Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Judgment about what is good for me, physically, or probably more to the point in my case, lack thereof.

I am in a surprisingly difficult place in my recovery right now, where I feel pretty much fantastic, and therefore have no real sense of what my limitations are, and when I should take it easy. I am physically in better shape than I can remember being in for some time—probably years. I'm lean, strong, fit. When I last got my oxygen levels and heart rate measured at the UW (10 days ago with my MRI), oxygen was at 99 (as high as it can go) and heart rate was 67! Last year was something like 88 and 125. I have, as I explained to Taya the other day, passed another threshold of fitness. The first threshold was back in March where I was trotting and posting in my riding lesson and suddenly realized I was doing it. And then felt like I could continue trotting forever. My lessons stopped ending when I was too tired, and started ending when the lesson was over.

This second threshold seems to have been leapt over in mid-July when I was in Idaho and found myself exercising pretty intensively for about 4 hours per day. I came back to Seattle energized (well, after my initial day or two of recovery), and have found that my level of fitness is now self-perpetuating: meaning, not only can I post for 45 minutes if need be; I am seeking out ways to really revel in the strength and speed and flexibility and endurance of my body.

This has already led to a couple issues. One was last week, when I went rock climbing for the first time in awhile. It seemed easy to haul myself up walls, and even though I hadn't done it in awhile, my added strength really helped me. However, I seem to have stretched one leg too far on one wall, and then flexed it to propel me up, and pulled my hip so that when I stood up or sat down, turned to pick something up, or occasionally when I walked with Hoover, it felt like it was about to pop out of the socket. Taya fixed me on Saturday.

On Monday, Witch Doctor Dan fixed me first—helped me integrate with my new supplements, and reminded my brain (and, this time, specifically my thalamus) of the ways it should behave to keep my body healthy, as he does. It was a pretty intense appointment, and I came home and slept profoundly, crosswise on the bed, for a drooling, snorting hour. Yesterday, much recovered from all my reawakenings and reintegrations, I reorganized the basement storage shelves, then felt well enough to do some Dance Dance Revolution—you know, get my heart rate up, put out a bit of a sweat, and hear some fabulous Japanese pop music while I was doing it. Well . . . it seems my thalamus wasn't quite ready. I didn't actually break any of Dan's work, but I did seem to push it back a bit. Evidently, the thalamus is the part of the brain where sensation passes through on its way to becoming conscious thought (which seems like evidence for why it is associated with migraines) . . . and for a thalamus that was a bit taxed already and perhaps wanting to focus on some quiet contemplation, Dance Dance Revolution was a sensational NIGHTMARE. By the time I was done, after about 30 minutes, I had the beginnings of a migraine (yes, the migraine that kept me from shopping with my SIL and niece), which turned out to be HIDEOUS, complete with head pain and nausea, which mine usually don't have, and which s u c k e d.

I took a Tylenol PM at 10, which didn't knock me out immediately, and did allow me to wake up to piddle at 5am, but did keep me pretty well zonked until 9 this morning when I had to get up to go riding. And, as usual, the ride was wonderful and I felt much better having spent my morning on a horse.

So, all in all, this was a pretty quick recovery. And I'm trying, I really am, to listen to my body and what it needs and wants, and give it those things. It's just that its needs and wants are different now than the last time I felt fit, because it is different now, and became that way more rapidly than if I hadn't had the cancer and all these changes had just been left to aging. And so, body, hang in there. I love you very much, and I'm doing my best to keep you happy.

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