Friday, September 26, 2008

What a Year.

One year ago today I had brain surgery.

I had to wait nine days to find out I had cancer. But I knew. The last year has been the roller coaster I was warned about. But really, it looked like this.

I didn't start at 100 percent. Walking with a brace and cane, loosing cognitive brain function and feeling like something was wrong didn't exactly feel like I was on top of my game. First there was a steroid "high". Then the steroids began to affect the muscles of my legs making walking very difficult. The sharp dips are the weeks after chemo once radiation was over when the fatigue was the worst. Those weeks I was guilty of missed and canceled appointments at times. I slept a lot. Everything hurt.

But look at the tail of that graph. I coasted a while then Up Up Up ! Slow and Steady wins the race. My physical therapist and I invent new ways to challenge my muscles. We look at practical needs like loading and unloading my scooter out of the car - what motions are needed for that? What muscles need to be stronger? How will my balance be affected? She's very inventive and lets me give a lot of input. And guess what? I'm up to 23 minutes on the treadmill. Now, do be aware that is under a controlled pace with no distractions. And that 23 minutes was my all time high (my times fluctuate a bit). Y'a know my heart is in better condition now than it ever was due to the workout three times a week plus home exercise most other days.

It's been a roller coaster. I've always loved roller coasters. I know it's a figure of speech, but I was mostly aware of what I was in for. I paid to get on. There have been some scary turns but I actually had fun without screaming at all. My legs are a little wobbly getting off this ride, but I didn't puke and maybe I'll get the tee shirt in the gift shop.


Remember all my references to The Wizard of Oz?

There's no place like Home.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Walkin' and Singin'

I have been walking into buildings.

Opening doors and walking right in without scooter wheels under me. Since I found out I can walk 10-12 minutes on a treadmill, I started with walking into restaurants (with seats I can trust) and running small errands. I've been to my Ophthalmologist, Target, Office Depot, shopping for glasses (groan), even to the Mall once. When I saw that the shop at the Mall would be close enough to walk, Bobby took my scooter back to the car and I walked the rest of the way. The walk back to the car was slow and steady and I even took a brief detour into another store. Look out 2012 Olympic Marathoners! I did discover one thing though. The floors at the mall are H-A-R-D and very different from using a treadmill. Keeping an even pace was difficult, but that will come with more practice.

I wish I had the incentive to become a Mall Walker, but for five minutes out and five minutes back? Booooring. Maybe down the line. Perhaps a different incentive place to walk for my non-PT days. I need to find somewhere with a decent walk, a place to knit, and comfy chairs I can trust for Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then I might do it more often and keep this body moving.

Slow and steady wins the race.

In other news, we went to see two groups we really like in one night at Wolf Trap recently. It was a fabulous night of music. I couldn't figure out who would be opening for whom. Great Big Sea was first and rocked the house. Bounce Bounce Bounce! Gimme lots of mandolin, fiddle, bodhran and penny whistles and I can't help singing. Many of their songs are intentionally catchy with great choruses. The song
England by Sean McCann from their album Fortune's Favor made me sob however. His voice filled the hall, strong and clear since he wrote it from his own heart, a poignant tale of early English settlers to a New-found-land.

Then it was time for the changeover to the more eclectic Eddie From Ohio.
Everything from Blues & Gospel to Social Comentary and Comedy. After the boisterous Great Big Sea, they seemed positively sedate, although they are truly far from that. It's just that their music doesn't inspire bouncing or dancing in the aisles. At one point Michael Clem, on bass, raised his hands over his head to encourage the crowd to clap along with the song. It just sputtered out unfortunately. I was embarrassed for them. It was like a comedian who keeps saying "I said, are you having a good time?". But they were great. Srsly. And they sang my all time favorite song of theirs Tom Burleigh's Dead. It's an odd song, but I love the chorus and belting it out in the car.

Then Bobby surprised me with Les Miserables tickets. I noticed the production when we went to GBS and EFO. About two weeks later he said we were had something to do Friday night and took me on a long and twisted drive ending up on the
Dulles Toll Road. My heart skipped a few beats and I thought he was kidnapping me to Vegas. After all, he knows how to pack for us. But no, he said I had appointments and he wouldn't do that. Drat! That would be soooo cool. Instead it was back to Wolftrap, but for what I wondered? Sure enough, the famous poster of Cosette was at the entrance with a warning of gunfire in the second act. I was quite delighted, especially since Bobby had said it wasn't his kind of show when we were there previously.

All the while he was plotting a musical feast for me.

It. Was. Fabulous. The actor playing Jean Valjean was very good although he didn't have the clear high range necessary for Bring Him Home. Fantine and Cosette were both delightful, and I really hate most sopranos. The Thenardiers were suitably amusing. But the despicable Javert stole the show. My Gawd, what a voice and stage presence. And the rest of the company was so talented. It was as if each one had the lead role and all eyes were on them. The staging was simpler than the Broadway version of course with no moving circular stage, but I didn't miss it except for the song Turning (hee hee). I am still finding myself tumbling Les Miz songs in my head.

My husband. He loves me.