Saturday, April 23, 2011
On Thursday when I was driving home from water exercise, I stopped at a traffic light and a dragonfly perched on my antenna. I watched the beautiful creature while I was waiting for the light to turn, noticing how the sun reflected off it's iridescent wings. The dragonfly seemed to be taken with the ribbing on the antenna and it's little, delicate legs strummed up and down like it was playing an instrument. I was enthralled with it's movements. Then the light turned green and the cars moved forward. Now the speed limit in that area is 45mph and I wondered what would happen to the dragonfly as I approached 45. Amazing as it was, it still clung to the antenna. Together we traveled for about 8 miles this way and I thought that surely the force of the breeze must have killed the lovely creature. Then, I would see the legs move to get a better grip and I knew that it was still hanging on. I approached a big intersection and turned onto a road where the speed limit increased and I couldn't help but wonder. Would it....? The speed increased to 55mph and I glanced over. Yup! It was still there! Unbelievable! Then the speed increased to 65mph and suddenly it was gone. Poof! Just like that! I can't believe I actually felt a fleeting sense of loss for this little insect. But, then I realized it really wasn't just about the dragonfly at all.
How many times have we found ourselves wanting to do something for ourselves and had outside interference? How many times have we had to just grab on tight and just hang on for dear life? Even when the ride was going too fast, we can find a way to still hang on to that antenna. If the ride gets too bumpy and we slide off, what do we do? Well, I would imagine that my dragonfly found another antenna on a slower moving car or a flower to hang on to and we can probably do the same.
The fact is that there will always be things that threaten to derail us from our quest to reach our goals. We have two choices. We can quit and never achieve our goals (not an option!) or we can hang on tight and ride it out. Riding it out may involve some bumps and bruises but we'll achieve our goals and what a ride it will be!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Hard as it was, I took the day off from going to the gym to water exercise today. When I got up this morning, my head and neck were too sore to even contemplate a water workout. Instead, I power walked to the cluster mailbox to check for the mail. I walked as fast as I could. Our little male dog got upset and ran after me. He was just too cute for words. Then I power walked back. The dog just broke out into a run and waited for me at the front door. Later I did some chores around the house but put some limitations on myself due to pain issues. I've made listening to my pain cues one of my special Spark goals. I was practicing this today. It really helped with managing my pain and with avoiding my tendency to become obsessed with exercising. I thought I'd be crawling walls but today turned out to be a great day!
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
This morning I faithfully went to water exercise. I had on my water belt and my arms were carefully crossed in front of me. My legs were going a mile a minute in an effort to do some interval training, when I heard the first crack of thunder. The temperature was falling and the air was becoming chilly. The heavens seemed to just open up and it poured. I asked if the pool was going to close and was told not yet so I continued to exercise. After about 15 minutes of heavy rain, there was more thunder and a few flashes of lightening. I sought out the head guard and asked him again if he was going to close the pool. He commented that the lightening wasn't close enough but if I wanted to get a head start on the showers, I should get out now. So I got out, got organized and got in the shower. Somewhere between rinsing the shampoo out of my hair and the soap off of my body, the lights went off in the women's locker room.
Now anyone who has ever had tried to bathe a child or a pet has become adept at doing so with their eyes closed after being splashed in the face with shampoo. All you have to do is rinse the soap off. If you know where you put things, you can identify them by shape, you don't even have to see them. However, when I tried to explain this to the other two women who where stuck in their showers they weren't buying it. I guess they yelled and stumbled about until someone came to rescue them. As for me, I conditioned my hair, rinsed it, dried off and stayed put so I wouldn't hurt myself. Someone came in with a flashlight and held it while I got dressed and got my things and led me out. Even though my hair was probably standing on end, I was dry, dressed, safe and calm I might add. I was surprised that I was never scared. It made for an exciting morning. When I got out to the lobby, there was the rest of the water aerobics class standing in their wet suits, with bare feet and towels, freezing in the air conditioning. So maybe going into the locker room early and taking my shower was a good thing after all!
Saturday, April 02, 2011
After much discussion about my visit to the Mayo Clinic last week, hubby and I have agreed to stay with the same Mayo primary doctor. We arrived at that decision because I have two appointments scheduled by his office in May 9, with two specialists. These are the two specialists I originally wanted to see right from the very beginning back in February. If I rock the boat at this point in the process, it might bring me temporary emotional satisfaction but it also might interfere with the appointments that are already set up. Since doctors are human and they talk to one another, I may be labelled as a whiner or trouble maker. I don't want anything to interfere with my treatment at this point.
