Episode 291 Shannon Sackett Navy Veteran Shares Story Of Unfortunate Surgical Outcome Transcript

This transcript is from episode 291 with guest Shannon Sackett.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Hey everybody, welcome to Drive On. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Shannon Sackett. Shannon and I met at Podcast Movement in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, and I got to know a little bit about her and her story, and so I invited her to the show to share a little bit more about her experiences in the Navy.

Um, but before we get into that, welcome to show. Shannon. I’m glad to have you here.

Shannon Sackett: Hi. Thank you, Scott. I am glad to be here.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. And, uh, for the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with your, you and your your story, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Shannon Sackett: Okay, so I’m Shannon Sackett. I grew up in the Central Valley, uh, Fresno, California.

Went to school here, was a mountain kid for a while. Um, before deciding to venture out and travel the world a bit, go to college, and then made my decision to ultimately join the Navy. Um, but now I am married. [00:01:00] I have two beautiful daughters and a bunch of farm animals at home, so I’ve. Funny farm or a crazy chicken lady.

Scott DeLuzio: I, I like that. And it’s, it’s a change of pace from the military life, which we’ll, we’ll get into your time in the military, uh, in just a little bit here. But, um, You know, living, you know, kind of a little bit more in a somewhat rural area. Got got the farm animals, got, you know, raising the family and everything.

It’s a little bit different than, than maybe what you experienced in the Navy, right?

Shannon Sackett: Absolutely. Definitely. Going from being in close quarters next to everybody. No space, no, no personal anything to having, you know, a bit of land, your own personal piece of paradise. And raising those chickens, watching the kids just grow up on the farm and have goats and be able to go out and feed their chickens, and just a little bit slower pace, I would say.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, definitely a slower [00:02:00] pace, but I, uh, it, you know, it, it is what you, you make of it, you know, I’m sure there’s a lot of work to do. You’re taking care of animals and doing all this kinda stuff. There’s a lot, lot to, to do with that. And so I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to come on and join me and, and share a little bit about your story and everything.

But, um, before we, we get into all of that, um, What was your experience like at, at podcast Movement? I know we, we hung out there a little bit. Um, you, your father and you a few other people there. We had a veterans meetup while we were there, uh, which was, which was kind cool to get to meet some other vets and kind of swap stories and share stuff like that.

But what was your experience like while we were there? Uh, kind of just, just briefly before we cut out into, uh, you know, your time in the military.

Shannon Sackett: Oh. Um, so it was, it was a really interesting experience. It was my first time at any sort of a, a. A convention, any sort of a convention, let alone a convention with other podcasters.

So I didn’t really [00:03:00] have expectations. I just tried to come in with an open mind. I did like that they had lots of different classes laid out, and you can kind of pick and choose depending on what track you’re on. Who you wanted to go see, what times you wanted to see people. So there was a lot of, um, information to ingest.

So I definitely felt like I was drinking from a fire hose, but some of the more personal experiences meeting you and, and doing the military meetup, thank you for, for putting that on. It was great to meet other individuals who were similarly situated and then those individuals who had been doing it a long time, you kind of had just a wide variety.

So it was a really nice

Scott DeLuzio: opportunity. Yeah, for sure. And I, I kind of felt the same way where there was a lot of information coming at you and some of it good, some of it not so good. Uh, as, as far as the, the layout of the, the content, I mean, uh, not, not the knock any of the content, uh, that was provided, but it’s just some of it [00:04:00] was stuff that I already knew and it maybe it was a little too, uh, beginner level that, um, not, not that.

Say that I’m great at this or anything, I kind figure out things as I go along. But, um, as, as I’m listening to some of this stuff, it’s like, yeah, I, I went through those same stages. I went, made all those same mistakes and uh, you know, I probably could have been better off in a different, uh, track at that point.

But, um, but yeah, the personal experiences I think were. The best. And I’ve been to a lot of different conferences for professional type stuff, and those, to me, always are the best is when you get those, those personal experiences. So, um, you know, the, the relationships that you build and, and things like, that’s best.

Um, but I wanna talk to Shannon a little bit about, um, your experience in the Navy. What, what motivated you to enlist and, and what got you into the Navy?

Shannon Sackett: So I. I am fourth generation military. I’m fourth generation. However, when I was growing [00:05:00] up, my dad had made a comment because he has two daughters, that he would be like the end of the line, third generation would be it, because there were no boys to enlist after him.

And I kind of did a, well, I’ll show you, and I ended up joining. Now, that’s not the only reason. It wasn’t like, let’s fight my dad. Um, but I, I really felt a connection to joining the military. Uh, there. Things, of course, financial considerations. I went through my first year of college, I realized how expensive it was.

