News! Heard here first!

What happens when you’ve just gotten everything off your chest to your blog world and you’re wide awake at 2am?! You sign up for another 5k! Yep, you heard it here first, another race.

I’m not officially signed up yet. This is all pending checking with my PT on Tuesday. The cold weather can do strange things to your body and I want to make sure I’m not making a stupid or detrimental decision. But if I get the okay, and am feeling up to it, I have every intention to run in the Blue Back Square 5k Mitten Run on December 5th. For officially my last outdoor race of the year. My nice links won’t work tonight for some reason, but here’s the website: http://www.hartfordmarathon.com/foundationnew/hmfevents/bluebacksquholidayrun.htm#Registration3

More information to follow! Goodnight everyone.

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Honesty

Sometimes, when I’m writing this blog and the topic centers around CP or having a disability, I feel like I’m gloating. No, not gloating, maybe almost glorifying things? I don’t know, I can’t think of the word I’m looking for. I can only describe it. I guess sometimes I feel like readers, or people I know in general, think that I try to make a distinction that my life is different from other people’s because I have CP, that things are harder, etc. I think it’s actually the opposite.  I think I try to make the point that my life is no different, that I can do things just like everyone else can, that my life is normal.

I’ve always found it funny (read: frustrating) though, that even though people want you to be real, they only want you to be real about the funny, awesome, positive things like road races and intellect and social life. So, for once (or at least for the first time in a while), I’m going to take a stab at honesty. Real, raw honesty. Disclaimer: Stop reading here if you’re one of those people I described above. Experience tells me you may not enjoy the rest.

My life is just like so many people my age out there. I often stay/stayed up too late and sleep too much, can find fun in almost anything, made spur of the moment decisions that, looking back, were well worth it but at the time were probably not the smartest, skip the gym for pints of ice cream and movie nights, develop crushes on men that are so not worth it (both famous and definitely not), and yes, on occasion even went out to the bar with a paper due the next morning that still wasn’t done (sorry Mom and Dad)!!

My question is: why shouldn’t my life be just like everyone else’s in that I get stressed out, overwhelmed, angry, unmotivated, need I go on?! I don’t really know where this is coming from. I think the whole idea of living back at home for 6 months now instead of being away like I’ve been used to for the past four years is starting to catch up to me. Even though I only lived a half hour away, it was still two different worlds. If I got stressed out over something, I could walk to a friend’s room or call them up and escape for a while. It was simple and didn’t require planning ahead. I know that once I get my license, that’ll be easier, but it hasn’t been the easiest process so far and the few months I have left before I’m ready to take the test don’t seem to be flying by either. I think, too, my mind is taking a huge toll on my body and vice versa. I was so blessed that for all 4 years of college I went to a gym that was 10 minutes from school, where my cousin taught classes and where health services could easily give me a ride (I cleverly said I was going to PT. I mean, it wasn’t a total lie!) if my roommates didn’t want to go. My my junior and senior years, I was spinning at least 2x a week, sometimes 3 or 4, and was in such good physical and mental shape.  That’s all changed now that the gym is a half hour away and it’s harder to deal with getting there. I go to PT twice a month and try to make the most out of that when I’m there and at home in between, but nothing beats the high from that bike. Transportation is such a huge issue for so many people in my shoes. I wish either that State training system would get better, or there would be more reliable and user-friendly transportation services.

Sorry for the major vent session, it’s just been getting to me lately and what good is this blog if I’m not completely honest to the loyal readers I’ve been so blessed to gain over the past few months?! I guess I just feel like when you live with one foot in the “I have [insert disability here], and I want to be proud of it and strong in spite of it” world, and one foot in the “I live a normal life and want to be treated as such” world; sometimes things…most especially emotions, get lost in the opposition of the two worlds to each other.

Assistive technology

Just a quick post tonight because I’m exhausted and need to rest up for my date with Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One for anyone who might be living under a rock…sorry, but it’s true!) in 12 hours! It’s actually really sad that this era is officially going to be coming to a close soon. 😦

Anyway, tonight we went on a field trip to the New England Assistive Technology (NEAT) Center for my Rehabilitation class. The center deals with all sorts of assistive technology; from car and home modifications, to wheelchairs/walkers/crutches, to high tech stuff like computer mouses (mice?) controlled by your feet and A LOT of apps on the i-pad and i-touch for speech, voice recognition, etc.

