All The Steps I Have Taken

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Inspiring, polioAll the Steps I Have Taken,” is a non-fiction novel that has been something I have had on my mind for several years.  When you live your entire life with poliomyelitis (polio), you have a somewhat different way of looking at the perspectives in your life. When I retired from a successful career as a dental assistant, I had time to finally put that dream into reality and begin writing my book.

My thought was that there are thousands of people out there that are the same age as me and I needed to get these words of encouragement completed for them. I also realize that a lot of people have challenges caused by other factors than polio.  These same words, in my book, can give them encouragement. I realized that I’m not getting any younger and neither are the thousands of people that lived with polio before a vaccine was available. I needed to get my words of inspiration in my book out for people to enjoy and be encouraged by.

My entire life has been made different due to contracting polio at the young age of six months. I never knew any other way of navigating my day. As a young child I was a “happy-go-lucky” kind of child. I always had a smile on my face. I never really noticed that I had to wear braces on my legs to walk and use crutches to help me get around. It was just the way I needed to get where I wanted to be.

As the years went on and my life was enjoyable, I realized that I had done a very good job of piecing a wonderful life together. I have a lot of color in my life just as I do with the quilts that I make.  All of the things I was able to accomplish made me realize that I have made a fulfilling life for myself. I have no regrets with anything that I have done. When I see someone else who is struggling with their day to get around it always makes me so grateful that I can do all the things I want to do, it just takes me twice as long to do it.

My journey begins everyday with the same thought; how I can better my life or the life of someone else .It’s a wonderful way to begin each day. My motto is live life to the fullest!

My father found it difficult to read my memoir. He said “he couldn’t complete that task”.  It brought too many memories to surface that he didn’t want to remember. He passed away January 18, 2013 and I can only hope that he read some of those pages.  I told him “he needed to see from where I had come to get to where I am now”.  He said “I see that everyday, I don’t have to read it”.  God Bless his memory.

Transitions

  

We are now in a transition time of our calendar year. The time of year that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The same time every year and yet it is a“Time” when we all become crazy busy and yet find time to have an amazing wonderful time with family and friends.

 Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we had a delightful day with our

Nolan and I at a book signing

entire family. Our daughter and her family entertained us just perfect. The weather was amazingly nice and our entire family of “16” was enjoying their time together. I am so Thankful for my husband, Nolan, and what he does to make my day better.  Today he will continue to make our home festive for Christmas. We will dine with friends this evening. A perfect day planned. 

As the day transitions from darkness to light, a lot of people are likely finishing or beginning their Christmas shopping in the frenzy of “Black Friday”. Last evening we enjoyed a few left over dinner treats for our supper, a wonderful Hallmark Christmas movie and then I spent a few hours at the sewing machine. (That activity usually starts and/or ends my day.)  The day couldn’t have been better. It is still dark out and I am enjoying a cup of coffee and writing this Blog.

 

The next transition is writing this Blog.  I would have never believed that I would be writing a Blog every week. That all changed when my book “All the Steps I Have Taken” became a part of my life on August 7, 2012. The content of the book is my life but learning all that I have learned over the last year was not. I could manage some tasks on the computer by managing my career as a dental assistant.  I was able to balance my check book, and I could type things for church but that was it. I keep in touch with family and friends on FB.  I am finding a lot of polio survivors on Twitter and I get to tell a little piece about me each week.

 

Transitions are life changing. At this time of day my father is being cared for by our daughter and my sister. The care shifts change daily as our family meets each of their daily obligations, but always loved ones are with the person we love. I will be picking up his Great-grandchildren later this morning and going to see “Grandpa”. What will tomorrow bring?  That transition is still in God’s hands. We don’t know what each tomorrow will bring. “God, only in your love can I learn the balance of choosing wisely by investing myself fully.”

 

 

” The Final Inch”

The Final Inch

“The Final Inch”

                                                “The Final Inch”

The polio vaccine has been around for 50 years yet we are still trying to eradicate the disease polio. Poliomyelitis is a disease that had three actual types of virus. One of them caused vomiting and flu type systems. Children and adults usually recovered from this type with no ill effects. The second type caused paralysis to arms, legs, shoulders or in combination of places. The third type is Bulbar and this is the one that can kill. It is the one that tells our heart to beat and our diaphragm to push and pull air. Polio is a virus the spreads by drinking contaminated water. One must wash their hands.

Uttar Pradesh, India has 187,000 million people and has the largest concentration of polio.  The World Health Assembly, Unicef and Rotary are working very hard to “End Polio Now.” India has had 4 million volunteers to work to eradicate polio and in January 2013 they will celebrate no new cases for 2012.  It will be a Celebration.  It hasn’t been easy but the work has been completed there.  Now Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan still are in need of volunteers to get the job of vaccination completed. It is down to the last 1%.

Rotary is today the quiet army that is working so hard to finish “The Final Inch”. We are this close. The foot soldiers in the war to end polio, have become the largest non-military organization in human history working toward the final goal of ending polio cases world wide.  We must reach the poorest areas in the world. If not, polio will be just a plane ride away.

The History of the Polio Timeline reported from 1945-1949 that there were 20,000 new cases each year in the United States. In 1952 the largest number, 58,000 cases of polio were reported in the United States. The following year in 1953, Dr. Jonas Saulk started his field trials. In 1955 the vaccine became available to the public and we all remember lining up to receive the vaccine at local schools nation wide.

We must keep working until the last 1% is reached so that no more children will have to live a life of challenge, with the effects of poliomyelitis, as I have since 1948. I live each day with prayer, patience, prioritize and persistance to make my day as normal as possible.

Why Me?

God, All the Steps, Polio, strength, courage

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God had a plan for my life from day one, it may not have been what I wanted it to be, but it was his plan and I was going to except it. God uses my life as an inspiration to all I encounter. With my attitude of, “I can do all things through him that strengths me”, I am showing my faith in God. Of course I didn’t realize that I was an inspiration to anyone until I was working in my last dental office. One of my doctors said to me “Do you realize that you are an inspiration to all you are working with?”  I never thought of myself as inspiration to anyone.

I was born to young parents who were able to give me all the opportunities I needed to be an inspiration to anyone I would encounter. My parents were so strong and had great courage in those early years when I was sick.  I’m not sure how they did it; leaving a small child at a hospital away from family, I’m sure it was harder for them than it was for me.

All the steps, Overcoming, polio, inspiring

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I learned to handle the limitations that made it harder for me to navigate through my day.   From the beginning of my day when I put on my left leg brace, to the end of the day when I place it in the closet, I have to realize that it will be a fabulous day in spite of wearing that brace.  It’s heavy and I carry it around all day but, without it I could not do all that I am accomplishing.

I was blessed with a family of my own and was able to encourage them to be all that they could be. My children are all respectable community minded young people with families of their own.  I pray they will all make a difference in the lives of those they will meet.

Polio, All the steps, survivor, limitations, inspiring

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Patience has become a very important attribute in making my day a success.  Without patience my day would not be as enjoyable as it is with all the activity that I manage to partake in.  I am so blessed to be able to do all the things I enjoy and love and can’t wait for the next day to start so I can do it all over again.