Tuesday, August 29, 2017

7 Weeks Post-SDR: ELATION OVER STAIRS & Progress Through Struggles

There are no words that could come close to capturing the feeling you get when you finally, finally, finally accomplish something that you've been working on for as long as you can remember.

A few days ago, I stood at the bottom of the staircase, took a deep breath, and walked up. With no hands. Alternating steps. 

When I got to the top, I turned around. Took another deep breath. And walked down the same way. 

Pre-SDR, if I concentrated hard, I could sometimes do one step up without a railing, and one step down. They were shaky steps, often thwarted by thinking too hard or not thinking hard enough. Sometimes I'd lead with one foot, and the other foot wouldn't follow quickly enough, and I'd fall. This happened often enough that independently navigating curbs has never been an option for me.

But now? Maybe when I come across a curb in public, I won't have to feel the pounding of my heart in my chest. Maybe I won't have to worry about whether I'm safe, because I'll know that I am. This staircase is so much more than a staircase for me. It's independence, and safety, and freedom.


It was never just a staircase. 

These past seven weeks have been incredibly difficult at times. At times I've wanted to post here, but I just couldn't, because I didn't know how to put words to my feelings...didn't want to put words to my feelings, because I was afraid they would hurt all the more if I gave them power by typing them onto a page. I was frustrated that my legs weren't working in a way that was familiar to me, afraid of dealing with the possibility of failing myself and my family, and feeling crushed under the pressure of it all.

But things are looking up. The pace of my day-to-day life has picked up again, with an online graduate school program and tutoring in the evenings and an intense regimen of PT. I do four days per week of formal physical therapy that lasts for about an hour and twenty minutes, one day per week of personal training, and I usually go swimming for at least one day as well. On top of that, I do stretching and exercising at home. I just finished 25 minutes on the treadmill (definitely had to pep-talk myself through those last five minutes!!!), and after this I'm going to go stretch my hamstrings. (I think I'm developing an addiction to hamstring stretching!!! More on that later) It's a lot, for sure, but I'm motivated and encouraged by my progress. :)

My next goal is to work on building my confidence with curbs out in public. Physically, they are so much easier than before surgery, but my mind still remembers how difficult they were, and I've fallen flat on my face so many times that it's a difficult fear to transcend. A lot of this recovery experience feels like that: there's a disconnect between how my legs feel now, and how my body remembers them.

That's it for now, but I'd like to write here more often. It's cathartic to share my experiences with you guys, and my hope is that maybe someday it will help somebody else....so maybe I'll be back here tomorrow with some more to share. :) Thanks for stopping by!

4 comments:

  1. I'm so happy to hear this, K!! Yet again, I can relate to SO much!! Wow... congratulations on all your hard work, and on the amazing progress you are finding! Keep it up! We are cheering for you!! :)

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  2. Its so wonderful to hear from you! Wow that's so amazing about the steps! SO THRILLED FOR YOU! I wonder...maybe using crutches on curbs at first would help you get the feel for it before doing it without anything. Using crutches always helped me if I had to get the feel for a movement because my brain didn't panic over balance issues or perceived balance issues. Please remember no matter what happens you are NOT a failure! What matters is that you tried. I'm guessing the mixed feelings are normal because whenever my body would change from surgeries,treatments etc I'd have all sorts of feelings, in that sense CP has a psychological aspect even though the brain damage itself is biological. I love hamstring stretches too! Congrats on the graduate program! I love that it is online. What are you majoring in if you don't mind me asking? Keep us updated.

    Off topic but did you get the email about the article I wrote for "Disabled Spectator"? http://disabledspectator.com/disabled-filmmaker-margot-cole/

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  3. OMG girl. So so happy for you! You're amazing and just WOW!!!!

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  4. I'm so happy you are doing well! What are you doing for graduate school?

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