Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 59

I was thinking the other day about how hard it used to be just for me to stand up straight, and without putting all my weight on my lower back and knees.  Now here I am walking 100's of steps a day, climbing up and down stairs, and standing for lengthy periods without getting fatigued as quickly, and without using my joints for stability.  I am actually able to use the muscles in my lower body to hold myself up.  It's all quite overwhelming at times, but when I see the progress I'm making it brings a tear to my eye.  This could actually happen for me; I could actually walk unassisted and do all those things I've been missing all these years like walk on the beach and swim in the ocean, or go outside and play in the rain with my daughter, or go for a bike ride with her through our favorite park.  For so many years all that seemed so far out of reach, and now it seems like it will actually happen!  Nothing in this world would bring me more joy.

I've paid my dues, learned my lessons (for the most part), and struggled and fought long enough.  Maybe I really do deserve this.  Maybe all the fighting and hard work I've put forth really will pay off eventually.  No matter what the outcome, I will never stop working hard.

Step count today:  168 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 57

The walking got put on hold for a couple of days while I dealt with some much needed errands.  I spent an entire day in Brandon for some GMC recall, and yesterday spent the whole day cleaning and organizing.  Back to getting in some big numbers today! 

Step count today:  523

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Day 51

A little under 1,000 steps to go to get under 90,000 total. I'm excited about that. I did well yesterday, hitting almost 800 for the day. I definitely reached my 400, and then some. I'd like to try to do that every day this week, but keeping my daily goal at 400 makes things a bit easier and puts less pressure on me. Taking 400 steps is much easier than it ever was before, and that makes me so very happy.

I can remember when I first started out and just a few steps seemed impossible. Now I'm taking hundreds in a day without much thought. The effort is certainly still there, but the elements that go into walking are becoming much more refined and tuned. It's a big process walking upright. A person doesn't realize how much of a process until you can no longer do it and have to start from scratch. I'm certainly learning all about it.

I will get my 400 in today at the very least, and hopefully more. I'd like to take my runner across that ticker to under 90,000, but for now I'm sticking to my 400 goal for the day. If I do more, great.

Step count today: 453

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 50

Day 50 of 2010. I really believe that the older we get, the faster time seems to go. Maybe we just realize it more than we did when we were younger. I guess we had less time to focus on the mundane and more time to focus on other stuff when we were younger.

I woke up with one of those awful kinks in my neck this morning and it has yet to work its way out. It's the kind that makes you turn your whole upper body if you want to painlessly look to the side. I'm hoping that some walking will help it to work its way out and leave me alone. I really don't like having less range of motion then I already do.

I am still behind on my steps for the year so far, but I plan to make up for that gradually as I go. I got in quite a few steps the other day, but fatigue, work, and life in general has gotten in the way of my progress since. I shouldn't allow that to happen, but I do, and nothing I can do to change it except move forward and work harder each day to get my walking in. I figure it's the best workout I can be doing right now, so I should be doing it. Common sense really, but I don't always practice that either.

Sometimes life just seems to get in the way... or more appropriately, sometimes we allow life to get in our way.

I think for this next seven days I will set a goal of 400 steps per day, minimum. That should get my little girl on the ticker moving in the right direction, and hopefully get the scale on my weight-loss ticker going the right way as well.

As some of you might have noticed I added a nifty little step ticker to the top of the page so I no longer need to include how many steps are left to go in each post, it does it for me!

Step count today: 790

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 48

Along with my walking, I did some crawling yesterday. I have been trying to add as much movement outside the wheelchair as possible, and I figure what the heck, when we were babies we had to crawl before we could walk. My abs have never been more sore than they are today, so I'm thinking I got a really great workout in! That's pretty exciting to me because although it hurts my knees, they'll toughen up and it's nice to know there is more I can do that actually works my lower body. It's also a great exercise for my hip flexors (the muscles that pull your leg up from the hip - like when you march) which are very weak and can barely lift my leg against gravity. Crawling uses these muscles, and they don't have to lift against gravity so they will get stronger faster. At least that is my hope.

This is all good news in light of the fact that my weight machine is broken so I can no longer do leg extensions. Sad because I was up to 10 pounds!

