"Cured in Spite of Modern Medicine"
By Al D. Squitieri, Sr.
I was severely disabled by a disease that disintegrates muscle. I had almost given up, due to a half dozen doctors claiming documented proof that Polymyositis, an autoimmune disease, was incurable. Miraculously, through the leading of The Great Physician, I found Canadian Homeopathy. It proved U.S. doctors’ prognoses wrong.
After thirty-five years of plumbing and heating work, I believed I was feeling the effects. I'd been lifting water heaters, bathtubs, and furnaces since age twenty, back in New York City's tenements. Suddenly, I was having trouble bending my knees, squatting under sinks, and crawl spaces became impossible. I realized something was wrong while taking a short cut off the back porch of a mobile home we were servicing. I was unable to lift myself out of two feet of snow. I was confused as to why I was losing strength in my thigh muscles at 54, a relatively young age in my trade.
Upon discussing the mounting difficulties with my legs, my family started nagging at me to see a doctor - of all things! Given my industrial strength stubbornness, they worked hard at convincing me to get a check-up. Finally, one of my daughters, an R.N., demanded I go to the nearby emergency room.
The E.R. doctor returned with the diagnosis attained from my blood test. Ceatinine Phospho Kinase is a muscle enzyme, and its increased level in blood would indicate disintegration of muscle- the higher the reading, the greater the destruction. The upper limit of normal is 226. My CPK level was 17,000. He said I had an immune problem.
The name given to the autoimmune disease is Polymyositis- the Greek “Poly” meaning many, “myositis” inflammation of muscle. He warned me to see my doctor right away, because it was a progressive disease. If untreated, it could put me in a wheelchair permanently. It was believed to be irreversible, or “incurable”.
The next day, we made an appointment at our primary care clinic. Thus began my five year battle with Polymyositis, and a life of increasing disability. I was once a strong, healthy, man who never took an aspirin, or went to a doctor. I was a disabled person now, seeing life from the other side of the coin. Unless you are or have been physically disabled, you don't know how this society of people suffers beyond the actual condition. Whether in a wheelchair, using a cane or crutch, we are people. Blind, deaf, or unable to walk, we still have feelings. We hurt, cry and laugh. We are familiar with anger and frustration; and depression can be a daily thing. The new terminology is a cop-out. By calling us "physically challenged", one avoids reality. Challenge is a daily part of our lives. We are disabled- unable to do what able-bodied people take for granted.
Before my illness worsened, I managed to travel with the help of my family. I took my trusty built-up toilet seat everywhere. Due to lack of facilities for the disabled, it was an on-going battle almost everywhere we went. If you dared ask a clerk at a "convenience" store about their misnomer, you were looked at as having two heads. If we found an accessible restroom, it was never clean enough for use, being "only for those handicapped people”– as if being disabled made you less than human.
Trips out of the house became rare. I could no longer get in and out of cars. Higher vans were accessible, since I could get a hand-up climbing onto the seat, whereas "sitting down" took someone else's total assistance. The same problem affected dining out. The chairs in my case were embarrassingly low. Because my thigh muscles were useless, someone had to pull me up onto my feet. Armless chairs were even more of a burden. I insisted it would be less of a burden if I stayed home, where large chair cushions were standard equipment, as was my toilet seat. Sitting on a sofa was no longer feasible, since it caused back and muscle strain on whomever was called upon to help move me.
Are we asking too much, wanting ramps, proper door handles, or useable doors to get into these places of business? Would it be impossible to provide larger tables, aisles and toilet areas to accommodate wheelchairs? How about handrails installed near clean, built-up toilets, and lower self-serve shelves? No, it's a doable request, compared to the frustration and hardship of being disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act offers help and tax credits to those willing to remove obstacles to people who are disabled.
I had managed to keep my sense of humor through the physical and mental pain, while leaning on my prayers and those of family and friends. It was that strength of mind and spirit that sustained me until God sent answer to prayer. He sent a cure through Canadian Homeopathy.
There are many forms of healing. Sometimes it’s enough just facing the fact that a disability may be permanent, and then going on to overcome that disappointment, by using and enjoying the life God has planned for you. Living victoriously with a disability allows one to comfort others in similar situations, by showing understanding and compassion, and by lending a helping hand. Helping other persons manage their limited lives, can be a blessing in itself. Try it. Challenge God to use you, just as you are.
There is hope when one doesn't give up, and one understands all things are possible to those who believe. The key is surviving day by day by staying strong in mind and spirit. To those fortunate ones enjoying good health, and full ability, count it a blessing. I was not born disabled, but became one of "them", and I found myself asking for a fair shake. Ponder this the next time you look down on a disabled person, or feel annoyed by their inconvenient presence: but for the Grace of God, it could be you being "challenged".
Al D. Squitieri,Sr has written an autobiography entitled: Broken Glass And All, which gives full detail of his victory over Polymyositis. It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iuniverse.com, or ordered at any bookstore by title or ISBN # 0-595-17206-7 Or adsword.windstream.net, 315 598-3305