Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surround sound

The cochlear implant is one of the best advancements in modern technology, it has changed millions of lives: those who have it and those who know someone who has one. Ten years ago, I received my first implant and that turned my world upside down. I began hearing things I had yet heard or never really heard the sound in its best clarity. Noisy static became music, bees began buzzing, tires squealed. Before the second the implant was activated, I thought I was hearing all the things a human being was able to hear. Little did I realize how much I missed out on.

Fast forward to the present, I received my second cochlear implant on my right side. For ten long years, I had put off the surgery for multiple reasons revolving around school and sports. I simply couldn't take a break from playing soccer or basketball or take time off from school. When the Deaflympics became a reality to me, I saw a window for the second implant. I knew there wouldn't be another opportunity. Obviously, I grabbed it.

The surgery was quite the drug trip. I'll admit, I had a great nap through the surgery. Naturally, it felt too short (haha). I had some difficulty with my balance, I had completely lost it due to surgery. I'm sure it was pretty funny to watch, I couldn't get out of bed on my own or even walk up on the bleachers at my sister's volleyball games. Slowly but surely, I began regaining my balance as I recovered over the weeks. I am glad to report that I have all my balance back!

The activation day is labeled as one of my most interesting days yet. I must admit, I didn't really know what to expect because my last activation was a piece of cake. My transition from hearing aids to a cochlear implant was so smooth, I barely had any trouble with it. My family had repeatedly told me how it wasn't going to be easy and potentially disappointing at first. I prepared myself for the worst. It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I expected something much worse. The first sound I heard was an extremely high pitched buzz that continuously buzzed on. It was the fan in the room. Confused, I asked my audiologist if it was remotely normal to hear the high frequency continuously. She assured me and said it was going to be like that for awhile, at least until my brain starts making sense of the sounds. My audiologist was the first person to talk to me, she talked about her awesome girls. I was bewildered at the sound of her voice. It sounded like she had been sucking up helium for so long, in other words, she sounded like Minnie mouse! I started laughing in result of that epiphany and the sound of my own voice was high pitched, just like everyone else's in that room (my mom and aunt were there). Our laughter sounded like hyenas laughing, it was so very high pitched.

My audiologist decided to see what I could do with only the new implant, so she did some auditory tests. She gave me four words: shoe, airplane, toothbrush, and baseball. She was curious to see if I could detect the syllables in the words. I did well on that. Then, she wanted to see if I could understand the words. Airplane, toothbrush, and baseball were mixed up. I had to listen hard for certain clues such as the 'sh' in toothbrush and 'se' 'all' in baseball and 'lane' in airplane. Amazingly, I got them all. I was very surprised with myself because it had been ten years since I had done something like that. It was not easy, but I was able to do it. It is incredible how fast my brain was able to work with the new implant within only 20 minutes of activation.

Even though my brain adapted quickly, I still have a long way to go. I still cannot understand sentences. Everything sounds extremely high pitched. I am re-training myself with environmental sounds now. Water running does not sound like it should, my dad sounds like Minnie mouse and last time I checked, he did not :) I like it more each day, however, I still prefer my left one over the right one. I think I always will, no matter what. I definitely can tell the difference between having one implant on and having both on. With two, everything sounds much louder and clearer.

I am looking forward to seeing where this takes me. For ten years, the cochlear implant has done so much for me. If I am able to have conversations on the phone with my brother with just one implant, imagine what I will be able to do with two. I can hardly wait!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Golden Dream


The second we landed in Taipei, 16 girls from all kinds of walks in life shared three common things: some sort of a hearing loss, a love for the game of soccer, and the gold medal. Training sessions were trips to hell, tears were shed, and bonds were formed. The battles were hard and brutal, but we proved our worth when the final whistle wailed at the end. We ate, slept, talked, walked, dreamed of the gold medal and soccer. Our mission was to defend the gold medal and we did exactly that. We let in only a single goal in the entire tournament and we scored a total of 17 goals against various countries. The gold medal game was nerve wrecking, a scoreless first half. At halftime in the locker room, Coach Ken gave us a wake up call. He told us there was only 45 minutes left to get the gold, "Leave the field with no regrets". Coach Erin encouraged us to give it all, work so hard that we would have to crawl off the field. Our second half proved our motivation to grab the gold once again. We scored 4 goals and shut out Germany's reach of the gold medal. It was a victory worth celebrating. The second the final whistle blew, everyone ran out to the middle of the field and hugged, cried, jumped with joy. We did it, we are once again champions of the world.

The gold medal ceremony was, in a word, incredible. I can easily babble on with 20,000 words and I would still not be able to explain the exact feeling I had when we walked onto the field once again as champions. I cannot describe what I felt or thought when the gold medal was put around my neck. It is a-once-in-a-lifetime-feeling. Only those who have stood on the podium can understand it. The gold medal is beautiful, a bit heavy, and one of my most prized treasures. However, the real treasure is the bond I have formed with my teammates. The experience is so much more momentous when shared among teammates, coaches, and fans. Tears streamed down our faces as we watched the flag rise with pride. Andrealine lasted through the entire night as we celebrated in the wee hours of the morning.

