Overcoming Polio Challenges With Townsend

Overcoming Polio Challenges With Townsend - Image

Having contracted Paralytic Polio at nine months of age, means that I have learned a lot about braces over the decades since my diagnosis. The braces that I have, and continue to work best for me, are made by Thuasne USA / Townsend, and have been for many years.  Without their superior knee braces (I have worn the Rebel and Premier) I would never have been able to hike the miles that I have, (as many as 18 a week), which has led to my left leg regaining an extraordinary amount of muscle. They work darned well for me in the vertical realm as well!

I once saw a PPS specialist in San Francisco in the early 90’s whose advice to me was to use a power chair, stop exercising, and give up climbing. I shudder to think where I’d be if I had taken his less than sage advice.  And my heart goes out to those who have listened to this narrative, and now deal with high blood pressure, diabetes and joint and back issues, poor muscle tone, pressure sores and more. For myself, the best part of each day is embracing the possibilities that exist, rather than focusing on the very real limitations imposed upon me by my less than robust health and many physical limitations.  Though I have a propensity for stumbling, and some of those stumbles have led to falls, I try to make getting out for my hiking pole assisted hikes 5 days a week a priority.  Post-Polio Syndrome dictates to me that I must work diligently to maintain a balance between rest and activity. Between rest and activity, I prefer ACTIVITY.

I began climbing in 1977 and have ascended El Capitan 23 times, not something I imagined for my 65 year old self when I first stood on top of it in 1990.  So whatever your personal El Capitan is; do not be dissuaded by naysayers, do not be disheartened by setbacks, and do not listen to the voice in your head that tells you that giving up is an option because what you are doing is difficult.  Life is difficult for everyone.  The greatest meaning in life can be found by embracing the struggle.  And, you might inspire someone else along the path to realizing your goals and dreams.

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