Tag Archives: walking

What I Lean On

“Help me. Help me.” I blurt out in a semi-panic but soft-toned voice. I knew my sister, Melissa, was behind me with my walker and bag. I had just taken my first step down the stairs leading to the garage; I felt my body starting to lean backwards in off-balance mode. The last thing I wanted was to take another tumble, thus, my cry for help. Melissa helped me rebalance and I slowly descended. At the bottom, my walker is reopened and I place my bag in the middle compartment. Now holding to the handles, I stand and wait for my ride to church.

I haven’t used my walker in the house since around Thanksgiving. Even my cane I have left in the garage and have only used these two walking assistants when going outside the house to town, church, errands or meeting friends and social gatherings. That is until this past weekend. I first started with my cane. I noted at the beginning of last week that getting up to use the bathroom in the early mornings could sometimes have me feeling off-balance. I never used my cane, but just had it resting against my bedside for “just in case.”

Then I fell. Friday afternoon–I was setting up my painting area for a Saturday morning, “Coffee, brunch and painting,” time with ¬†a friend. I don’t even know technically how it happened, because I don’t remember twisting my ankle, but my tumble forced me to my knees. If I had “snapped forward,” I would have just landed harder on my hands. But my fall sent me on backward whiplash; my legs being folded under me, I crunch down on my crooked feet. As I regain composure, but in pain, I try to shift my feet out from under me but find myself underneath the table (that is the part in which I don’t understand!) I knew I was going to have to have assistance getting up off the floor, and since no one came downstairs yet to check on me, I pushed my Lifeline button. ūüôā

Friday’s fall resulted in a very sore left leg: a torn ligament in the knee. It is really the last thing I wanted at this time. I already am struggling with increasing frustration at my right hand and just the mental processing of being slow. Now I use my walker more regular in the house–discussion today also mentioned that it might be time to restart my AFO braces (at least the right foot while my left leg slowly heals.) That decision alone will be something to pray for peace about–my choice to end wearing them, and PT sessions, in the Fall was primarily to live without them until I needed them to walk. I can still walk, but it is only by God’s divine power that I still can.

I see myself weakening and I want to be strong; I force myself to persevere, but need strength to lean on.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.


Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Words by: Elisha A. Hoffman


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Uncategorized

Jingle Bells [translated]

Dashing through the snow [Taking a brisk stroll]
In a one-horse open sleigh¬†[Mel’s walker made the day]
O’er the fields we go [Down the street we roll]
Laughing all the way
Bells on bobtail ring [Pushing Basho was exciting]
Making spirits bright [Passing cars saw quite the sight ]
What fun it is to ride and sing [But in doing all these things]
A sleighing song tonight! [It gives me a blog post entry to write!]


Jingle bells, jingle bells, [Come on, Mel! Come on, Mel!]
Jingle all the way. [Work off all you ate on turkey day!]
Oh! what fun it is to ride [Family greatness you cannot hide]
In a one-horse open sleigh. [Is something I would say]
Jingle bells, jingle bells,¬†[Click, click–taking pictures on a cell]
Jingle all the way; [It can turn out to be a deceptive display]
Oh! what fun it is to ride [So notice any¬†strange appearance in Melissa’s stride]
In a one-horse open sleigh. [Rest assured she is okay] ūüėČ



Filed under Family Times, Funny Stories, Random, Uncategorized


This morning was one of those mornings. Not that I got started off with the wrong foot, but definitely the wrong shoes! I should start paying closer attention to my gut feeling that¬†says,¬†“This is not going to work.” Now I like to be optimistic, but that little voice inside tried to warn me that the dress I was trying on in the Target fitting room was too small. “It’s so cute, I want to try it anyway.” I get stuck. Thankfully¬†my Mom was shopping with me that day. Lesson learned (at least for shopping).

