Ann Hazard puts the PPS puzzle together
I was raised in La Jolla, California-the town where the Salk Institute is located. I am 57 years old and confirmed that I’d had polio about 10 months ago. When I questioned my 87-year-old father about it, he admitted that I “might have had a mild case of polio,” and then promptly went back into denial and refused to speak of it again, until recently.
It took about a decade for me to finally put the PPS puzzle together. Back in 2000, I had a dentist who had to cap my two front teeth because of yellow bands of discoloration. She said these were from being given massive doses of antibiotics when I was about 3. She asked me if I remembered any major illness at that age and also asked me if perhaps I’d had polio. She was quite familiar with the disease.
That got me to thinking. I had some odd memories of being kept in a dark room, unable to walk. I remembered that I was about 3. These are my first memories! After my conversation with my dentist, I asked my mom about it … but all she told me is I had some kind of problem for a short while where I couldn’t walk. No big deal. Never in my home was the “P” word mentioned.
I obviously recovered from the polio and lived a normal, active life until I turned about 50. My only problems were a slightly off-balance gait. But after 50 I began to slow down and experience increasing pain. After swimming five miles a week for over 20 years, I had to stop. I didn’t think much of it, just figured I was wearing out certain muscles and joints and it was time to scale back. I figured I had arthritis.
But over the next five years there was more joint and muscle pain, fatigue and some degeneration in the muscles in my right leg, which is the one that doesn’t work so well. I did a lot of research on the Internet and the whole polio thing kept coming up. Then I found out about PPS. I was pretty freaked out and wanted to go back to thinking I had an injury that would heal in time – not that a bunch of neurons that were dying off!
I am so grateful to have found PolioToday.org. I will do anything I can to help get the word out. I have no doubt that too many of us are either unaware, misdiagnosed or have mistreated when we get to the truth.
More research needs to be done. More doctors need to become aware of PPS. It seems to me it’s like Fibromyalgia was in the ’90s. No one ever heard of it and those people who said they had it were too often treated like they were slightly crazy.