Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today marks nineteen weeks that I have been walking, and I am definitely seeing changes.  Changes not only in my muscle structure in my lower body, but also in my balance, coordination, and strength.  It seems that just when I forget how far I've come, I meet someone who puts me in my place without realizing it, and makes me remember how lucky I am.

Last night I met a family who is dealing with some big challenges.  It made me realize that there are so many more people in this world who are dealing with so much worse than me, and it made me want to fight that much more, and that much harder, because I would feel like I'm taking advantage if I don't.  How dare I slack off or want to sometimes give up when there are others who would give anything to be where I am right now.

I am in no way discrediting myself or my challenges, but it's nice sometimes to get thrown a little perspective.  It also makes me feel good to know I give some people hope, just as others have given me.  I know how hard it is to go through such a drastic, life-altering thing, and if I can give back in any way, it makes it all worth it.  Paying it forward, that's what it's all about.

Elizabeth, if you're reading this, I don't know your details, I only know the little you told me, and the sadness and stress in your eyes.  All I can tell you is to keep your chin up and keep fighting for both yourself, and your husband.  You touched my heart with your determination and resolve, and I truly hope that you and your family can enjoy whatever time you have left with your husband;  be it one day or twenty years!  No one knows why life is full of such sorrow sometimes, but all we can know is how we choose to deal with it.

I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, and don't be afraid to keep in touch!

Sometimes all we need to keep going is a little perspective!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 320: Four Months Walking!

Today marks four months since I got rid of my house chair and have been walking with a walker!

I know that I set a new goal and then kind of dropped off the face of the Earth, but I have been dealing with everything that comes along with walking versus using a chair, and life in general.  I got sick of hearing myself talk, and just haven't been able to come up with anything to say.  Maybe that's what writer's block feels like?

But, I figured today I should say something since it's the four-month mark. 

I think I'm going to take down the newest goal and give myself a break until the new year.  With everything that is going on in my life right now, it just adds too much pressure.

After four months of walking, I definitely see improvements, although small and slow-going.  Every time I feel like I'm taking two steps forward and four steps back, I remind myself that I spent 12 years in a wheelchair and it's going to take some time.  I can't help but be impatient sometimes.

So, here's to four months!  Hopefully in four more months I'll have something significant to say.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 292: Three Months!

I have been walking for three months!  It just doesn't seem like that long.  I have definitely progressed, and although I haven't quite progressed as much as I had hoped, it's still progress and I am thankful.  I know I still have a long road ahead.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 289

This newest goal is going to be a huge pain in the ass.  It's too easy to fall behind too quickly, and since I have run out of Aleve and haven't had time to get to the store to get more, the pain is too intense to walk much more than 400-600 steps a day.  Ugh.

I'm not really complaining; I set these goals on purpose to push myself.  But, like anything, when the reality sets in it's a bit of a shock until you get some momentum going.

I'll get in the groove.  I just better do it quickly, or before I know it January will be here and I won't have made it more than halfway.

So, starting Monday I am stocking up on Aleve and preparing for the months ahead.  I certainly have plenty of projects that will help me get lots of steps in, so once I get numbed up a bit more I will tackle those and kill two birds with one stone.  Hopefully by Christmas my living room and master bath will be finished, and I will be that much closer to the 100k mark!

Step count today:  585

Steps I'm behind:  3,735

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 284 - 81 Days Left

I think I'm feeling better, finally.  I certainly have more energy this morning than the past few mornings.  I just hope it stays with me so I can get a decent step count in today!

Step count today:  973

Steps I'm behind:  1,502

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 283

Since the inception of my latest goal, I am already falling behind in step count, but this could not be helped.  I have been sick with an annoying cold the past week or so, and it really decided to kick my ass this weekend.  My big plans of yard work and cleaning went right out the window when I woke up Saturday morning and realized I had zero energy.

I didn't have that much more energy this morning, but my coffee is kicking in and I will probably take some cold medicine to get me through the rest of the day.  I really need to get in as much walking as I can today, it will be easy to fall really far behind on this goal, it's a big one!

Step count today:  388

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 280: New Goal

After some not-so-careful thought, I have decided to reset the ticker and attempt 100,000 steps by Jan 1, 2011.

There are 85 days left in this year, which means I would need to walk 1,176 steps each and every day in order to accomplish this goal, and that is just what I need to do to push myself even further toward walking unassisted.

I am already walking a bunch each day, so I really need to up the ante and kick myself in the ass (so to speak).  I also plan to add some strength training, but it's just too complicated to try to make a ticker for that... !

At this point, if my triceps get much bigger, I could just have them transplanted into my legs somewhere for added strength!  I already have massive arms for a woman, I don't really need them to get any bigger.  At least now I am using different muscles than when I was in the chair and they are getting balanced out, but enough is enough!  It's just all the more reason to get those legs stronger and take the focus off my upper body.

So, here goes!

Step count today:  1058

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 279: I did it!

It's complete!  I finished my goal of 100,000 steps, EARLY!  Even after two falls that lead to a bad knee injury that set me back up to almost 9,000 steps, I managed to pull it together and finish my goal nearly three months ahead of schedule!

Now what?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 278: Ten Weeks!

I have been without a wheelchair for ten weeks!