And then of course the Navy was always in the background like, Hey, we’ll help you pay for college if you come and join. So I had, uh, a few different pools, love of country, uh, family history, and then of course it didn’t, um, didn’t hurt that they were gonna offer to pay for the rest of college.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s always a good incentive for people to join the military.

I know there are some people who are [00:06:00] trying to figure out how they’re gonna pay for college, and they’re looking for student loans. They’re looking for. Scholarships and all these types of things. And then there’s these recruiters sitting there in their office and they, they have nobody coming in. And it’s like, well, here’s a way that you can go and get this taken care of, you know?


Shannon Sackett: money it speaks to us.

Scott DeLuzio: I know, right? And it, it’s such a, I, I don’t wanna say it’s an easy thing to do, but it, the solution is there. Um, you know, if you’re looking for a college education, um, you know, certainly isn’t an easy way to do it because, um, you know, easy is just, you know, having it. Getting the loan and having it covered for you and, uh, you know, having that, that, uh, loan being just forgiven or whatever, that’s an easy way to do it, but it’s, that’s not the, uh, necessarily the best way to do it.

I, I think you, you definitely value things a little bit more when you work for it and you earn it. Um, and you’ll do absolutely military, right?

Shannon Sackett: Um, yes, you will, you will earn it. You will earn every, every bit of it. You will work for.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:07:00] For it. Exactly. Yeah. And, um, so. You proved your dad wrong there. There’s this next generation of, uh, military in, in the family.

And, um, what about your, your family? Do you think that it, the military lineage is gonna end with you?

Shannon Sackett: I, I don’t think that it will end with me. I’ve talked to my girls about it. Uh, I have two girls as well, so I know that they have opportunity and there being girls that won’t, won’t stop them. Um, so it is, it is talked about, but they will make that decision.

We also encourage college. Um, should that be where they wish to go? But there is life for, um, military after, after you get your degree too. So there is opportunity on both sides and I think that they might, might take that step, but they’re still a little young, so I’m not sure that they comprehend the full, full [00:08:00] weight just yet.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, it’s, it’s kind of too soon to, to say that kind of stuff with, with anybody. Right. It’s, uh, you know, my, my kids are still young too, and, um, you know, I, I don’t even know, you know what they. Want do next month, nevermind, you know, the next five, 10 plus years from now, uh, where they’ll be. So, um, you, that’s probably a, a difficult question to be able to answer, but, um, you nice when you have that line and, um, you’re able to.

See, um, you know, going back generation after generation and, and seeing everybody who, who served it, it kinda reminds me of, um, what was it say? Um, uh, Forrest Gump was the, uh, the movie with, uh, Dan had his lineage going back all the way to the, um, you know, back in the early days of the country and like everybody from his.

His, uh, family had served and, and stuff. It kinda just reminds me of that. So it’s kinda why I was asking Good family [00:09:00] heritage. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Although I, if I remember correctly, it’s been a while since I saw that movie. It’s, I don’t think it really had the best outcome for his family throughout, I think like everyone died, whatever they fought in.

So maybe that’s not the best one to, to follow in that footsteps, but it’s a fictional story anyway, so you’re right. But anyways. Talk a little bit more about your, your experiences in the Navy and how, uh, you know, what, what that time was like while you were there.

Shannon Sackett: Okay, so I, I joined the military. I, I dipped in, so the delayed entry program.

Then I spent several months in the delayed entry program before going off to bootcamp in July of 2004. And of course that was a nice Chicago summer. Uh, should have thought about my timeframe just a little bit better. But I went to bootcamp in July of 2004. I did my us the usual, I should say, eight [00:10:00] weeks.

At that time, Chicago was the only place left. So they used to have Orlando, they used to have San Diego, and now it’s just Chicago. So I did my, my bootcamp there. And then due to the bad surgical outcome, I actually got stuck on hold in Chicago. And I didn’t get to leave until, uh, January of 2005. So I got to experience the hot summer and the freezing winter all in one go.

Um, but it was a nice change of pace when I finally got to Pensacola, Florida, and it was warm and, uh, going on to my schooling, there was definitely a, a different life or a different change of pace even within the military. So,

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, and I, I, when you said that you got the experience of warm summers, uh, in, in Chicago, I was thinking to myself it would probably be better than the cold winters in Chicago.

I, I don’t know, may, maybe, maybe it’s not, but. Yeah, I, I think [00:11:00] personally I would prefer the hot in the, the heat, um, although it’s probably pretty humid there too, so that, that might not feel all, all that great. But being from California, you’re probably kind of used to the, the heat and the, the weather there too.

