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Post-Polio Syndrome

By Timothy Pesikaka

In 1990 I was diagnosed as having Post Polio Syndrome after a year of extensive examinations and tests at various clinics and hospitals in and around Vancouver, British Columbia.

My initial polio attack was in Scotland, thirty six years earlier and at that time I was paralyzed from the neck down. Years of Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy got me walking again. My right leg has no movement below the knee and is about 45% above the knee. My right hip developed smaller than the left, and leg length was about three and a half inches short. I had the right leg lengthened three inches at age thirty. I was left with a number of residual effects but my initial recovery allowed me to move to Toronto, Canada, where I became a successful businessman.

In 1987 I noticed that I was starting to suffer from an ever worsening fatigue that I attributed to overwork and so decided to move into semi retirement in British Columbia. My pain and fatigue became so noticeable that an accountant friend insisted I go for testing. In 1990 the doctors all concluded that I had Post Polio Syndrome and I joined the local support group. By 1992 I was reduced to four hours of good energy a day. If I attempted a fifth hour then it cost me a full day of rest. The strain on my immediate family was so bad that we decided to return to Toronto for family support.

In 1994 I was referred by a friend to a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, David Bray, on College Street in Toronto. He told me that he could not repair the damage done by the polio virus but that he could make me a lot more comfortable. David explained that my system was out of balance and that this could be corrected but it would take some time. I am not a cynic by nature and consider myself knowledgeable enough about my condition that I can spot a charlatan pretty quickly. I decided to give This about three months and then I would review my condition.

Three months later I did feel better ..... I had been taking the recommended medicines and acupuncture. My wife did not really notice any improvements which lead me to wonder if it was just a placebo effect . Six months later I found that my energy levels were greatly improved. I could function for longer and my wife started to see improvement in me.

My recovery was slow but sure. I started by seeing David every two weeks and then this turned into once a month. By the middle of 1996 my days were 14 to 16 hours of good energy. My pains were so significantly lowered that I no longer felt the debilitation of Post Polio Syndrome. I do have all the aches and pains of a 48 year old who lives with the weaknesses and imbalances of an old polio attack BUT ...... the bone aching fatigue is gone; the severity of pain is gone.

One of the most interesting discoveries was that my "cold tolerance" levels changed. Heat retention is always a problem for post polio's ..... I wear knee length socks, boots, and all manner of seasonal clothes to keep myself warm. David advised me that I was too HOT inside .... and although he may have been using a Traditional Chinese Medical term it eventually manifested itself in my becoming more comfortable at lower temperatures.

I would be more than happy to answer any questions that post polios may have. I can only speak from my own experience. I have sent many friends to Dr. David Bray, even a couple of old polios ...... and they have all made significant recoveries.


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