Memorial Day 2011

To all who read yesterday’s post, thank you for letting me vent.  I debated whether I would even share I was having a tough day.  But some of my partners-in-crime have told me I need to share the good and the bad.  So I shared.


And even though it was a difficult day, physically, spending the afternoon with family and friends lifted my spirits.  I’ve said it many times.  I have the best family and friends the world will ever know.  They take me however they get me.  They know who I am and love me anyway.


The day has started with my moving around a bit easier than yesterday at this time.  Will make it a good day no matter what.


My long-time running mate/Mt. Vernon, Illinois partner-in-crime, Larry, and his wife, Bev, will be arriving sometime today.  Looking forward to seeing what Cheryl and I stir up with them.  Bet Cheryl takes Bev off somewhere shopping.  Probably better for the two of them since there is likely to be lots of “Male bonding” going on, as Cheryl calls it.  For those of you who are like Cheryl and don’t get it, male bonding means guys sit around, swap stories and insult one another because we can.  It’s an act of love.  Like I said, Cheryl doesn’t get it.  And she probably never will.  Doesn’t matter.  Larry and I will have fun.


Hope you all have a great Memorial Day bonding with your family and friends.  Yeah, baby!!


Up & Down Days

The last few days have been up and down.  Core/strength/balance workouts continue to go very well.  We are adding more weight and reps to the exercises that require weight.  Right now, that involves primarily pull downs and rowing.


I’m also raising a four or six pound core ball while extending one arm above my head and completing a lateral step up.  It’s an opposite arm/opposite leg routine; raise right arm, step up on a platform with left leg.  The process is reversed following two/three sets of ten reps each.


I’m completing at least 95% of the Y routine standing up.  I did 70 squats standing up yesterday.  Pull downs and rowing were both done from the standing position.  So I know I’m getting stronger and the balance is getting better.  I can honestly say I consistently walk out of the Y moving and feeling better than when I walked in.  I’ve been standing tall and the pain is diminished.


But with the good there is also frustration.  Right now, the “bad house guests”…aka…spasms eventually return.  They hurt.  They make me lean way right.


I tried walking for about an hour yesterday.  The spasms made for a start, stop, start, stop experience.  I was hoping things would get better as I moved along.  They did not.  So I finally called it a morning.  I was frustrated.


Today has not been as kind as I would like either.  The spasms are making their presence known.  Maybe things will improve before going to bed.  I hope so.


I was reminded yesterday to stay focused on the fact things are getting better.  I’m doing the best I can.  But it’s not easy today.  I would be less than honest if I told you otherwise.


But keep coming back and checking in on me.  I promise I’m not giving up.  I’m just having one of those days.  And that’s a big YEAH, BABY!!



A Day To Be Thankful

It goes without saying EVERY DAY is a day to be thankful.  Today, I felt well enough to attend church with Cheryl.  I’m thankful.  I’m praying that I will now be feeling well enough to be in church on a regular basis.

Even after yesterday’s aggressive workout, I was able to get to and from church without using the trekking poles or the assistance of an arm.  I’m thankful.

It takes a while to get everything in motion after I get up.  But as I mentioned in previous postings, I seem to move more freely as the day goes along.  From previous experience with this injury, this seems to be the normal pattern for recovery.  The left side, shoulder/leg, etc, is especially troublesome.  The pain on this side is the last to go.  This makes sense since my left side is much stronger than the right.  The paralysis, caused by the cerebral palsy, is much more predominant on the right side.  That means the right side is much weaker.  The left side works much harder.  The goal, in the weeks and months ahead, will be to get the right side stronger than ever so it is better able to help my body function.  I know this is an attainable goal.  Improved strength and balance were key to completing the 2010 New York City Marathon.  Even more importantly, improved body movement/function brought about a better quality of life.

