Monday, December 11, 2017

Behind the Mic Book Review: Someone Like Me By John W. Quinn

I met John Quinn seven years ago. He was commenting on one of Zach Anner's Facebook statuses. Zach Anner won the Oprah's Own show competition, remember? I was in my "interview search mode" trying to book interviews for my podcast. When I get in that "search mode" I can come up with pretty great stuff! I started looking through the comment feed on Zach's status, which I very rarely do, but I when I found John's comments on the feed, they weren't  the type of comments you usually see on public figure statuses. His remarks were dignified, respectful, and very commending of Zach's accomplishment on winning his own show. I noticed after that he made a short comment on his own story. I don't know what the full comment said, because my mind just focused in on the words: "disability" "Navy" and "hid". After seeing those words I was intrigued, but, I ended up going out of the comment feed and forgetting about it until a few hours later. "John is the perfect interview for the podcast, Michelle, c'mon, now, jump on it!" So I invited him to connect on Facebook, bought his book, asked for an interview and the rest is history! Really, John's story is one for the history books for sure. Speaking of books, I couldn't put his down! I read the book in a week! John went into the Navy and retired after twenty years, as a Senior Chief petty officer, which is the eighth of nine enlisted ranks in the U.S. Navy. No one knew until shortly after he wrote "Someone Like Me" that he even had cerebral palsy. That was astounding to me! The foundation that was laid to never let the label "cerebral palsy"  stop or hinder him, was set by his parents. In fact, it was his dad that told the doctors:  I don't want to see the words "cerebral palsy" or "handicapped" listed anywhere in his medical record. If you doctors label him with that now, it will follow him for the rest of his life, and I won't have that."  John comments further on his parents view of his condition:  My parents downplayed the issue of cerebral palsy to ensure that I lived as normal a life as possible  and I was never treated as someone with a handicap by my four brothers and three sisters. It was just the way I wanted it."  John never let his challenges follow him or get him down, even when the tough times reared their ugly head. Through loss, heartbreak, and the rigors of Navy life - screaming commanders, marching in frigid temperatures, a bout of acute cellulitis, losing his parents, his mom to cancer and his dad to a heart attack. His brother Steven took his life by suicide. The heartbreak of losing someone he thought would be the love of his life.  Not one ounce of all the challenges that life has thrown at him, has thrown him off his beat. Through each hurdle he jumped over, he came out stronger and even more determined.  I'm purposefully restraining myself from blogging about the whole entire book. It's a book review which is meant to just whet your appetite, but this book is a definite MUST READ! You will laugh, cry, cheer and most of all, be given hope that the possibilities are endless once you realize never to put yourself in a box, always being ready to push the envelope. As John says: "You want an absolute?  Here are two: You are never alone. There is always hope."  For Someone Like ME!

Thank you John for sharing your story on my podcast so many years ago! And thank you for allowing me to tell your story I appreciated the opportunity! And thank you for always bringing your story to everyone, everywhere! I'm glad I could be a small part of spreading the Awareness and Hope that's behind your story! -----Michelle

Hear John's interview I did with him 5 years ago on his story and book here:

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

You can also purchase John's book on Amazon!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Breaking News: I am a Panic Attack Sufferer!

I started experiencing panic attacks around the age of 18, about the same time I started experiencing depression. Depression and cerebral palsy were horrible enough, but then these attacks that have no trigger whatsoever? Yeah, now I'm at the peak of weirdness, I thought. I have never really talked about panic attacks until the last couple of years. I felt like if I talked about them, not only would people not understand, but I would be looked at as the most selfish person in the universe!  The real hard truth is, Ladies and Gentleman... Panic Attacks ARE REAL!  They do make me feel super out of control, mine come out of nowhere...literally I'm sitting by myself or lying in my own comfy bed in my own house!  I may go out to eat with friends and I'll have 2 small ones and a large one that shakes my body so much inside that I just want to curl up in a tight ball and cry until there are no more tears to cry! These attacks don't care that you want to enjoy life to the full with the ones you love, enjoy the act of actually taking air into your lungs, going shopping, going to a bookstore, going to a movie or just running errands. Everyday life is taken from you when these attacks show themselves... not to mention your self-esteem takes a MAJOR hit!  After many attempts at trying to be "Rosie the Riveter" about the toll that these were taking on my body, and that I could ''handle it", I found that it was difficult to deal with these alone. Seeking support makes everything more bearable! I wasn't too much of a fan of being that vulnerable at first, but the more I got used to the idea, the easier it became. As I talked about my anxiety, I found that many people suffer from the same thing. Then it occurred to me... the more you express what you are going though, the more other people feel free to express themselves. You never know how long they've felt the same fear of expressing their feelings, but because you are doing it, they may realize it's ok for them as well. What a gift to give to someone! In the years since, I have been to many doctors with no success. Then I found the sweetest doctor that has done wonders for me in helping control these monsters! Granted, I still struggle with them, and we have a rocky complicated relationship, but, I'm certainly glad I haven't giving up in showing them who's in control! I realized I'm worth it, and I'm certainly not alone.. No one is ever ALONE, my dear reader...NO ONE!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Celiac Disease Monster is in attack mode.....TURN and RUNNNNN!!!

