Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Today was Physical Therapy. It was the first day in a while where I felt I had some controlled exercises and movement that I knew weren't going to hurt me. I have the greatest physical therapist, he took care of me after I broke my ankle a year ago. He's positive, watchful and most importantly supportive. We were tucked back in a corner exam room where he could exam where how much muscle wasting I have had and also where to correct how I am currently moving my body. When part of the body is weak for a period of time (my core/lower back being the case in point) the body begins to move and use all sorts of ancillary muscles to move to protect that part of the body that is "out of commission". So, today was day one of being called back to sitting up straight, shoulders down and correcting my posture over and over again. It hurt, it burned and it worked my muscles. I was given a progression of steps that I will be going through over the next month and a half . Right now, it's strengthening my upper back and also relearning how to stand tall, shoulders down and reach properly. It was a lesson in I think I should have at least ever 6 months.
I was standing tall, core engaged as my core grew stronger and when my back was assaulted with chemo, lead markers, and then radiation, I let my body slump, it hurt to engage my core and to stand tall. To tuck my hips under so my spine was in the proper position. I even have learned the bad habit of letting my chin jut out beyond proper alignment.
SO with my print out in hand and my body fully worked out and pulled and pushed and straightened and shuffled I left the PT office and came home.
As I sat at my computer chair I realized how important getting that posture back was going to be. So I pulled my shoulders back and down and sat up straight, not relying on my the back of the chair for support. I pulled my hips into alignment and I set off with the work at hand. I would stand up every 15 to 20 minutes and walk correcting my posture (much like I did at the beginning of this journey so that my core was engaged and my body felt strong over my feet and I my steps were purposeful and my feet intentionally set. A strong back I will have ... I will work at it, I will fight it and I will win.
That is our first goal with this physical therapy- healthy proper posture (revisited).
I then had to go to the surgeons office to have the sutures removed from the small of my back. The skin was growing over them and they were not, as supposed to be doing, dissolving. So they were removed and steri-strips were set in place. My back was treated for the skin loss from my dressing change and silvadine was applied liberally (as is used with burns). A new very large "second skin dressing" was places to avoid infection and irritation and I will now be allowed to shower with moderation, never with my back against the current of the water.
All this means.... I am healing. I am making progress and my body is ready to move forward. I am sleeping well the last two nights, no bad pain or muscle spasms and my legs have stopped cramping. I am healing.
So far there are no results from the pathology reports but I expect them all to be negative and February will be ushered in with great joy and relief.
I must tell you there is no greater fear for me than the diagnosis of cancer, I fought a sometimes failing but never quitting battle for 6 years at the turn of the century (I love saying that- it makes it sound so long ago). And again over the last 6 weeks. I was given huge doses of chemotherapy and radiation and I have come out a winner (no matter the results of the pathology). I will not allow my body to go waste again.
I will move, I will push, I will fight, I will love and I will never give up. Cancer will never win in this body and it's time it just surrendered all attempts to attack it (that is more for me than anyone else).
Life is far to precious for any one of us to be afraid to move, be struck by sorrow and pain so that our lives diminish in capacity and will.
Please love, learn, grow, stretch and reach for the sky (but that is one of the best things to pull the spine into alignment , find your wings, find your "thing" and just do it, go for it, set your sights on the prize and run towards it, don't look back (unless to repair those wounds that need to be healed) and just keep moving forward. Life is so great. Even with the losses and the heartache, it's all great. It means we are alive when we can feel what we are feeling and move how we should be moving.
Thanks to my most valiant of knights, my physical therapist, for reminding me that life is too precious to not keep moving forward and to stand up tall and straight and take up your space up in the world to accomplish your goals.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
It's 28 degrees and very early on this Sunday morning. My sleep has been a bit weird this weekend, like it's being doled out in increments.
BUT I am recovering from the best of all possible outcomes with the removal of the remains of the tumor that was along the bottom of my spine on Friday morning.
There was an ice storm starting when this was happening, and as my family is unfortunately well versed in the care of me post operatively, the medical staff released me as soon as I was awake and alert enough to walk. My father took me to his house to put me through my passes of what I would need to take care of myself (as technically I was not supposed to be left alone for 24 hours-but that never works for me). So I was able to conquer the steps outside his house, I had to walk up and down the steps inside his house also... that took a little longer to be able to accomplish. But I also had to be able to sit down and stand up. To pull my legs up on the couch (so I could be sure to be able to get into bed). I had to drink (and pee). I needed to be able to reach things slightly below my waste, so I had to be able to bend just a little bit. Then the act of getting me home ... it was now getting rather rough travel as ALL the schools had let out at the same time (something that Raleigh leaders never learn from as the traffic becomes it's own worse nightmare) and everyone getting to the store (not knowing just how long our, sometimes very unpredictable, storm is going to last and keep us homebound. We chose the back roads, through the neighborhoods and off the main streets. The roads were sort of slick. And my 80 year old father, I do love him so, is losing his confidence in driving in not perfect weather conditions making the trip home a trip in courage in and of itself. But, once home, I managed the steps to my apartment like a knighted turtle- with courage, bravery and a step at a time. I could smell the wonderful scents from my apartment before I even reached the door. My sister had been there for over an hour preparing for my arrival, my special post op sheets (silver threaded grounded wonderfully comfortable sheets). She had two meals cooking so that I wouldn't have to worry about that for a few days. There
was wonderful and delightful movies stacked by the dvd player. A nice and cozy little apartment that had been filled with love to welcome me home to.