I will look back fondly to this experience. The deaflympics are filled with experiences I will never forget. My photo album is filled with pictures that capture moments of agony, joy, courage, and teamwork. Each player holds a special place in my heart, I know we have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. Our goodbyes were sweet and short, for we knew we would see each other again.

Thank you to everyone who supported me along the way, I could have not done it without you! All of the facebook comments, e-mails, letters, and etc have gone a long way. Thank you! You all are wonderful.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Go for Gold!

Can you believe it? The past two years I have sacrificed my time, energy, blood and sweat for the ultimate achievement as an athlete. In less than 24 hours my team and I will face Germany once again, this time for the gold medal. Our game is 7pm Taiwan time. The game is at the stadium, the exact same place where the opening ceremonies took place. The team will be spending all day tomorrow focusing on the biggest game of our lives.

Three weeks have zoomed by while we have worked our way through 2 a days in 117 degree weather and 95% humidity. Rain or shine, we molded our team. The team has gone through ups and downs, but in all, we have made it to the finals! The gold medal is within our reach and I know we will do anything in our power to grab it. We have worked far too hard for this moment. We know it is ours for the taking, we just need to prove it to the world by playing the best game we have ever played as a team. The second we wake up tomorrow, we will be in total focus of the game. Our captain, Reagan, has challeneged us to prove her how much we want the gold, how passionate we are about our team. Tomorrow is our chance to prove her how much we love being on the team.

As much as we are looking forward to proving our amazing captain and the world, we cannot do it alone. We need your support. Gather around the screen with USA gear on and cheer your butts off. This is the game that wins all. Cheer so loud that it'll make its way around the world to Taipei Stadium. Be American, for we make up the red, white, and the blue. GO USA!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Next opponet: Denmark

The game against Germany was very exciting and rough, but a well earned victory! Today the team focused on first touches and spent the day cheering on the men's soccer team. They tied with Japan 0-0. The game was excellent, one of the kinds where fans are screaming their heads off thinking it'd help some deaf soccer players get some kind of energy haha!

Now we are focusing on our next game which is tomorrow: 9:30 am Taiwan time. We face Denmark for our second game. All of the girls are super pumped and focused. We are looking forward to playing a great game. 

For the highlight of yesterday is the opening ceremonies. I cannot express how inspiring the whole thing was. The fireworks, the people, the athletes. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and there is no way for me to explain how awesome it was. I was so overwhelmed with the feeling I got from walking into a stadium of 20,000 people plus all of the people who were watching on tv. It was just as AMAZING as the olympics. I hope there'll be some kind of youtube link of the ceremonies so you could have some sort of an idea of what I went through. :) 

Cheer hard for us against Denmark! It will be a good game and we will represent the red, white, and blue. GO USA!

Friday, September 4, 2009

13 hours into the future

Words cannot describe what I am feeling right now. I am 13 hours away from our first game against Germany. Our team has gone through so much to get to where we are at this moment. Tears have been shed, wounds have cut open and blood falls have flown, but it all comes down to tomorrow. We are going to face Germany tomorrow morning at 9:30 am Taiwan time. I hope you will be able to catch our game. It will be brutal and gruesome. But when we crawl off the field, we will know that we have given our country all we have.

Taipei is a very interesting city. There is so much that goes on. It is very similar to New York City only crazier and there are a TON of mopeds zooming everywhere. It has been quite an adventure looking for laundromat. Reagan and I had a great time observing the Taiwanese culture while waiting for our laundry to wash and dry. The atmosphere makes me appreciate the majestic Rocky Mountains even more.

Curfew is creeping up on me now, it is 8:04 pm and curfew is 8:30. I must sign off with dreams of victory in tomorrow's game. Cheer hard for us, so loud that we will be able to hear you halfway around the world. GO USA!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Destination: Taipei, Taiwan

Hey everyone! I had told so many people all summer I would be starting this blog to keep everyone in the loop with my deaflympic experience. As you all know, I procrasinated until two days before I leave for this amazing adventure. The biggest challenge I had with this blog was coming up with a catchy name. I decided to go with chasing the dream because it describes the adventures I have spent years dreaming and now I have the chance to make it a reality. However, blue bullet is a combination of my favorite color and the first roller coaster I rode: the silver bullet.

I will be in Taiwan to compete in the Deaflympics in the sport of soccer or as the international world likes to say: football. The games start on the 5th of September and go until the 15th. The best way to keep track of the games are through these websites:

the main US deaflympic site:
for a live feed of the games:
for the schedule:

I encourage you all to keep track of it all. I'm #13, if you want to try to find me on the live feed. It is a very exciting time for me. I have been training for this event for two years. The girls on the team are absolutely amazing and I cannot imagine a much stronger team without each individual. Keep us in mind while you go about in your day. Every thought and prayer makes a difference.

I will do my best to keep you all updated while I am in Taiwan with the team. GO USA!