FACT: 1 out of every 133 Americans has celiac disease, nearly 1% of the US population.  83% of the 3 million Americans living with celiac disease remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Hello, my name is Michelle Fischer and I am among those who have this disease.  I was a lover of all things GLUTEN before I was diagnosed! Bread, cookies, pasta, name it, I ate it and enjoyed every last morsel!  Then suddenly after so many happy delicious meals, everything changed!  I couldn't eat without having to make a B-line to the bathroom. I was extremely tired with dark circles under my eyes and I felt nauseous ALL the time!  Was there a monster inside me?  I honestly thought I had some ultra fatal condition!  I'm always really good at building up the worst case scenarios in my head. When it comes to anything medical, I try to be a good patient, but the problem is I don't like needles or painful procedures but I was forced to face needles and blood work head on because my body was fighting a battle against itself and I was smack dab in the middle of dealing with severe repercussions!  I was COVERED in a rash from head to toe that was the itchiest rash...seriously I had never itched that much in my life!  After the rash appeared and the itching was consuming my whole life, my mom and I knew we needed to find out what was going on, because something was terribly wrong!  Two doctors, an awesome internist and a magnificent allergist told me the news I dreaded, yet relieved it was a disease that we would be able to manage. Confession: I cried the first time I couldn't just go in somewhere and order whatever I wanted.  As time has gone by though, having celiac disease has really been an empowering sort of journey for me.  I have become an expert label reader, researcher and food detective, which has resulted in being a healthier me.  Now, there have been a few times where I have slipped unknowingly, because sometimes ingredients aren't listed properly and I didn't look close enough, but it doesn't happen often and for that I'm grateful.  Having celiac disease has also brought self-care to the forefront.  It pays to care about what goes in your body and know what things are affecting you.  I deserve to be the best I can be and you do too!  Making these changes and making self-care a priority...makes you the best YOU!  That's the best gift you can give yourself and others.  Life is meant to be lived to the full, with nothing holding you back or standing in your way!

If you, or someone you know is suspecting a gluten allergy, please don't wait to get tested!  The great people at have wonderful resources and all things celiac disease! I interviewed Alice Bast on the podcast a couple of years ago! Here's the link to that interview!

Here's a celiac symptom questionnaire as well if you suspect celiac disease:

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Monday, October 23, 2017

Behind The Mic Book Review: Keeping My Balance A Memoir of Disability and Determination by Stephanie Torreno