One of the technologies we got to talk a lot about and play with was the new Proloquo2go app for the i-pad. This is a augmentive communication app that can say a variety of things just by a person touching a picture or word. Sorry, that was an incredibly simplistic way of describing that, but hopefully you get it. I was SO SO SO excited to hear the women at the center talk about this app because it’s something that Ellen over at Love That Max, who I’ve blogged about as being one of my blogging idols, has talked about.  NOTE: the other idol being my cousin, friend, and all around amazing human, Jen at Marvelously Comical. Check her out too! You won’t be disappointed! If you read this, sorry, I had to! 🙂 )  Anyway, back to the app. I’ve seen videos of Ellen’s son Max using it to communicate a thought and get so excited over doing so! 🙂 It was a really cool moment, for lack of a better world, to tie tonight back to something from my blog family. You can check out a video of Max using his i-pad here and here! Pretty sure you’d be hard pressed to find someone not smiling after watching this!! 

It’s so amazing and inspiring to see all the new technologies that are coming out for kids and adults with special needs! They are all so useful in daily life, and also in encouraging development of new skills and abilities.

Expectations

Disclaimer: I just took my cough medicine with codeine, so we’re all pretty lucky if this post makes sense. Sorry in advance!

I’ve been thinking a lot today about the other “CP stories” I’ve heard from either people I’ve met in my life, or other bloggers that I’ve now developed connections with. The thought came after Greg over at The Casual Vegan (who you should definitely check out if you haven’t already in my previous posts) cross-posted the article I shared yesterday about the man who found joy and freedom from his CP via dance. Greg wrote that this man’s story was a lot like his own as far as doctor’s expectations and opinions about his abilities, as well as the ineffectiveness of much of his time spent in PT.

It’s so interesting/weird to me that so many of us out there, no matter the age, have all gone through the same old process of doctors, PTs, and, for some of us, surgeries. We have all gone and done our own things in life and have lived our lives the way we see fit, yet we’ve all been met with the same attitudes and expectations at one point or another by those doctors, PTs, etc. This is the hand we are dealt. We must live with it. Don’t expect to do this like your peers. You’re not going to be able to handle that. Whatever those things are for each of us, we’ve heard them.

I like to think that things are different now than they were when I was 5 or 6, or even before I was born. Yes, I’m sure they’re better, but they are nowhere near perfect. Children and adults with CP and other disabilities all over the country (don’t even get me started on world view, because it’s 100 times worse in MANY other countries) are still facing that invisible, yet powerful wall of can’ts and don’ts.

I guess it just makes me think…when will this gap start narrowing? When will so many of these health care professionals step up and start believing in their patients/clients/whatever you want to call them, the way they expect us to believe in ourselves? And why is it that we are always expected to lower our own expectations of ourselves to match their’s of us. I absolutely cannot imagine what my life would be like if I (and my parents) did that. I mean, come on; spinning, 5ks, and “normal” exercise in general have become my sanity. That certainly was not what was expected of this 3-month premature, 2lb 2oz baby!

Until they start to “get it”, I suppose we should just keep raising, and surpassing, our own expectations! After all, that’s much more fun than lowering ourselves to someone else’s!

UPDATE!!!

A little update for you all…

I GOT THE MASTER’S GRANT!!!…meaning that this year (and a strong possibility the other 2 years) of my degree are going to be funded in exchange for working for the Rehabilitation Services Administration working with people with disabilities for 2 years once I’ve finished the porgram!! This is what I want/wanted to do anyway, so to have the opportunity to be gauranteed a job and have my degree funded is absolutely a Godsend! 🙂 So pumped!

Also, unrelated, I stumbled upon this article from the NYT about a man with Cerebral Palsy who was able to gain better movement and body awareness through the art of dance. Pretty interesting. Crossroads has a lot of this technique of muscle awareness and stuff down too, and I’ve been going there long enough now that I can honestly say I’m pretty proud of the awareness I have of my own body. But, it was extra cool to see it applied to dance, something I love! Check it out!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/25/arts/dance/25palsy.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&sq=greg%20mozgala&st=cse&scp=1

I’m baaack

It’s been too long since a “real” post on this lovely blog. We can all thank Pneumonia for that. It’s been reallly fun. Note the sarcasm there I hope.