We are not entirely sure why I suffered the back injury, from which I am now recovering, again.  But, as I have mentioned in previous postings, it is likely the Christmas/early winter virus, that made so many ill, played a big role.  Some folks have told me they still haven’t gotten rid of it, even though we are now in mid-spring.  It no doubt made me more vulnerable to injury.  As much as I have not liked experiencing this injury for whatever time this is, (It is at least the third or fourth) I’m thankful it can be treated.  The treatment is a process.  It takes time and won’t be rushed.  No one ever told us life would be fair.  Right?  I’m thankful Dr. Weatherwax, the trainers who work with me on core/strength/balance, those who run and train with me, family and friends (Especially Cheryl) are patient and never give up on me.

There is one more thing to share I am thankful for today.  I have just learned Achilles International will, once, again, make it possible for me to participate in the New York City Marathon.  The date is November, 6 2011.  Given what I have been through, physically, in the last four months, I know some who know and love me will be more than a little concerned.  This is especially true for Cheryl.  I promise you I understand.  It’s a big goal.  I will not participate unless I am prepared.  It will be no big secret whether I’m ready.  Everyone will know.  My body won’t lie.  And the first priority will be to enable me to perform day-to-day functions and activities as pain-free as possible.   Brushing my teeth, standing tall, moving/lifting my arm without pain, while doing this, takes priority over running a marathon, for example.  But I’m also an athlete.  I’m thankful Achilles has made it possible for me to put this goal in front of me while I continue to improve quality of life.

Every day is getting better.  I’m thankful.  We’ll see where the journey leads.  Yeah, baby!!

I Stink

I have no idea how long this posting will be.  Why?  Check the title.  I stink.  I need a shower.  And that’s a good thing.

When I saw Dr. Weatherwax ,yesterday, he encouraged me to get outside and see how far I might be able to walk.  So I went out at 7 this morning.  Getting started was not easy.  Pain made for several periods of start, stop, start, stop as I worked to get moving.  The good news is the pain reduced and I moved more easily as my body warmed up.  I walked about an hour.  Have no idea how much distance I covered.  But all of it was done unaided.  No trekking poles.  No one’s arm to hold me up.  Nothing other than my own two legs.  My friend, Lisa, told me I looked great at the finish.

After Lisa and I had breakfast, (We sat outside.) it was off to the Y for core/strength/balance work.  The hour-long session went very well.  I, again, left the Y feeling better than when I arrived.  My friend and trainer, Marc, walked with me to the car after we had finished.  With all I had been able to do before lunch, he confirmed the obvious, “Yeah.  You do stink.”

My activity level has picked up in a big way over the last week.  Workouts have become much more aggressive.  There is still plenty of pain.  But movement is getting easier each day.  I’m looking forward to gradually increasing the daily level of activity.   But be warned.  All of this means I’m going to be outside a whole lot more.   And I will not perspire gracefully in the Florida heat.  When I work hard, I SWEAT!!  This morning was just the beginning.  There’s going to be a whole lot of stinkin’ going on in the days ahead.  And that’s just the way I want it.  Bring on the shower!!  Yeah, baby!!

A Great Gym Workout

Today’s core/strength/balance workout was absolutely the best since sustaining the back injury on January, 20.  Not only was it the most aggressive since the injury took place, I was able to do 90% or more of it standing up.  And, just as exciting, other than setting up two machines, all exercises were completed without assistance!!  I left the Y feeling better than before I arrived.

How do I feel now?  I’m sore.  The quads and glutes are barking a bit.  I’m sure I’ll be feeling what I did for the rest of the evening.  But I left the Y without using the trekking poles or holding on to anyone.  I stepped on and off the curbs without help.  I’m standing tall, moving around the house unaided.  So one can only classify what I’m feeling now as a “Good sore”.

I repeat, there is still a lot of work to do if I am to be “The old Gary” and resume running.  But I’m starting to take on more activities every day.  I’m feeling like I’ve had a good day as it comes to an end.  I’m beginning to string days like this together.

While I know it’s not time to go play in the street and run, just yet, I know there is light in the tunnel.  Yeah, baby!!

I Think Getting My Body Back To Where It Needs To Be…

After seeing and talking with Dr. Weatherwax today, I’m thinking getting my body back to where it needs to be, that is, “Normal”, is like getting a total realignment for your car.  I say that based on his telling me he can tell I’m getting better because my bellybutton and my shirt are almost aligned with the center of my body.  Never knew the position one’s bellybutton and/or an article of clothing could be an indication of needing work.  Makes me wonder if Doc did some of his medical training at a local Midas.