Step count today: 0

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 43

I'm really getting sick of this weather. I hate to even begin to complain about it since I know that many others have it SO much worse, but it's all relative, and enough is enough, for everyone. It would be nice if winter would just end all over the country and we could all get back to our somewhat normal lives. I'd like to go back to my normal power bill instead of paying almost triple what I normally do. It's a nice jolt of reality when your first power bill of the year is almost as much as your rent. Hard to stay on budget with crazy weather like this.

Down here in Florida, we are not used to long cold spells or below-freezing temperatures. We might get one or two nights a year that drop below 32, but then we are done. This winter has set records... 60-year old records! The strawberry and citrus farmers have taken the biggest hit, but it trickles down from them. They have needed to pump so much water over such a long period of time that there are sink holes all over my area, pumps running dry, road closures, and basically utter chaos. The county is claiming it will cost millions just to repair the sink holes. Ouch. Not to mention the loss of crops and revenue from those crops.

I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't just move back home to Minnesota. If I'm going to be cold anyway, why not?

Step count today: 150

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 42

(edited to reflect the right day - day 42, not 41)

My computer crashed yesterday mid-walk so I wrote my steps down and had to update it today. My weight machine also took a dump yesterday so I did 1 set of 15 reps with 5 lbs and that was the end of that.

I really want a bowflex machine.

Step count today: 296

Spasms, Spasticity, and Pain

I recently posted about Chamomile and it's benefits for muscle spasms, but today, I don't think there is a drug out there (except maybe something to completely knock me out) that could help with what I'm going through.

I have my good days, and my bad, just like with any other kind of recovery or rehabilitation, and I fully expect them, but some days I just want to chop my legs right off - like today. It's a common issue with neurological problems that we get what's called spasticity. When this happens we can actually feel stronger and walk/move with a little more strength. What happens is the muscles contract continuously - like when you stretch a really good stretch and your muscles kind of tighten up and it feels kinda painful but good all at the same time - that's what happens to me all day long. Like stretching a rubber band to its full potential and leaving it that way.

I have learned to deal with it over the years, and although it hurts, it does kind of feel good at the same time. It burns, like I'm sitting on something that is too hot or something is on my legs that is hot, but it does give me a little added strength when it occurs. At the same time, it makes walking more dangerous because it severely diminishes my already slow response time.

Basically it's a huge annoyance that has a few good qualities, and today it's really bugging me. I just want it to go away. I want it all to go away. That's the big issue with something like this is the pain level is just high enough to make things hurt a lot more when you do them - like walking.

I have heard that people who are in pain constantly but learn to deal with it can slowly go insane. No wonder why I'm crazy.

Quote of the Day

"True life is lived when tiny changes occur." ~ Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."

~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wow. Just, Wow!

This is an amazing story of determination and struggle:

Paralyzed Motocross Racer Walks By Sheer Willpower

Give 'er hell!

Things You May Not Know About Chamomile

I have been looking for years for something to help with my muscle spasms.  I get them constantly, but most notably, and most annoying, at night when I lay down for bed.  They start in, jerking my legs up toward my chest, causing me pain and sleeplessness.  I have been told massaging them helps, drinking tonic water for the quinine, and so many more so-called "remedies" that have never really worked.  Lately, I have been noticing they are not as prevalent, so I did some research and this is what I have found:

What is Chamomile?

Chamomile is an herb that comes from a flowering plant from the daisy family. Both the fresh and dried flowers of chamomile have been used to create teas for centuries to cure a number of health problems. The active ingredient in chamomile essential oil is known as bisabolol, which has a number of anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties.

What are the Benefits of Chamomile?

Chamomile can be used topically or orally to treat a number of everyday ailments, such as:

•Insomnia and other sleep disorders

•Anxiety and Panic Attacks

•Muscle twitches

•Wounds, burns, and scrapes

•Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, and diaper rash

•Stomach problems such as menstrual cramps, stomach flu, and ulcers

Uses of Chamomile

Home Remedy for Stomach Cramps

Chamomile has been found to contain fairly strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents. Therefore, it has been found to be effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps. Simply prepare a cup of Chamomile tea following the directions on the package and drink it twice a day until while symptoms are present (one cup first thing in the morning, and one in the evening).

