Martha Cleveland's chronic illness proved to be one of the great gifts of her life. From it she has learned that none of us has ultimate control over our own body, but we do have control over how we respond to whatever situation life hands us.
In her mid-thirties her symptoms forced her into panic and despair, but over time she learned to accept her condition and live in a rich, wonderfully rewarding way. She went to the University of Minnesota, gained a baccalaureate degree, a master's degree, and, in 1978, a Ph.D. She became a Licensed Consulting Psychologist, working in private practice, as adjunct staff with the Family Therapy Institute of St. Paul, and as consultant to various agencies.
In her late sixties, she has retired and lives what she feels is the most satisfying part of her life. She and her husband, Walter, live in the suburban home they bought forty-eight years ago. She is deeply involved with her family, friends, gardening, and the rescue work she does with retired racing Greyhounds. She comes to this late part of her life knowing that it isn't circumstance that defines us; it is how we respond to that circumstance that will ultimately tell us who we are.