Um, yeah. So tell us about the, the bad surgical outcome that that took place and, and what you went through. Can you talk about a little bit about what happened there?

Shannon Sackett: So before I joined the military, of course you go through the whole gamut of medical tests and you take your asvab, you do everything. So I did my maps.

Up in San Jose, and it was there that they did a hearing test and it was determined that I had a slight hearing loss at one of the decibel levels, and I actually deemed a waiver to get into the Navy. So that was known upfront. But I did ask for the waiver. I received the waiver and I joined, and I thought that that would pretty much be the end of it.

But when I got to bootcamp, they had decided that I would have to have surgery. [00:12:00] They said I had fluid behind my ears, so it was gonna be an easy surgery. They were gonna put tubes in my ears, it would drain all the fluid, and then I would have normal hearing. Life would go on and things would be great. So they decided to let me go all the way through bootcamp.

I would graduate, and then right after that I would have the surgery. So I made, made it through bootcamp, didn’t have any issues. I graduate, I go onto the surgery and a few things happened while in the surgery, so it was something I’d be awake for and they put medication in my ears to numb and then they were just gonna insert the tube.

Well, when they put the medication in, the doctor had made a comment that it wasn’t the medication he wanted, but it was the medication they had. The nurse started going around looking for the medication they wanted. When they were about to perform the surgery anyway, you put the tubes in, the nurse comes in and says, oh, hey, I found what you wanted.

So then he says, oh good, cause I didn’t think this was gonna [00:13:00] work. And at that point, you have no choice. You joined the military. You feel like your life is not your own. You have no choice. You have to have, for me, I had to have that surgery because they told me I would get the boot if I did not get it.

So he puts the second medication in, he puts the tubes in, and then they send me right back to, it was on the other side, so I was on the medical side. They sent me back to the bootcamp side and where I was to be on hold until I got processed to move. And I knew from the instant of the surgery, like the instant and the outcome, I was having problems I could not hear.

Um, but they said, oh, it will, you know, it’ll get better. It’s just a little bit of trauma. So I get back to mys and they had actually put me on watch, even though I was supposed to be resting for the rest of the night. I was put on watch and told I had to go of all things, answer the phone on the quarter deck.

So I just had surgery on my ears. And I get assigned to answer the [00:14:00] phone on the quarter deck. So I go to answer the phones, I do hear the phone ring. I pick it up. There’s nobody on the other line. So I hang up, get a call right back, pick it up, and I can’t hear anything. So I call over. Um, Someone to help me, like, Hey, do you hear someone?

And they put the phone up to their ear and they said, yes, they can hear them. So it was right away that I knew that it was significant, and it turns out I had no fluid behind my ears. So that was another, another issue that I ended up.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that, that’s such a, a crazy thing. And, um, the, the military sometimes just doesn’t make any sense when they do certain things they.

I, I heard the military described this way. You got a big bucket of soup, a big pot of soup, and you got all the utensils imaginable laying out there. Um, but someone in the, the [00:15:00] leadership grabs a fork and starts eating and tells everyone to start eating it the same way. And so everyone grabs a fork and starts eating it, and you’re sitting there looking like there’s a spoon.

We should use a spoon. I know we should use a spoon. Why aren’t we using a spoon? And it’s like, well, cause everyone else is using a fork. It’s just the way we do it. And that’s sort of like in my head, like, what’s going on with you in, in this whole situation? It’s like, nothing. None of this makes any sense.

No. You don’t, you should be, first off, you had surgery on your ears. You shouldn’t be answering phones. Like probably, even if everything went right, you’d probably still have a little trouble hearing at that point just cause of whatever, you know, trauma may have taken place during the surgery. I mean, that’s, that’s just natural, uh, you know, that that stuff happens during surgery.

But I don’t know, to me that this whole situation is just like classic military screw ups, right? And yes, man. It, it [00:16:00] it to me it’s just, it’s unfortunate though because you had someone here who, you know, definitely wanted to serve, you know, yourself, want you wanted to serve, you wanted to give back to the country and, and you love the country and everything.

Um, but then a botched operation ends up screwing that all up. Um, but Shannon, would you be able to tell us a little bit about how. This outcome that we were talking about from this surgery, how it affected your hearing and how it ultimately affected your daily life and maybe even interactions with others.

Shannon Sackett: Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that was that, the big thing that I noticed, of course, is that my hearing went down. And so being able to hear people, luckily in the military, a lot of things are done at a Yale, So I was able to still hear most things. Um, but what happened when I got to my a school, there was a little bit of a delay.

Hurricane Ivan actually struck [00:17:00] Pensacola, Florida, so I couldn’t go to my, my schooling right away. There was a bit of a delay once I finally got there. And I got placed into a classroom. A lot of it became problematic because I was supposed to be listening, um, listening for certain signals and sounds and things like that, and I, I couldn’t do my job.