The last thousand steps are here!  After today I will probably be very close to the 100,000 mark!  I'm excited and kind of sad at the same time.  It's so nice to have accomplished my goal, especially after the setbacks I had this year when I fell and injured my knee, but I'm also kind of sad that it will be over.  I suppose I will just have to set a new goal...

I ran into a gentleman from Minnesota the other day and we started discussing the difference between there and Florida.  He agrees Florida is great for weather, but you just can't beat the people up north.  I know there are lots of great people in Florida, but I miss my people.  The people I grew up with, the people I relate to, the people I know, and who know me.

267 days left!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 273

I have one less day than today (272) before I am scheduled to move back home to Minnesota.  I doubt it will go by as fast as these last 273 days has gone, but here's hoping! 

I am so homesick!  The leaves are changing up north, and soon it will be snowing, and I really miss the snow!  I haven't had a white Christmas in 20 years.  I know it gets brutally cold, and there will be times when I will miss Florida's weather, but I still can't wait to have a white Christmas and be around my own kind once again.  I am willing to sacrifice weather for people.

It's hard to believe I am so close to reaching my 100k goal!  Not sure what to do after that is finished...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 271: Nine Weeks!

Even as someone who can handle a lot of pain, at one point a few days ago I wasn't sure how much more I could stand.  It's amazing what a couple of days of taking it easy will do for the pain level.  I feel great today! 

I get so caught up in my recovery, that I forget how important it is to rest.  It's a key element in the balance of our bodies, like proper diet and sleep.  Although I am the kind of person who likes to push herself to the limit, I must also stop and take the time to rest and let my body repair and heal. 

I have mentioned before that I am not good at sitting still.  This part of me has only been amplified since I've been walking more and more.  I sit for a period and then think I need to get up and do something -- just because I can.  So I do, and then after a few days of overdoing things, I pay dearly.  Only then do I stop and make myself rest.  I really need to rethink my strategy and perhaps treat walking like I would a workout.  Work hard one day, rest the next.  It certainly makes more sense, but for me is hard to do.

Since today is Wednesday, and the first day of my tenth week of walking, I figure I will work hard since I am rested and feeling good.  That will make Monday, Wednesday and Friday my hard working days, with Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday as my easier days.

I had an idea last night for a way to get more walking in without really having to think so much.  I thought; why not set something up where I have to carry something from one place to another?  The back and forth, back and forth will give me exercise, but I will be doing something at the same time so it won't seem like a waste of time or like I'm going to die of boredom.  Since I am moving next year, I will have to start cleansing my things and getting rid of old stuff, etc, so I will put a box by the back door, and I will take things one by one to that box that will eventually go to Goodwill or Freecycle.  Considering how much crap I have laying around I should get some really great exercise out of this!

Once I am done with that I will just have to keep coming up with new and more difficult things to do.

Nine weeks in and I am really starting to see and feel the changes!  My right leg is getting much stronger, and it's only a matter of time before my left follows. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 270: Inspiration and Hope

I received a comment on Monday's post from a gentleman named Bob.  He shared his struggle with GBS, and at 65 years old he is also fighting to walk and regain some "normalcy" again. 

He, too, spent six months in the hospital.  He has been home for two months, and can now walk 60 steps with a walker!  Go Bob! 

It is so very discouraging at times when you come home from the hospital and you just want everything back to normal.  I remember vividly.  It takes a long time, and the body must heal at its own pace, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the hardest, and most frustrating things a person will ever experience.  Even the strongest of minds will crack under the heavy weight of climbing that huge mountain. 

It's such a long and arduous fight that it makes you want to give up, but take it from me, NEVER give up!  There is a light at the end of that tunnel, I promise you!  If your legs are moving, and you're walking those 60 steps, keep pushing yourself to go farther!  It WILL happen for you!  And when it starts to hurt, just remember that pain is good!  Pain means you can feel!  It means the nerves are working, and if the nerves are working you can do anything!

Keep up the fight, Bob!  I am here for you.

If you would like to see Bob's struggle, you can watch his video here:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Beautiful Florida sunset

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A Florida rain cloud

American Pride

Beautiful Old Glory

Day 269: Monday, Monday!

After a very long weekend, I will try to rest today.  I'm not very good at it; I have a hard time sitting still.  I feel like even though it's much deserved, I should be up and moving and doing something.

Even as I sit here writing this, I want to get up and go do something.  I am fidgeting and fretting that I am forced to sit here. 

Hopefully work will keep me busy enough today that I won't go crazy.

Step count today:  479

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 267

I often wonder what possesses people to act like idiots.  I don't think I'll know the answer in this lifetime.  It always puzzles me when someone wastes my time with childish games.  I guess because I don't bother with them.  I prefer to keep things real and honest.  Oh well.  I just have to keep reminding myself that I can't change the world, I can only remain true to myself.

My dad has been visiting and it has been great.  It's nice to take the time to slow down and grill and have a nice fire and relax.  Too bad he has to leave tomorrow, but the time spent has been wonderful.

I have been keeping track of my steps on the ticker, and I just can't believe how close I am to hitting the 100k mark!!  And so early!  Woo Hoo!

Step count today:  865

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 264: The Home Stretch!

Less than 10,000 steps to go before reaching my goal!

Step count today:  973

Steps I'm ahead:  18,950

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 263: Eight Weeks!

