I am making my own little website to show my paintings and artwork. And, to get out information about people with disabilities.
One day in May, 2013, I was going to go kickboxing before work. This was early in the morning. My back did not feel right - kind of achy. So, I sat down again. About 5 inutes later, I stood up only to find my legs did not work. My husband, Neil, was working out of town and I was home alone. So, I crawled out to my car and somehow drove myself to the urgent care about 5 blocks from my house. (The driving was not a wise decision since I had less and less ability to push down on the gas and was going slower and slower.) The urgent care send me to the hospital. After MRIs etc., I was admitted to the hosptial.
The diagnosis was Transverse Myelitis, which is a rare autoimmune neurological disaorder. The immune system attacked a part of my spinal cord. Basically, I have a spinal cord injury caused by Transverse Myelitis. I ended up being in the hospital a total of 6 weeks - mostly in the rehab unit. Then, another 4 weeks in a nursing home rehab unit. I was released using a wheelchair. I could not walk.
I managed to work until July 2014 when I turned 65. I am most grateful to my employer who worked with me and allowed me to do my job from a laptop and phone in the medical facilities and home.
Fast forward to now - October 2015. I now can walk! I use two canes (one is a quad cane.) I have gained mobility through the grace of God, the terrific warm water pool built for people with disabilities and the wonderful trainer Bonnie, excellent PT, and, simply, hard work and determination. I now can drive again.
I have gained tremendous things from this whole experience. (1) I am painting again after 40 years. (I got my degree in Art, taught Art for 5 years, worked for 30 years in the wonderful world of television, and then ended my career working for the Red Cross and Neville Public Museum in development and marketing.) (2) I want to make people aware of simple, but wonderful, ways they can help other people in their everyday lives.
Through my journey, I know what it is like to be marginalized. I figure changing that is an education process. Many people do not know better. As an ex-teacher, I thought I could help. I want to get out and speak to groups. I am working with the CP Center in Green Bay. They are even printing business cards for me. My title is: "Volunteer Inclusivity Speaker and Advocate." Pretty nifty, 'eh?
I have a few paintings now and only so many relatives who will take them. So, I am having a show at the Art Garage here. They want their artists to have a website, so here mine goes. Right now, it is quite rudimentary, but, I hope I can make it better.
Thanks for listening.