Nancy Hallo Story
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” Marie Curie
the definitions of which are as numerous as the lucky individuals who attain this well-earned status in their lifetime. Goals of retiring are also various and often include travel, spending more time with family and friends.
My husband’s dream for retirement was to reside in a waterfront community, embracing the expected perks of fishing, boating and cooling gulf breezes; a dream that we have been blessed to realize, though a few years before I was eligible to collect my earned monetary benefits. As I somewhat patiently counted down the years, then months, then days until I could apply for and receive a monthly check from Social Security, my dream continued to be the pursuit of my writing.
When I began suffering gradual neck spasms and the sensation of heaviness and extreme range of motion deficit nearly five years ago, I sought medical attention. Multiple specialists were consulted, numerous tests performed, and several therapeutic and pharmaceutical remedies recommended, prescribed and employed; with no definitive diagnosis or etiology nor relief of my symptoms.
Upon visiting with a neuroscience specialist in June 2015, her physician assistant recognized my ongoing syndrome as that of torticollis.
also called spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition in which your neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing your head to twist or turn to one side. Cervical dystonia can also cause your head to uncontrollably tilt forward or backward.
A rare disorder that can occur at any age, cervical dystonia most often occurs in middle-aged people, women more than men. Symptoms generally begin gradually and then reach a point where they don’t get substantially worse.
There is no cure for cervical dystonia. There also is no known exact cause, though I remain quite certain that my years of employment as a transcriptionist absolutely aggravated my condition. That my chronic and worsening muscle pain, pulling and deteriorating range of movement negatively affected my quality of life became more evident. The stress of maintaining the position working at my desk top computer exacerbated my neck pain. As I looked toward my eventual retirement, my hope was that separating myself from the posture required during my work day would provide benefit.
In the spring of this year,
retirement benefits commenced. Unfortunately, my dystonia symptoms progressed, even after therapies to include quarterly botulinum toxin injections, muscle relaxants, pain medications, cervical injections, acupuncture, strengthening exercises, as well as physical therapy. With the freedom, time and desire now at hand to pursue my lifelong dream of being a writer, I found myself less than motivated as I allowed my disorder to define me. The discomfort of constant neck spasms, coupled with the inability to bear the weight of nor hold my head up distracted efforts at achieving my lifelong goal. Mild depression led to reconciling that perhaps dystonia would destroy my dream.
With much encouragement, direction and support from my dear friend of 50 years, the author of A Novel Creation, I was eager and thrilled to pen a personal blog describing my newly achieved retired status and its significance in regards to my writing goals. Being employed as a regular contributor for an on-line home health care aide publication, I continued to hone my research and writing skills. I eventually became aware that celebrating the accomplishment of my written creations far outweighs the pain and discomfort I have realized for so long.
Remaining determined to achieve my goal
of succeeding as a published writer, and with the persistence of an idea and initial research underway for a young adults’ nonfiction story, I know the most optimal treatment for my diagnosed disorder is to accept and persevere, learning to utilize my gifts to strengthen and motivate. Perhaps it is this current mindset that is allowing for a mild improvement with my second try at a course of physical therapy.
My prayers, of course, continue to be for a cure in the very near future. But, I have waited a lifetime to achieve success in the pursuit of my passion. Refusing to allow this physical obstacle to be a disincentive is my new mantra!
“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
Nancy Hallo, a wife, a daughter, and grandmother recently added the labels “retiree” and “writer”. After 20 plus years employed as a medical and legal transcriptionist and editor, she begins her writing career maintaining a blog highlighting her “salt life” retirement as well as continuing as a regular contributor for an on-line home health aide publication.