December 28, 2016

Laughter

Laughter is one of my favorite sounds. Especially from when my son laughs. What are your favorite sounds? 


October 12, 2016

Hands and Voices!

Last week David's Story appeared on the Hands and Voices blog! David shares his story as well as the becoming of deafteens.org. Go check it out! [link below]




Read more about what David is up to here: www.davidbcluff.com 

September 7, 2016

Facing The Truth



Finding out that I lost all my hearing at a young age was a hard truth to take in. It changes your life in more ways than one. However, when I got my Cochlear Implant and was able to hear again, there was joy in the air. Like any product, we don’t like to read or hear about the possibilities of product failure. Before getting my Cochlear Implant the doctors and audiologist warned that it might fail at some point in my life just like a computer that has endured years of wear and tear.

Over the last few months, I have had many doctors appointments in regards to my hearing and Cochlear Implants. My right Cochlear Implant got implanted 17 years ago next month and as awesome as it is, it caused my doctors to remind me that they can’t guarantee how long my internal devices will last. Usually, I just brush it off and say, “See you next time.” This time, I asked more questions and decided it was time to face the truth.

  • Here are some of the questions I asked about with the doctors and other professionals:
  • What is the success rate of re-implantation of the internal devices?
  • How long do I have to wait till I get the re-implantation after the implant fails?
  • How will this affect my ability in the workforce?
  • How will I continue to communicate?
  • Will insurance cover the re-implantation?

There are many other questions that I asked but this will help you get the picture. As I asked these questions and got a better idea of what may come sometime in my life, I actually felt hopeful. Not everything is a 100% success story but I will continue to have faith for when that time comes.

I was talking to a mother of two boys that have Cochlear Implants and she gave me some insight as one of her sons is facing re-implantation. Her biggest thing was “time” and “faith”. It took them almost a year to get approved by the insurance company to pay for most of the re-implantation process. While it took lots of time, they developed the faith that everything will work out. As I thought about that I asked myself, “What can I do now to prepare myself for that time to come?”

  • Here are some things that I am going to start doing now or in the near future:
  • Continue my education and occupation
  • Re-Learn ASL (American Sign Language)
  • Look into insurance policies that do accept Cochlear Implants (This is the most challenging task)
  • Live in the moment

Again, there are more items on that list but I would like to focus on the last point, “Live in the moment”. As I faced the truth, I had a choice to let it bring me down or let it help me grow and develop. I wanted this experience to help me and my family grow. My wife and I often talk about what changes we would have to adapt to if I could not hear for an extended period of time. As we both faced the truth I found more support and comfort that everything will work out. This used to be a less pleasant topic but now it has brought more comfort and strength into our lives. We are both going to re-learn ASL and teach our kids as they grow up.

Facing the truth can be daunting but it can also be a sense of security. Although my implant could last another 2-10 years – I want to make sure I am ready for that moment. This truth has been a hidden fear within me but now it is a truth that I am learning to understand and letting it help me grow.

July 21, 2016

New Video!


I am excited to present to you a new video about “My Story!” I got to work with talented Caleb Cook on this project.

Caleb is one of my brothers best friends and he recently got interested in videography. I asked him if he would help make a new video that tells my hearing loss story. We all got up early one Saturday morning and walked the streets of Eureka, MO and also went to a little park nearby. We spent about an hour or so filming and had so much fun with it. Caleb was able to capture Lucas’ first time sitting and touching the grass.

Caleb did such a good job and he went beyond my expectations. Too bad he and his family are moving to Israel in a few weeks but he will be making more videos of his time there. Stay tuned for a link to that in the future.

AND now here is the video…


May 19, 2016

deafteens.org is back!

After lots of work and support from family and friends, deafteens.org is now LIVE! Check it out! www.deafteens.org

May 13, 2016

Finding My Advocate Within



Last week I was speaking with a father who has a deaf son and one of his questions was, “When did you learn to advocate for yourself?” I thought about that question and I was trying to think of that one moment where I was okay and confident in advocating for myself with my hearing loss. But, there was no one moment that stood out to me, rather it was a series of events that taught me important life lessons.

Just like learning to play the piano, it takes time and practice. You have to learn the basics of the piano, how it works, what the keys are and what note they belong to. Once you get the basics, you start with simple music sheets and move forward as you practice more. The same goes for advocating for yourself. One of my favorite quotes is from a Japanese Proverb which says, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

Just like practicing the piano, you are going to make mistakes. If you give up after the first few mistakes you will never know what you can achieve. Knowing that you might feel shy about advocating for yourself and feel like a fool when you try to speak up, it is important to make a goal to keep trying. Growing up my parents would often say to my siblings and me, “You can do hard things.”Here are a few things that I found helpful when I was finding my advocate within. 


  • Surround yourself with those who believe in you.
My journey to learning to advocate for myself all started when I was 13 years old in a simple room at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital where I was meeting my new Audiology Team. I called them the “Three J’s” as their names were Jamie, Janet, and Jerrica. These three impacted my life in many ways. I remember the first meeting where they did their normal testing and got my hearing back on track to where it needed to be. At the end, Jamie asked, “Have you ever thought about getting a second Cochlear Implant for the left ear?” At that moment, I knew I wanted to but she asked that I do my own research on it first and then let her know when I am ready to move forward. She gave me an assignment to decide what I wanted. I took it seriously and I did lots of research and learned so much. My parents supported me in whatever direction I wanted to go with. A few months went by and I told Jamie that I wanted to move forward. About a year after we started the process, and being denied by the insurance three times, I finally got the second implant. It was a team effort. After that, I became close with the Three J’s who then asked if I could help start up a support group for the teens with Cochlear Implants in the St. Louis area. Over the years, I developed confidence in myself as I worked on helping others. It was not an easy task for me. With practice and support from those around me, I began speaking at events and speaking with medical professionals. I learned so much about myself during those years and could not have done it without the Three J’s and my surgeon who motivated me to reach for my dreams. My family was also on the front lines cheering me on each step of the way. 

