Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I cannot Recover I can Rehabilitate

I had an interesting epiphany today. I came to the realization that I will never be the same as I used to be. I finished a workout of run/walking 9x200 meters and found that my running is still very jerky.

I originally convinced myself that I would fully recover and return to what I used to be able to do. That is what kept me going and gave me focus. I now know that is very unlikely to happen. Earlier in my travels down this road this thought would have been very depressing. This is not to say that I will not run again because I am. However, I will never have the same running style because the muscle motor patterns I have learned are different. The way I move my left leg is different.

What is important to me is that I can still do many things although they are different than they used to be. What I may need to do is find a coach or trainer that can help me improve my performance with the technique that I have developed. Recovering from a stroke I think is a misnomer. I am not going to recover to what I used to be, I am rehabilitating myself physically and cognitively to continue my life to the best of my ability.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Sometimes in life everyone needs to go sing in the rain. Today was one of those days. I am back to job hunting and it can be a very frustrating experience. It can also be hard on one's sense of confidence. One of the challenges I still deal with on a regular basis is maintaining a sense of self confidence in light of the changes that have occurred. Job hunting is really brutal because it is all about being judged and whether you are "good enough" to do the job.

I got email this morning from my wife who shared a story about a patient she was seeing had been essentially blind for 20 years because of a surgery gone wrong. She was able to help him with a donated low vision aid that allowed him to read for the first timer in 20 years. I think of that and realize that my challenges are not so huge. So today when I got another rejection on the job hunt, I went for a walk/run in the rain. If I'm not working I might as well work on getting in shape. That is something I can control - although the weather is another matter.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The importance of Independence

Last weekend I went to Squamish to help out with an Aphasia camp by leading the cycling activity. The cycling went well but the real bonus came from the people who wanted to try out my trike. One man who I will call Mr. H. has the ability to use a cane but spends most of his time in a wheelchair. Well we got him on the trike and got his feet strapped so he could use both legs and off he went. Although he only rode up and down the driveway, the look on his face when he went by me made the whole trip worthwhile. The other two people had the same reactions of exaltation.

I think I ignited the spark in a few more people to help them rehabilitate themselves. For these people to see that there is more to what they are capable of is an incredible feeling. I hope they follow through on it.

I Did it

I am happy to say that the rains held off and I was able to complete the ride in 7 hours and fifty minutes. The first 60 plus kilometers to Squamish took me 3 hours and 5 minutes. The next slightly less than 60 kilometers took 4 hours and 45 minutes. It's not hard to tell which segment had the most hills. I had hoped to break 8 hours but I was really unsure how slow I would be with all those hills. It's hard to believe but I actually finished ahead of 40 people who had recorded times.

Unfortunately I have been unable to register for next year yet since they have made a decision not to allow recumbents next year for some reason I have yet to fathom. I am hoping that they will reconsider since I want to see if I can improve on this year's time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

One week to Go

Well it has been challenging training for this event as my normal training buddies have quickly out paced me as their training has ramped up. Although I have had more time than I expected, I still have found it hard to get some of the longer rides in. My longest ride to date has been only 90 km. I am very slow on the uphills. That is partly from my fitness level and partly because of my trike. I have been averaging about 100 - 150 km per week cycling so I am hoping that will be enough. I am not worried about finishing the ride, however, the segment from Squamish to Whistler has a lot of climbing and last year on the Rodger's Pass leg I averaged only 10 km per hour. I need to average about 15 km per hour to make the time cutoff. I feel like I am ready though. Yesterday I rode 40 km in fastest time ever post stroke @ 1:56:33PS. I have decided that my times in events now will be followed with a PS for post-stroke.

As a side note, my running/jogging is starting to progress. I can now go for about 400 yards before I have to walk, but I did walk/run for 6 km. I can actually run long enough to elevate my breathing rate so it is becoming an aerobic activity. I am hoping that the wound in my leg will be sufficiently healed to go back to swimming in October. One of the after effects of my stroke is the swelling in my weak leg from the blod clot I had during my hospital stay. The swelling inhibits the healing process for flesh wounds so I haven't been able to go in the water since March.

Now if I can just find a job. Happy recovering.

I am giving serious thought to returning to triathlon as a TTRI3 disabled athlete.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Candobiketour 2010

Brought back by popular demand. Last year's tour raised just over $4,000 which I am using to develop a mobile walking frame so that individuals can learn to walk again in an upright position with the benefit of a surrounding supporting frame. I have been working with the Tetra Society to design the frame. There are many people who will benefit from this design.

This year's goal is $10,000 to purchase speech training software for the Stroke recovery Association of BC. The ride will be from Vancouver to Whistler on September 11th. I have already registered for the ride along with 3,499 close friends. No seriously, I am participating in the Whistler granfondo. Donations, as before are tax deductible and can be made @ www.2mevents.com and select the Candobiketour fund raising event. This year you can pay be credit card and receive a tax receipt automatically. Cheques can be mailed to Stroke Recovery Association of BC #301 - 1212 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6H 3V1. Just mark them as Candobiketour.

Much thanks and happy recovery.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

OlympicTorch Relay

Had an awesome experience today as a torch bearer for the Olympic Torch Relay. Today was the three year anniversary of my stroke. I didn't really think too much about that today. I was thinking more about no tripping and lighting someone on fire.

Seriously, I have been working with Heather Branscombe, a neuro-physio in Abbotsford to see if I can learn to run again. Today I jogged about half of the 300 metres. I'm very excited because I really think that I may be able to run again. I didn't really focus on the crowd very much because I was focusing on not falling. However, today really was for me. It was about me recognizing that I can push the envelope and start jogging.

The one thing about carrying the torch I was not prepared for was the impact it had on other people. I had many many people want to take pictures or have their picture taken with the torch. At my son's school they had someone who was supposed to come in and see the kids. However they only got to one classroom. I went up and spent the afternoon so each child could get their picture taken with the torch. The kids were so excited. I'm glad I got the opportunity. Tonight I have the first session of the Sun Run Walking clinic.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Life Back at Work

Well it has happened. In December, I received an offer to work as the Executive Director for the Stroke Recovery Association of BC. I am now part way through my first week earning a pay cheque again.

I have always thought that I needed to do something to encourage others in their stroke recovery. Well I believe that this job is where I am meant to be at the moment. This job is the closest thing I can be doing to encourage and still being getting paid. There is a lot to do but I think I have a good background for moving the Association forward and enhancing the opportunities for stroke survivors.

Today was also pretty exciting because my Olympic torch bearer's uniform arrived today in the mail. I think this is going to be an incredible opportunity to raise awareness about stroke survivors in the local and international arenas.