Back at it

The past month has been rough.  March is already my least favorite month but this past one was one for the books (though technically it started in the end of February).  I took a few beatings and wasn’t sure how I was going to come out on the other side.*  It started with my broken toe.  The mysterious, no clue how or when it happened, why do I not have feeling but can still tell that this thing hurts like heck, broken toe. That was annoying.  Then, the next day I hurt my back at the gym.  I did a motion which involved twisting which is a huge no-no in my spinal cord.  And that spinal cord made sure that I knew how pissed off at me it was.  It took about a week and a half for me to stop crying in pain.  Then it was more of a I-got-punched-inside-my-spine ache.  Then it became a dull pain.  And then, one day, it was gone.  The Hubs asked how I was feeling and I realized that I wasn’t.  There wasn’t pain there.  In the midst of all the broken painness, I also caught an ear infection.  That sucked too.  A lot.  The ear hurt, and the antibiotics they put me on made me throw up a lot.

But, now it’s April and I’m pain free, earache free, bones mended back together and healthy.  And as of a week and a half ago, I’m a contender for a clinical trial on the ReWalk.  If I get into this trial, I’ll have the bionic legs for a year and help prove to insurance companies the health benefits of having them.  To say that I’m beyond stoked is an understatement!!  I have my physical therapy evaluation next week.  So, having been out of service for the past month, and with it being a beautiful new month, I decided it was time to get back to the gym.

For the first time since joining this gym I was nervous to go in.  I’m a bit gun shy now that I may hurt myself again.  But, I had an appointment for training with Ninja Trainer so I had to go in.  And I have faith in his experience in training and I know he won’t let me overexert myself.  We had a talk about my fears and about how I just have to be careful, mindful and vocal.  The hour flew by!  We did a very thorough warm-up and did a lot of slow training on various machines.  You’d think that slow movements and lower weight would be easier.  And if I could raise my arms, I would slap you in the face.  My arms caught fire before out session ended.  It was amazing!!

And my biggest fear (that I would lose all progress that I had made) flew out the window.  I still retained a lot of the strength that GunShow had helped me gain.  Ninja Trainer pointed out the definition in several of my muscle groups, which made me feel better.  I was also worried that my dedication would be gone, but I’m so stoked to be back in the gym that I found my motivation to make healthy changes all around!  NT is going to give me meal planning guidelines to help me meet all of my goals.  His training, combined with eating healthy and *fingers crossed!!!!* the ReWalk could be everything I need to make some HUGE improvements!  And I did promise my gym friends that I would try to walk again so they could be the gym who got the paralyzed girl walking.

Cheers to picking back up and moving forward even stronger!

*It wasn’t all terrible. I did get to spend a lot more time with my Little Mister and do a ton of fun things like park play dates with other kids. I think that little baby is what kept me from really going off the deep end.

Fallen ego

You’ve heard the old adage about getting back up if you fall down? Well, I did that today. Literally. Yes, I was “that person” who fell off a piece of equipment at the gym. I had a video, but I make the most unflattering face in it that I deleted it and tried purging it from my memory. It’s the kind of unflattering thing that a person uses to blackmail another person for lots of money.

Let’s go back to yesterday. I had a wild notion that I could use the rowing machine at the gym.  My theory was that the thing slides pretty easy and that my hip muscles kind of work so maybe I could try it out.

rower

The hubs and I went to the gym this afternoon to try it out. It was packed and I almost chickened out. But, I reminded myself that I am not Beyonce and people are probably not staring at me. Getting onto the machine was fairly easy. I just pushed the seat to the back and went at an angle that would keep it pushed back. The hubs put my feet in the foot strap and gave me the handle. Pulling myself in was harder than I thought. My right knee hyper extends, so I had to manually push it into a bent position then use my not so functioning quad muscles to try to actually bend them into the upright position while also pulling myself in. I was actually able to do it!  I mean, I wouldn’t win any rowing championships, but it actually worked somewhat. Pushing back was fairly easy. After about 2 successful rows I convinced the hubs to film me so I could A) see my progress and B) show my mom. (Yes, in all things do I aim for my mother’s praise!)

He stood back and started filming. I pulled in, pushed out. Once. Twice. Three times. What I realized as I kept going is that it actually takes a little (read: A TON) of core strength and balance. These are things I am lacking. You see where this is going? Ok, so there I was. Once, twice, three. Four…whoops! I pulled so hard that I lost balance and fell off the machine, while simultaneously letting go of the handle which crashed back into the machine. The shock and hilarity of it all cracked me up. The hubs was more concerned with the fact that my left ankle was still strapped in place, despite my entire body being to the right of the machine. (Apparently he didn’t think ankles are supposed to bend in that direction.) My telling him it didn’t hurt didn’t seem to carry much weight. But, no, I did not actually hurt it.

After he freed the stuck foot, I was able to get back on the machine and tried a few more rows, this time focusing on not losing my balance. The hubs decided to not film me anymore and instead stand by me like a nervous mother hen.

I talked to the awesome gym owner and we’re going to brainstorm what I can do to keep my knee from hyper-extending so I can get into a rhythm without having to stop to bend it myself every time. He’s motivated to helping me in my recovery. I love the support!