I took a couple of days off from writing in my blog, but I still kept track of my steps on the ticker.  I am now over 17,000 steps ahead and have only a little over 10,000 to go before I hit my goal!  That just seems so unreal to me!  I would dare say I didn't take a total of 1,000 steps in the twelve years I was in that chair!

It will be eight weeks tomorrow that I have been without my wheels, and I can hardly believe how far I've come in such a short span of time.  Eight weeks seems like a lot to some, but for me eight weeks is a blink.  Considering I spent twelve years in that stupid chair, eight weeks is nothing. 

I still have to stop and think about all the changes I am going through just to make sure I am improving.  I know that I am, but with such a long journey one can forget how hard things used to be versus how they are now.  The biggest change I have noticed is my thought processes.  I don't think so much about things, I just do them.  It used to be that I would think about doing a task, then I would think about the steps I would need to take to do it and how hard it would be, and I would subsequently talk myself out of it -- confident I would be too inadequate physically.  Now I just start something without thinking, and maybe realize halfway through I might have gotten myself in over my head.  By that point who cares!  The fact that I'm doing things on a more normal level mentally is just another huge step in the healing.  Yay!

I am still planning and working hard toward my move to Minnesota next summer.  I am shooting for July 1, 2011.  That seems so far away, but really it isn't, especially considering what a huge job - and expsense - moving cross-country will be.  I just hope I am ready and all goes smoothly. 

Step count today:  822

Steps I'm ahead:  18,245

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 259: The Pain of Overdoing It

Without thinking, I was pretty much non-stop yesterday.  I even washed the car mostly by myself.  The problem with doing that is the next day;  when the pain reminds you that sometimes you can overdo things.  Today is one of those days.  I woke up and thought, "oh boy, I'm in trouble!" 

The good news is I'm doing these things without constantly thinking about how difficult it will be, and that's a huge change.  It's only after I begin that I realize I'm getting a little fatigued and might need to sit for a minute.  I used to think "I should wash the car", and then immediately would think "man that would be a lot of pain and work".  Yesterday I just started doing it, then thought "wow, my legs kinda hurt maybe I should sit for a minute".  I'm loving this change in me after only seven weeks.

Step count today:  757

Steps I'm ahead:  16,488

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 257: Seven Weeks!

It has been seven weeks since I have been without wheels.  Seven weeks ago today I left for Minnesota at 5am, leaving behind both of my wheelchairs.  I came home 2 1/2 weeks later and gave away my house chair, only keeping my outside chair for long distances like store trips.  It still hasn't quite hit me that I have actually been walking this entire time.  I am still so slow, and I still have days that are so difficult, that I forget how monumental it is that after 12 years of being in a wheelchair, I am no longer.

As much as I try not to think about it, sometimes time drags on and I can't help but wish I was completely better and it was all over.  I know that day will come, and I know I have to just be patient and keep working hard, but a part of me just can't help but wish it was here now.  I wish I could get rid of the outside wheelchair, and have the strength to walk through a grocery store.  I wish I could walk even a little bit faster.  I wish the first few steps after sitting for a while weren't excruciating.  All these things I wish for, and I should just be happy at where I am and how far I've come.

I suppose all these wants and wishes will just keep me working hard, so perhaps they are good.  I know they are normal, I am only human.

Step count today:  762

Steps I'm ahead:  15,295

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Steve Earle - Copperhead Road

A Ray of Hope

The face of happy.  The face of closer and closer to FREE!

Day 255: She's Country

I miss my home.  I've lived in Florida for almost 20 years, and still hate it here.  I can honestly say I'm homesick.  Some of the happiest memories of my life are from living up north in my hometown.  I can't wait to go make some more.

I am just a home-grown country girl who misses her roots more and more the older she gets.  It's time to go back. 

Step count today:  898

Steps I'm ahead:  14,428

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 254

I have a new walk.  I have begun to favor my stronger leg (the right), and now have a kind of limp.  I know this is a great development as it means my brain/body connection is getting stronger, and my body wants to walk normal, but is still unable. 

I am still in shock that after only a little over six weeks I have come as far as I have.  I still have a very long way to go, but the fact that I'm gaining muscle, feeling, flexibility, and strength has me overjoyed.  This means the nerves still work, and although I might have a few leftover side effects, I should be able to walk unassisted without many problems! 

Step count today:  556

Steps I'm ahead:  13,804

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 251: Six Weeks!

I realised late last night that yesterday, Wednesday, marked six full weeks of walking!

I must say that after six weeks I have definitely improved a lot.  My endurance alone has improved drastically.  I can walk much farther, and stand much longer, before I get fatigued and need a rest. 

It still just doesn't even seem real. 

I have also gone from being as much as 8,000 steps behind my goal, to over 11,000 over, with less than 20,000 steps to go before reaching my goal early!

Determination.  If only you could bottle it and sell it.

Step count today:  1036

Steps I'm ahead:  12,268

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 250

Someone saw me with my walker today and decided to share his story of how he was in a wheelchair for eight months after knee surgery.  I proceeded to tell him I was in a wheelchair for 12 years and his jaw hit the floor.  I don't like swapping war stories.

