Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 12 - Salty Tears of Joy

So much has happened.

Since Monday my sensation on the right side has dramatically returned again.

It's interesting to go to Physical and Occupational Therapy and try to explain to these professionals just how it is that my body can do things it couldn't do the day before - without a gradual build up of strength of that particular muscle set. Suddenly I can hold a door open with my right arm and walk through at the same time. I don't hesitate when I reach towards my face for fear of poking myself in the eye or nose. I can reach behind me and slip my arm in my coat sleeve easy as pie because the subtleties of the lining and seams make sense to my arms. I'm putting my right heel down when I walk.

Perhaps I should explain.

Proprioception is returning to my body along with sensation. It's something most human beings aren't even aware they experience. Your body holds just enough tension in a muscle to keep a body part in position - without thinking about it. Today I sat in a restaurant with my husband and rested both elbows comfortably on the table, cradling my chin. Wednesday at breakfast I couldn't do that. My right arm would slide sideways and I would have to tense the shoulder and forearm to keep that from happening. Quickly it was uncomfortable and I gave up. I always thought it was because the muscles were weak.


Muscle recovery doesn't happen that fast. If anything, I've been really lax at my upper body exercise the last few days. Yet the improvements continue. Sometimes I realize I've done something amazing like push up my glasses without looking at the finger first so I don't stick it in my nose - and just cry. Sob even.

Oh yeah. My mentation is waking up too.

I had a regular PCP appointment and my nurse (hi Jess!) says to me "You don't hesitate and think about what you're going to say anymore. You're more articulate. Even the sound of your voice is different". To have her notice that meant more to me than my new ability to get up on the exam table without two nubian slaves and a crane. And there are other things. It's like I've had a head cold for a few years and can finally breathe. The tumor pressing on the rest of my brain was wearing me down veeeeeery slowly - but I was less of me.

I'm baaaaaa - aaaack.

Wednesday was my Birthday

It went something like this:
  1. Up at 5:30 - I'm thrilled to be 50. At 34, I actually didn't think I'd be here.
  2. Treatment at Hopkins
  3. Appointment with Radiation Oncologist - all systems go
  4. Labwork
  5. Lunch with Bobby at Eggspectation
  6. Physical and Occupational Therapy
  7. Pick up my car with installed remote starter ( BD present from my Boo - for those cold winter mornings)
  8. Trying to speed-knit the rest of my Dad's hat in between all of this
  9. Dinner and birthday doings with the family here at our house
  10. Really big wish while blowing out the candles
25 Steps

That's how many there are up to the observation platform in the UTZ Potato Chip Factory in Hanover, Pa. Wanna know how I know that? I climbed 'em today. Me. Gimpy. Scooter girl. It was the only way to see the self-guided tour without calling a day ahead. With a hand from Bobby up I went. Half of the steps were with my right foot.

I went to the bathroom and wept.

Bobby was worried and stuck his head in but I reassured him I was sobbing because I climbed the freaking steps and wasn't even out of breath. We toured the entire length of the factory on foot, stopping at each "push this button" to hear the delectable story of my favorite chip. I was jerked into reality on the long walk back down the hall though, and had to sit a spell with my numb legs up on a chair, munching the freshest free bag o'chips in the land. Ahhhh! UTZ.

Going down was not pretty. Two Tylenol for the arthritic knees please, I forgot that part of why I don't do stairs.

It was Bobby's idea to stop there on our impromptu autumn drive to where my Great Aunt Ola and Uncle Charlie lived. I can always count on it being beautiful this time of year and the nostalgia is a sweet bonus. The current owners have put on a two story addition and a wooden "compound" fence since the house sits directly on the highway - the front yard taken by public domain long ago. It's a busy intersection and it appears the family has children, or possibly a home daycare. Aunt Ola and Uncle Charlie could never have the children they longed for and doted on my mother, their goddaughter. They would have been pleased to have the place full of kids. If you'd like to see the house, go to Google Maps and search "Bonneauville Pa Ola". Click on "Satellite" in the upper right hand corner. I've written a bit of history there for the world.

On to Gettysburg for dinner at McClellan's Tavern in the historic Gettysburg Hotel. We enjoyed a
quiet, well prepared, early dinner. I discovered I can rest my right elbow alone on the table and cradle my chin as I gaze at my Boo.

brain tumor, paralysis, seizures . . . life is good.

1 comment:

John said...

There's a self-guided tour of the Utz factory? Okay, now we have to go back. Jody and I stumbled over the factory by accident the weekend before you went and all we thought we got was good snacks for cheap.

I've been reading posts from the beginning 'til this one, Bonnie. If you thought I had something to do with you getting treated, then thank you for helping me get ready for surgery. :)