You would think from my Cinderella shoe experience that I would have learned to follow signs that it might not be a good day to wear certain shoes. Think again. The cause: they completed my Sunday morning outfit (even to the choice of earrings). The effect: I was tripping¬†in them¬†even before I left the house. “If I walk slow I will do fine.”¬†Even slow was not¬†working. I get to the church door and the man who greeted me acted calm but I wonder what he was actually thinking. I said, “Good morning!” Then tripped and said, “Stupid shoes.”¬†I never fell, but¬†on the way out¬†of church I was having such a hard time, I just¬†slipped¬†off my shoes¬†and went¬†barefoot to the car. The shoes are¬†now in the thrift store pile. As cute as they are,¬†they just have to go.

This morning, the¬†message was on Psalm 16; “A Psalm of Confidence.” On the drive home, I was thinking of how the message was exactly what I needed to hear in encouragement and truth that “Confidence in the Lord means that I trust Him regardless.” It was like preparation for¬†the days to come.

As I am still thinking,¬†before you know it,¬†one of my favorite movies comes to mind:¬†Rogers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.¬†It could have been my shoe¬†experience or emphasis on the word, “confidence,” but I started to¬†laugh¬†as I could¬†picture Maria¬†(played by Julie Andrews)¬†singing and doing her fancy feet work in the song, “I Have Confidence.”


[Fancy feet –¬†2:30; my feet – 3:46] ūüôā

I definitely don’t¬†trust my feeble¬†ankles or my shoes to preserve me when I walk, but¬†I have confidence in the One who is able: “I have set the Lord always before me;¬†because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Funny Stories


After a strenuous one mile walk on the bike path the other evening, I decided on something like a fact. I should just stop walking on the bike path. And instead, go the park and SWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is nothing that says a swing set is only for children. Thus, I concluded: it will be my new full cardio workout. For several reasons–

  1. I can swing 24/7/365. Hence, it is not seasonal like most sports.
  2. I have no worries about twisting my ankle or running into bikers/rollerbladers as I aimlessly [but not on purpose] strive to walk in a straight line.
  3. I can use swinging to strengthen my ankles. When I swing back and then bring my legs forward, I can practice bringing my right foot up straight instead of crooked. My PT would be so proud of my efforts.
  4. I can manage which direction I sit to avoid sun or enhance my workout by the wind.
  5. I can go for five minutes and feel like I put off a ton of calories (but okay, I plan to go for a full workout!)
  6. I can invite others to join me without feeling embarrased about my lack-of-eye-and hand-coordination other sports require.
  7. It is stress relief.
  8. And it is fun. ūüôā

Do you like to swing?


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Funny Stories

Running the Race.

Last week, I finished Kathy Van Riper’s autobiography called, A Race Worth Running. A friend had given me the book as a birthday present last year and I put off reading it for obviously a good year. I am not sure if that was God timing, but I think I got more out of it now–being a year later–as I have been through a bit more experiences in my physical body, such as the blood clot. I was so emotional reading the book that after I finished I was talking with my mom and just started crying (a variety of things), but I pointed to the book on the couch and said, “I don’t know why this book has made me so emotional.” Mom looked at me and said, “Probably because you can relate to what she went through.”

I thought about this. It is probably true.¬†If you compared my life to Kathy’s life, there are some¬†extreme differences: she was married, had two kids, battled an extreme case of breast cancer for ten years, and¬†lived in CA her whole life–and yet we also had similarities: We both loved running (I can’t physically anymore, but love walking!); we both had treatments on¬†the same chemo called Avastin¬†(although she went through ten other¬†different chemo treatments; I have only been through two.) We both had a blood clot with¬†all the blood thinner shots and pills that follow; we both lost our hair; we both had radiation; we both were (and I still am) supported by an amazing circumference of family and friends who love endlessly and share support during the good and bad times; we both had to switch hospitals and doctors after years of care offered by another one; and we both have faith. Kathy’s faith is now complete. I am still on the journey.

Kathy’s “life verse” was Hebrews 12:1-2,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

I put in bold the phrase that¬†she quoted most often in her journal entries that were at the end of the book. Kathy was a runner.¬†Unlike myself who ran cross-country in high school but hated the races, Kathy¬†thrived in races–anything from¬†5k, 10k to marathons.¬†Whether you run or not,¬†running as if¬†in a¬†race is almost the strength and perseverance mind-set¬†for life: “[Forgetting] what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for¬†the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14.