Google is a girls' best friend when it comes to finding memoirs on disability, so a journalist such as myself, can wet your appetite to check these books out!  Google did not disappoint this journalist either!  Keeping My Balance A Memoir of Disability and Determination by Stephanie Torreno, is a book that shows just because you have a disability or special need, doesn't mean you can't accomplish your goals or dreams. The key is to explore and consistently push yourself out of your comfort zone, to see how you handle the ups and downs of life that everyone experiences.  Stephanie is incredibly candid in expressing her hurdles, struggles and humor.  I couldn't put this book down!  She had huge hurdles to overcome.  Her speech was difficult to understand and she needed note takers in school and throughout college.  Transportation needs were addressed, sometimes her mom would take her places, sometimes her Nana, then MetroLift....each time she talks about MetroLift though, all I could do was shake my head!  They were always late!!  It's never comfortable to be late, even if you're fashionably late!  Home health care nurses helped with prepping meals, but it was hard to find and keep good help.  The next couple of challenges Stephanie faced were some of the most heartbreaking.  The tragic losses of her Dad to suicide and her Nana to cancer.  Depression and anxiety became her new normal on top of the challenges of cerebral palsy.  She had to come to the realization that no one caused her dad's suicide, so she didn't have to feel responsible.  I really resonated with how she felt, wondering if depression would ever loosen it's grip so that I would feel like myself again, too.  The most wonderful transformation, though, was how through all the challenges, even the ones I haven't covered in this post, Stephanie never stopped moving forward, even when the obstacles seemed impossible!  It was all about mindset when it came to accomplishing the task of college, family life and loss.  This book underscores the fact that no one is "special" or immune to what life can throw at you.  The true success of anyone is all about navigation of the hills, valleys and boulders. Stephanie Torreno NEVER gave up and never gave in.  She kept her balance always with grace and determination...The moral of this story: "You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice"----Bob Marley

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Behind the Mic Book Review: a special education by Dana Buchman

 "What was going on inside me - what still sometimes goes on - was a frightening identification with my daughter and a feeling of being revealed as less than perfect.  On the outside, I project a very together exterior; hard-working fashion designer of a popular label, happy wife and mother of two, with any unpleasant feelings neatly tucked in.  But on the inside, I am messy.  I am insecure, incomplete.  I always feel I'm not the best I can be, not an "A." Underneath the glam exterior, I'm vulnerable, flawed.. I have always been afraid of these very human emotions, and I've always done everything in my power to block them out" ----Dana Buchman

Well, this pretty much ends the writing of this book review, doesn't it?  Period. Ok, blog finished!  Ok, ok.. really, there is just a couple more paragraphs to this review, I promise!  I couldn't help but totally relate to the sentences above when thinking about my challenges, but the cool thing about having someone like Dana Buchman, one of the most recognized designers in women's clothing write a book and share her story, is that it shows she is made up of the exact same things we all are..flesh and blood.  That flesh and blood makes us all human.  No matter your situation in life, famous or not, able-bodied or not, married or single, black or white..the list could go on and on, we all have stories of triumph over difficult hurdles and obstacles.  Dana writes about discovering herself, which helped her in understanding that showing you're not perfect in every aspect is what makes you more relatable, and in the end, more comfortable with yourself.  You can't give to others from an empty cup.  In my own personal circumstances in coming to terms with cerebral palsy, I was ALL about denial and burying my head in the sand. Just like Charlotte though, no matter how hard I tried, it was there like a glaring eye order to cope, I had to face my challenges head on..Me, Me and only ME! That's the way Dana had to approach the roller coaster of challenges that would characterize her daughter Charlottes' journey with learning disabilities.  Fear, anger, confusion, deep sadness and pain.  This was not how Dana usually lived life... she was very in control, the driver of her own success.  Just when it seems that there is a boulder that wants to shatter her life in pieces, Charlotte slowly but surely proves that learning differences will not define her or those around her, especially the love and bond of her family!  This book was published in 2006, but the moral of the story is the same: Whatever your destination, there's a million beautiful, ever-changing ways to get us there!

Michelle Fischer is host of  A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Monday, October 9, 2017

Looking through my writing archives...A piece written for the HandicapThis Team!

This is a #Throwback post! I wrote this piece a couple of years ago for the HandicapThis Team! Hope you enjoy!

Emotions are what connect us.  We can speak to each other through emotions.  When someone cries, they need comfort.  When someone is angry or upset, they need a listening ear.  When someone is so happy they can’t hold it in, your heart bursts out in happiness with them!  What helps motivate you to connect with others through your emotions?  Understanding and fellow feeling.  These two qualities help you to put yourself in another person’s shoes.  You remember that, at certain times in your life you have also felt the weight of heavy emotions - the ones where you feel like you could break and shatter and not be able to go on...  You have also felt the feel good emotions, happiness and contentment, feeling so good that nothing will stop you!   You may say to yourself, “Negative thoughts, what negative thoughts? I’m ecstatic” you bask in your happiness.  As you go through these emotions in your lifetime, who is there for you?  Whoever the person is, you no doubt feel so much better after you talk about how you feel.  Whether it’s pouring out your heart or getting set to accomplish something you have always dreamed of, someone you love, respect and care for is and was there, for...YOU.