The point of all of this is not to publicly embarrass myself more than I already did. It’s that now my abs are killing me. And it’s only 2 hours later. Tomorrow is going to suck! Ok, that’s not really the point. The point is that I fell down and got back up. I didn’t die from embarrassment. If anyone laughed or judged me, I’m confident they would end up in Hell, cause who could really laugh at a paralyzed person trying to better themselves? Only truly evil people. If you laughed at me (and not with me- there is a difference!) then yes, I’m totally judging you! But if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. And if you fall, then you need to get back up and try again. That’s more of a reminder to myself than anything else.

Gym rat- day 3

Today was day 3 at the gym. 3 days in a row! I think you get a medal when you go 3 days in a row, right? Yesterday we went in the afternoon and the gym was full of big muscly guys. I think I prefer going in the morning where it’s more women and older people. That’s more my speed. I’m not quite at the “lift 300 pounds and grunt really loud so that everyone knows you’re lifting 300 pounds” phase. Give me a couple weeks. One of my clients is a big muscly guy and has promised to train me once I win his case. I’ve bartered with him- I won’t charge him anymore for his case and he will train me. He said he’d train me for free if [WHEN!!!] I win his case. I have 2 witnesses to hold him to that!

This morning the owner of the gym was there and was super excited that we were there too. I know this because he exclaimed “HI!” and waved with both of his arms over his head. Not quite a 3-day medal, but close.

Me on the arm bike at the gym

Me on the arm bike at the gym

I’ve learned that people are more awkward around me at the gym. They don’t want to crowd me or offend me by assuming things. Case in point: This morning I was using weights in a free weight area. I happened to be next to a balance ball apparatus. It’s the thing that looks like half a balance ball with the bottom being a flat board. (In looking it up, I see it’s called a Bosu Ball.) I think you stand on it and try to balance. I used one back in the day during PT (like 2006). I was never any good at it.

Anyway, a woman came up to me nervously asked if I was using it. I tried to not laugh when I said “no” because she was so sincere and nice about it. She probably felt awkward because it was right next to me and didn’t want to offend me by assuming that I couldn’t use it.

This made me realize that people generally are nice. And respectful. And nonjudgmental. She could have easily just assumed I wasn’t using the thing. But she was worried about hurting my feelings. That was very nice.

So, I think I’ll go back for day 4.

Gym Rat

Ok, that title may be a *bit* optimistic or even *slightly* misleading.  I went to the gym today.  First time.  I guess that doesn’t quite qualify me as a gym rat or a regular.  But, I do intend to go back.  So that’s something.

Just like a majority of Americans, the Hubs and I joined a gym at the first of the year.  There’s a small gym by our house which is owned by a super nice guy who is really excited about helping me get healthy and in shape.  He even moved weigh equipment around for me.  We dutifully joined in early January.  Today was the first time we went.

I’m really good at excuses. “I don’t feel good.”  “Tomorrow I have PT and don’t want to wear myself out.”  “It’s Tuesday.”  Whatever the situation, I can come up with a great excuse to talk myself out of going.  I actually packed my gym bag one morning and went to the gym on my way home from court.  I pulled into the parking spot which is literally in front of the door to the gym.  I sat there for a minute and then chickened out.  In my head, people were going to stare at the handicapped girl in the wheelchair and judge me for being there.  The hubs has been busy with work and we hadn’t found any time to go to the gym (Sounds an awful lot like an excuse, I know).

Going to the gym is always a good idea.  I never get there and think “Man, I’m bummed I went there today!”  Even if I’m sore, I don’t regret going.  The soreness lets me know I actually did something!

Cut to today- we decided to go.  I put on my gym clothes as soon as I got up.  That’s always half the battle.  Luckily, the hubs as motivated to go.  I’m always on the fence.  It sounds like a good idea, but do I really want to?  Today he wanted to.  He put his workout clothes on which got our dogs super excited cause they thought it meant that they were going on a walk.  So, 20 minutes later, after he returned from a quick walk with the dogs, we left for the gym.

As we were parking, another car came into the handicapped spot next to us.  Out comes an older man with one leg.  Not even a prosthetic.  Just one leg and crutches.  The reason why this is noteworthy is because I kept seeing him all over the gym (again, it’s very small).  He would balance on the one leg and do the overhead pull down bar weight thing (yes, that’s the technical term I believe).  Nothing makes one feel like a whiner than to see a one legged man killing it in the gym.  Talk about inspiration!

I did my thing on the arm bike.  I used to think the arm bike was kind of a weird machine.  But now that it’s my go-to gym aerobics machine, I appreciate it.  Talk about an arm, shoulder and core workout!  The trick is to sit up (not propped up on the backrest) and flex your ab muscles the whole time.  Yikes! I also used a pec machine, which made me feel like I was going to fall off the little bench thing.  I did not.

This little outing taught me A) I’m able to use quite a bit of machinery in the gym; B) I should definitely stop feeling sorry for myself; C) I should also stop being so conceited and thinking that people are looking at me, cause the only people who glanced my way were just waiting for me to finish with my sets.  [Well, I also caught a few glances when I took a selfie to send to my mom and dad as proof that I was in the gym.  They tend to not believe me unless there’s photographic proof.  My dad said I used photoshop and my mom said I took a photo in front of a gym poster.  Haters!]