Monday, March 9, 2009

The Power of Inspiratrion

Inspiration is a funny word. Many people have told me that they are inspired by my recovery and my attitude. On the contrary, many people have provided me with inspiration. On saturday, the North Shore Young Stroke Survivor's group manned one of the aid stations at the Dirty Duo race in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. One of our group members, ran the 25 km trail run event. His biggest area of deficit is vision loss and believe me trail running is about seeing. We asked him about falling when he runs and his comment was I guess I have to get back up.

He joined our walking group about two months ago and does most of his travel by public bus. When asked about wasn't he sad about what he had lost his only comment was it could have been so much worse. People like this give me inspiration to accept that my life has changed and to find ways of doing the things I want to do.

Another member of my group came on our walks in November in her wheelchair being pushed by her sister/care giver. She was very proud to announce on her first day that she could walk 500 steps using her cane. Well when she arrived the following week with the same story of 500 steps, I mildly chastised her by saying no that was last week. We need a new number. I am very proud to say that according to her husband I have had some influence in her now being up to 1500 steps. The biggest thing is she now views her wheelchair as a rest station rather than a mode of transportation. She transfers from her wheelchair to her cane or a chair for exercise class rather than sitting in it all the time. My inspiration to continue comes from people like these.

A group member once asked me where I get the courage to do what I do. I would never have used the word courage to describe my rehab process although I understand now how some people could view it that way. I believe my basic philosophy of life comes from my dad. He never allowed me to think that something was not possible. He instilled in me a belief that I could learn to do anything. The quality of performance might be iffy, but I could learn anything. That's probably why I never once believed that I would not be walking again or learning to ride using a recumbent trike or for that matter swimming. My swimming, cycling and walking don't look a lot like they used to, but I am still doing all three and when my fitness level gets there, I want to try another triathlon. I just have to convince the race organizers to keep the course open long enough for me to finish. Speed is a bit of a deficit still. Although I think dad would be proud of what I have accomplished so far, he is responsible for the attitude I have of "never give up."

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