Those who love you, may have taken the time to share insights into what helps them get through certain situations without letting their emotions take over and keeping a level head.  Then you may decide to pay it forward and share it with someone else.  For example, let’s say you try to give encouragement and positive help to someone and you walk away feeling like you helped them.  However, the next time you see them, they seem guarded and closed.  Within yourself, you may feel like the help or advice you gave, didn’t help at all.  Here’s something my mom has always said to me, “People can only give you what they can give you on that day”.   Everyone, disabled or not, deals with stresses, emotions and disappointments in different ways.  These things weigh on people, and there are days when it would just be easier to stay in bed!

A good thing to remember, though, is that the time you take to be there for someone will always be remembered.  When something is on someone’s shoulders, it sometimes takes time for the advice to sink in.  At the time, they may not be able to see how your advice will help them, but in the long run, it can have an impact on that person for the good - helping them to keep moving forward!  That’s such a wonderful gift you can give to another person - using what’s in your power to help.  A kind word or a gentle hug, can help that person to recharge and become resilient again!  

I often talk about how people with disabilities should be included in groups with those without disabilities so that each can benefit from the other.  People with disabilities are often thought of as needing something.  However, we can give something, as well.  Since there is more happiness in giving, I propose that we start something new.  All those who have disabilities (I’m included in this group:), can make an effort to give of themselves everyday.  Talk to someone without a disability.  Talk to someone with a disability!  Say hello and put on a warm smile. If you are able to have a longer conversation, you might be surprised by what you find out about them.  You may find out that you have more in common than you first thought and you might just be the person that makes their day a bit brighter.  Practice makes perfect and the more you practice relating to people, the more you can give of yourself to them.  People will observe the way you view the challenges and obstacles that come up in your daily routine, and how you handle them.  As you work on your perspective and your positive emotions, you will become a person who can be there for others.  As you give back for all the times others have given to you....the impact will be lasting and priceless!

Emotions are powerful for the good or bad, building up or shattering to pieces.  Ask yourself: What part do I want to play in how far Disability Awareness rolls on?  What kind of ripple effect do I want to make for those around me?  Emotions are what connect us.  Putting our heart into our emotions - the motivation behind how we use our emotions - will help keep us together!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window a podcast podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Behind the Mic Book Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

As I was reading this book I was thinking about someone inspecting an apartment to rent, only to find that the apartment is in poor repair.  Despite the bumps and bruises, though, you can see that it has real potential to be a modern, chic, up and coming place to call home.  You start to take steps to give it the care and attention it needs, and in the end, it really does become the most perfect place to establish a life with those you love.  You saw the potential it had when you started to put the effort in to get it how you wanted it.  Anyone dealing with a challenge knows that it takes real effort sometimes to see your own value and potential.  To feel comfortable in your own skin and view yourself as a place you want to call home.  Especially when your particular challenge or obstacle obscures your view.  But the first step to seeing anything, maybe even something you may not like about yourself, is to look at it straight on.  This mindset is developed and worked on over time because it's never easy to accept something that takes so much energy to not let it prevent you from enjoying life.  This funny, uplifting and incredibly moving novel teaches a wonderful lesson about getting out of your comfort zone, pushing the envelope and preparing yourself for growth.  Growth can hurt and sting, but at times, humor can make it less painful.  The star of this book is a boy named August and he has a facial deformity.  His parents knew they couldn't protect him forever by keeping him home schooled.  While they understood why August wouldn't want to go to public school, they also knew that they had to prepare him for life in the real world.  So, his mom and dad started talking about memories of their school days, and before you know it, August was able to contemplate attending his own school.  Three students named Jack, Charlotte and Julian were assigned to take August on a tour of Beecher Prep middle school.  Before August meets these students, the comparison is made through August's past experiences, between younger kids and older kids.  Younger kids usually say things innocently, but older kids say things with greater intent to harm someone.  People spend less and less time being empathic towards each other and it has had, and will continue to have disastrous emotional effects.  On the other hand, it's a two way street.  To help people understand, maybe even to have a better reaction, you have to put away the selfish emotions and put yourself in someone else's shoes.  Jack really helped August in that regard...acknowledging that Julian could be a jerk, but it was important for August to talk and interact so that he could diffuse a potentially uncomfortable situation for himself and everyone else.  When all is said and done, not everything in life, or with people, will be how you want it.  The important thing to get straight in your mind is how to not let it stop you from moving forward or changing who you are.  Situations like what August found himself in, trying to help his classmates see he's just like them, also makes you see who your friends are.  August found out that Jack and Charlotte wanted to be true friends with him and their actions showed it.  Another classmate, Summer, whom August ends up eating lunch with everyday, made meeting August fun.  She didn't assume that August was weird!  Instead, she sought to get to know him by asking him his name and then pointing out that their names had a common theme, so their table turned into the "summer" table.  Only kids with summer names could sit there!  Then she looked around the room showing August the kids who fit the criteria to potentially sit at their table, a non-awkward introduction of sorts!  Way to go Summer!!  Summer, Jack and Charlotte all chose kindness...which ultimately led to them seeing beyond Augusts' face and seeing who he truly was deep inside.  Simply, a boy who wants to be like everyone else.  Support from the people you care about most can make the difference in whether you survive and thrive, or completely crumble. The first step is an easy one: #ChooseKind

