Setting Goals

  Two 5k's, flying in an airplane, working out, Bikram Yoga, a round of golf, bowling, riding a bicycle, motorcycle, and stand-up jetski are some goals and accomplishments I've overcome during this recovery. Its now been 6 months post surgery, I've accomplished so much and yet have a long way to go.  Back in March while hanging out with my bowling crew I was challenged to run a 5k on May 4th for the Susan Komen Cancer Foundation. Good friend Anna aka 'buddy' said she would run it with me. I thought to myself it was time to DO WORK! At this point walking and standing up was still a challenge. The next day I was in the gym on the treadmill hanging on for dear life as the belt slowly turned. I could see progress daily and kept at it. A couple weeks in I ran to my mailbox. The run was awkward, painful and extremely uncomfortable. By April I was able to speed up the treadmill and while holding on maintain a steady jog. May 4th and it was time to run a 5k. Buddy and her son Eric picked me up that morning ready as can be we headed downtown. Unsure if I was going to run the whole way due to my awkward running posture I was determined to give it hell and finish. Started running and it took about a minute to find a somewhat a happy pace and posture. I knew already I was going to run the whole thing. It was hot outside and there were so many people.  During the run I encountered so many obstacles while trying to focus.  It seemed as if everything was in my way from the manhole covers, curbs, debris, all the people to the cracks in the street. I had to focus and try to maintain my balance and pace. Ill never forget the lady running next to me says at the 1 mile mark "only 1 mile, my ankle hurts." I thought to myself lady you have no idea and that motivated me to finish in 37 minutes. I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment and success. The next couple days were extremely painful due to my awkward running posture. Huge thanks to buddy and Eric for the challenge and running with me.  I couldn't stop now I had to keep setting goals and working on my recovery. I spent the last couple weeks of May in Michigan with my friends and family. My cousin lent me his Trek road bike which I practiced riding everyday. Riding a road bike with skinny tires was very challenging, it really put my balance to the test. Due to my hearing loss on the left side I had to be very cautious as it was difficult to hear cars behind me. I hear the noise on the right as it passes me on the left. Its taking a lot of time to get use to that. As my balance improved I began practicing riding my motorcycle through my neighborhood working on my coordination. Its hard to describe but I basically have to retrain my left side to operate properly. I am relearning to shift my motorcycle from gear to gear. Like anything else it takes practice.  I returned to Las Vegas and continued my recovery. Good friends Bryan and Anna along with my brother in law took me golfing for the first time on Fathers Day. I think I shot a 98 and enjoyed every minute. I didn't experience too much trouble swinging the clubs off the tee box and fairway but the chipping and putting were extremely difficult. I was having trouble controlling and judging the distance due to my uncoordinated left arm plus my blurry vision in my left eye. My vision is blurry due to the ointment I have to apply in my eye every hour to prevent dry eye and cornea abrasions. Doctors think anytime now my eye may come back around and start to blink and water on its own. It had been about 10 months since I had played golf I was so happy that I completed a round. I was so exhausted from the round of golf it took about a day for me to  rest up and bounce back.  A recovery goal of mine for the month of June was to begin Bikram Yoga. Last year I was practicing regular yoga weekly and developed great strength, posture and balance. I had read about all the benefits of doing yoga in a hot room and purchased a groupon for a 1 month trial. It couldn't hurt and I knew it would help improve my balance.  June 13th, I enrolled at Westside Yoga and entered a 115 degree 50% humidity room for 90 minutes and practiced yoga. Holy HOT! I managed to make it through the 90 minutes and perform about 90% of the postures. I felt great! I had difficulty with the standing and balancing postures so I positioned myself near a wall moving forward to help assist me. While explaining my story to my instructor, Sharon Jalene, and why I needed to use the wall for assistance she became very inspired and wanted to learn more about my story. We chatted briefly and emailed back and forth. Sharon shared my story with the yoga classes and asked me to speak at UNLV for one of her health and wellness classes she teaches. I was so honored to speak for her students, we set a date to make it happen. June 26th I met Sharon at UNLV, she introduced me to Dick Tandy, the department chair of the Kinesiology program. I shared my story with Dick before I was introduced to the class of roughly 15 students. Sharon made me feel comfortable knowing this was my first time sharing my story in front of a group in a lecture hall. I was a little nervous as a told my story and answered questions. Afterwards I sent a thank you email to both Sharon and Dick for the opportunity. As a thank you from Sharon she was able to give me 2 months free yoga and feature me as student of the month in the Yoga newsletter. I have been practicing Bikram Yoga for just over 2 months and I'm proud to say I can perform 99% of all the postures and balance on one leg. Huge thanks to Sharon and Westside Yoga for the continued love and support. I had a trip planned with my family to spend the 4th of July in Northern Michigan. My goal for the month of July was to run another 5k under 35 minutes. I  ran my 2nd 5k on July 4th in Fife Lake, Mi. I called in reinforcements and ran the race with my cousin Katie, her husband Dave, my friend Kyle and friend Jeff who took off with a goal in mind to finish around 20 minutes. I myself found my stride and pace much quicker this time. My posture was a little better, it was still stiff and awkward. My group helped me keep pace and I finished in 29 minuets. Very impressed with my time I received a bronze medal for my age group. Once again I was overwhelmed with excitement that I accomplished another goal and it had only been 5 months post surgery. Again the next day was quite painful. While spending time on the lake I manged to keep balance and ride a stand-up jetski. For those who are familiar with these watercraft, they take some amazing skill and balance to master.    As you all know by now bowling is a passion of mine and fall league is quickly approaching. Remember my goal to leave the rehabilitation hospital to a have a beer with my bowling on February 20th? Well, I accomplished that goal. Bowling actually begins September 4th, and I have signed up again this season. My goal for the month of August has been to bowl. I went bowling back in April with friends Bryan and Anna and wasn't able to walk to the foul line and release the ball in one continuous motion. At the time I had to stand at the foul line and release the ball. I think my score barely broke 100. Regardless of the score I went bowling, had a great time and remained positive. 6 months post surgery I attempted my bowling skill again. I was able in one continuous motion walk to the foul line and release the ball. My approach was way off balance and awkward. I probably looked like I had too many adult beverages. I was sober. That day I threw two games before becoming overly exhausted. Best score that day was an acceptable 135. I have been bowling again and threw a coupe games averaging a score of 130. Practice makes perfect and I'm only going to improve over time.  Life is a garden, Dig It! I have to keep keepin on!