Shared peer advice from polio survivors about what works for them.

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“Not Going Is Not an Option”

Brian Tiburzi

Jann Hartman, Seattle, Washington I grew up believing in fairy tales and loved stories that ended “happily ever after.” Even when I got polio in 1953 at almost 6 years old and spent most of that year in the hospital, I still believed that everything would work out for the best. I met my “knight in shining armor,” we got …

Relationships: An Overview

Brian Tiburzi

Every relationship is built upon unique experiences and qualities. For a relationship to succeed, both individuals will need to cope with any disability. This requires a realistic acceptance of the disability with an emphasis on what one can do, rather than on what one cannot do. The following are brief general suggestions on how to maintain personal relationships when facing …


Brian Tiburzi

Communication is a two-way street. Participants in any relationship must have a mutual respect for the values, experiences, and skills that each brings to the encounter. Everyone is responsible for his/her own feelings, and experts recommend that feelings be expressed in the first person. Acknowledge them but do not place responsibility for them on someone else. For example, saying, “When …


Brian Tiburzi

HINTS FOR RAISING CHILDREN BY MOTHERS WHO HAD POLIO One: I had polio at 23 and was married at 25. I had one daughter and two sons. I wore a white cotton support garment with shoulder straps and laces that expanded with girth. I also wore a right leg brace. Now, I wear braces on both legs, because with time …


Brian Tiburzi

RECONNECTING AFTER 55+ YEARS!    Beverly Schmittgen, EdD “Joyce Tepley, Joyce, Tepley,” I kept repeating to myself. I KNOW her! That was my first thought after finding an article she had written for the newsletter published by the Post Polio International organization in St. Louis. I distinctly remembered that she and I had had beds next to each other in …


Brian Tiburzi

Facing new functional loss is one aspect of the late effects of polio. While a positive focus is healthy and contributes to adjustment, to focus only on the positive, and to ignore the loss and its pain, separates one from his/her own experiences. Individuals need to adapt to, or grieve, loss. If grieving is incomplete, further psychological growth and development …

Support Groups

Brian Tiburzi

GOALS AND LEADERSHIP WHAT ARE THEY? WHY DO IT ALONE? WHO NEEDS THEM? WHO CAN BENEFIT? IS OUR GROUP NORMAL? EN ESPAÑOL GOALS AND LEADERSHIP The goal of a support group is to empower its members with the tools necessary to make adjustments needed to continue a life of dignity and independence. Contrary to the image sometimes portrayed in the …


Brian Tiburzi

Indicators of coping were first described by Beatrice Wright (1982). Coping individuals focus on what they can do, rather than on what they cannot do; play an active role in their lives, rather than respond as passive victims; and participate in areas of life seen as worthwhile and meaningful. Problems are perceived to be manageable, rather than overwhelming. Personal problems …

A Sister Remembers

Brian Tiburzi

Mary Navarre, OP When Joan L. Headley, the Executive Director of the Post-Polio Health International, asked me to be on a panel of family members of polio survivors at the convention in St. Louis, I was hesitant to do so as it was, and still is, difficult to talk about my life with my sister who contracted polio at the …

Communicating with Grown Children

Brian Tiburzi

From the series, Polio Survivors Ask, by Nancy Baldwin Carter, B.A, M.Ed.Psych, from Omaha, Nebraska, is a polio survivor, a writer, and is founder and former director of Nebraska Polio Survivors Association. Q: As I get older and accumulate more secondary conditions, it is more difficult for me to get around. Do you have any suggestions as to how to communicate my …