So I started seeing a doctor in Pensacola. Doctor recommends removing the tubes. Hopefully that will clear it up. It didn’t end up working. So in the Navy I was issued hearing aids. I went to a medical review board and the ultimate decision was that I would be honorably discharged. So then I get to go on with life and get to figure out who I was.

After that, a lot of what I wanted to do required hearing, so I did go into a bit of a. A depressive state. I had a hard time figuring out who I was, if I couldn’t hear, if I couldn’t do the things that I thought I would be doing. Um, I, I did go to college. I ended up choosing [00:18:00] online university so I could do reading instead of hearing, and that.

That ended up helping me. I went to get help through the va. I did file early as I was processing outta the Navy. Um, there was assistance to help me file for VA disability and the VA’s first response with, as far as my hearing was concerned. I had other medical issues from the surgical outcome, but as far as the hearing was concerned, they actually said because they came into the Navy with a slight hearing loss.

That it was going to happen anyway, and it wasn’t anything to do with them. So they said I was not rateable for VA disability with regard to my hearing loss. So that actually took away my ability to have further hearing checks, get other hearing aids, cuz hearing aids. At that time, I think I had about three years from the ones that I was issued in the Navy until they actually went out.

So I went for several years after that, not being able to get medical assistance for losing my hearing. I had to file appeals, [00:19:00] and through the appeals process, it took about three years from their first rating for them to decide, or my apologies, four years for them to decide it was actually connected and so I could then get a new set of hearing aids.

So I became, Kind of an introvert. I quit talking to people. Um, a lot of what I did, I just did it based on reading or online stuff. It, it made it a little bit easier for me to deal with not being able to hear or understand people. Uh, I, I did get lucky. I got a job within the government where I was reading paperwork all day, so that, that did help until I could get hearing aids and could actually start processing and functioning as a hearing member of society again.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s just in incredibly crazy to me that they would basically say, oh yeah, because you had slight hearing loss before that this, you know, it was gonna get worse anyways. And so it’s probably not connected, but, [00:20:00] um, you know, that that’s not the way it should work at all. Uh, I mean, that’s it. It very clearly happened during the surgery and.

I know for myself, I, I have some hearing loss as well from my time in the military. And, you know, I was, I was an infantryman, so we shot loud guns and we shot them in close enclosed spaces. And if you don’t have proper hearing protection, you’re probably going to expect that you’re gonna lose some hearing and, you know, tinnitus and everything else.

But, um, but I, when I applied for the disability, Like, it was basically like a no-brainer. They, they, they’re like, yeah, well, of course you’re an infantryman. Of course you’re gonna have hearing loss. But when I was getting out, I was told, or actually maybe it was when I got back from Afghanistan, I forget exactly when this was, but I was told by somebody that the VA will not, uh, give you any sort of disability benefits for hearing [00:21:00] loss because you are supposed to wear.

Your protection and it basically, it’s your fault if you have hearing loss and they’re not gonna do anything for you. Um, and so I just believed that for the longest time. And so I was like, well, I’m not even gonna waste my time or waste anybody else’s time trying to apply for this because why bother?

It’s not gonna do any good. But, um, then a few years later, I, I. Heard from like a, a friend of the family, uh, who served in Vietnam was collecting disability for hearing loss. And so I was like, well, what the hell? Like, I’ve been sitting here this whole time with the hearing loss, never applied for it. And then when I went in to apply for it, they’re just like, yeah, absolutely.

Like you should have applied for this years ago. Um, and it’s like, well thanks. That didn’t really help much, but, but it was because of my time in the military and what things that took place. And with you, it’s like, You didn’t have to have the surgery. [00:22:00] You, your hearing was okay. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but it, it was okay and you didn’t necessarily have to have the surgery.

Turns out you didn’t have the fluid behind your ears anyway, so you really didn’t need to have the surgery. Right. Um, you know, and, and so that, that to me is just like, well, clearly it’s because of your military service. If you had never joined your hearing would not be in this condition that it’s in right now.

So like, yes, they absolutely should be providing you with that disability. That, that’s just the way I, I saw it when I, when you first told me the story, when we, when we met a few weeks ago, um, that, that to me is, it was just like mind blowing that they would not provide that benefit, you know?

Shannon Sackett: Yeah. It, it definitely was a surprise for me.

I thought some of the other stuff that I claimed like they might say no to cuz of proof, was there enough on my medical record and so they actually rated me for disability, for everything surrounding the surgery except for the hearing loss that outcome. But everything surrounding the surgery, cuz I had some other [00:23:00] issues that had come up and then us trying to correct those issues in the military created, you know, worse issues.

