More rambles

There are so many random thoughts going through my head today. I blame the absolutely GORGEOUS weather!

Dear Mother Nature, can it please stay like this from now on?? 🙂

Thanks to everyone who showed their support on my last two posts. I definitely felt it. I am happy to report that I’m back on track and really ready to go again. I find myself questioning so many things all the time, but it always comes back to my heart and the dreams and goals that sit, impatiently, inside waiting to be let out. They haven’t changed in years. And that’s OKAY. They are what I want to do, what make me happy, for ME. And I’m going to do them. (I’ll get into what some of those are at a later date).

So, for now, it’s back to basics–stretching everyday (EW!), crawling, standing, walking. And, most importantly, remembering that I need to breathe every now and then. I tend to forget that all too often 🙂

Big Picture

I’ve always prided myself on being a “look at the big picture” kind of girl. For the most part. I mean, except for the whole, “I want to accomplish this and I want to accomplish it RIGHT NOW” attitude I sometimes find myself having. But who doesn’t experience that feeling sometime of another in their life?

I had a Crossroads appointment Monday, that I happened to squeeze into at the last minute. I’ve been so happy with how things are going, and still am. I wake up every morning–no joke–and thank God for bringing me to this place and to these therapists; because for the first time in, honestly ever, it feels right. It’s difficult for me to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, why Crossroads is so amazing and why it has worked for me when so many people didn’t think it would and so many other therapies really haven’t. But the more I go for appointments, the more I realize I don’t need to explain anything, because I know it, and I feel it. 

Like I said in a few post back, I was struggling recently with feeling like I’m not doing enough for myself outside of PT and one my own. I talked, at length, about it with my PT Anthony yesterday and his answer was one that I didn’t expect. So I thought I’d share his insights here, for any interested readers.

I basically said that I didn’t feel like I was doing anything because I may work on standing for 3 minutes a day, or stretching and that’s it. And, while I know those things are all helpful, they don’t feel like enough because I’m so used to the mindset of “okay, do these 5 exercises and cross them off your list everyday”. Anthony laughed, and we had a long conversation about how your body isn’t made to work that way. We don’t do things in isolated movements. We don’t lift a box by simply curling our biceps. We are dynamic movers. We use our movement systems and our postural systems together. They feed off of each other. So, why would we want to intentionally seperate something that doesn’t work seperately? Good point.

The second question I asked was sort of more specific to me, but can also be useful to anyone reading–disability or not. More about the brain and thinking through a task and why, sometimes,  you seem to get caught up on some part of the task. Anthony told me when I’m working on something to focus on what I’m trying to accomplish only, not every step, because our bodies do all of that extra thinking at a level below our consciousness so that we don’t have to; and when we try to over think or work against that, it becomes harder. Makes complete sense.

Yet, it’s not something we ever think about because we’re all taught that working out the “right way”, again disability or not, means to do a certain number of this or that so many times a week. But in reality, it’s all about the big picture. Because how often when you’re functioning on a daily basis are you really going to stop and say, “Okay, now I have to shift my weight to my right foot”? Never. Or hardly ever. So, why start that habit when practicing to do something?

I think, in a way, (for my parent readers out there especially!) kids have it right. For many children with and without special needs, anything they do is trial and error. And it’s also done without higher order thinking. Okay, mainly because they haven’t developed that yet, but still! There are some things worth overanalyzing, but I’m starting to learn that the movement of your or your child’s body isn’t one of them. You can aid it in ways that might be easier or more efficient, but really it’s taking the time to work through itself, even if it’s a slow pace.

It’s all becoming much more clear why everyone’s body is made to go through the developmental sequence. There’s a reason we roll, crawl, sit, etc. in the order we do. Forgive me if I don’t know the correct order, still haven’t gotten through the whole sequence at 22. 🙂 It’s also becoming more clear that, if I want the end of that sequence: walking, the stages I’ve “missed out” on are what I should be working on.

Like I said, now it’s all making sense as to why this might take years to accomplish. Just some food for thought.

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.

Exercise, More Than Just Weights and Gyms

Okay, okay, I’ve been a bad blogger! I’m sorry! I know I have so many posts to write, including a recap of the Hope is Coming 5k and everything about Camp Care 2010. They’ll come, I promise! Right now though, when I can’t sleep, something else is coming to my mind…exercise.

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve always loved exercise! Okay, maybe not loved, but it’s always interested me at least. Even when it wasn’t really something I was good at. And even when it was just annoying stretches, that seemed really pointless, the school PTs I had would give me. I knew there had to be some benefit. As I got older, exercise went from being more of a chore, to really becoming a hobby for me. Whether it was karate, horseback riding, spinning, lifting, and now running, I always have loved the concept of pushing my body to a point where it isn’t a body with a neurological condition anymore-it’s a body. Period. A body that needs to tap into it’s mental strength to get through the workout.

