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First Harvest of Hopes and Successes

This week was the first week back at school, and as some of you might figure, I was pretty nervous. With the five month flare from hell that happened last semester and for most of this summer, I've been pretty nervous about how coming back to school is going to go. I'm happy to say that this week has, so far, gone okay.

First, I should probably give a general health update. The pain is still not down where I wish it could be, and I am having to work really hard to pace myself and slowly increase my physical abilities, I am still a lot better than I was earlier this summer. I'm walking without a walker. I still have one with me at school, but I am not using it so far. It's here in case I start to have flare issues and need it to make sure that I'm not stranded in bed for a day until I can get help from the doctors on what to do. My work in the areas of medications, pool physical therapy, biofeedback and the help from all of the friends, family and professionals who have cared enough to help in so many different ways means that I'm able to be back at school!

Sunday was move in day and that actually went pretty well. The nice thing about where I live this year is that it's in the same building as I lived in last year. It's also still an ADA accessible apartment and I'm living with some great people I know from last year. The fact that we're in the same building (apartment looks the same except for the colors), means that it was easier knowing what layout works well for me. I'm still looking for somethings and figuring out where the best place for them is, but, for me at least, the move in was a lot smoother. It's also good that I know the people I'm living with (one of my room mates from last semester is in our apartment this year). I'm not worried so much about dynamics, or proving that I can handle apartment life.

Monday was a day of pleasant surprises. My first pleasant surprise was a call from a friend I met in my social work classes. She came over with her yellow lab Leo (the funny story is that she heard me talk to Julio and thought I was saying Leo at first). The second surprise came after we had coffee at Brewberry's. We walked back and I did it without making my pain too much worse. That's exciting for me. It means that working up to the route over there and back isn't going to be impossible.

Monday was a very hot day, so consequently, I was hot and nasty and needed a shower or a bath. Our apartment has two bathrooms: the one on my side of the apartment is accessible with bars and a roll-in-shower and the other one is designed like the typical bathrooms with no bars and a bath tub. Last year, I used the bath tub pretty frequently since showering caused a lot of pain. I didn't necessarily want a bath on a really hot day, though, and hadn't really asked about being able to take a bath in the bathroom on the other side of the apartment, so I decided to try taking a shower. From my experiences at the pool before therapy, I knew that there are ways to use the hand held shower and get wwet without really having the spray touch my left, painful, leg. So, I got set up with a new shower gel from the
Discon sale, a shampoo bar, conditioner, a wash cloth and a shower chair. I sat down, got the water to the right temperature and took my shower. I'm an adventurous sort and I wanted to see if the hard work with desensitization using fabrics and the jets in the pool had paid off. I am proude to say that I successfully took a shower, including soaping down and spraying off my leg and it didn't hurt so bad. Actually, I enjoyed the experience. It was wonderful to enjoy a shower on a hot day again and know that I'd worked so hard to be able to do it. I left campus with a walker, bearly able to put weight on my foot, having severe pain with touch and finding even a tub bath painful. I couldn't even go to my favorite coffee shop, even with a friend because I couldn't walk far enough and getting the walker in there would have pretty much been impossible. And I returned to campus, came back from coffee walking with Julio and a cane and took and enjoyed a shower. Not bad for my first day on campus.

Tuesday wasn't so great, I'm making several med changes (not ones crucial to the pain relief) and my body was doing weird things. But I recovered.

Wednesday, I went to coffee with friends, successfully exicuted the route to and from the counseling center to make an appointment, had some good conversations with people I've gotten to know who work on my way to and from there and then had lunch with social work friends. I had class in the evening and found that my perception that I can concentrate better with the new meds I'm on seems to be true so far.

Today my body has forcefully said "REST!!!" and I've mostly just listened. I did get to have a very nice conversation with a friend I hadn't talked voice to voice with in ages which was very cool.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how things have gone so far. I know that it's not a predictor of how well things will go the rest of the semester. And I have a long way to go in the recovery department. But I'm back and I'm excited to be here.


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Sep. 5th, 2008 11:06 am (UTC)
Fantastic! :)
Hey, just wnated to say that that's totally cool that stuff's working out for ya so far! :) Let's hope it continutes. :) I'm definitely praying for ya as well. Take care. mark
Sep. 5th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
Hi, Nickie,

Thanks very much for your lovely comment on my fledgeling blog! Your suggestions were really helpful and I'll definitely be looking into them, especially the moist heating pad.

I tried to send you a message via your site here, but when I tried to send the site was having an issue and I kept losing it... I hope you received one of the messages eventually!

Glad to hear that the start of your school seems to be going well so far. I'm considering a return to school myself in the near future so it gives me hope that it will be feasible for me, too.

Of great interest to me was your relating your bathing issues as I have encountered some myself. My current home has a shower/bath, but the bath is so small, it only holds half of an adult and is therefore impractical for actual washing. The shower works, but I'm unable to stand long enough to wash. And that tiny tub means I can't fit a shower chair in, either!

It really is the little things sometimes, like being able to bathe easily and without pain, isn't it?

I'll be reading...

Sep. 8th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
Hey, that sounds pretty positive. I'm glad you were able to do so much. I hope this semester goes well for you.
Sep. 15th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
I think your blog is great!
I think your blog is terrific, and I would like to feature you on Wellsphere (http://www.wellsphere.com). Would you drop me an email?
Good health!
Geoffrey W. Rutledge, MD, PhD
Dec. 11th, 2008 07:10 am (UTC)
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
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