And then over time it ultimately, in 2009, I got the rating that they agreed the hearing loss was related. But I was rated at 0% disability for the hearing loss itself. You actually have to be profoundly deaf in order to get any sort of significant amount of money. They want you to be pretty much completely deaf before they’ll, right.

They’ll give you quite a bit. But, um, I, I felt a little bit vindicated when they finally said, oh yeah, okay, we, we agree, but they still kept it at zero. And then, um, it was later on it would be a 14 year sort of battle with the VA to get all of the right care and to be seen for the disabilities that I had.

And I did go, I did get a good job. I worked for the government, so I, I, I pivoted. I ended up in, uh, immigration. I worked up, I [00:24:00] became a supervisor. I was a fraud officer. I was very proud of my career. Um, and then I got to the point where I just wasn’t getting the medical care and I started to kinda fall apart medically, and so then I had to start taking care of myself again.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and that’s unfortunate too. I mean, I, with my hearing loss, it was rated at 0%, but the tinnitus was the 10% that they gave me, which is, you know, I’m, I’m not, it’s not like I’m rolling in cash with a 10% rating for that, right? So it’s, but, but it’s this ringing noise that I have in my ear. I’ve had it in my ear every single day, 24 hours a day.

Since the day that it started and it, it’s like, it’s super annoying and it doesn’t ever go away. And, um, you know, but with hearing loss and, and people like, like you and, and myself, um, you start to a, kind of adapt a little bit to [00:25:00] your situation. I know in your case you said you found other ways to complete school.

You went, did online courses where you could read more than listen. Um, you know, I. Being able to read lips. Mm-hmm. A little bit. Um, like it’s not perfect. It’s not like I can go to a party in a crowded, uh, you know, noisy environment and just look at someone and know exactly what they’re saying, but it helps me fill in the gaps of the things that I can’t hear.

That I, I’m able to see the lips and be like, I think I can figure out what they’re saying with that. It’s just, to me, it’s just a bizarre, strange thing like I’ve. Train myself to do. It’s just I started to learn it over time. Um, you know, since, since losing part of my hearing.

Shannon Sackett: Yeah. Experience something easier.

Sorry. Yes. I found it easier with people that I know, um, because you know their mannerisms, you know, like the way they form their words. So yes, I do look at the lips of people who are talking. I did find that it [00:26:00] has become easier if I’m able to pair those two things up. If I. Can solely hear them or solely, you know, only read their lips.

If that’s the only thing that I have, I do have more trouble. But if I can put those two things together, I find that I am able to get further in conversation, further in understanding. Um, it, it definitely makes it easier to have those two things together.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Yeah. It’s, it’s not like you can watch a, a full television show or movie with the volume off and just know everything that’s going on.

You may pick up bits and pieces here and there, uh, just, you know, when someone really makes their mouth, you know, enunciate a word or whatever. But, um, you know, for the most part you’re, you’re probably not gonna get the whole thing. That’s been my experience anyways. But, um, you know, it, it, it’s crazy how you adapt.

Like I’ve, I’ve heard of. People who have lost their, their eyesight and they adapt in other ways and their other senses become more, um, more predominant and they, they are able to hear things, uh, better and, and feel things [00:27:00] and just sense things in general a little bit better. It’s just, to me, it’s interesting how the body adapts when one thing shuts down it.

Other things, pick up the slack and help out where they can, may not be perfect, but it’s, it gets you in the right direction. It’s a little bit better than it would have been, right? Yes.

Shannon Sackett: I’ve, I’ve had, so right after the surgery, well, not immediately after, within the years after the surgery, my eyesight actually improved for, for quite some time now.

I, I’ve gone back downhill. It’s not as good as it was, but I noticed that I could actually see better. Because my hearing got worse. So there is definitely something to that,

Scott DeLuzio: that, that is interesting and that, I mean, unfortunately that happens as we all get older, the, the eyesight, that isn’t what it used to be.

And I’m wearing glasses now, so it proves my eyesight is not where it used to be. But, um, Shannon, earlier you mentioned how it kind of affected you and your, your mental health and how that. [00:28:00] Kind of put you in a little depressive state. Um, what was going on there with, with that? What, what was the, the situation that you were going through and how did that make you feel while you were going through that, that situation?

Shannon Sackett: Yeah, so the situation for me was a lack of. Plan. That was very hard for me. I did have a plan when I joined. I joined enlisted, but my plan was to actually go into the Semen to Admiral program. They called it Stay 21 when I had enlisted, and that would stop your enlistment. You would go to college, they would let you finish out your degree, and then you would come back as an officer.