Step count today:  738

Steps I'm ahead:  11,506

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 249

I couldn't wipe the smile off my face today if I tried.  Even though today is one of those "off" days where my legs just don't really wanna cooperate, and each step is like I'm starting from square one.

Nope, not gonna make my smile disappear, sorry!

Step count today:  702

Steps I'm ahead:  11,042

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 248: Happy Labor Day!

Dedicated to the man in my life.

Step count today: 842

Steps I'm ahead: 10,614

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 246: Never, Ever Give Up!

I was able to take my over-ground walker to the trail today, and I managed to walk about a third of it.  That's not the whole trail like I had planned, but it's a start.  It added up to a thousand steps, which is more than I have been taking in an entire day.  Between the Florida heat, and the fact that I didn't eat properly before I left, I just didn't want to take any chances on hurting myself because I'm stubborn.  By the time I got back to the car and had to navigate the downhill slope, I was in excruciating pain, so it's probably best I only did what I did anyway.

That trail will be my measure of progress from here on.  I know how far I was able to walk before sitting, and how far I was able to go before heading back to the car.  Let's hope each time I go I can push it a little further.

Day 246

If my "over ground" walker fits in the car's trunk, I am going to attempt walking the 1/3 mile trail at the park today.  I would take the walker I've been using (plain aluminum with front casters), but my "over ground" walker has a seat where I can sit if I get tired, and four large wheels that can navigate almost any terrain.  Since I will not have a wheelchair to sit in, I need something just in case I get too fatigued.  I can't chance another fall, I've come so far I would really be upset if I got set back again.

Every morning when I wake up, I have to sit on the edge of my bed and prepare myself for the day to come.  My legs need a few minutes to wake up, and then I am ready to start the day.  I dread that first moment when I have to stand up, it's one of the hardest times of my day.  Today, however, I stood up so easily that I instantly got teary-eyed and couldn't believe the progress in that area in such a short period of time. 

My bed sits on the floor, I do not have a frame under it, so it is quite low to the ground which makes it a lot harder to get out.  I did this on purpose, initially because it was easier to transfer from my wheelchair to the bed at that height, but now I leave it that way to make things harder for myself.  Each and every time I stand up out of that bed, my legs really have to work.  It's certainly paying off!

My daughter told her friend yesterday, "my mommy doesn't need to use her wheelchair anymore!"  Whatever pain and suffering I have to go through is all worth it just to know my daughter is proud of me.

Step count today:  1,473

Steps I'm ahead:  9,595

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 245: Happy Looks Good on Me!

I am happy.  Those three words have escaped me for many years, and I can finally say them with meaning.

And I must say, happy looks damn good on me!

Step count today:  791

Steps I'm ahead:  8,396

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 244

Today is a good day.  I still hurt all over in my legs, and especially my knees, but I just keep thinking about how badly my arms hurt when they first came back and that puts a smile on my face.  Now, my arms are stronger than some men!

Step count today:  826

Steps I'm ahead:  7,879

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 243: Five Weeks!

Today marks five weeks with no wheelchair!  Five weeks I have been walking with a walker, and I am getting stronger!

I can really feel a difference in my legs with each step I take.  It still hasn't quite sunk in that I might someday be walking somewhat normal again, but I think that's just the pessimist in me not wanting to count her chickens before they hatch. 

I am getting stronger.  It's almost unbelievable that I am able to say those words.  I still have my days when it seems like it's taking so long, and there is so much pain, that I have to remind myself how far I've come.  Then there are days like today when I'm an emotional wreck because I just can't believe how much I am progressing in such a short period of time.  I can't believe it took me this long to try, and now I am getting better.  I just can't believe it.

Step count today:  936

Steps I'm ahead:  7,327

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 241

I walked all day yesterday with no foot brace.  I have been getting so sick of the thing, I thought I would see how my foot does on its own.  The brace was molded after my left calf and foot.  It sits underneath my foot, goes up my calf, and straps to my shin.  I have been wearing it for its intended purpose; to keep my left foot up at a normal position so when I walk my toes don't drag and make things harder. 

Now that I am feeling more, it itches, hurts, makes me sweat, and is just all around annoying.  I don't feel when things itch, but it still creates an annoyance for my nerves, which then make my muscles spasm.  So, while wearing the brace and sitting, my leg spasms and hurts.  This gets to be quite a pain in the foot!

I figured if I can feel more, perhaps the muscles move more.  Afterall, whenever I walk barefoot I don't have much problem with that foot unless it's early morning, or late at night.  So as a true test, I ditched the brace yesterday and did some walking in my sneakers without it, and I did great.  I'm so excited!  My foot eventually got tired and it was harder to walk, but the idea that I can do it at all means great progress and I just need to keep on and it will only get stronger.

It hasn't even been five weeks of solid walking and I am already contemplating removing my foot brace for good!  I no longer use a wheelchair in my home at all, and I have only used my outside chair three times in the last two weeks, and that was just for long distances. 

Step count today:  815

Steps I'm ahead:  6,439

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 240

I woke up today and clicked on my blog and it was gone!  For a minute I had a deep sense of panic and loss, until I figured out google had detected some suspicious activity (which wasn't me) and I just needed to verify a few things and now it's back!  Phew!

Even though most of the time I feel I just ramble on about nothing, it would still be a huge loss to me if it were one day gone.