Since my cats love both my sister and my father, they were out and friskily playing with one another and thrilled to see I was home (no telling what their little minds were thinking about the assault on their home turf... but they were enjoying it, as treats were frequently given by their aunty to keep them from freaking). There was goulash in the slow cooker, a roast in the oven. Fresh bread, a few necessary treats (for me this time). AND, last by definitely not least, MY pain medications, sitting prominently on my desk.
There was some organizing and some settling in and my then the schedule of called checked in's was written down to be followed strictly (every 4 hours then 6 hours, then 8 hours, I am now on the every time someone thinks about it schedule. LOL.
I am trying to sleep but the checkins are waking me up! (bless their hearts).
Besides, right now, sleep is highly over rated. PAIN is the name of the game today apparently. So those before mentioned pain medication will come into play more often today. (Everything is wide awake- including all the little nerve endings that were attacked from the radiation and then the surgery are now having the voices be heard! and they are quite loud).
I am dreaming of exercising, I am thinking about moving and that is far as I am able to go right now.
My plan is written out in quite a bit of detail and as I heal I will be moving more and more. I did go for a walk yesterday with my sister ... she said (and I quote) "A mile is where to start, we'll do a mile no matter what!". So a mile (actually 2) was done. She walked me out a mile with no one there to pick to pick us up so we had to walk back. This sort of wore me out and I ended up falling asleep quite early (missing the one checkin last night).
So... off I go, with a renewed commitment to truly healthy living. My body will catch up as it can. This journey is moving with some side streets taken, I am so ready to get back on the straight and narrow with primary goals in sight.
Thank you all for the support, the wonderfully kind and generous words! I do so appreciate everyone of you. I am sorry I have not commented on everyones pages... please know that you are all very dear to me.
Today, Sunday January 27th marks a new start! NEXT Sunday, will mark the real start lol.
Friday, January 25, 2013
I want to give everyone I know a great BIG HUG!!!!!!!
life can be so difficult, so heart breaking.
Even great things can feel traumatizing and life altering.
Life can catch you off guard and throw you down and
So to get back on track, to reboot and recharge...
you start with baby step, fresh new adventurous steps.
Wobbling in the legs and the body swaying with each step.
Arms reaching upward to steady your gait.
Watch a baby who's just learning to walk, even
after they have the steps down their arms are still
outreached. Take mental notes.
Sometimes we have to reach to God to prepare our way...
to clear the path so our steps go on stable ground for
a time. Then as we progress and we can handle the more
tricky steps through life again.
Reenter the world with gentle kindness to yourself and those
Be patient and be kind to yourself.
Remember that getting started again can be daunting and
challenging. This is most definitely a journey!
As we step, as we learn to learn, as we feel more confident
again and are able to lower our arms to reach a stride. With
arms pumping to help move us along are confidence builds
and more courageous we become.
We just need to remember that we had to start out slow.
Hugs my dear friends, take time to heal, take time to relearn
your confidence with gentle and easy steps. Ask God to help
to guard your steps, your heart, your body.
Because this life we are so graciously granted is a miracle in
itself. Don't look back to often, keep your eyes focused on the
goals (which are more often than not, about what is ahead of us).
(I am doing good, my body is fighting and I am fighting and I am
going to be alright. Tests will be done later this morning as to when
I can have the "dead alien" removed- hopefully next week.)
Just remember to to go gently, when you first are restarting or
starting something different.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
It's been 4 weeks, I am tired, I want to exercise like I want to, I am feeling the full effects of chemotherapy both the oral and the big time injections. The side effects are more a feeling of being exhausted than anything else so I count myself as fortunate.
I have been doing a lot of soul searching, as these situations often bring about. I found a great image and quote that sort of put it in words for me...
I know that there are plenty of people who are going through the exact same thing I am going through, the emotions, though are very different for everyone.
I am going to stop paying attention to that voice and make myself believe the other image I hold in my head of the ME I know myself to be. The me who is strong and independent and able to thrive.
So I am going to focus on the RIGHT and Positive me and not on what is the current situation I am in. I have needed the support I have gotten here, I am incredibly endeared by all your support- it has truly helped me get through all this.
I am changing gear, because to be honest with myself I am tired of listening to myself complain and confess how bad I feel. I am confused, a bit lost (Okay, more than a bit), but this is something I can deal with, it's not the first dance with this I have been through, as I know most of you understand in living and growing in your own journeys. I am tired of restrictions, that I know I have to live with for a while longer, but I am going to make the absolute best of what is available to me, what Sparks has offered and utilize every tool here on Sparks to regain my true me!
Cancer doesn't define me, I will not allow it to be a part of who I am and what I am doing in my life. So..... I plan on doing this...
and a bit of this...
with my furball buddies.
and perhaps a bit of this...
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