Everyone goes through times that seem to be never ending and seem to have gigantic obstacles everywhere you turn, but if you stay with your face to the wind, on the other side you will be forever changed and it will shape the person you eventually become. August's mom was right, through it all, he became a true Wonder...You have that ability to become a Wonder, too...a tried and true WONDER!!

For more on author RJ Palacio, go to:

This book is becoming a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!! Watch the Trailer:

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Monday, May 8, 2017

Being Elmo: A MUST see Puppeteer's Journey!

I've always been curious to know what goes on behind the scenes and hear the personal story of why people are doing what they do.  That's exactly what you get to do in this documentary!  As a young child, Kevin Clash became fascinated by the characters of Sesame Street when it premiered on November 10th, 1969.  The Sesame Street set reminded him of his own neighborhood in Baltimore. He loved everything Jim Henson did including his ability to make his own puppets from start to finish.  It motivated Kevin to take the steps needed to make his dreams become a reality.  When he was 17 years old, his mom Gladys knew he had talent as a puppeteer, so she called Kermit Love, the man who built many of the life size muppets for Jim Henson. She asked Kermit if her son Kevin could meet him since he was interested in puppetry.  Kermit said the next time he, Jim and the team were in town, he could come to the muppet workshop.  The time came sooner than later when Kevin and his high school class took a trip to New York City!  Finally, Kevin could learn more to further his skills as a puppet maker and a puppeteer.  During that once in a lifetime trip, he got to tour the muppet workshop, ask questions about what materials the muppets were made from, and even discover the Jim Henson "stitch".  While growing up, Kevin was teased in school by classmates because they said he was "playing with dolls".  He wasn't just playing with dolls, he was perfecting his craft, which brought smiles to those who needed it most, including children with special needs or terminal illness.  In time, Kevin met Jim Henson and became part of Sesame Street as a curious, precocious three year old monster named Elmo!  Elmo is known for his love of children and children just LOVE Elmo!!  Kevin through Elmo shows that he cares for people and understands that love, support and belief in others really allows them to soar!  Being Elmo is unbelievably well done and shows that with tenacity and determination you can do what you truly love and make an indelible impact on the lives and hearts of all those who need it most, which happens to be all of us!

Thank you Kevin Clash and Constance Marks for coming together and sharing each of your talents to produce this touching and inspiring documentary!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Monday, May 1, 2017

Behind the Mic Book Review: Going Places. Children Living with Cerebral Palsy.