So when I was processed out, I felt rudderless. I felt like there is almost no future. So as far as like the depression, I didn’t really have anywhere to turn. I did accept family. I did turn to my family. I knew I could talk to them. Um, at one point my dad had actually said that he would let me be [00:29:00] upset.

For a little while. Um, but then there was gonna be a point where I needed to figure things out and start moving forward. I don’t think it was as quick as it, it could have been, but as far as seeing anyone or being able to see a counselor, it took about a year for the military to rate me for my disability.

So I was kind of on my own. At that point, I didn’t really have any outside resources. I didn’t know of any outside resources at the time. I got out September 30th, 2005, and so for about the next year, I just sort of went from job to job, went from place to place, not really sure what I was supposed to do.

It took a few years before I got on track with a bachelor’s degree program, and I just buckled down and kind of made it my whole life. So I’d forget about everything else that was going on. But job wise, I didn’t know what I wanted to be anymore because I had made a plan before and that didn’t exactly work out [00:30:00] for me.

So I just, I, yeah, picked a quick degree program and then just kind of charged

Scott DeLuzio: forward. And, and it’s, it, it’s hard when you have that plan and you, you can see the vision of like where you’re gonna be, that, that five year plan, the 10 year plan, whatever the, you know, future projection is. It’s hard when that plan gets all messed up.

And now not only is the five year plan screwed up, the one year plan is screwed up. Mm-hmm. And you have a lot of changes. That you are now having to deal with? Um, I, yeah. I mean, when you’re going through that now, you now not only are you dealing with this loss of identity and your sense of purpose and meaning, um, but you’re, you’re now trying to figure out, okay, how do I.

Pay the bills. You know, you’re not getting the [00:31:00] disability that you were, uh, probably that you deserved at that point. Um, you weren’t getting that, so there’s no money coming in there. Um, you didn’t have a degree, you didn’t have much experience. You, you’re in, uh, I forget the timeline now. You’re only in the Navy for a very short period of time.

If, if, if I recall correctly, right. In

Shannon Sackett: total it was 14 months, so July of 2004 to September of 2005.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay. Yeah, so, so, you know, a little over a year, uh, in, in the military. Um, and on top of it, they left you with this disability that you now have to. Refigure out how to live life and do things the way, uh, you’ve always been doing it, but with this disability now.

And so, um, there’s, there’s a lot of changes going on there. Um, for the listeners who might be out there, the viewers who may have had a similar [00:32:00] experience with. A situation, maybe it’s a, uh, maybe it’s a surgery, maybe it’s a, you know, on the job injury, something that may have ended their military career in a similar way to what happened with you.

Uh, what, what advice do you have for.

Shannon Sackett: I would say seek out those who will support you. In my, in my case, my family was, they were the ones that would help to lift me up. It was a very difficult time, and so they were there to support and I did end up turning to them for financial support as well. So like, the mom and dad let me move back home so I could figure things out.

So I, I did have. A good support system, but sometimes you don’t have the family to turn to. You may have the friends that you’ve made, you may be able to turn to them. There are also other programs I know from listening to your podcast. There are many other programs that are out there to help veterans, so maybe when you can’t get into the VA right away, you can [00:33:00] seek services through community support programs, and it might not necessarily even be military specific.

There are many community support programs. At the time I didn’t realize just how many people were out there, so I did feel a bit isolated. Until I could get some support, which ultimately did start with the va.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And I think one important thing that you touched on there is that there are support programs and groups and other resources out there that maybe aren’t even affiliated with the military.

Um, I know my wife is epileptic and there’s a Facebook group that she’s a part of with other people who have epilepsy, and they talk about their experiences. And so while it, you know, I’m not advocating for just a, you know, a place to go complain about your. Situation in your life and, oh, everything’s terrible and blah, blah, blah, all [00:34:00] this kind of stuff, that, that’s not what I’m necessarily saying.

And I don’t think that’s what you’re saying either. But I guess what I’m, what I’m trying to say is that when you’re part of groups like this, you recognize that you’re not alone in this. There are other people who are going through this too, and yeah. They may be further along in this journey. They may have had whatever the issue is that you’re dealing with, whether it’s epilepsy or hearing loss or cancer or any number of other things.

Um, they may have had this since they were a young child or even since birth, and they’ve figured out ways to manage and cope and deal with the situation that they’re in. And I, I think it is just a wise move to. Listen to these people and hear what they have to say and, and try to make the best of the situation.

Yeah, it sucks, but. Like your, you said your dad, like, I’m gonna, he’s gonna give you some time to feel bad and feel [00:35:00] sad for yourself and feel sorry for yourself or whatever. But, you know, I, I met him at podcast movement too, and he does not seem like the type of guy who is gonna let you sit around and mope around all day, um, and feel sorry for yourself, you know, and that, that’s a blessing to have in in your life.