When I ran cross-country in high school, training was what got me through the races.¬†For¬†training, we would¬†run on¬†a variety of things during the week: grass,¬†sidewalks through town, and other times, run up the mountain. I remember this one place…not quite sure where exactly in the mountains…but all of a sudden after you “warmed up” running the road, it just turned into a straight shot up the mountain. Rocks everywhere, so steep. It was literally a “breath-taking” view! ūüôā¬†Coach always encouraged us to never stop. Never. So even though I was¬†bringing up the rear end of the team while running slower than most people’s walking speed, I never stopped. After you got over that huge steep hill, things leveled out. Sure, it was still a mountain, but it was more like the hiking paths and less gruesome. Even after all this training, sometimes during the races I would want to give up. But then I would remember and say to myself, “Pull yourself together. You trained harder than this.” And I would not stop. Mental determination. The finish line was my goal. And that was the best part, because as you near the end you start¬†to hear the cheers from everyone at the finish line. You¬†pick up the¬†pace, knowing that the finish line was just ahead. You forgot¬†about the rest of the race…how much¬†pain¬†or how many people passed you. You strived to the end with all¬†strength left in you. The verse that¬†was so special to Kathy fit her life–her personality, her faith, and her¬†race against¬†cancer.¬†The common phrase for¬†people who have¬†died from cancer is, “They lost the fight.” Indeed, our lives are worth fighting for but¬†after reading Kathy’s book…I¬†would not say that she lost the fight. Rather, she finished her race.

“Pressing on towards the goal”–I have shared Kathy’s favorite verse. I would like to share with you now my favorite verse. It is from II Corinthians 12:9-10,

But he said to me, ‚ÄúMy grace is sufficient for you, for¬†my power is made perfect in weakness.‚ÄĚ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that¬†the power of Christ may rest upon me.¬† For the sake of Christ, then,¬†I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For¬†when I am weak, then I am strong.

I had started running in the¬†7th grade…slacked off here and there, and in college, I started going to the gym every night.¬†Not much¬†kept me from the gym each night in college. I think it was my own way of “pressing on” during those times. I loved it. Something happened after I graduated, I stopped exercising every night and lost a little determination for a bit. I lived close to some different parks in my neighborhood and started walking there. I loved seeing the season changes and talked to God while I walked¬†a few miles. My old job was also connected to a mall which had an indoor mile lap and I would often walk during my lunch breaks. Please understand me when I say this…as this pertains to my life and mental determination: When I either give up exercising, or can’t exercise from health reasons, I see a change. Like my attitude changes about how I see things in life…big struggles seem even harder, and even little things seem so hard. I told my mom about Kathy’s life during our conversation that night I finished the book–how she would go on mile runs a few days after chemo treatments. I said, “I don’t think I could do that,” as¬†if it made me feel guilty for not getting out for¬†walks lately or getting a¬†few other things done that were¬†stacking up in my room¬†(which it sort of did).¬†Mom said I didn’t have to. We were all made different.

Then I thought back to times in Denver. I worked Thursday-Saturday eight hour shifts. The weeks of chemo I worked Thursday, chemo Friday and¬†then back to work¬†Saturday-Sunday. Regardless of how much I tried to talk to work about changing this schedule, it never did. For months this happened. I think that is where my favorite verses really set in…”When I am weak, then I am strong,” because it was almost my reminder of my semester in college when I was on chemo pills. I don’t know how I got out of bed then, or on the weekends of work after chemo.¬†Definitely not¬†on my own…but on God’s strength.

The thing is, most people look at me and say the exact thing of what I said about Kathy’s life, “I don’t think I could do that.” And I would tell you, “You don’t have to. We are all made different.” God gives me strength¬†to endure, just¬†like he gave his strength¬†to Kathy. He gives it according to our need.¬†I think that is what makes life so special. We all have our own race–our own life worth running…enduring through pain, encouraging others and in return receiving it, rejoicing with those who have crossed the finish line, and striving for what lies ahead.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Hospital Trips