Tag Archives: balance exercises

Rebalance

The Olympics are always a fascinating two-week event to watch (Even more so, the Paralympics that come a few weeks after!!) Although I enjoy watching the ice skating, curling, and speed skating competitions, my favorite of the two seasons (winter/summer) is the Summer Games. Last summer, the Olympics were held in London–which I found fabulous as Britain/UK is on the top of my own “Mel’s World Travels” sort of wish list. I had been reading several books on the reigns of the different kings/queens and through some church history already, so when CBS would air the “interesting things of London” segments, I felt like a school kid.

At that time, I worked early morning shifts and would be home by lunch for the rest of the day. This meant that I had the chance to watch the afternoon events that you don’t normally see in the evening time as they get crowded out from the more popular ones. I got to see sailing, archery, table tennis, equestrian, judo, fencing, taekwondo and I watched some weight lifting. It was all very interesting.

Every sport has an attribute in which I feel they put more attention to more than another sport would focus on…for example: soccer: kicks and feet motions; synchronized diving: timing of the downward movements; equestrian: pose and maintaining your horse; rowing: upper body strength; and my favorite, because I have none–gymnastics: BALANCE!

I should correct myself: I don’t have much balance, but anymore these days even my “much” balance does not account for much. 😉 I could venture to say that I somewhat occasionally perform floor exercises like a gymnast, but less graceful in the air, more flapping of arm movements and I never land on my feet (quite the opposite.) However, the balance issue is currently being worked on during these past few PT sessions and ones yet to come. My rehabilitation doctor at Children’s prescribed for me to get ankle braces. These aren’t just any ankle brace–they are AFO braces. (I like the abbreviation–it stands for Ankle-foot Orthotic.) They look like this:

ankle-foot-orthosis-afo-80454-3202943 medicalexpo.com

What you see is what it is–huge, feels like hard plastic, from knee past the toes bondage for your feet. So far the only fun part has been my display of cool designed knee-high socks, which I actually only get to wear on the right leg as the neutral colored compression stocking takes the left leg. But with jeans on, nobody notices anyway. Otherwise, these AFO’s are hard work! I feel I am training for the Olympics, except in my case, I am “re-training” my brain to use the muscles that have weakened after years of atrophy. Also, these braces are helping my right ankle to stay straight when I walk (but I feel it trying to twist) and in time, I hope the added weight my left leg gains from the weak right side will balance out too.

The exercises so far have been small but aiming at balance. It is unbelievable how it can make your legs feel like Jello within a few minutes! We took another strength-goals test today to see how I am progressing…even though it has had two DVTs, my left leg is the strong leg! But that doesn’t surprise me. Usually by the end of my session, I am ready for the braces to come off, but today I went an hour longer after my PT left and did normal routine things…then I was ready to take them off! The walker proved to be a useful resource in stability as I walked around the house just fine today; best part was when I needed a break, I locked the wheels and sat for a minute to catch my breath.

This is only the beginning. Change will not happen over night…it is going to take time, effort, and a lot of sore muscles. In the end, I should (and hope) be able to wear the braces regularly in a day; I anticipate less falling, but that may just be inevitable.

I am ready for the challenge: it makes me feel like an Olympian.

Greece0048

The Olympic Stadium. Athens, Greece.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. Job 23:10 ESV

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Hospital Trips

Living in a Fast Paced World

At Tuesday’s doctor appointments, we discussed transferring me to a neuro rehab clinic for my Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. This is still in the future plans, but because I currently have a driving restriction until I take a driver’s mobility test (based off the way I am currently walking, just to ensure safety on my reaction times)–it could be up to three weeks until I get the test completed even though I am on the current waiting list. Because of this, I am not able to get myself over to the rehab facilities and since I have already started with Home Health, the plan for now is to let them finish their sessions and then I go on from that point. I have been pleased with my PT sessions so far.

My first session of PT was last week and I start OT next week, which I am anticipating, because today in getting ready my hands lost grip of my makeup bag–momentary sadness to shatter a perfectly good bronzer. Anyway, while last week’s PT session was mostly talk and the “see where you’re at” balance, strength and mobility tests, this week was a full 45 minute workout. I have had PT twice already: one after my first blood clot to strengthen my left leg and the second session this past Spring to strengthen my neck and upper back muscles.

I have never experienced a singe PT session that would literally leave me so exhausted that I had to take a nap in the afternoon. To demonstrate how weak my muscles are–picture me on my knees, lifting the exercise ball over my head (repeat 4 times). By the last, my arms were beat. We also did a lot of balance exercises where I lift one knee while on the other and then rolling the exercise ball back and forth while maintaining balance. To the average person, these may seem so easy, but to a person such as myself, it was difficult. To be honest, today I felt like a toddler…learning to balance and lift things, freely falling over and struggling to get up. But the strength and retraining my mind to use the muscles does not happen over night..it is baby steps. 🙂

Of course, I overdid myself this morning after my session. I went downstairs and painted a canvas that will be on display next week at a pizza parlor in Yellow Springs. (more to come on that!) I finished but had some extra paint and don’t like to waste it, so I set out to finish a small abstract one as well. No joke, the last few seconds of “finishing touches” on the painting and the table topples over!! Thankfully, the painting was not ruined, but for the cleanup process, I was back on my knees like my PT session and struggling to get everything picked up without making a bigger mess. By the end of my painting session, I looked like a painting. 😉

I had been to Michaels a few weeks ago to pick up paints and a pack of 8×10 canvases. At the check out isle there were some extra-large reusable bags and on an impulse decision, I bought one in order to carry my paintings around when they go on display in Beans-n-Cream or anywhere else. Artistically decorated, the front says the classic line, “Stop and smell the roses.” I thought of The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Growing up, Ferdinand was different. While his peers were shaping up to be the best for bull fighting, Ferdinand just wants to smell flowers. Only when he sits on a bee does anyone take notice of him. At the bull arena, he is adorned with roses…everyone expects him to put in a good show, and he just wants to smell the flowers. 🙂

Too often I try to rush forward in my physical body, even though it is no longer capable of the word “hurry.” I forget to stop, breath in, smell the roses (sweetness of God’s mercy and grace) and realize that I don’t have to feel pressure to keep up with the fast paced world. God can use me just as I am…like a child.

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing into the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
with faith like a child

Jars of Clay. “Like a Child.” Self-titled debut album. 1995.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Paintings