Running, well walking, has been at the forefront of my hobbies lately as most of you know, and I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming more serious with it. And by serious I mean actually training for prolonged periods of time instead of the week before a race. 🙂 I decided to google CP, exercise, runner, and blog to see what came up and came across two wonderful bloggers and their blogs: Katy over at Teen Cerebral Palsy and Greg over at The Casual Vegan. Both have CP, and both are very much into exercise. On one of Katy’s posts, Greg commented with the question of how many of us are into serious exercise, so I thought I’d add my two cents.

Even though my history with exercise has been pretty much on going in some way or another for my whole 21 years, it really has begun to pick up recently and I consider it to be at an even bigger starting point right now than it ever has been.

For the past few months, after my treatments at Crossroads I’ve been going downstairs to work with Dan in the gym. If you’re reading this, hey dude, you’re famous. 🙂 The whole concept intimidated me at first. It took me years-literally-to join a gym, and I’m still not fully comfortable doing any form of organized exercise with another person. This was going to be a whole new test for me. Sometimes even the little tasks that you wouldn’t even think would be an issue for me if you knew me, like shooting a basketball, are tough. It’s not something I really like to make an issue of, so letting someone who I consider my best friend see something like that was not something I was looking forward to.
Painfully long story short, thank God that Dan has this job, because it definitely helps to have someone you trust and who believes in you working with you (Side note to my new special needs parent readers: listen to your child if they tell you they don’t like their PT. Chances are it’s more than they just don’t like the exercise itself. The relationship is THE most important factor in success!!).
Some days are harder than others, just like they would be for the average person in a workout. Some tasks are harder than others. As me to do a push-up? Done. My arms are beasts. Ask me to practice walking using only a giant physio ball as my balancing aid? I’m sweating and exhausted after 3 steps.

No matter what it is I’m working on though, that same feeling of pushing my body comes through. I have goals just like anyone else. And I need to work to make them happen. I think this has really started to hit me between Camp this year and last week’s workout.

Phase One: I’ll get more into this when I get the time to write a true Camp post, but one night afterward, a bunch of us decided to do a Crossfit workout (read between the lines: INSANE!). I don’t really know what pushed me to want to join everyone that night, I still say it was divine intervention, but here I was in a room of people that I look up to immensely for their physical and mental strength and I was about to workout along side them. I was all set to have my own little Molly workout somewhere off to the side while they did their thing, when I was pretty much told that wasn’t happening and I was doing the same workout. Okay, so I didn’t do the 50 pull-ups, but that was purely for logistical reasons. I did 50 pull-downs instead. 🙂 For the first time, I was completely comfortable and completely in this element. The mental overtook the physical and I was just pushing to get to the goal. Which happened to be girls vs. guys, so clearly I needed to do my part.

Phase Two: This week I was working with Dan and I was walking with the ball. I was getting completely exhausted super quick as usual, but I needed this week to be different. I’ve been selling myself so short lately with so many things and I needed to push through being tired and scared that I was going to fall any second and just keep working toward my goal literally one step at a time. For me, it’s always going to be harder to push through the barrier-physical or mental-in this type of a setting because it’s one-on-one. Not to mention that because I’m working on tasks that are meant to push my body and meant to help me get stronger in ways that I greatly lack due to having CP, the chance for struggle and frustration is going to be much higher. But something that I had to do this week made me realize that, that struggle and frustration is okay because it’s getting me somewhere. I was standing and holding on to a set of suspended rings for balance. I was pretty nervous and probably having a little harder time than I was letting on. I for sure thought I couldn’t hold myself up on my legs any longer, but probably made it at least 30 seconds longer than I was telling myself I could. Afterward I started thinking that it doesn’t matter if I’m working my butt off running miles as some would, or if I’m spending that extra 30 seconds working on a balance activity. I’m still pushing my body and I’m still going to get my goals.

Finding the right balance of pushing myself and holding back was hard for me at first, and it still is. I want to treat my body just as anyone else would treat theirs, but I also have to be prepared for it sometimes to physically react differently with more fatigue and recovery time. I’m not too good at this, because it requires patience, a virtue I have yet to fully master, but I’m getting there. I’m constantly learning anytime I do any form of workout, that my body is just like everyone else’s in that it’s going to change from day to day and I really need to listen to it. That doesn’t mean though that I give myself a free pass to just sit on the couch all day because I have CP and need to modify some things or because someone says it might not be the best idea for my body. I know my body. I will make that decision.

No, I don’t know how many of us out there are into serious exercise (sorry if you were looking for that statistical answer), but I know I officially can’t live without it.

Oh, and one more note to my parent readers: if your child shows any interest at all in any form of physical activity or recreation-or even if they don’t-don’t hesitate to get them involved!! Even if a doctor, or PT, or protective family member tells you not to. And even if it’s not necessarily geared toward kids with special needs. I think sometimes it’s better for it to be a more mainstream activity. They will tell you what is right for them. And it just might change their life. It changed mine!!