At the beginning of the month, I got to sleep in my own bed in my own house for the first time in 8 months. I cannot begin to explain how nice that was and how much better I can sleep these days. There is nothing like a short mattress at the rental we were in or the ultra-LUMPY mattress and noisy room of a hotel on the first floor next to the parking lot to make one appreciate the joys of being at home again. As if my recovery from my spinal cord injury was not hard enough already, I was getting around on the snow and ice, and more recently on dry roads into a place that was barely able to or designed fit my wheelchair into it.
Tag Archives: Motivation
Hey all you crazy runners, skiers, hikers and bikers. I found out about this event and wanted to spread the word. The Willow Running Club is putting on a really fun trail running race as a benefit for me. It is called the RED SHIRT LAKE TRAIL RUN, and is taking place this Saturday, June 4 up at Nancy Lake State Rec Area in Willow, AK. The details of the event are at http://sites.google.com/site/willowraceseries/races . This is the day after the Skinny Raven Twilight 12k, so you should all come out for yet another good time this summer! I unfortunately can’t make it out to the race as I have a wedding to attend (I know, poor planning on my part….), but I wanted to spread the word for a fun event for a good cause…
I was the Park Ranger in Willow until I was crushed by a tree fixing up the ski trails there. I used to run this trail out to Red Shirt Lake a couple of times a week and it is a really nice trail that mostly runs on top of a ridge and ends at the lake. There are some good views from the trail if you care to take your eyes off of the tread and the lake is a wonderful place to launch a canoe (rentals are available) or camp out or stay in a state parks Public Use Cabin. I really liked to get out on patrol to Red Shirt Lake while I was working, and tried to do that every week or so as I patrolled my huge area.
The Willow Race Series was created in 2008 with the goal to provide an opportunity for foot races and running events in the Lower Susitna Valley while promoting the Willow area trails and supporting healthy communities. Over the past few years a few committed folks from the Willow Running Club, along with a great group of volunteers and business sponsors, have put on a variety of small-scale, high-quality running events in the Willow area. For the Hardcore amongst you, there is going to be a Marathon race from Willow to Independence Mine State Historical Park up in the Hatcher Pass area. This is UPHILL except for the last 3 miles after you cross the summit. If you can handle the amazingly distracting views, this is a great run. I did it twice last summer… Details are here http://sites.google.com/site/willowraceseries/hatcher-pass-marathon .
I hope everyone is getting ready for their Memorial Day Weekend festivities. It is looking to be a great weekend up here in Alaska with CAVU (Clear Above, Visibility Unlimited) skies and temps in the high 70s. I have actually been pretty busy this week and it was not all work related. Last week I hit the 6 month mark since I broke my back and suffered an SCI (spinal Cord Injury) that left me paralyzed from the waist down. So this week was full of check ups. I had blood drawn, X-Rays taken of my back, and they did a CT scan to look into the nitty gritty details of my vertebra and spine healing. Yesterday I had an appointment with my Neurosurgeon, Dr. Paul Jensen. He is the great guy that put Humpty Dumpty (me) back together again after I was crushed by the tree on November 18, 2010. We looked at all of my images and he compared them to the scans taken the day I was hurt, and it looks like my back is healed up just fine and dandy. Now, I still have rods and screws permanently attached to my vertebra, but I am officially cleared to do things that might actually get me hurt. Things like road and mountain biking and winter sports like Nordic and Alpine skiing. This really made my day, as I was trying to follow the Dr’s orders to not do anything stupid just yet. Those orders really limited the kinds of things I could do for exercise (and FUN, but Drs orders are only a recommendation right?).
Before I get started, here is a brief update as to my recovery…
I have been going to Physical Therapy almost every day, and while it is not easy, I have been making some good progress. My Therapists have been working on my shoulders almost every session and I am getting closer and closer to a natural range of motion. They have also given me strengthening routines and you can actually see muscles and definition on my Deltoids, which were mysteriously absent a couple of months ago. My coordination is such that I can get up into a kneeling position and do girlie pushups unassisted, and my Core strength gets stronger all the time.
I have been using a couple of pieces of medical equipment that are helping me along as well. I use a FES cycle to zap electricity on my upper legs and make them pedal the bike. It is kind of like jumper cables on the car. It shocks me and then I can make the rest of the muscle contraction happen by thinking it. But without the shock, I can only twitch muscle fibers… Pretty neat, and it is supposed to reduce atrophy and increase blood flow to my lower legs. I really have no function below the knees at this time. I also use a Standing Frame to let me stand up. This is great because it puts weight on my joints and lets blood flow the way it is supposed to in your body. I have really just started on these machines, but they have a lot of proven benefits for people with paralysis due to Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI). After using them briefly in the hospital, I know I will be benefitting soon…
Ok, onto the reason for this post… People have been commenting on my positive attitude towards my recovery and how they are amazed I keep going the way I do. To be honest, I think that is a part of who I am. Continue reading