Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

I've always liked the Fourth of July. In past years, it meant barbecues, fireworks, family gatherings and memories from when I was a kid and would chase fireflies through the yard. It's a holiday that I associate with warm nights, days off and fun.

This year, though, things are different. It's hotter than hell outside. It's quiet as most of the people in my life are away. Jon and I will be celebrating with a night out at dinner and a movie rather than a barbecue or fireworks display.

It's a little depressing, but I do have much to celebrate aside from it being our country's anniversary of independence. Each day, I'm becoming a lot more independent as my mobility increases.

The PT exercises I've been given are killer, but they seem to be working. Each day, I've been faithfully going through them -- doing squats, marching in place, lifting my good leg out to the front, back and side as I balance on my bad leg (these moves are the worst) -- all of these being done as I keep a 3 lb ankle weight wrapped around my bad leg. To someone with perfect mobility, these moves might not seem like much, but by the time I'm through with my workout, which takes about 40 minutes, I'm dripping with sweat. I've never been into yoga or pilates as I've always preferred weight training and aerobic-type exercises, but I'm beginning to understand the value of strength and balance moves. It takes a lot of concentration and power to keep your leg elevated as you balance yourself, especially when the bulk of your weight is resting on an injured body part.

However, I do seem to be getting stronger. I can now stand up on my own without having to grab onto the walker and can walk a few feet before I need to do a balance check. I still need to "cheat" a little on some moves by leaning over the walker for balance, but I can do more reps in a row and hold my leg up at the various angles for a few seconds longer. And my back hurt a lot less today when I exercised. I made a point to stretch it out between each move and that seemed to help. I think that this, as well as my increased strength made things a bit easier.

The best part of all of this are the small things I can now do on my own. If I need to use the bathroom, I don't need to call Jon for help. If I want something from the kitchen, I can get it myself. It's amazing how just being able to move a few feet can open up your world.

Granted, I still have much work to do. My back is still sore and I know that it's because of my weight. I keep telling myself that if I'm pleased with how much I'm able to do just by getting around the house, imagine how much I'll be able to do if I can walk a few miles without stopping or am able to easily jump, run and dance. So I'm pushing myself to take every step I can and look forward to when movement becomes a second thought again -- though after all of this, I don't think I'll ever take advantage of it. What my body can do will always be appreciated.

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