener and I started eating healthy and love being vegetarian plus it did help me with treating seizures. I am on lower dosage of medication and is seeing epilepsy specialist and he mentioned that I’ll be off medication soon. I am so thankful for the life God has given me and I feel so lucky.
I am so thankful to my family, my friends and including the creator of the universe helping me get through all of this and I would love to share my experience and help more epileptics that went through. I stopped having fears of seizures and is so happy with my life and focus the positivity around me and focus on my life.
By: Carolyn Bulsink