As people, it's in our nature to lead an active, full vibrant life, with lots of laughter love and adventure thrown in for good measure!  Do you notice, too, that when we live life we get the greatest joy by sharing it with others?  People with cerebral palsy are no different. In fact, the very qualities that motivate us as people, are just as strong in those with the extra challenge of cerebral palsy.  We may have obstacles, but that doesn't put a damper on our desire to participate in life for one minute!  Thomas Bergman, author of the 1991 children's book, Going Places-Children Living with Cerebral Palsy, shows that kids with this physical challenge aren't defined by it, but it gives them motivation to live life the best they can!
The book follows six-year old, Mathias.  He has a mom, dad, a younger sister Emma and a cat!  Does that sound like your family? :)  Mathias was diagnosed with being deaf and having cerebral palsy when he was two years old.  His mom and dad were sad for a bit, but Mathias' happiness made life a little easier!  Attitude is the foundation for how you will be able to cope with things and make adjustments.
Through the words and pictures that make up this book, Mathias never loses his bright smile or that undeniable sparkle in his eye!  He goes to school, plays with his sister, loves rock music, goes to the doctor and has physical, occupational and speech therapy.  He types on a computer so that he can communicate with those who might not know sign language like his family does.
All of the adaptations that Mathias uses to help him either to physically function or otherwise, doesn't mean he's not smart or funny.  Those who may not have the ability to speak because of how cerebral palsy affects them have many valuable things to share and with the aid of communication devices, can give voice to those valuable things and connect with those around them in a meaningful way!
This book is a wonderful resource for children, parents and teachers.  It has a wonderful glossary of supplementary information, encouraging kids to ask questions about cerebral palsy because asking questions and taking in information is a great thing!
Thomas Bergman shows in this short book, that no matter what it takes to get around, those with disabilities, in particular cerebral palsy, are going many places, indeed!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Getting to the HEART of it all!

We all remember how the Tin Man in the Wizard of OZ desperately wanted a heart.  Who could really blame him! The heart is an extraordinary organ.  Your heart is one giant pump! Listen to this fun fact!  Every minute, your heart pumps about five quarts of blood through a system of blood vessels that's over 60,000 miles long!  That equals about 2,000 gallons every day!  We do countless things with our heart, if you think about it.  When our feet hit the floor in the morning, we list everything we are grateful for.  If you're like me, not only are you grateful for another day of life, but you can't WAIT to take the first sip of your morning coffee!!  You may have a heart to heart with those you love dearly.  Your heart has the ability to show love and compassion to someone who needs it.  Joy and laughter come from your heart.  Determination and passion spring from it.  Our heart is our number one side kick, as it were, wouldn't you say? Without it, life couldn't carry on!  To show our gratitude, we need to do our best to take care of it, before there's a problem..right?  That's what my mom and I did not too long ago!  We showed some #HEARTLOVE to our giant pump!  So, we went to  the hospital in Lafayette to get a heart scan as a preventative measure.  We checked in and went to the room where the heart scan machine is, which looks like an MRI, but is open on both ends and even has cool air flowing through it!  Mom went first, which allowed me to observe before having my own scan done.  They ask you to relax so that the machine can take the best pictures to check for plaque, clogged arteries and so forth.  My mom relaxed so much that it looked like she was on a European vacation!  When the technician hooked her up to the heart monitor, she very sweetly said: "Now Gayle, your heart rate is a little high, it's around 80 and we need it a little lower, so just relax and go to your happy place!"  Mom had no problem finding her happy place and just like that her scan was done!  Now, it was my turn.  I got hooked up to the heart monitors and things are good, right?  WRONG!!  My body decides to have a MASSIVE panic attack! My heart rate went from 80 to 160 in seconds flat!!  My panic was so high my body wouldn't stay still on the table!!  I was so embarrassed that I almost burst into tears. The technicians were so sweet, though!!  While going through this horrible attack, they were asking me what I usually do to calm my anxiety attacks at home.  I couldn't even think, but thank goodness for my mom!  She said: "She enjoys listening to music!"  I said I loved *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.  The next thing I knew, I heard Justin Timberlake's voice singing "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You."  One of my favorite songs!!  The technician had pulled it up on her phone for me!  I kid you not, my heart rate went down to 80!  The moral of the story is this: Show some #HEARTLOVE to your giant pump...Oh, and a little *NSYNC thrown in never hurts either!!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Behind the Mic Book Review: Chloe's Journey by Claudia Orrett

"We have been truly blessed to witness Chloe's milestones.  The fact that she walks independently, attends a regular school with regular friends.  That we hear her laugh more than cry.  It's all magnificent."  This statement from author Claudia Orrett perfectly describes the title of this beautifully written heartfelt book!  Every emotion within me was touched, not just because I related to the book because I have cerebral palsy and a ''typical" sibling, but I also felt for Claudia and her husband John.  It was difficult for them to grasp that their beautiful little sassy, sweet girl had something that could be so life changing!  You as the reader, go through all those ups and downs with Claudia and John.  Through years of research, and traditional and non-traditional treatments for Chloe, you see the fog start to clear for Claudia as she started to be able to distinguish what would work and what wouldn't work.

