Thursday, October 29, 2009

Update: October 29, 2009

I didn't realize how active I really was until this last Sunday when I fell. All I was doing was standing up from my chair to get in the truck, when my legs gave out and I fell on top of my left knee. No... I fell on top of my twisted left knee. All of my body weight (which is still substantial) landed on top of my weakest link. I have been unable to put any weight on it ever since.

In a way I feel maybe it was meant to happen. I am grateful for not breaking any bones, and I know it could have been much worse, and although I am unable to use the leg at all and am in a lot of pain, it has given me so much perspective on my progress so far.

I have said before that it is hard to measure one's progress when you are so focused on the end goal that you just do what needs to be done to get there, like a robot, not really paying attention to how far you've come. At times I have stopped, as I've blogged about previously, and I have taken the time to really look at how far I've come. I have seen my progress, but up until now I didn't realize how much I was enjoying the journey.

This injury has made me immobile, and being immobile is making me nuts! I miss getting up and walking around the house, I miss climbing my bridge, I even miss how well I could climb the stairs into my house! I am wounded and forced to take it easy, and all I want to do is walk! I'm not allowed to do anything I was doing before until the knee heals more, and I'm frustrated.

So, I am taking that frustration and trying to see it as a good thing; making lemonade, so to speak. The good side is the frustration is actually there. I am wishing and yearning for something that is actually quite difficult and some days could seem like there was no end in sight. Just the very idea that I miss the hard work, makes this down time a little more bearable.

So, for now I am stuck licking my wounds, unable to go forward and will most likely fall backward in progress quite a bit. It doesn't take long to get weak all over again. I will just have to start from scratch, which is something I am no stranger to anyway.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Don't Stop Believing!

"When the world says, 'Give up', Hope whispers, 'Try it one more time.'"

Last week I took a total of 1,730 steps! The last 275 of which were climbing my "Everest". With such a banner week, I took two days of rest. I felt my body needed it, and deserved it. The muscles need the time to repair and build, and let me tell you, that's exactly what they did!

I got up to walk today and felt like I was going to rocket forward! My legs are definitely getting stronger, and I can really and truly feel it. It's hard not to doubt my progress, even with such huge accomplishments like climbing my bridge to the top and back down and walking almost 2,000 steps in a week. After spending so many years in a wheelchair, feeling like all was lost and I was just going to have to deal with it, it's very hard to actually believe it can be different, that I might actually walk again someday, on my own power. I guess this is normal, no matter how frustrating it can be. I've learned to not get my hopes up, it has become a bad habit that I am trying to break.

Standing up today, and taking those first 50 steps, really got me thinking that it's not only possible I will walk again unassisted, but that it's going to happen! My standard way of walking has been take a step, focus, swing the other leg, take a step, focus, and so on... but today it was different. Today it was more of a reflex action than a thoughtfully executed one. My steps are smoother, more fluid, and there is less swinging of the legs and more actual stepping. I took those 50 steps like I was in a race, walking from my workout room to my office very quickly and with much more ease than ever before. I'm shocked. I am completely and utterly shocked and amazed.

While I am on the subject of amazing recoveries, I found a woman yesterday who has the most amazing story I have heard in a long time and I wanted to share it with you: (18+ to enter - although I am not sure why it seems clean to me)

Here is someone who really made me want to go walk until my legs couldn't take another step. If she doesn't inspire you to do something great today, then it may be time to seek professional help ;)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Progress Update: October 5, 2009

From Monday, September 28, 2009 through Saturday, October 3, 2009 I walked every single day, an average of 300 steps a day. Saturday, I climbed my "Everest" all the way to the top and back down for a total of 275 steps without a break. For me, a break would be actually sitting down, since standing is just as hard as the walking. During my climb, I had to rest a couple of times, meaning I leaned against the railing to catch my breath, but I did not sit down.

When a person is in the midst of reaching a goal, sometimes we don't take the time to see how much progress we've made. It can even be difficult to measure your progress, since it seems like all you do is get knee deep in the work it takes to achieve the goal. I hadn't really thought about how far I've come until Saturday. After my climb, on the way back to the truck to put my crutches away, it hit me; when I first started on this journey, I could barely walk 20 steps on level ground without exerting every last bit of energy I had. Once I had mastered walking a bit better, I started climbing this bridge for added strength training. My first climb, I was barely able to do one ramp before I had to sit down, and it took me a good 15 minutes to recover. I remember looking up at the bridge and thinking "it'll never happen". That was in May. About ten climbs later, it is now October, and I just climbed the entire bridge all the way to the top and back down without stopping, and I did it rather quickly. Plus, I went and did four miles in my chair afterward. What an accomplishment.

Obviously, I have gained in cardiovascular health as well as strength. I am getting in shape, and that's exactly what I need to do, but, that is not a big shock to me. What is shocking to me is the strength I have gained in my legs, and the balance I have gained when I stand and walk. I feel like a machine compared to the jelly roll I was prior. I used to stand up and it was all I could do just to keep upright, let alone set the wheels in motion to actually ambulate. Now I'm looking forward to possibly taking a couple steps here and there without anything to hold on to, or maybe just a single cane, and then a few more steps on my own, and a few more. I know it will happen, I just have to keep fighting for it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The view from the top of one of the bridges on my trail

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Friday, October 2, 2009

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Friday, October 2, 2009

I am so tired today.  I have been waking up at around 6:30 a.m. every morning for the past few weeks, but today I awoke at around 8:00 a.m.  I was just too tired to move.  Maybe all the pressure I am under is catching up with me, or maybe my body is just in it's ebb phase, either way I don't like it when I'm tired and run-down feeling.

Lately, I have been forcing myself to switch to my walker every morning after I've had my coffee and breakfast.  Since doing this, I have been getting in about 400 steps a day on average.  I still have to switch back to the chair by the time my daughter comes home, because then it is time to cook, clean, and do our nightly chores, which require me to be able to move around much more freely.  It's tough to carry loads of laundry back and forth when both hands are tied up holding a walker.  I am still noticing more strength, however, and I am sure feeling the difference in my lower half.

It's hard to believe Halloween is almost here already.  It seems as though this year has flown by.  Although, for the first time in a long time I feel like I have accomplished a lot more this past year.  I wonder if I will be walking without a walker by this time next year?  I certainly hope so.  Maybe I'll even go trick-or-treating!

Before I know it Christmas will be here!  The weather is already changing here in Florida.  Cold fronts move in and cool things off to let us know it's fall.  We don't get leaf changes, but we do get cold fronts that last a couple of days and can swing the temperatures up to 20 or 30 degrees in a matter of hours.  It's Mother Nature's way of letting us know it's about to get a lot cooler around here.

This is my favorite time of the year here in sunny Florida.  There is less humidity, cooler temps, but the same amount of sunshine which means more time outside.  Summers in Florida are like winters elsewhere, except that instead of frigid temperatures, it's too hot to go outside.  Just like a freezing winter, in the summer we still CAN go outside, but you better be properly equipped to handle the temperatures and sticky conditions.  Like extreme cold, extreme heat has its dangers as well, therefore doing my therapy outside in the summer time is much more dangerous so I do much less of it, which means I'm stuck inside.  I'm really looking forward to getting outside!

So far this week I've walked 1400 steps and counting.  Wow.  I can remember a day when I probably didn't take that many steps in a year.  It doesn't even seem real that I've made that much progress in such a short time, but I have.  I can't wait to see what kind of progress is yet to come.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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