What’s going on lately? School. Times one hundred. I have so many papers and projects due in the next few weeks, I’m thinking my head might explode. I’m trying to check them off of my to do list one at a time though. Then one semester of grad school will be over and I’ll be a happy camper. I’m still waiting to hear back about the grant at school, but the interview went REALLY well and I’ll probably hear by Monday. Fingers crossed, blog people!

This whole being sick and then finding out it was Pneumonia thing has really put a huge damper on my fitness situation. I’m just now starting to be functional (read not wanting to sleep 24/7) and need to get back at it. I’ve definitely kept up my stretching committments, just not much more than that. I guess that’s at least something though. I realized that, because I’ve been sick, I probably won’t be doing anymore 5ks this season, 😦 cue the violins. The last one I wanted to do is on November 20th and I just don’t think I’ll be ready for that. There is one more on December 5th, so maybe I can sqeak one last on in depending on weather and what my PT thinks. I hate asking opinions, but in this case I probably should.

If those don’t work out, I have something really exciting coming up anyway! My cousin Claudia and I will be competing in an indoor triathlon on January 15th. The way they’re run is pretty interesting. Whoever can rack up the most mileage within a 10 minute lap swim, 20 minute run, and 30 minute (spin) bike; then that mileage is converted to points. We’re splitting up the legs so, Claudia is doing the run, I’m doing the bike, and we still need someone to do the swim. Any takers?!?! Bonus, it’s for an awesome cause! The Stroup Kids for Kids Epilepsy Foundation.

I need to get my butt back on the bike though! It’s been so long since a spin class. 😦 I’m thinking of bringing my spin bike in from the garage for the winter (yeah, I’m sure my parents will LOVE that one!) because I never go out and ride it and the class times just aren’t working for me this semester. I also have no idea what mileage I can pull in 30 minutes, so I should probably start testing that out with two months to go. Maybe 6 or 7? My goal would be 9 or so.

Alright, that was a completely pointless post. I should probably go be functional now. Or maybe go back to bed. Be back soon with something more fun to write about!

P.S. I’ve completely lost count of this days thing. Better luck next time?!

So much for 30 days

Well. I tried really hard to do 30 days of blogging. I even wrote a post Saturday before I left for Boston (which was AMAZING by the way!), but then I got home Sunday night and have been sick since. My days have consisted of sleeping and catching up on far too much television. If you’d all bear with me, I’m going to pretend this little hiatus didn’t happen. Moreso because, as far as my other 30 day commitment, I’m still going strong. So, here’s to day 7!?! Sort of, kind of, maybe… 🙂

Blast from the past…kindof

Heart racing, breaths deepening, everything surrounding you gets fuzzy.

I can’t quite explain what it feels like. The room around you fades to grey and all you know is yourself.

Nothing else matters, nothing else is present. Just you and your work.

Sometimes it’s the ones most hard on you that know just when you need that extra push. Or yell. That reminder to keep moving. The clock is against you. They will not hesitate to tell you that.

Faster, harder, stronger. It’s the only way. Or someone else is going to beat you to your glory.

You’ve worked too hard for that to happen. Show it off.

So things have been rough. Everyone screws up. The only important part is that moment you reach the end.

That moment when you look into someone’s eyes and you connect. Realizing that for the first time,

YOU see what everyone has seen in you for so long now.

One set of words echoes in my head. “Did we learn something tonight? That you really can do this?”

It’s really simple. Almost too much so. But those 2 sentences mean the world to you when you are on the receiving end.

And for the first time in your life, you are ready to thank yourself. Not just them.

Because you did it.

Every step, every word, every heartbeat, every drip of sweat. It was all you. There was no more fear, no more hesitation. You went for it and you took it.

As you start to come into focus again and your surroundings reappear, it is in the moment when your eyes connect with someone else’s in the room that you see how truly awesome what you’ve just done is.