Because if you didn’t have that, then that’s exactly what you probably would’ve done, and it’s real easy. I think it’s just human nature to go down that dark hole and end up in that that place where you’re just beating yourself up all the time and that that’s not a great place to be

Shannon Sackett: wallowing in. Self pity is not going to push you to a better place.

Scott DeLuzio: No, for sure. It’s not it. If anything, it’s, it, it feels good probably in that moment while you’re, you’re doing that and, and maybe you get somebody who feels sorry for you and they show that kind of support temporarily. Um, yeah. But it’s not gonna be long lasting. It’s not gonna be something that will, uh, [00:36:00] keep you.

Motivated and wanting to achieve things, going back to school, getting a job, starting a career now, you know, raising a family and all this kind. It’s not the the type of thing that’s gonna get you to get up out of bed every morning. Right. Like, oh, let me go chase that next person who’s gonna feel sorry for me.

Like, that’s not gonna help. Right. So. Right. So what you did, I think is exactly, exactly what you need to do is get out there and do the hard things to, to get this, um, To get this out out of the way and, you know, behind you and, and move forward, you just make the best decisions with the, um, you know, the situation that you find yourself in, right?

Shannon Sackett: Yeah. So for me, pushing towards finishing my degree, I had already had a year under my belt, so it was a year after I got out of the military, I started pushing to finish my degree. So I did get 14 months of GI Bill benefits while I, because for each month that I was in. [00:37:00] And then the BA after determining I was disabled through service actually authorized to help me finish my degree.

So I did get help there and I pushed to finish it as fast as I could. So I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2008, and I applied for any and every job on USA jobs.gov that I thought I was remotely qualified for. And to be honest, I had no idea who I had applied for. When I got the job offer, I had to go back to the original, um, application to see who are you again, no offense to U S C I S, they’re an amazing government group.

Um, but I didn’t actually know who I was accepted to work for because I was applying for every single job I could possibly think of that just said bachelor’s degree. No experience.

Scott DeLuzio: Wow. Yeah, that I can see how that would get really confusing cuz there’s, I gotta imagine there’s a lot of jobs out [00:38:00] there.

You probably applied for dozens of jobs and. Trying to figure out, okay, which one was this? Who, who did I reach out to? And there may have even been multiple jobs within the same agencies, uh, through, through there. So, yeah. You know, even though it’s coming from one agency, it’s like, okay, well which job was that?

Right, right.

Shannon Sackett: So I had learned later that I n s broke apart into three groups, c i s, ICE and cbp. So I was applying under all three, and I was trying to figure out which group this was. That actually said, Hey. Yeah, we’ll take a chance on you.

Scott DeLuzio: So you mentioned that you applied to all of these jobs. Um, where can people go, like who are getting outta the military, maybe looking for that job?

Where can people go to, uh, apply for jobs? Like, like the ones that you applied for?

Shannon Sackett: So USA jobs.gov, I would highly recommend it. It has a whole listing of government jobs all over the world, and you [00:39:00] can filter out by what you’re qualified for into each job activity. So if you have a. No college degree.

They have jobs for you if you have a college degree, if you have a master’s, if you have a PhD. If you have experience in a certain job, some actually track from military to civilian, highly recommend usa jobs.gov.

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Yeah. Um, we mentioned your, your father earlier. We mentioned podcast movement earlier.

Um, And I wanna talk a little bit about your, your podcast here, um, before, before we wrap up this episode. Um, and we are getting close to our next break. Um, but if you could tell us just a little bit about the podcast now and then we’ll, we’ll pick it up after the break and, and we’ll uh, wrap up the episode with, with a little bit more information about that.

Shannon Sackett: Absolutely. So we are dirt sailor, the podcast. We are father daughter duo. We talk about. Politics. Current issues, we give our take [00:40:00] on it based on our significant history in government management and military, both United States Navy. My father was the gunners make guns, and he served attached to a CB battalion.

And then I, because I did not ultimately get assigned to my duty station, I sailed the dirt and he sailed the dirt. So that’s kind of where that comes from. Dirt sailor. So Derek say the podcast, it just kind of grew out of our talks on, on politics and current events.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I, I, I like the name and I, I actually did some research on the name of your podcast cause I was curious if it was a, you know, it was it a Navy term that I just wasn’t familiar with being Army and, um, you know, so, so yeah, hearing, hearing, uh, your guys’ stories, uh, when we are.

