Archive for September, 2011

Dancing to Chumba Wumba's "I get knocked down, but I get up again"

My favorite accomplishment for August was the day I went swimming in the afternoon and then danced with Chris and Liza at our friends Melissa and Brighton’s wedding later that evening. Swimming AND dancing on the same day is a big deal. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a  bad thing, but my dancing aptitude is pretty much the same. My signature move of keeping my feet in one place and swaying from side to side, more or less to the beat, has not been affected by this lesion. At the end a night of twisting and shouting, when I thought I couldn’t move any  more, they played Chumba Wumba’s, “I get knocked down,” and I found some reserves to get up and shake it one more time.

Lately some good friends have told me it looks like I’m gaining weight. That’s not something a lot of people want to hear, but I couldn’t be happier. I lost close to 20 pounds during the winter, so it feels good to be getting it back. I credit my workouts and my frequent trips to Ripple for self-serve frozen yogurt. (Who wouldn’t gain weight with peanut butter fro-yo, hot fudge, walnuts, and brownies?)

These days my insurance-sponsored physical therapy is Pilates on Fridays at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine.  Besides seeing Patty, I’m doing a Pilates mat class at my gym. Last Wednesday was my first time doing a class since January 2nd. On that day back in January, I was feeling strong in my yoga class, thinking I was coming out of whatever had me down in November and December. Little did I know I was on the verge of going waaaaaaay down. Needless to say, getting back to class was emotional for me. Still, I had the presence of mind to feel strong, even as the class illuminated the weaknesses I still have on my left side.

Chris is reading The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, MD. It’s a fascinating account of how the brain remaps if some part of it gets damaged. Part of the basic wisdom in remapping says I need to do what’s hard to do, and the brain will find another way to make it happen, if necessary. I’ve already noticed a great improvement in my biking. When I went out for the first time on July 17, I was unsure of my ability to balance. I’ve been out a few times since then, feeling stronger and more confident each time. Today Chris and I rode 12 miles – a route we would have taken on any normal day, pre-lesion. It felt fantastic!

I’m also improving my endurance with work. I had been working 20-25 hours a week, but am now committed to 32 hours a week. I definitely still need a lot of rest but it’s getting better. I  believe my commitment to manage my stress, diet and exercise will continue to serve me well. I realize now this recovery project is going to take a lot longer than I ever imagined. That’s still hard to take sometimes. I like the Japanese proverb: Fall down seven times. Get up eight.


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