I was trying to imagine how difficult it would be to write this book, having to relive all the hard moments this sweet family had to endure... but, in the same breath, writing it down would help them to see just how incredibly far they've come!  Through all the uncertainty, frustrations and feelings of despair, everyone on "Team Chloe" never gave up!  Instead they said: ""She CAN!  We will support Chloe all the way!"  Because of that mindset, Chloe and all those in her circle THRIVE!  Claudia gives you a wealth of information, including pictures of Chloe doing her exercises in therapy with diagrams and notes.  She's also included pictures of things Chloe's friends have done to show how much they love her.  All of this gives us a glimpse into what is involved in navigating the cerebral palsy journey.   Through her own journey with Chloe, Claudia mentions how family support has been an invaluable source of strength, but what I appreciated the most, was the unwavering love and support that Claudia and John have established between each other.  It provided a strong foundation which made them successful, as a couple, but ultimately as a family when things got tougher.  That foundation has truly had an impact on Chloe.  Her parents have helped her to push the boundaries of what she can do, so she can realize her dreams on her own merit and determination.  Trust me, Chloe has some determination!!  My heart was connected to this family from the first page until the last, and my hope is that you will feel the same!  If the Orrett family can make a success of this journey, many others can too....Reading this book is one of the first steps to that success!!

Claudia, John, Samantha & Chloe: Thank you SO much for sharing your journey! Thank you for including my story and journey in your book as well...It touched my heart!  I wish you much success with this book!

Michelle Fischer is the host of A View from my Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Boost your Self-esteem... go ahead! Its good for you!!

I wish I had known about Boost your Self-esteem Month when I was going through my self-defeating teenage years.  Now that I know that there is such a thing, I'm advocating for you to click on this post, to boost your self-esteem now!  It will benefit you now and in the long run, as you navigate life's ups and downs.  Self-esteem is the confidence in ones' own worth and abilities.  Having a physical disability clouded my view of any abilities I had, yet in the same breath, I was developing the not so attractive trait of feeling entitled to something.  Feelings of having everything under control, yet, falling apart at every seam!  As I woke up from being so consumed with myself and started to be more aware of GIVING to others, I really started to see what positive things I could give to others!  Now, when I look in the mirror, I'm loving and smiling at the girl staring back at me!  The greatest gift you can give to yourself is never allowing anyone or anything to dull your sparkle!!  Who should determine that?  You, you, you!  Make the determination to not allow the seeds of negativity to become entrenched in your mind, heart and outlook! You don't deserve to lose all sense of your identity!  You deserve to be who you are, no apologies required!  I remember not too long ago, shopping with my mom, and I was having a good self-esteem day.  That day I looked into the mirror and I was so thankful that even though it is a daily effort to work on my emotions, it is worth the effort!  Fighting the urge to give in to my less than positive emotions is an uphill battle, but I'm glad I've put up the fight.  The mirror doesn't lie, it will show you the positive changes you've made, but it will put a BIG glaring light on the things you need to change.  When you put in the hard work, you will see someone who glows and that glow has a ripple effect....You may have been beat down at one point, but you got back UP!!  You are beautiful, strong and ready to pay it forward to others!  I have found that my faith has really been a stronghold for me in working with my emotions.  Even when I deal with the days when my self-esteem is a little lower, I know my heavenly father, God and friend will always see me in the most positive light possible even when I can't see it myself!  One of my favorite scriptures I always have in my memory bank is Isaiah 40:29 "He gives power to the tired one And full might to those lacking strength"  Remembering these words and many other scriptures as part of my daily routine does wonders for my outlook!  As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, tending to my spiritual needs as well as giving to others, keeps my outlook bright!

There you have my prescription for boosting my Self-Esteem, now, its your turn! Now, Go Forth and Conquer low self-esteem!!

To read more ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem, Check out this article from The Positivity Blog!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana