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.