  • Have Faith.
In 2012, I left home, friends, and my great doctors / the Three J’s to go serve a two-year church mission in Salt Lake City Utah. The first six months were rough, hard and I almost gave up. I met some negative people and was constantly in unfamiliar places and meeting new people every day. Nothing was completely consistent. It brought some health challenges that required many hospital visits, a specialist to fly in to run some tests, and my parents to come to the final appointment which would have decided if I could stay or if I needed to return home. It was a bittersweet visit with all the specialists and my parents. While my parents were visiting me they reminded me that they believed in me and that I was to let God help what I did not have control of. From that moment on I handed over my situation to Him and believed that everything would be okay. I had faith.

  • Joy in the Journey.
At the beginning of my mission, my Cochlear Implants started acting funny and it was a stressful day. So I called my mission mom, Mama Winn, to tell her what I experiencing. She did not answer, so I left a message. Later that day, she showed up with some cookies, a gallon of milk and a children’s book. This simple act would eventually change the rest of my life. The book was titled “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”inside the book Mama Winn asked me to write down all the Terrible, Horrible, No Good and Very Bad moments I had over the coming months. I accepted the challenge and when I had a hard moment that day, I would write about it at the end of the day. As I started writing about it I would begin to laugh at myself. Each week Mama Winn would write a life lesson in the weekly newsletter and they were often funny, awkward or embarrassing moments that happened in her lifetime. All of us looked forward to Mama Winn’s Life Lessons each week. Her example taught me to find joy in the journey. Today, I look back on the things I wrote in that simple children’s book and laugh. 

  • Finding.
Finding your advocate within is a journey and is not an overnight event. The key word is finding which is an ongoing event through this life. I am still working on improving my ability to advocate for myself and helping coach others along their journey. As we surround ourselves with those that believe in us, we get a spark of confidence to become who you want to be. The key is to keep having faith that everything will work out and to continually find joy in the journey.

April 8, 2016

Lucas Laughs!

Do you need a good laugh on this Friday morning? Check out this video about me trying to feed Lucas. Enjoy! 

April 5, 2016

My Story Continues



Hi Everyone, 
  
I am making some changes to where I blog and share my life experiences! I built a new website where it brings everything to one site. I am excited about this change and hope you will come take a visit. www.davidbcluff.com 

See you around! 
David 

February 15, 2016

Finding The Next Chapter

Finding the Next Chapter-01Ever have those moments where you feel as if you are looking at the end of one chapter and not sure where the next chapter starts? It could be anything from trying to figure out what to major in, career path you want to take or what goals you want to achieve.
The last few months I have been thinking about what I want to achieve in my next chapter of the year 2016. Over the last few weeks I have been talking to a close friend, who is a surgeon, Dr. Hullar. He performed my second Cochlear Implant surgery and I have worked with him on numerous research projects over the last 7 years. He has also been my mentor over the last few years as I worked on my Eagle Scout project, the creation of deafteens.org.
In our conversations over the last few weeks he brought up deafteens.org. This website has been on my mind for months now since we encountered major technical difficulties last year. I updated him on the status, feeling rather hopeless about the project. His response ignited the flame within me to bring deafteens.org back to life. He reminded me that we did it and it can be done again. I can’t really explain the feeling I got when I decided that I was going to work on it. I felt like my passion for this project was going to burst out from inside of me. Deafteens.org played a big role in my life and shaping me to who I am today. It was more than just an Eagle Scout project.

Dr. Hullar and David
Dr. Hullar & David on the night of his Eagle Court of Honor.

I am grateful for my wife who has supported me as I work to bring deafteens.org back to life. Each day is another page filled and I look forward to seeing this chapter completed. Stay tuned!

January 4, 2016

It's a New Year!


It’s a New Year!



The days approaching New Year’s Eve and following have been a learning experience as I watched my own backyard (the town) make national news about the floods here in Missouri. The main highway and most roads were shut down which made it almost impossible for me to get to work. There was one route that could be taken, but would make it a 2-hour commute verses my normal 15-20min commute one way. I found myself working from home and then helping out with the preparation for the floods.

The last few days I have seen a whole high school field completely under water, home floating down a river, businesses flooded and highways covered with water. I stood in awe at the natural disasters happening right in the very town that we live in. It is one thing to watch it on the news and another to drive by and actually witness what happened.


It also goes to show how easily materialistic things can be swept away from our lives. As I thought about this I gained a stronger sense of importance to put family first.

This year our family has decided to focus on one word as our New Years resolution goal. We found this to be more doable and yet realistic. Let’s face it, if I set a goal to exercise everyday…it most likely won’t happen. But, if my word is “health” I can focus all year on improving my health which can include exercise, eating right and etc.

Are you already thinking of words? Write them down and pick one that you really want to focus on. I am working on mine and I might reveal it next week.

Happy New Year!