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