Saturday, August 27, 2011

Walking even more on the wild side; cancer rehab moving along nicely

Sorry I haven't been around much lately. It's been busy.
I"m working more and more. Carol-Ann and I have a house guest, her older brother Chuck, who's in the midst of moving here from North Carolina with his wife and 19-month-old or so. And softball season wrapped up Tuesday.
More importantly, I'm walking more and more.
I forgot Evander, my cane, for Tuesday's softball game. My buddy, D-Tam, came to pick me up since Carol-Ann had to work late at work, and, in my hurry to get going, we left Evander on the railing by the back door. I'm "much too cool," these days to go completely on the walker, so we went freestyle for the entire three hours or so. Luckily, I was so focussed on the Headliners vying for our fifth VMRESS (Vancouver Municipal Recreational Something Something) title in eight years that I wasn't freaked out about how much I was without Evander.
I was pretty sore the next day. I can't lie. I was working all sorts of muscles I haven't worked in months. Still, I I survived. (We won 14-10. Even some goofy rules junkie on our opponents couldn't spoil the fun.)
Paula Peres, the physio that comes to the house every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, seems quite pleased with the progress. She even brought up - albeit ever so briefly -- that maybe it's time for her to scale back her visits. It was the initial conversation, but it is the start of something.
My energy level is slowly coming back. I'm staying up later at night, I have more jump during the day.
There's still plenty to work on, though. I still can't shave on my own. I can't move my head enough because of the rods in my neck. I'm still not driving. My lessons were supposed to start on Wednesday, but my instructor had a family illness. We try again on Wednesday. I also can't get down on the floor and play with nephews or the family cat.
Still, the pluses are outweighing the negatives.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Walking the walk, visiting the mountain: taking a break from rehab for a little Whistler vacation

To quote Jim Ross, and who better to steal a sentence from than a legendary WWE announcer, business is about to pick up.
Carol-Ann and I are spending the weekend in Whistler. It's our first vacation since this whole cancer/back surgery thing bulldogged its way into our lives back in October. (NOTE TO BAD GUYS: Be wary of any skulduggery at our home, since we have a full SWAT team in place.)
We slept in today and then meandered around the village. I'm  back at the room resting; Carol-Ann has a friend up here, so she's hanging with her, getting into no good, no doubt.
She's finally over her bout of laryngitis and starting to feel like herself again. This whole mess has beaten her up physically, and not surprisingly, her body shut down for a time.
It's been an interesting week. I'm starting to spend less and less time using the walker to get around. At the house, I'm going freestyle for hours on end. Out and about, I'm using Evander, my cane, more frequency.
I Evandered it around GF Strong on Thursday, during my visit to see Dr. Brad Hallam, our psychologist.   Dr. Hallam seemed to be pretty pleased with how I'm dealing with my guilt and frustration and how I botched my driver's exam. I have a great faith in him; it's always good for me to check in with him to see how I'm doing. To think that this hasn't messed with my emotions and my mind as much as my body is foolish.
I got a chance during the stop in with several of the physios and rehab assistants who I had worked with during my two-plus months there, and the response was inspiring.
Derek was a rehab assistant during my final of three stay at the Vancouver physical rehab clinic. I Evandered it into the spine gym and he immediately gave me, "Look at you...look at you!!!"
Derek's a straight forward dude, and maybe the straightest of the straight forward. He's not a cheap compliment guy. He's a "If you're 10 minutes early for a session with him then you're five minutes late," type.
You get the idea.
He had always been positive about my prospects and I reminded him of that, telling him that he was one of the people at GF who told me that I was going to be able to walk again.
His response? "It doesn't make it any less exciting to see it, does it?"
Pretty cool.
After that, I had a session with our at-home physio, Paula Peres, and we Evandered it six blocks. That's the farthest I've gone so far.
The down news, in all of this, is that my body is continuing to break down a little. Paula thinks I've got a strained right hamstring, and has me icing it a few times a day. My back is also a little achy. It's logical, since I'm doing more and more every day after being largely sedentary for six months.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What's the story? Morning glory. Cancer/back surgery rehab now includes early pool times.

I haven't had any consistent jump the last few days. In a bid to mix things up, my wife-appointed daytime security guard, Susie, and I agreed to change our three-day-a-week swim time from noon to 7:15 a.m.
It's a plan. I didn't say it was a smart plan.
We'll see how I'm doing by the end of the day. It should be interesting. Over the past week or so, I've had bouts of zero energy. I've talked plenty with our physio, Paula Peres, and she says that it's completely reasonable, considering how much time I spent in the hospital. In fact, she maintains that she's surprised that I haven't had more of those breakdowns.
I get it. Doesn't mean I can't fight it.
Our GP, Dr. Jennifer Rogerson, says it's logical, too. My body has been through an awful thing, between the Solitary Plasmacytoma, the radiation, the eight surgeries.
She also ties a chunk of it to sleep apnea.
There may not be two words I hate more it the English language than "sleep apnea." Seriously. I've got one of those goofy machines that makes me look and feel like Darth Vader's lushy nephew. It's a terrible contraption to get used to and I'm still nowhere close to being comfortable with it.
Dr. Rogerson maintains that it will change my life and make me a happier person overall. There's a guy who sees another doctor in her office who tells everyone he comes across in the waiting room what the machine has done for his life.
Hello? I'm pretty freakin' happy much of the time. I get much happier, and I'll be hard to put up with.
I think a lot of this is that I'm wearing out mentally. I'm getting better physically all the time. Paula wants me to cut down on the walker use in favour of the cane (aka Evander). And for a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday around the house I went cane, no walker, just me.
I'm still frustrated. The better I get, the more I want to get better. I think things will improve once I get driving again -- I'm talking to companies about lessons today.
And maybe the early-morning pool sessions will be a plus.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On the comeback trail yet again from cancer and back surgery

The better I get physically, the harder this gets emotionally.
I guess it's not that odd. My expectations three months ago were minimal. Don't need a police escort to get to the bathroom and back? Yipee for me. These days, if I'm not dropping 25 seconds off my 100 metre time every day, I'm bummed.
Yesterday was tough. I had no zip at all. None. I slept most of the day, and I hadn't done that for awhile.
Everybody has bad days. I had a plethora of them before this rigamarole started. I just can't get them out of my own head when they occur now.
I did have a solid physio session with Paula on Tuesday. It may have been the best I've been in a workout with her. As well, I banged out a couple of stories for the paper, so I did head into yesterday
Paula comes again today, and I'm primed -- at least right now -- for the workout. I
We'll see.