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Reinventing Ourselves

Driving home, listening to NPR, they were discussing the current economic situation. It occured to me that these economic times and chronic pain have a lot in common. Both have robbed many of us of our livelihoods which can translate to self image. And we are forced to reinvent who we are, what we can and cannot do and what brings us joy.

Many years ago, before hip surgery, standing for any length of time was intolerable. I was a teacher. Teachers do a lot of standing. My pain forced me to think of other options. My backgound was in art, but the only way to have a secure income was to do something like teach. I had never considered the possibility of being a studio artist, who could sit and work.  But my pain caused me to open that door of possibility. And it was a wise move. I have had a successful second career as a practicing artist. In a way, I have my pain to thank.

Have you had to reinvent yourself? How have you done it? What were the biggest challenges?

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About Mary Byrne Eigel

Before writing children’s books, Mary spent many years teaching in classrooms and creating art in her studio. She was born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes normal activities, like walking, to be challenging. As a child, when Mary had to trek long distances, she often wished she had a wheelchair. For her, a wheelchair offered pain-free opportunities, not limitations. Mary grew up in Chicago, which is the lakefront inspiration for the town of Sail. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two dogs, Beaux and Trey.

2 responses »

  1. A typical chronic facial pain and atypical ondontalgia has forced changes in career, lifestyle, and psyche. I am a chronic pain survivor and am trying to “own” my pain in a positive way. So, I am reinventing myself each day, in a way, as I try to manage my pain and explore alternative therapies.
    How wonderful you were able to reinvent yourself in a way that utilized all the best of your talents (teaching and art). It is an encouraging narrative you weave.

  2. Mary Byrne Eigel

    Thanks Phylor. Sounds like you have taken many healthy steps yourself. It is encouraging that more alternative therapies are surfacing. And that we have the internet to share our discoveries. As patients, I think we are ahead of the curve of many of those in traditional medicine on knowing what works and what is worth trying. Be well. Mary

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