Step count today:  928

Steps I'm ahead:  5,898

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 239

I bought some Myoplex today in hopes that will help with the muscle cramps that have been keeping me awake at night.  I know the muscles just need more nutrition.  I haven't exactly been good about eating all the right things, or eating enough, and my body is letting me know.  So, it's time to focus harder on proper nutrition.

Step count today:  824

Steps I'm ahead:  5,244

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 238: Yup, it gets worse!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm sure that the pain I am feeling is only going to get worse - and it has. 

However, here is why I am overjoyed at that fact:

The fact that I can feel pain in my lower body in and of itself is a good thing.  No, it's a great thing!  Any feeling, good or bad, is feeling.  That means the nerves are at least working, which is just what I need to happen.  The fact that the pain is getting worse only means I am getting more feeling back.  Even if they hurt, feeling my legs more could never be a bad thing.  It is positive progression, and that's the main goal.

I never thought I'd be overjoyed at the idea of feeling more pain, but it's the feeling that has me giddy, period.

I can remember when I would have given anything to just be able to wiggle my toes, and now I am walking every single day, and feeling more and more every day.  Who'd a thunk?

I don't often cry.  In fact, I could almost say I never cry if people and animals in my life didn't die.  Today, however, I broke down crying when I realized how far I've come in such a short period of time.  Tears of joy, of course. 

It's all just so overwhelming, and so unreal, sometimes I have to pinch myself and make sure it's not all just a dream.

Step count today:  549

Steps I'm ahead:  4,694

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 237: "This is going to be a little uncomfortable, Miss Egeland..."

Oh! The pain! 

I used to hear that phrase in the hospital any time they had to do something to me that was actually going to hurt like hell:  "This is going to be a little uncomfortable, Miss Egeland"  That's just a polite way of saying "brace yourself, you're gonna wish you were dead".

Four weeks after no more wheelchair, I am starting to realize why I must have decided one day it was too hard and gave up.  The pain.  The constant, never ending, gut wrenching, torturous, pain!

I'm a strong woman, and have always prided myself as such, but some days it's like "what the hell did I ever do that was SO bad that I deserve this?"  I'm not a big fan of pity pots, in fact I think they are a huge waste of time, but now and then I sit my ass right down on one and contemplate why in the world someone would torture themself the way I currently am, and how it's probably only going to get worse.

What gets me through?  The fact that four weeks into ditching my wheels and going upright, I just put a roast into the slow-cooker (which took me an hour) and did the dishes afterward without so much as a second thought.  Something like that four weeks ago -- in my mind -- would have required the use of a chair.  Granted I sat while chopping veggies, or doing the dishes, but there was a lot of walking and standing required as well.  So much that just four weeks ago it would have taken me two hours, at least.

I am getting better.  I am getting better.  I am getting better.  This mantra keeps me struggling away and working hard toward that ultimate goal -- total and complete independence!

Step count today:  848

Steps I'm ahead:  4,419

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 236: Week Four

Today marks four weeks with no chair!  I know I have put on muscle because although I did lose pounds on the scale, I lost more in inches (1.5 inches lost since I left for vacation, to be exact) than in pounds.  Muscle weighs more than fat, therefore, I have put on muscle!  How exciting!

Step count today:  799

Steps I'm ahead:  3,845

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 235: Progress; Bewildering

I have been catching myself standing and doing things I never would have thought I would be doing so soon after dumping the house chair.  I came home from the grocery store and just started bending over picking up groceries and putting them away;  then I thought, "whoa..."!  My brain is finally remembering I have legs, and it's allowing me to use them beyond just dragging underneath me to go places, and then sit.

I still walk very, very slow, but whenever I feel like I'm at a stale mate, I remind myself that it really has only been a few short weeks that I've been completely without wheels.  Before my trip I was using my house chair on a regular basis and only using the walker to get some steps in each day.  Now... all I do is walk.  I have no chair to slide over into and wheel where I need to go.  It's actualy quite amazing how far I've come.  There may just be hope for me yet!

I still kind of feel like I'm going backwards when I have to use my outside chair for trips to the store, so to combat this feeling I just think of it as keeping my arms in shape.  I earned the "buff" arms I now call my own, so I must keep them in shape somehow!

It just doesn't seem real that I may actually be walking all by my little self with no assistance someday!  Wow!

Step count today:  861

Steps I'm ahead:  3,320

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 233: Making Concrete Plans

I am working on planning my move to Minnesota more and more every day.  I have nothing left here in Florida.  I would even see my father more if I lived up north.  I'm not getting any younger, and I am really craving a slower-paced, goal-oriented lifestyle.  I have not been able to find that in the 19 years I've lived in Florida, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  Nor do I see myself finding the kind of hard-working family man I so crave, either.

So, it's time for me to really crack the whip on myself and work, work, work.  I need to help my father get this house finished up so that when I do decide to leave it behind he can do whatever he wants with it and won't have to worry about the work needing to be done.  I need to start saving every penny I can (which honestly I don't have a lot of to begin with), and I need to start deciding what I want to do when I grow up.

