25 December 2014

Celebrating post-polio

"I believe one of our secrets to thriving with polio is that we, first and foremost, quietly dismissed all those who gawked at us with pity, volunteered to Biblically heal us, needlessly tried to fix us, or gazed at our bent feet rather than into our eyes.  As we have matured, we have learned to reject the shame and stigma of disability.  What a freedom!  We found out that such negativity gets old and is not useful. Out of necessity, we have had to become introspective from time to time, which inescapably fostered our personal character development.  We have learned to be assertive when needed, to surround ourselves with loved ones, to think positively, get educated, find good resources and enjoy life along the way.

Perhaps most importantly, we have learned to accept ourselves as we are.  Many of us have evolved in our thinking to appreciate and lovingly embrace what used to be our primary nemesis - polio.  In order to find peace and contentment, we have had to make friends with our disability.  Not overcome it.  Not hide it.  And not fight it...  Polio has made us who we are today.

Our physical differences don't matter much anymore because we are all beginning to look like everyone else our age anyway.  We, however, know a bit more about aging gracefully, because we started sooner than all of our friends.  We are aging with a disability.  Many of our friends are aging into disability.  If they'll let us, we can actually help them with their new adjustments."
-- a couple paragraphs from a much longer, refreshingly upbeat, essay by Sunny Roller, MA (Ann Arbor, Michigan) - the lead article in the most recent issue of Post-Polio Health.


  1. Very nice. My Dad had polio, and it very nearly took his life at the age of 6. The primary permanent change is that he could never lift his arms above his head.

    Polio is also what kept my Dad from being drafted in Vietnam. Who knows how that war may have changed him, or even may have killed him.

  2. Good for them. Although I sincerely hope that their organization is completely unnecessary in a generation or two.


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