This is something I wrote a while ago (maybe almost 2-3 years), yet when I was reading it I was amazed at how true it rings for my life right now and for the 5ks. Sorry, I know, shut up about this topic already!! But I can’t. 🙂 This seems to kindof capture the feeling I have when I’m out there on the course, why I do it, and what it feels like at the end. You see, as I’m heading off to Boston, I’ll leave you with a little problem to ponder that I’m facing. It’s not really a problem, but still.

I don’t just want to walk or run 5ks. I want to be good at them. Really good. Finishing with the pack kind of good. Something definitely changed inside of me this last race!!

A fighting chance

As you might be able to tell by some of my recent posts, I’ve been at a bit of a loss for topics I guess you could say.  I’ve been so busy with trying to get projects and papers done while also making sure I stay on top of my committment to exercise, etc. that I blogged about a few posts back.  I think that’s somewhat bogging down my brain and slowing down my creative juices.  Hopefully they’ll be back and fully functioning by next week, because I’ll have a lot to blog about by then! Well, I hope I will anyway. Monday starts off with a Crossroads appointment, Master’s grant interview, and maybe even a spin class?! Like I said, hopefully lots to blog about.

For today though, I have something really awesome to share!! I don’t know how many people out there are familiar with Kyle Maynard, but Kyle is Mixed Martial Arts Fighter and CrossFit Gym owner (we all know how much Molly loves CrossFit 🙂 ). Oh yeah, he’s also a congential quad amputee. Yep, no arms and legs. Yep, I said MMA Fighter. Intrigued? I was too. This guy is AMAZING! When I first heard about his story I was completely shocked at what he has done with his life and how he’s completely turned it into such an amazing gift to share with others.

 The reason I’m blogging about this today is because on Monday, November 8th at 7pm E.T. ESPN 2 will be airing an hour-long documentary called “A Fighting Chance”, chronicling Kyle’s quest to be the first amputee MMA fighter to compete against another able-bodied fighter. My DVR is already set. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.

This is a video trailer for the documentary with a little glimpse into Kyle’s life.

Thankful Thursday

Generally, I really don’t like these themed blog days, but today a Thankful Thursday post seemed appropriate.  Ever have those days where your mind is everywhere and nowhere at the same time? Today was definitely one of those. I’m not really sure why, but I woke up knowing that was going to be the case.

Wrote a paper this morning, couldn’t stop thinking about my desire to go back to bed until the rain stopped. Worked out, couldn’t stop thinking about how much more I really should be doing daily. Went to class, couldn’t stop thinking about Boston in 48 hours. What can’t I stop thinking about now? Thinking.

We all do it without even realizing we do it. We think. About everything we need to get done, plan events in our heads, fix our (and often the world’s) problems. I’m a thinker in the worst way possible. I have to plan. I love to have lists. I can very rarely do something without a concrete goal in mind. I don’t know if it’s because I hate the idea of the unknown, or if it’s just an organizational thing, but I am always thinking. And definitely not always about my own life. I am admittedly one of those world problem solver types. It’s a blessing and a curse I tell you.

I bet you think I’m going to wrap this post up with some neat little sentiment how I’m so thankful for the ability to think, that my cognitive processes are all intact and luckily not something strongly affected by my CP. Don’t get me wrong, and I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone. I am thankful for that, as we all should be. What I am more thankful for tonight though, are those moments when I’m not thinking. Those moments when I don’t have time to think things through fully. Those moments when I listen to my heart instead of my head. Those moments when everything stops, and I just am. I am in this moment, in this space. Living.

I know there has to be something going on in my mind and my heart that sparked this, though that has not been revealed to me yet. The one thing I do know is that the reason I love these moments the most is because they are ignoring the things we (okay, I won’t speak for all of us!) I tend to live my life around far too often: fear and control. When I stop thinking, stop planning, stop “figuring out”–that is when the great adventures start to come into my life; the things I hope for and dream of. The things I fight for.

So, tonight, I suppose you could say I’m thankful for the quiet, the stop lights of life within my mind and my soul that cause me to just go with my heart and go with the light shining on the path.

That was a very random post. Thanks for listening.