Day +48: Contemplation, Catalyst, Clarity + PT progress
I am long overdue for providing everyone with an update. So here goes…
Recovery isn’t what I expected. Other patients say it never is, but you don’t quite understand until you’re there, experiencing the ‘infamous’ little identity crisis of your own. Recovery is the hard part. And lately with the weight of current problems and fear of the unknown (or whatever is not immediately controllable) it feels as if I have been floundering around in the middle of an ocean trying not to drown.
Overall, we tend to be creatures of habit and after living with MS for so long, I’ve developed specific patterns, short cuts, routines, etc. None of which apply anymore. It’s all uncharted. Nothing is recognizable. I don’t recognize myself. With all the fat accumulation and redistribution from the adrenal issues, yes it’s discouraging and hard to recognize myself in a mirror currently but that problem is temporary. I am more referring to recognizing myself as a whole. Physically speaking, I don’t know this body. I don’t know its capabilities or limits, or truly even an overall health status. They all change daily. Emotionally, this journey has also created some huge waves. I’m sure the chemo and meds do not help but some times there are random waterworks and other times I feel more empowered than ever before. There are truly times I feel like a stranger in my own skin.
Don’t misunderstand; these are not all negative changes. I can physically do things now that I haven’t been able to in literally 10 years. Mentally, I’m trying to wrap my head around endless possibilities for my future, a future I didn’t believe I would ever have, and emotionally I couldn’t be more humbled, grateful, and excited for what’s to come. But the battle is still keeping your head up despite being immersed in fluctuating currents while holding on to the heart of what makes you, you. I’ve realized there are things even adversity can’t strip away.
“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” – Arthur Golden
My past two physical therapy sessions have further instilled that perspective is half the battle, if not the most important part. On Friday, I met a cancer survivor in the waiting area who was kind enough to sit down beside me, share his experiences, and lift me up and encourage me to keep smiling no matter what I was facing. And yesterday, while completing one of my exercise sets, a woman looked up from her exercises, watched a couple of my repetitions, and said something along the lines of, “I wish I could do that again.” Her comment hit home. That was when I realized I had let myself get lost in the noise and stopped looking at the bigger picture.
Prior to my trip to Russia one statement could make my blood boil; ‘It could always be worse.” I would grimace any time someone tried to console me with that statement. I truly dislike comparisons. Especially when it deals with health circumstances. It is all relative to what you, yourself have experienced and faced in your own life. Well intentioned or not, that phrase cut deep. Because it already felt like my life was over despite how hard I kept fighting.
However, that woman’s statement caused an entirely different reaction. I stopped, looked around, and told myself to remember that it could be worse. It was worse. It used to be virtually hopeless.
I realized that at my last physical therapy visit prior to Russia I was on a walker and couldn’t dream of doing any of the exercises I have been doing in these sessions. In fact my physical therapy then was quite painful and consisted of massage, heat, and electrical stimulation. That was all I could handle.
Everything may be constantly changing and I may not yet have a solid footing I but remember where I was and look in wonder at where I am now. There is no comparison. I will challenge myself to just keep swimming until I hit the shore running.
“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” – Tyler Knott Gregson
June 3rd, last PT before Russia
This is my favorite exercise! I can now balance on one foot, throw a weighted ball, and catch it! It is a challenge but its actually quite fun/addicting! 😀
My current version of a push-up
Strengthening the legs! We’ve added weight every session 🙂
Bike! It may still be awhile before I’m attending any spin classes
but I love the feeling of being back on a bike. I’ve missed riding!