Home Remedy for Insomnia

Chamomile is wonderful remedy for sleep disorders such as insomnia. Simply make a chamomile tea 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed to treat sleeplessness.

Home Remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Chamomile reduces cramping and pain in the bowels and also helps to relieve excessive gas and bloating in the intestines. Therefore, a simple remedy is to drink a cup of chamomile tea to help relieve irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and gastroenteritis or stomach flu.

Home Remedy for Migraine Headaches

Chamomile is a wonderful cure for migraines. Take a cup of tea when you start noticing the symptoms of a migraine headache. It works best if you take it before the headache actually gets severe.

Home Remedy for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Menstrual Cramps

Drinking chamomile tea has been found to be beneficial in treating PMS and Menstrual Cramps.

Using Chamomile to Treat Burns and Scrapes

Chamomile oil is very useful in treating bad burns. Simple rub a small amount of oil gently across the burned area once a day. For scrapes and burns you can also brew a strong concoction by adding 3 tea bags to one cup of boiling water. When the water cools, dip a cloth into it and use it as a compress on the wounded area.

Lightening Skin Using Chamomile

Chamomile has been found to be advantageous for lightening your skin tone. Simply bring two quarts of water to a boil with 2 chamomile tea bags in it. Then place your face above the steaming pot of chamomile tea. A bath in water mixed with chamomile tea works too.

Reducing Dark Circles Around Eyes

Chamomile tea has been found to help relieve eye fatigue and dark circles. A simple remedy is to dip 2 chamomile tea bags in warm water. After 5 minutes, remove the tea bags from the water and let them cool to room temperature. Then place them on your eyes at night as a compress.

What are the Side Effects of Chamomile?

As with all herbal products, moderation is the key to avoiding adverse reactions. Some of the potential side effects of chamomile include drowsiness, so use it with caution if you are driving or operating machinery. High doses of chamomile can also cause vomiting and/or skin reactions in some individuals. If you are allergic to ragweed pollen or have hayfever, you may have difficulty using chamomile.

Using chamomile during pregnancy is not recommended, since it is considered to be an abortifacient (a substance that induces abortion). Chamomile is also not recommended if you are currently taking blood thinners, since chamomile contains a substance called coumarin (which is also a blood thinner).

Where and How to Buy Chamomile

Chamomile can be bought as dried flower heads, an infusion (tea), liquid extract, essential oil, tinctures (concentrated in alcohol), and in creams and ointments. Tea bags are the most common form and can be found at many mainstream grocery stores and pharmacies.
I have been drinking chamomile tea almost every day.  I knew it had health benefits, but I had no idea to what extent.

Day 39

Leg Extensions:  2 sets of 10 repetitions w/ 5lbs
                          1 set of 10 reps w/ 10 lbs

Step count today:  172
Left to go:  92,761

Quote of the Day

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” ~Judy Garland

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 38

I know... I know...  I've been neglecting both my walking, and my blogs. 

Things got a little crazy at home here and I have been very, very busy.  It was all a positive kind of busy, but I was busy nonetheless.  At least my kitchen is almost completely finished, and that makes me very happy.

I am way behind on my steps.  I have some serious making up to do this week, but I am looking forward to it.  My plan is to do at least 400 to 500 steps each day.

I will get back into the swing of things.  I'm now on a very serious mission for this next week to get in as many steps as I can, and lose as much weight as possible.  I will be working very hard at both.  Starting today in fact!

It's Super Bowl Sunday and although my team (the Vikings) didn't make it, I am still looking forward to the last football game of the season.  Now there will be no more football for months which is kind of depressing.  I love my football.

This last week my left ankle has been swelling like crazy.  By the end of the day it seems like it could explode.  I know that I have been eating way too much sodium, so I will cut that out and see how it does.  I also realize that I have not been walking, and when I don't walk, I swell.  That is also my injured ankle so that plays a role, too.  It is still healing, and it does still hurt, but I've been off of it long enough, and as long as I'm careful, it should be fine.

Step count today:  0
Left to go:  92,933