Hello this is Michael and if you’re reading this you might be going through what I went through 16 years ago. I have been living with a disability since the day I turned 2 when the polio bug got me. And as a child my parents and doctors thought that they could perform operations on my polio limb, which is my left leg from the hip down. I spent many years in hospitals, thankfully not all at once, but just the same I was separated from my family. I was always told that my operations would make for a better future.
The physical future predicted did turn out pretty good as I was able to walk with a limp. Unfortunately during the early 80s I started experiencing new symptoms of weakness along with some pain. At first I thought that it shouldn’t be too much of a problem because I had been dealing with disability for so many years. But that was not the case: then I had to work through a lot of psychological stuff in order to feel that my life was still worthwhile. Writing Changing Lanes gave me the opportunity to review much of what I had learned as a young man. My self-worth was at a new low and I was determined to do something about it. My book was the result and I hope that it might help you too in some small way.
Writing became a way of expressing myself as I went on to write Safety On Wheels, Good Grief and my own polio story, the Red Brick Birdcage. So if you are struggling with the meaning of your life and loss, take the opportunity to reflect upon the things that you have enjoyed doing or always thought about doing. Now you might be able to work some experiences into your new life.
I hope that you realize that becoming ill or disabled is not the end of your life. I would like to invite you to contact me if you feel your issues are becoming overwhelming for you. As I have needed to transition from using a mobility scooter to using a powerchair full-time, just two years ago, I found myself mourning the loss of another one of my abilities. As I age I expect to confront more changes. So do let me know what issues you are dealing with. You can e-mail me at changing@Shaw.ca .