Often Vegas and, and hearing about your experiences and everything that you guys did, uh, was pretty cool. And so, um, actually on the way home from Las Vegas, uh, when I, I live in Arizona, I was driving back, um, I. [00:41:00] Basically, I was listening to your episodes most of the way home, uh, until, uh, until I hit some spotty areas and they, they weren’t, uh, downloading right.

So I just listened to whatever I had downloaded. But, um, but it’s, you know, interesting takes on current events and politics and military, uh, you know, events and, and things like that, that, that are going on around the world. So it’s a great podcast, but I was saying how I was listening to it on my way home, uh, and it.

It’s refreshing to be able to hear. Normal voices, uh, not the, you know, political talking heads that are on the news. You’re just hearing normal people talking about everyday politics, things that are going on, and not necessarily a hundred percent politics, but it’s just stuff that’s going on in the world.

Um, current events, that type of thing. Uh, and, and so I really enjoyed listening to the podcast on the way home. Um, You know, and is, is this something that you and your, your father do on a regular basis, just normally and the, the podcast just kinda [00:42:00] grew from that?

Shannon Sackett: Yeah, so growing up we did talk politics and current news, current events.

Uh, my mom would actually listen to us going back and forth, and at a certain point she would just ask us to quit arguing. And we had realized we were just passionate. We weren’t arguing, we were just passionate about the topics. That we’re, we’re going on. So it’s something that started for me at a young age and we’ve just really enjoyed it.

And so at one point my husband said, Hey, you guys should actually try recording that and, and putting it out there because you have some pretty interesting ways that you, you talk about it. And it just grew out of that suggestion.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s pretty cool how, how that works and, uh, that you and your father are both able to do that together.

I think that that’s pretty cool too. And given your, both of your backgrounds in, in the military, uh, you know, you have some experience, you’re able to talk about current events and things that are going on with the military and different places around the world. Uh, you know, whether it’s Ukraine or. [00:43:00] Uh, you know, the Afghanistan or other places that the military is involved.

Um, you know, it just gives you a little bit of that, uh, insider perspective. Um, before we wrap up this episode though, uh, I just kinda wanted to recap some of the, um, the resources and maybe some of the, the lessons learned, if you will, uh, from your experience. So you. Went through the va, um, they weren’t the most helpful.

But you said that the, uh, that there was a way that you were able to get some assistance with filing for the, the VA benefits. Um, where did you get that assistance?

Shannon Sackett: So the original assistance came out of Pensacola, Florida, and there was, I don’t remember which group they came from, and I’m sorry that I can’t speak to.

Where they came from. But there was an individual who helped military members who were processing out file for disability benefits. So that was a start for me there. And [00:44:00] then when I started filing appeals, I was doing it on my own and then it, it would get tiring because the, the VA is gonna tell you no.

And in my case, they told me, no, really? No, we’re not gonna let that, you know, be connected. And so it was a fight back and forth. And I actually had friend, a friend. Who used to work for the VA but was then working for immigration who just gave me encouragement to say not to give up. And then I did find in, in Fresno itself, there’s actually a government agency through the city of Fresno that will help you file for benefits, will help you ask for an increase in benefits that will help you look for other organizations to help.

So I did get lucky there that that Fresno actually has people that are willing to help. It is their job, but they’re also passionate about what they do.

Scott DeLuzio: Well that’s, that’s interesting too, and I never even thought about that. But there may be other government organizations that, that [00:45:00] can help through your city or or town, wherever you live.

There may be people out there, but you know, I know there are organizations, um, you know, people from the VFW or American Legion or other organizations like that, that will also be able to help with some of that. There’s some other organizations that I’m not so sure about where they like, Charge you a fee to, you know, get your benefits.

And I’m not necessarily supporting any of those. I’m not telling you not to use them. Do whatever you want. But, um, you know, it’s kind of up to you. But, um, there are definitely people out there who can help with that. Um, but um, before we go, uh, Shannon, I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to join us.

Um, I, I loved hearing your story. Um, really. Sorry for the outcome that that came out of this, but, um, the thing that to me, that I take away from this is that you were able to make the best out of a, a bad situation and not let it defeat you, not let it get you down, uh, [00:46:00] for too long. You know, you, your dad let you.

Kind of kinda have, have a, have a minute and take a, take a pause there. Just a minute. Just a minute. Um, but, you know, I, I appreciate you coming on and sharing the story. Um, it really is, uh, you know, a great story and hopefully it’s helped a lot of people out there who are listening.

Shannon Sackett: Thank you very much, Scott.

I, I appreciate you bringing me on your show and allowing me the opportunity to talk about it and hopefully it does help somebody else or bring to light that there is more that they can do and there are others out there who are willing to help them as well.

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Thank you. Thanks again.

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