And, of course, I need to really push the walking hard.  By next summer it would be nice if I could walk with just a cane - or even nothing at all - but I'm trying to be realistic.  I am getting stronger day by day, but it's in very small incriments.  I have been idle for so many years, it's going to take a very long time to get revved back up.  I remember back in the day when I was working as a dancer and I got pregnant with my daughter.  I only took a few months off, but in those few months I lost a lot of strength in my legs.  So much strength that simply standing up from a crouched position required me to use my arms to assist.  I was 20 years-old then, and in peak physical condition.  I'm 35, and I've been in a wheelchair for 12 years.  This might take a while.

Nevertheless, I'm up for the challenge, and it will certainly give me something to keep my mind occupied until I can go back home.

Every day I try to push myself past my comfort zone and do more than the day before.  Some days are better than others, but as long as I continue to push I should be OK.

Like my dad says; "If at the end of the day you don't feel tired, you didn't do enough."


Step count today:  1,212

Steps I'm ahead:  2,781

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Testing My Faith

My Faith is continually being tested; from faith in my abilities, to faith in other human beings, I am constantly feeling like Faith just isn't enough.  It seems like more so now then ever I am feeling like there is no end in sight to the physical and emotional pain I feel on a daily basis.

So, I decided to repost this just in case anyone else needed a "Faith Boost" like I did today:


1. Faith is the ability to not panic.
2. If you worry, you didn't pray. If you prayed, don't worry.
3. As a child of God, prayer is kinda like calling home every day.
4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
6. Do the math. Count your blessings.
7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
8. Dear God: I have a problem. It's me.
9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
10. Laugh every day -- it's like inner jogging.
11. The most important things in your home are the people.
12. Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.
13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in.
14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
16 . We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments.
17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it; otherwise it's just hearsay.
18. Its all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
19. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking! Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.
20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have been told by many that they love my honesty.  I guess I never really thought about it, but yes, if one is going to have a blog revealing the ups and downs of learning to walk all over again, it must be nothing less than pure and honest.

How else can I convey what I am going through except at a real, and raw level?  There is no other way.

In person I think sometimes I am reserved and a bit shy, but when writing I have a tendency to let it all flow.  Writing is my catharsis.  Without it I think I'd end up with cancer, or hanging over the edge of the Golden Gate ready to jump.  Everyone needs a release and a way of expressing themselves that feels good way deep down into your core.  Writing is mine.  I may not be the best at it, but I think I'm getting better, and I'm certainly always learning.

I just feel priviliged to have an outlet such as this to blabber on and have people actually read it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 229: My Country Kick

I sat here yesterday playing some old-time favorite country music, belting out the lyrics as if no one was listening.  Well, technically, no one was -- at least not that I know of... 

It reminds me of my days growing up in Minnesota and the simplicity of life in general.  I miss that.  I miss having things move a little slower, and mean a lot more.  "Haste makes waste" has never wrang more true to me then at this time in my life.

I am forced to move more slowly now that I am walking, but everything, and everyone around me wants to move at the same pace as before;  the speed of light.  Even if I could walk faster, I no longer wish to move at that speed.

Everyone is in such a hurry all the time they miss out on the important things in life.  I no longer want to miss out on those things.  The whirlwind that was once spinning around my head is now gone, and I plan to keep it that way. 

I'm just afraid if I don't get out of Florida, it will return whether I like it or not.

Step count today:  974

Steps I'm ahead:  1152

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All That Really Matters

When all is said and done, relationships are all that really matter.

It does not matter how much money we have, where we live, or how many beautiful toys we have collected.

None of these can comfort us, console us, cry with us, or love us.

Our investment in the people we care about is the only legacy that has the power to endure beyond our lifetime.


I am having a harder time adjusting to being back in Florida than I've had going from wheelchair to walker. 

All I want to do is go back to Minnesota.

Speaking of adjusting to the walker... it will be three weeks tomorrow that I have been without my chair.  I'm very proud of that.  On  top of that, I've only had to use a wheelchair three times in that three weeks.  Once for Niagara Falls, and twice here at home when I went to the grocery store and the mall. 

My confidence when using the walker has improved dramatically.  I still walk slow, but I just don't care, I am walking, that's all that matters to me!   If anyone gets gutsy enough to ask me what happened, I'll just tell them I flipped my last Corvette going 200 mph, and that's why my tag on this one says "LastOne", because it's the last one I'll ever own provided I don't flip it, too. (technically it belongs to my father, but in the interest of story-telling I will just pretend it's mine ;-) He likes when I drive it because I am forced to use my walker)

My clothes are hanging off of me and I've lost another 15 pounds since I left for vacation, so that rocks!  With every pound that comes off, it just makes it that much easier to walk.

I am slowly getting back to my former self.  In fact, it seems unreal how far I've come in just a few weeks.  I can't wait to see where I am in a few months!

Step count today:  726

Steps I'm ahead:  452

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 227

I'm finally home and getting settled in.  Yesterday was my birthday, and I celebrated it in the quiet comfort of my home with my daughter.  I'm 35, in case anyone is curious.  Wow.  Time really does fly the older you get.

I miss Minnesota.  Or, maybe I just miss one person in Minnesota.  Perhaps I need to spend Christmas break up north.  I'm sure my daughter would love that, she loves the snow.

