This site is dedicated to the ongoing journey of emotional and spiritual growth in the face of physical deterioration. Join Susan S. in her day-to-day battles where victories are celebrated and defeats are sorrowfully appreciated for their lessons.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cycling Seasons

It has been suggested by more than one physician that I might not be alive today if I hadn't grasped the sport of cycling into my life. Certainly, the quality of my life is greatly enhanced by this luxury. I offer a prayer of thanks every time I begin a new ride. Although I cycle throughout the entire year, the best season to do so is most definitely during spring. The cool air, clear skies, and…well…just look at the pictures I took last year!

A couple of years ago, I was so ill that I was not able to even stand up unassisted. I was battling for my recovery with every ounce of fortitude that I had available inside of me. I knew that I needed to get on my trike in order to build my strength back up, but couldn't do it alone. Since I had the assistance of a private nurse caring for me at my home during this period, I instructed her to get me on my trike. Naturally, if I was going to ride my trike, I felt I should also be dressed in my Lycra riding clothes. This was not an easy feat for the nurse to accomplish as I am a somewhat Rubenesque woman who has trouble getting into Lycra pants even when I can stand up on my own. To make things even more complicated, my nurse was less than cooperative as she felt it was much more important that I drink a can of Ensure than ride some bike. While this nurse was very nurturing, it was not what I needed. I let her go that evening and hired a new nurse to start the next day.

When Teressa showed up the next morning, she wore her traditional nursing whites, but also brought with her a white pair of pedal pusher pants to go along with her bike on the back rack of her car. Twice a day, Teressa put me into my Lycra pants and onto my trike and twice a day I pedaled as hard and as far as I could. Initially, she just walked along side of me because I only made it from my driveway to the next door neighbor's house. Eventually, I was able to make it to the corner and back, and at that point Teressa began to ride along side of me. We rode around the block. Then a couple of rides later we would make it to another black. Eventually, I made my goal of pedaling to the cemetery and back. That was when Teressa and I knew I had arrived into recovery from the horrendous episode that had disrupted my neurological system.

Although it's been a while since I've called Teressa to play catch up, I have been fortunate enough to be able to enjoy my cycling. Sometimes I'm more capable than others, and there's no question that my condition is degenerative, but I intend on making it work for as long as possible. When the time comes that I am not able to ride, I guess I'll have to discover a newer passion in life…after all…cycling replaced my previous passion of work!

This video shows how I'm adjusting my cycling habits to accommodate changes in my physical condition:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Silver Ring Splints

It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm getting back into the groove.
Over the past year, I have discovered which orthotic devices are helpful for me. By far the biggest winner is my Silver Ring Splints . These very attractive rings have reduced the pain in my hands by about 70%. I had no idea that the reason my hands were hurting so bad were a result of the hyperextention of my fingers, because my fingers did not hurt very much. Thank you Dr. Francomono in Baltimore for sending me to this wonderful company that provides splints long distance. I wear them for almost all of my normal activities (take a look at this video!):


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