Dr. Michelle King-Huger (Dr. Michelle), a retired Harlem educator who is wheelchair-bound with progressive multiple sclerosis, encourages people disabled by a health crisis to understand their life is in transformation.
In her inspirational and spiritual diary From D.I.V.A to Disabled: A Determined Individual with a Victorious Attitude (Christian Faith Publishing, 2019, Dr. Michelle defines D.I.V.A. as people whose life has been curtailed by a chronic illness disability that has changed their lives forever.
For Dr. Michelle, D.I.V.A. encompasses all ages, races rich or poor, and any gender who are living with a lifechanging debilitating illness: multiple sclerosis, cancer, strokes, diabetes, chronic arthritis, accidents, and other healthcare crises.
“I believe the acronym for D.I.V.A. is far-reaching. When people think ‘diva,’ it’s like about someone with an elegant air. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that,” explains Dr. Michelle, who holds the copyright to D.I.V.A. “To me, D.I.V.A., a ‘Determined Individual with a Victorious Attitude,’ is not only a female. It’s all races – young and old. It encompasses many people who would fit in this category of a victorious attitude over a disability.”
Dr. Michelle knows about being a “diva.” She grew up in New York City, the daughter of famed theater producer Woodie King (above) and respected educator Willie Mae King. Family friends were folks like Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. As a teen in the 1970s, she was a wardrobe assistant for Judy Dearing with Joseph Papp’s NYC summer parks production of Ron Milner’s What the Wine Sellers Buy, which was co-produced by Woodie King. However, her passion was education,
However, her passion was education, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education and two Master of Science degrees in education and administration from CCNY. She continued her studies and after successful completion of the Doctor of Education program, she was awarded a Doctoral degree as an Education Specialist in Administration Leadership from Walden University. In the New York City public school system, she rose to positions as administrator and assistant principal at several Harlem schools including PS 192 (Jacob H. Schiff on 138th Street) and PS 125 (Ralph Bunche on 123rd Street). She made a six-figure salary, traveled frequently, married Anthony Jerome Huger owner of a successful car wash and detail business in New Jersey, raised their son Jerome W.E. Huger, attended church and drove luxury cars.
Then, in 2007, life began to crumble. She lost her husband to a heart ailment. By 2011, her continuing health crisis was diagnosed as progressive multiple sclerosis. She evolved from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair and now lives in North Carolina with primary care- giver being her loving mother.
Prayer is an important part of Dr. Michelle’s life. “My doctors say I’m a prayerful person. And I know it has an important part and role in my healthcare,” she explains. “Even though you pray, you must deal with the action. For me the action is therapy and exercise. The action must be positive force.”
Dr. Michelle is an advocate retaining compassionate doctors. She writes to make sure that when you see your doctor you do not leave the office feeling more upset or discouraged than when you arrived. That kind words of compassion about what you are going through mean a lot.
In addition, she recommends that people with disabilities share feelings and listen to others. It could be family, healthcare workers or a discussion group. She points out that just by listening to somebody you’ll see that everyone has a story to tell and it’s important.
“I was moved by my daughter’s inspirational and spiritual book. It redefines the word D.I.V.A. It gives D.I.V.A. a new aspirational strength,” says Woodie King. “From D.I.V.A. to Disabled helps in guiding anyone with a health disability from feeling alone. It is a realization that so many others are there with you and willing to help. As an educator who has been living with multiple sclerosis for several years, she lovingly shares her experiences, insights and advice. She tells readers that they are not alone in pain. Dr. Michelle King-Huger is a true D.I.V.A.”
“Understand your life is in transformation,” Dr. Michelle stresses. “I am a survivor and I want you to become a survivor. I am stronger and wiser and more aware of the suffering of others. People who are dealing with disabilities are not alone. I have accepted the fact that I am a new member of this exclusive club where membership is free.”
Dr. Michelle King-Huger offers words of inspiration and steps of actions for dealing with living life as a D.I.V.A. a Determined Individual with a Victorious Attitude. From D.I.V.A to Disabled: A Determined Individual with a Victorious Attitude (Christian Faith Publishing, 2019) is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover and paperback.