I am keeping the step ticker even with the 274 steps a day required to make 100,000 in 365 days, but I know for sure I have walked more than that.  Maybe after things quiet down even more I'll start keeping track again to give us a better idea of how much I'm walking these days!  I know it's a lot.  I no longer have a house chair, and I only use my outside chair for very long distances like grocery shopping and the like.  I would like to eventually get to the point where I don't need that one either.  If I keep getting strong like I am, it shouldn't be long.

My endurance when simply standing has improved ten-fold.  I used to only be able to stand for short periods before I would have the need to sit, but now I can stand a lot longer.  My neighbor caught up to me a couple of days ago to fill me in on the goings-on while I was gone, and I must have stood talking to him for a good fifteen minutes.  I shift my weight and move my legs around, putting some weight on my walker for support, and that makes it much easier to stand much longer.

All in all I have gained in strength by leaps and bounds.  So much so that it has made me all emotional and weepy!  I'm just so happy to be back on my feet that I'm now a big mush-ball and sentimental freak, but I love it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm a Changed Woman

I had to use my wheelchair for the first time in two weeks today because I'm not quite strong enough to walk the vast expanse of our grocery store yet, and I have to say it was weird, and I hated it. 

I truly hated it.  Every brutal minute of it.  It is my sincere hope that I get strong enough, quick enough, that I no longer have to sit down and wheel myself anywhere!

Day 225

I will be spending much of today updating the blog with posts I wrote while in "lockdown" in a cabin in New Hampshire.  It was very peaceful, but I could not leave without a spotter because of the dangerous terrain leading to and from the car. 

As far as the step count is concerned, this is what I have concluded:

I haven't really been keeping track of my steps. I know I have taken a lot, but a number I can not produce. So, I am simply going to make the count even with where I should be on the ticker. I know I have taken many more steps than that, but as long as I'm not behind, I don't mind.

I have climbed things and done things on this trip that I didn't think I would ever be able to do again. I feel so incredible simply because of that fact that I'm not real concerned with how exact my step count is!

Have I mentioned the fact that I've gone over two weeks without a chair and don't miss it?  Or how about the fact that I'm about 10 times stronger then I was when I left for my trip! 

It's really happening.  I'm really getting stronger.  Wow.

Welcome home!

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The girls!

A Reflective Morning in New Hampshire

It's beautiful here, it's just too bad I woke up this early because of blinding pain; just another side effect of all the walking I've been doing. Some days are better than others, but this morning is one for the books. The only thing keeping me from screaming right now is how peaceful the morning is, and the fact that I can't wipe the smile from my face no matter how much physical pain I'm in.

This trip has changed me. I have gone from a sad, miserable, and angry person to a happy one. Genuinely happy. It's been years since I've been able to say that. Even as I walk, and every step feels like I'm walking through hot broken glass -- I am happy.

Maybe that happiness was what attracted the most wonderful man I've ever met. My mom has always said "how you're feeling on the inside will show on the outside", so maybe I was radiating peace and calm and he knew it was OK to approach. We have both said we were oddly comfortable even in a situation that's usually awkward. Perhaps it's because I've found peace with myself, and my situation, and I no longer radiate "keep away from me, I bite". Or, everything that has happened in my life has happened in order to lead me to him, and make me appreciate him. Or, maybe, we are just that comfortable around one another. I'm voting for all of the above.

It's not the trip that has made me this happy, it's leaving the chair behind. Letting go of that "crutch" has allowed me to feel somewhat normal again. Feeling normal has allowed me to interact with other humans without feeling like such an outcast and circus freak show. And not feeling like that freak show has released my demons and allowed me to love myself once again. After all, one can't love another without first loving oneself.

I spent years feeling like life had let me down, and I gave up once and figured to hell with it all. I hope I never make that mistake again. The path I am on now has led me to so many wonderful places, and all because I got off my ass and began to care once again. I made the decision to change, and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Almost 4,000 miles and two and a half weeks with no wheelchair!

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The Trip of a Lifetime

I hardly know where to begin. The first words that come to mind are amazing, mesmorizing, and unbelievable. My trip this summer has been incredible in so many ways it would be difficult to pinpoint a favorite moment. They are all my favorites, and there are just too many to list. I guess one of the highlights would be our visit to Niagara Falls. I've never seen such beauty! It's absolutely magical. But, aside from all the things I've seen, there is one thing I've done that I will never forget, and it has changed me into an entirely different person: I left my chair behind and never once missed it.

The thought of being without wheels was not something I warmed up to in the past. In fact, it scared me half to death. Somewhere along the way I had lost faith in myself and my inner strength, so the idea that I could actually do what I've just done seemed impossible. Considering I'm a firm believer in "anything's possible", I was a rolling contradiction of myself. I could often imagine being strong and making the walking thing happen for myself, but the action just wasn't there. Until now.

Throwing myself into this trip was the best thing I could have ever done.

In large part, I have my father to thank. He has been tough on me all my life, but only with my best interests at heart. "Get up, rub some dirt on it, and get back in there!", he says. In other words: get off your ass and try! His not-so-gentle coaxing forced me to toughen up and begin my journey back to me. A journey long overdue. So, for that, thanks old man, you're my hero.

