Friday, October 15, 2010

Slow and steady, it isn't a race.

It feels like a slow process but I think it's just a matter of continuing to manage my own expectations. I was very eager after the CCSVI procedure to take on my health from every direction I could. My plan was to do physiotherapy and daily stretches and active release therapy and Pilates to build my strength and take my supplements and eat gluten free and look after my son and have a great relationship with my husband and bake my own bread and make my own nut butter and almond milk. Unrealistic expectations...hahahaha, probably.

Well, my body slowed me down. After a few days of "light stretching", I pulled the muscles in my butt. I could hardly sit up straight and putting on my socks was NOT fun. So, I re-looked at my game plan and scaled back on what I was taking on and the expectation I had for my progress. Not that I don't have the same end goals, I'm just giving myself a little more time and grace to get there.

So what is my end goal? My ultimate goals are to wear dress shoes (in other words, no brace) and to ride a bike (balance and coordination). Unlikely? Maybe, but if I don't put it out there, I definitely won't reach it. Don't worry, I know there are many other goals to get to before these ones will be reached.

Ok, so what's the update?
It's funny, a lot of what people can see, like my ability to walk with ease or use my left hand, improved within a few hours or days after the procedure. Not completely healed, obviously, but it blows me away that any physical limitations could be impacted without any physical therapy. Now, it's taking physical therapy and work on my part to continue to see improvement on the physical side of things. So the things that I notice improving physically are not as noticeable for others to see. For me, it's not so much about what specific muscles work, but what that muscle working allows me to do. For example before the CCSVI procedure, I could not raise my left arm above my shoulder. Now, not only can I raise my arm over my head but I can hold a bath towel in my left arm and dry off my right shoulder. I can brush my hair with my left hand and wipe my mouth with a napkin without having to set down the dinner fork in my right hand.

The "not so obvious" things that have continued to improve is my energy. I have way more energy than I had prior to the procedure and yet I still get tired. The thing is, it's a different kind of tired. This is the kind of tired you get from being out of shape. I need to slowly build my cardiovascular and muscular abilities. I don't find I get fatigued in the way that has my muscles just stop firing and no longer function. I can go for a walk, clean the house, cook dinner over a hot stove and still feel fine...which is really great. I have also noticed improvements around heat sensitivity. I don't get impacted by the heat as much as I did before. I can have a hot shower and blow dry my hair and not be wiped out. I can sit in a hot bath for 20 or 30 minutes and notice my leg not functioning as well when I get out but it then recovers within 10 or 15 minutes.

Back in May of this year (before the liberation procedure), I made a list of symptoms that were impacting me and things that I couldn't do because of my limitations. There were 38 symptoms listed. When I checked them today (1 month after the procedure), 16 of the 38 symptoms have been positively affected. Not all completely relieved but positively impacted.

Some of the latest things I've noticed...

I can throw a ball with left hand
I can put both hands behind my neck (as in doing a sit up)
I can raise both arms straight up above my head.
I can use a towel with my left arm to dry myself off (except my head…not enough strength yet)
Both my legs seem to be working more equally. After walking several flights of stairs both hamstring muscles were burning. I have not experienced this with left leg for years
I can stand on my tip toes (mostly using right leg)

I go for my 2 month follow-up appointment at Sanoviv in November. It will be interesting to see the positive impacts that can be noticed over the next month.

Here is to a continued slow and steady recovery.