Tag Archives: Olympics

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.

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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

Wishful thinking…

As I paint, I have been jamming to oldies. Anything past the year 2004, I really don’t listen to due to my hearing loss. I don’t know the words plus I can’t catch the beat equals that I stick to oldies that I know. Personally, I think the 80’s-90’s are the best anyway. However, I have also been into movie soundtracks or classical music lately. It helps me to think while I paint. Today, it is Bach and the Sea. The London Symphony Orchestra plays the greatest of Bach’s pieces with the sounds of the sea in the background. It is so relaxing.

A few songs are so calm…lots of cello so the sound is deep–makes me want to sit by the sea with a cup of tea in a cute sundress and fancy hat. Others pieces have more upper violin with a good beat which makes me want to ballroom dance like they did in the day (think Pride and Prejudice style songs); and still others, I wish to have my flute at hand. Although I definitely could not play a note or even remember the hand positions, I have been missing being able to play the flute. I really loved it. I can see myself being the flute soloist in Bach’s “Badinerie”. 🙂 My favorite piece on the cd is Bach’s No.1. I think it is the whole symphony, but I am not positive. Lovely melodies none the less!!

With the Olympics starting this Friday in London…my thoughts of my dream vacation arouse. I really hope to make it to England at some point in my life. There are a few things on my list to see: London (obviously), Oxford University and C.S. Lewis’ home, “The Kilns”; Canterbury and St. Augustine’s Abbey in Kent; and the countryside of England…maybe Wales. So much to see!

I love any history (as you might already know!), but since some anscestry is rooted in England, I find their history even more fascinating! Last summer, I spent a lot of time studying the time periods from King Henry VIII to King James I. This summer it has been King Arthur. I picked up T.H. White’s classic work, The Once and Future King, but it is over 500 pages and with all this painting–I have a feeling it will be my autumn season reading (with tea). 🙂 For right now, I just enjoy BBC’s show called Merlin. You can watch the first two seasons on hulu. I have yet to start The Downton Abbey series, but I will!! 🙂

My final months in Denver, a friend and I went on a quest to visit different tea shops around town. We found a British-owned cafe called The House of Commons. 🙂 We enjoyed the simplicity of decor, bright atmosphere, and sugar lumps for our tea. I, of course, put in three. 😉

Have a splendid evening, regardless of how many lumps of sugar are in your tea!

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Filed under Books and Movies, Funny Stories, Paintings, Random

Endurance

Today was my second session of Physical Therapy. I go six weeks, twice a week. The goal: to help bring function back to my left leg by strengthening the muscles that have weakened from the blood clot, and to help stabilize my balance as best possible. Overall, PT repeats, “To build your endurance.” Tuesday was my first session. The whole time was used to see my body condition in the physical sense–things I can do well and things that I need help with during the sessions. It was mostly stretching and holding the pose for thirty seconds sort of exercises, but by the end of my 45 minute session, I felt like I had just completed a marathon! I came home and slept for four hours!! Today’s session, we went into the actual stretching exercises that they want me to start at home. It was more physically challenging…required more endurance.

My PT set me up on a step machine (not sure of the actual name, sort of like a stationary bike in which you are “stepping” but sitting down). As I was finishing my six minutes on the machine, I noticed a poster on the wall over to my right. It read, “A walk of a thousand miles begins with a step.” I thought that was a great saying to put in a PT gym. Here people come to regain what they have lost…sometimes even just their first step. The greater picture is that enduring the hard work, results will follow–even if it seems miles away. I remember running cross-country in high school. I was not very fast–I do not have a long stride–but every training made me stronger, not just physical but the mental endurance. We would train a few days a week on different terrains: grass at the park, running the cement streets, and our not so favorite–hills and every so often, a mountain. Yes, you read that right–MOUNTAIN!!! Talk about endurance! I am not a competitive person, therefore, I did not like the races, but during the races is when I felt like my training and building up my endurance had paid off! I never stopped, even in pain, and whether or not I came in last–which most often I would–the most important thing above all else is that I finished and I did not give up! That is what I call endurance.

This summer is the Olympics in London!!! YAY!!!!! More to come regarding that but the whole aspect of training and endurance reminds me of when we saw THE Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece. What a sight to see!

There it is! Where the Olympics first began, well actually the first were held in Olympia (hence the name). Very fascinating history about the origin: http://www.greecetravel.com/olympia/.  The point–they have been around for a LONG TIME! Imagine those first games! 😀 All the strength and endurance, for what? Honor and a sacred olive branch (or wreath).  Enduring for honor! I remember my professor telling us that if a contestant did not win the olive branch, they did not return home…the honor was lost. Can you imagine how intense that would be?

The time we spent at the Olympics arena in Athens. I was reminded of what Paul says in I Corinthians 9:24-27,

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

And again he writes,

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14).

There are times when running the race is hard!!! And unlike cross-country races, sometimes I give up because I cannot see past the wall in front of me. But in everything there is hope: Every step towards the next thousand miles, I can go with confidence because, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.


Here are some other websites about the ancient Olympics:

http://www.olympic.org/ancient-olympic-games

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_wreath *I like the story in this one. 🙂

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