I certainly must also say a big heartfelt thank you to my mother. The world would be a terrible place without mothers like you. You have always had my back, and been right by my side. You're my best friend, and the person I know I can tell anything to, and someday you and I are going to walk on the beach together and think back to the days when I couldn't. The days I laid in that hospital bed calling out for my mommy because I could no longer breathe and figured I was dying. You rock! Sorry I was 10 pounds when I was born and gave you a hernia! :)

There are of course many others in my life who have contributed a great deal to my road to recovery, and I want to just send out a huge thanks to all of you. You know who you are, and what you've done, and I am forever grateful. Rome was not built in a day, nor was it built by just one person! From the biggest of gestures to the smallest encouragements, it has all culminated in my finding myself again and realizing I can do anything I set my mind to. I am truly blessed to have so many people care about me and want me to succeed.

I still have a long, hard road ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to it. Bring it on!

As I write this I am sitting in a lake cabin in New Hampshire enjoying the wind rustling through the trees, and the cool breeze with the scent of burning wood coming through the windows. I could stay here forever, but real life must resume eventually.

When I get home, I am donating my chairs to someone else who actually needs them and taking the next crucial step in returning to me.

Someone knows we're home!

Home sweet home! Needs to be mowed!

A power pole. Disney style!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finally Home

I am back in Florida at a hotel in St. Augustine that my mother got me in celebration of my impending birthday.  I had planned to post some of the writings I did while holed up in a lake cabin in New Hampshire, but they need some tweaking and I am much too tired so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Good Night all, I'm so tired I can't see straight! 

More good stuff to come!

And still not home!

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We spent a little time in DC today and got some really great pictures which I will post once I am back home. It's the last leg of the trip today. Spending time with my mom in St. Augustine and then It's back home tomorrow!

Monday, August 9, 2010

My little girl came back to find me snuggled with her tiger :)

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I am unable to update

I am unable to update the ticker from my phone but my total should be 60280 !

So I will update the

So I will update the ticker where it should be according to my daily targets but i can assure you I've walked much more!

I have not been keeping

I have not been keeping track of my steps but i know it has been more than enough to catch me up and at least haven ticker even!

Good beer!

My happy girl :)

The climb up.

Downtown Concord NH the sign reads "Caution: falling snow" I didn't know snow did anything else.

Checking "Rosanna's" oil. I need smaller clothes when I get home nothing fits me!

Where I've been staying in NH. Quite a climb up and down to the car! I'm getting my workout!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Curious? Do they make an

Curious? Do they make an otc pain reliever for mind numbing excruciating pain? Ugh.

Twelve states in two and

Twelve states in two and a half days! In New Hampshire working on my next post. Will post when I have internet!

Getting into the Adirondacks

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Niagara Falls

Chicago baby!

Megan and Grandma!

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My Grandma!

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Ten states in two days

Ten states in two days and i'm about to travel one more! We will be in New Hampshire this evening. I will update more later!

Niagara Falls

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The lake

I sure hope to return again real soon!

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Sunrise over the lake



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm in love

Pictures just don't do it justice

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Land of 10,000 lakes

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34 000 Feet

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On the plane trying to stay awake and keep my composure.

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Off to MN!

5 AM

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 207: add 74 steps
P.S. So far so good on the walking front and strangely I don't even miss the chair.

Goodbye Old Friend

May I be strong enough upon my return to allow you to go be someone else's companion

Day 207: My Climb Begins

Today is the day I head off on my journey.  My Everest.  I decided instead of staying up all night and ending up with tired, swollen and painful feet and legs, I would get a room closer to the airport and stay the night.  It's added expense that I really can't afford, but in my situation, I just have to figure it into the cost of the trip. 

My plane takes off at 7:05am tomorrow morning, but the airport is close to two hours from where I live.  Add to that the need to be at the airport two hours before my flight, and it means we would have had to leave my house at 3am.  I'm not good at sleeping during the day, or sleeping any other time than my usual hours, so it would have really sent my internal clock into a tail spin.  Not a good thing to do right before a trip like this.

The good news is we are going to get to the hotel early enough today that we can enjoy some sun and pool time.

I'm not sure how much internet access I will have over the next week.  I will be visiting with family and friends in my home town, and where I am staying I know for a fact there isn't internet.  I will update via cell phone often, but that limits me a bit so my walking ticker will have to hold off until I have internet access. 

We are leaving Grand Forks, ND on Wednesday, August 4th and will begin our road-trip.  At that point I will be able to update via hotel wi-fi throughout the trip until I hit New Hampshire where I will be out in the woods and may even have limited cell service. 

No matter what, I can promise you every chance I get I'll bring you up to speed on how I'm doing and how many steps I'm taking per day (it's going to be a LOT).  I will also take plenty of photos and share our experiences along the way!

Four hours to go until I leave my wheels behind.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Full Moon

There was a palm tree in there somewhere

Day 206: The Send-Off

For our vacation send off we spent some time with a couple of my friends.  We took a little adventure to Clearwater Beach and had some good food and good times.  My last hoorah before I begin my "climb".

Oh yeah, and we dropped our baby off at the dog-sitter.  Bye Maggie!  And goodbye Florida for two weeks!

Maggie and Megan:  taking our little baby to the dog-sitter
Richard and Daniel - on our way to Clearwater Beach, FL
Me and Mini-Me (Megan)
Richard and Me at Frenchy's, Clearwater Beach, FL
Megan and  Daniel

Step count today:  52

Steps I'm behind:  3,448