Sunday night I almost ended up in the emergency room with a series of 5-6 electrical jolts going up the back of my head so severe that I sat and cried. I think hubby now understands the relationship between using my arms and the pain up my neck and into my head. He was so scared (as was I) and didn't know what to do. So, I staggered to the bed and rested. I had little baby shocks later that night in my arms and head and all the next day and that was it. I seemed to be functional and the pain subsided.
Once the decision was made after we had the discussion and I made the mental adjustment, I was able to think about creative ways for me to be more productive and active. This was an interesting undertaking since I have to be very careful about how I use both of my arms. I finally figured out that if I wear a floatation belt and hold my arms close to my chest, I can kick my legs in a variety of ways and work just my lower body in deep water. I do this during water aerobics class with the permission of the water aerobics instructor who is aware of my situation. On Friday morning, I was even able to do some interval training and got my heart rate up! I try to limit all workouts to 30-45 minutes in length. If I feel any pain at all, I get out of the water immediately. I also wear a medical ID bracelet with my name and conditions on it. After my workout, I shower, dress, call hubby and tell him I'm coming home, drive home and then lay on the bed and rest. I was able to do this three times this week!
Hubby and I have been walking around the neighborhood, about 25 minutes, on the days when I don't go to water exercise or we go to our local WalMart and walk around there. Today I finally felt well enough to go to Saturday mass. I did have a problem with constantly standing up and sitting down and my arms started to throb. We were wise enough to sit in the last row so that I didn't have to sit forward when people kneel behind us (I can't kneel due to two knee replacements). After a while, I just remained sitting and I felt much better. There is no support for my arms or upper back which is my problem area and when I push myself up to stand again and again, it's a real problem. Next time, I'll just sit for the whole service. I will say that it was wonderful to be back in church. I've missed it!
I will continue to try to come up with creative ways to allow myself to be as active as possible and hubby will watch over me until we can get to our May 9 appointment.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
This week hubby and I went to my second trip to the Mayo Clinic. I had my thoracic MRI first. One of the machines was malfunctioning so even at 7:30a.m. they were already backlogged. If I hadn't spoken up, I would have been late to my second appointment so I'm glad that I asserted myself in a very nice way. I got to the cardiac/vascular consultation barely in time - they require you to be there 15 minutes before your appointment. The good news is that the doctor for that consultation couldn't find anything that would cause the symptoms that I've been having. The one horrible condition that I've be afraid of is TOS and he was fairly certain that I do not have that. What a relief that was! Hooray! Hubby and I had several hours until my last appointment and we were hungry. We hopped in the car and took a ride through Jacksonville Beach to look for a place to eat a late breakfast or early lunch.
After lunch, we still had over an hour to wait before my appointment with my Mayo primary care doctor but I decided to check in anyway. Surprise! He took us right away. He said that he loves people who are early for their appointments. He went over all of my test results and said that I don't have any damage to the spine or nerves. He recommended that I do exercise or acupuncture. My mouth dropped open! Of course I knew that this glossed over version of my test results wasn't totally accurate. I had read the cervical MRI report myself and I could see the herniated disks on the thoracic MRI as he whizzed through it telling me there was nothing wrong. So I said the first thing that came into my mind, "No." I guess he was pretty surprised that I had told him no because he asked me what I meant. I told him that I had read the radiologist report for the cervical MRI, I could feel the pain, I could feel the limited mobility and I don't agree that it comes from nothing being wrong. That's when he said that the nerve tests showed that there was nothing pressing on the nerves or hurting the nerves so there can't be any nerve damage. (Keep in mind that they only did the tests on the right side even though I told them that the pain is on the left) They did notice, however that my body was overly sensitive to nerve stimulation. Therefore, they recommend that I deal with the pain through exercise or acupuncture.
I took a deep breath. I told the doctor that I had already been through physical therapy, shots, exercise, massage, doctors etc, the whole works. I informed him that up until the third week of December I attended water aerobics 4-5 times a week. The reason I was here was because exercise made my condition worse; but according to him there is nothing wrong with me. So, was it okay with him if I went back to my schedule of attending water aerobics since nothing is wrong with me?
Of course he said no but told me I could try a few minutes in the water. (Then what - like it's going to get better? He just wasn't getting it!!!) Finally he asked if I'd like to consult with a neurosurgeon the next time I come to the Mayo on May 9. Hubby and I both said yes. So, on May 9 I have a consultation with a neurologist/migraine specialist followed by a neurosurgeon consultation . The following day I have another appointment with my Mayo primary care doctor. I would rather have a different primary care doctor but I guess I don't get a choice.
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