“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln.

I would say that the most important part of healing is optimism.  I know that I am getting better each day, and can now see the end of the tough road.  I’m not sure where this particular road is going, but I know now that I am strong enough to walk it (or maybe even run it!).  I owe all of my success in my daily clobbering of GBS to a positive attitude, and tough therapy.

When I was sick at Bryn Mawr Rehab, there were many forms of therapy that the doctors and therapists tried to remind my body how to walk again.  They tried it all.  From standard Physical Therapy (PT) – walking, lunging, step ups, step downs…To Occupational Therapy (OT)- digit strengthening, grip conditioning, push ups, pulls downs… To Equestrian Therapy (EFL- Equine Facilitated Learning), where the horse simulates human walking to remind my hips how to move…To Aquatic Therapy, where in a gravity free zone, I could do exercises I could not do on dry land… To Talk Therapy, where they constantly reminded me that this was a short-term illness, and that I would be back to the old Suzy in no time.

These past few months since I’ve gotten so much stronger, I’ve done my own “therapy”.  It’s what I like to call Suzy Carney Therapy (SCT).  Things that I did pre-GBS that I insist on doing now.

I’ve told you all about my amazing Treadmill Therapy (TT)– which I’m up to 2 miles daily, thank you very much.  I can honestly say it’s the one place that I feel like I’m back.  I forget that 2 months ago, I couldn’t walk without my two crutches; 3 months ago I couldn’t stand without getting dizzy; and that 4 months ago I couldn’t sit up on my own.  It’s the place where I run as fast and as hard as possible, like I’m running away from GBS and towards the next amazing phase of my life.  I clear my head and think about what life is going to look like today.  I put yesterday in the rearview, and only look forward.  I open up the curtains, let the sun shine in, and crank up the tunes. I focus, run like hell, and finish- sweaty and satisfied.

Other therapy I’ve integrated into my routine–  Work Therapy (WT), where I go into the office a few times a week.  It gets me back into my projects, and back into the gossip of the office.  Lunch Therapy (LT)– this is where I go out to lunch with good friends I’ve met at the hospital.  I went to Hymies Deli on the Main Line last week with two of my most favorite people.  Talking to people who cheered me on when I stood for the first time, and hugged me when I cried because I didn’t know if my life would ever be the same.  These two are friends for life.

Christmas Card Therapy (CCT)— where I write out my 75 Christmas cards, which is quite a chore for my digits, but they are cranking on all cylinders.  Salad Therapy (ST)– this is where I cut up as many vegetables as I possibly can, throw it into an enormous salad filled with walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, Grilled Salmon and a little White Wine Vinegar mixed in with my grandfather’s famous Sciolla Mix.  Another great therapy that forces me to stand at the counter, then squat to get into the fridge, then chop veggies for an extended period of time.  Who says recovering from GBS isn’t fun?

However, I have also found a new form of very exciting, and original therapy that has brought me more emotional pleasure than say, the treadmill.  It’s very cutting edge, a little dangerous, but the end result is incredibly exhilarating.  It’s called  JT– otherwise known as Jewelry Therapy (JT).  For all of the ladies reading this, I know you are nodding and agreeing with me!

I did my Jewelry Therapy at my most favorite jewelry store, Popo Designs in Flourtown.  I’ve been going to Popo’s since I was in High School.  I could walk to her store from the Mount, so I would go down and “shop” while I was waiting for my ride home from school.  I was enamored with all that glittered in her store.  If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve been jewelry-obsessed since I was a little girl.  I honestly think I was born this way.  There are pictures of me as a baby, with a gold bangle bracelet on my wrist.  In fact, I was so enamored with my grandmother’s engagement ring when I was 5, I took it home with me– proceeded to go to cheerleading practice with it in my pocket.  Luckily for me, it was tucked so deeply in my pockets, I didn’t lose it.

I remember, in high school, talking to the owner of the store, Po, an MSJA grad herself and family friend, saying “I hope I marry a man some day who would buy me beautiful jewelry like this”.  And she shook her head and said “Nonsense.  You work hard, and you buy your own beautiful jewelry”.  Smart Lady!  I would go to Popo’s when I had a good day.  When I had a bad day.  When I had a huge accomplishment. When I broke up with a boyfriend.  Popo’s held a very special place in heart.

So, naturally my heart was broken when she closed up shop in late 2005.  I actually stood in the store and cried.  I had many moments in that store that impacted my life as a young, independent woman.

When I found out that Popo Designs was Back Open for Business in September, I could not wait for these weak legs to work so I could go back to my favorite beautiful place.  So, today, me and my incredibly strong legs walked into her store, and I just broke out into a huge, ear to ear smile.  I could not believe my eyes.  Just beauty everywhere.  I didn’t even know where to start, but I couldn’t stop grinning.  Popo came out, and I was so happy to see her that I engulfed her in a huge hug because I was so so excited to be there.

I went along my merry way shopping, when I heard “Oh My God” in the store.  I turned around and it was my very dear friend from the Mount, Beth Fiskett.  I hadn’t seen Beth since I was in Abington, and there she was, working at Popo’s!  I couldn’t believe my good fortune.  In my favorite store, looking at my favorite things and with an old favorite friend.  Could my day get any better?  Well, yes- a little.  I could find a new favorite piece of jewelry.

I made my way around the store, 5 times, searching for that piece of jewelry that I could buy that says “I am Beating GBS”.  I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I usually know it when I see it.  Then, I found it.  See, it even matches my Fall Risk Bracelet.

I couldn’t get over how great my day was.  I highly recommend Jewelry Therapy at Popo Designs for anyone who is looking to celebrate a personal achievement, cheer up after a tough ordeal, or just because.

I made up my mind in August to be happy and fight hard.  GBS never stood a chance against me, and I will wear this bracelet every day reminding me of how far I’ve come.  

Thank you for joining me on this journey.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I have wanted to post something like this on my site and you have given me an idea. Cheers.


  2. Posted by Eileen Keefe on December 20, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I like it! And another great idea for the Sciolla Mix….


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