Actually as crazy as my thought process sounds, it makes perfect sense to me.  If you read yesterday’s post, you may recall my making mention of my body being rotated like a corkscrew when the type of back injury I’m recovering from is at its worst.  As the recovery progresses, my body literally unwinds.  This enables the hips, shoulders, pelvis, etc, to return to proper alignment.  I don’t have enough medical background to understand how everything gets back to where it needs to be.  I just know Doc never gives up and we slowly but surely get my body back to where it needs to be, up and moving again.

There were more signs of progress.  I was up and moving and out the door for breakfast by 7 this morning.  This was not easy.  The pain was elevated.  I had only been up about 30 minutes before I left.  I wish my body had been happier about getting up and getting started.  But if previous history is any indication, first thing in the morning will get easier as I continue getting better.

I also spent the entire day walking from Point A to Point B without using the trekking poles.  Again, not easy at times.  But manageable.  This, too, is progress.  While I’m looking forward to consistently walking without assistance, I will continue to use the trekking poles to fine tune my gait pattern even when not in pain.  They can be used for my own version of interval training when I’m back to doing distance training.

Finally, I came off the table with limited assistance from Dr. Weatherwax following treatment.  This means my core is engaging and I am getting stronger.

It’s been a good day.  There is still a lot of work to do.  But I like the way my body is continuing to realign itself.  Yeah, baby!!

I Can Honestly Say…

Today is the best day I’ve had in months.  If you read yesterday’s post, you know I said this might be the week a slow walk on the West Orange Trail might be a possibility.  Did not do the Trail this morning.  But with encouragement from my friends Lisa, David and Jane, I met them at the Lakeview Middle School track to give walking without the trekking poles a try.  Doing this made sense.  Yesterday, Dr. Weatherwax told me he feels my body has improved 75-80% since the back injury occurred in January.  He feels I should now be walking as much as pain will allow.

This is good news.  It means my hips, shoulders and pelvis are now beginning to work together.  That being said, this morning’s walk was not easy.  It was painful.  I had to walk across a street and through an uneven grassy area to get to the track.  I used the poles for this with safety first in mind.  Once on the track, I completed three stints of 5-10 minutes each.  I was pleased I was able to pick my feet up consistently even in pain.  My partners-in-crime told me my left shoulder was back a bit.  That’s part of the pattern when my back is injured.  The left arm, shoulder and hips become rotated.  The simple way to put it is my body looks like a corkscrew.  As my upper body gains more freedom of movement, the shoulder will relax.  This will bring better arm movement.  The hips and pelvis will move more freely.  Pain will be reduced.   The bottom line is that in order to get better, I must do the thing that is the most painful and difficult.  It’s called move.  Thanks to Lisa, David,  Jane and their encouragement, the difficult was made easier this morning.

Movement must continue to include core/strength/balance training.  This afternoon’s workout was the most challenging and aggressive since the injury.  And I did the majority of it standing up!!  That can only mean I am getting stronger.  I am able to distribute and shift my body weight more evenly.  Another measure of improvement, I was able to get in and out of the Y without using the trekking poles!!

Tomorrow will bring a morning visit with Dr. Weatherwax.  As important as the exercise and gym work are to recovery, without his on-going intervention, evaluation and treatment, there likely would be no success.  I certainly do not understand all he does in the treatment process.  But I do know two things.  He knows my body and what it needs to work well like no one else.  Second, his approach with me (And all his patients, for that matter.)  is proactive.  Simply put, he is always looking for ways that enable me to live life to the fullest rather than asking, “What do you want to do that for?”  Fact is, he encourages me to have big goals.

Fortunately, my world includes lots of Lisa’s, David’s Jane’s.  (And, of course, there will always be Cheryl.)  who support Dr. W’s efforts to keep me moving forward, expect big things from me and will never allow me to give in.  I can honestly say I would not want it any other way.  Yeah, baby!!