In the summer of 1958 I contracted paralytic polio. I was blessed to be able to walk again and like so many polio survivors, I could not compete in athletics but learned to excel academically. I received a masters degree in social work and worked for over 25 years as a social worker in psychiatric and medical settings. Since 1996 I felt ‘lousy’ but every medical test I had indicated I was healthy and so I was labeled depressed, anxious, having an empty nest syndrome and prescribed lots of exercise and antidepressants (which I refused to take). Last October, I was blessed to discover the International Rehab Center for Polio at Spaulding Rehab’s Framingham, MA outpatient clinic. I was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome.
My goal was to work 3 years at my job until I ‘could retire’. All of the suggestions from the post-polio clinic were implemented and while I felt better, I knew I needed to make a major lifestyle change. My physical therapist demonstrated to me, using a biofeedback machine, the toll my workspace and work was taking on me physically.
I was blessed to discover the gift of poetry within me which blossomed out of the darkness of pain, weakness, fatigue and uncertainty about my future. I was aware I could receive social security disability but somehow that did not feel right to me at the time. My first poems helped me with my healing journey and were about polio and post-polio. Before I knew it, I had written a book and my husband suggested that I start my own greeting card company so I could work at home. I took the leap of faith and left my very successful career, just ‘shy’ of retirement but I realized I could take out my retirement monies as my seed money for my new venture. Most importantly, I would have time to rest, exercise, eat healthfully and not have the intense stress of my job.
Since leaving my full time job my book, “New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World ” has been published and my business is taking off. I have discovered miraculous healing now that I love what I do and do what I love and have no more alarm clocks! I schedule time each day for my daily exercise regimen and work with a personal trainer. Physical therapy laid the foundation for my recovery from disuse and overuse and my personal trainer has developed a program to complement the one designed by my physical therapist. I have discovered improved strength and confidence in my body! I feel healed emotionally, physically and spiritually. I encourage everyone to ‘think outside the box’ and not feel trapped by external circumstances. We all have options and paths to empowerment and healing! Feel free to contact me!
Mary M., Brookline, MA firstname.lastname@example.org