Tuesday, February 3, 2015

And there's always the grace...

As I wrote about in Instead of Sweating It Out - Sweat It Out, I had a less than optimal experience with a physical therapist to rehab my left knee. I embraced the lessons that came out of the experience and worked out my own training program. Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab is an integral part of my program.

Because of yesterday's snowstorm and sub-zero temperatures with the wind chill, I was the only person who showed up for today's Joint Integrity class. I'm sure that Abbey, who coordinates the Aquatics Therapy program and Kate, the aide, would have much preferred staying home or at least getting a later start to their day but Kate was there to greet me at 8 am cranking the tunes to accompany the class and making sure towels were available to dry off after the class, and Abbey was getting ready to get in the pool. Kate asked me how I was doing; I told her about the experience last week and she told me that if I wanted or needed she would "hook me up" with a therapist on the Charlestown campus. It's great to know I have options and that there are so many wonderful, caring people to support me on my health and wellness journey.

Since I was the only participant, Abbey said that she wanted to mix it up for me and offer me exercises that are best done one on one. We used the entire length of the pool using a buoyancy belt. It challenged me physically and neurologically. Abbey is warm and supportive, encouraging me while I worked with the challenge, and sharing in the joy and freedom I experience when I am in the pool. We did upper body strength training working all the different upper body muscles using dumbbells. Rather than give a specific number of repetitions, she watched me for fatigue and then gave me 3 or 4 more reps to do.

After different exercises going from the shallow to the deep end, and upper body strength training, Abbey had me swim to the deep end. She brought out a StrechCordz Short Resistance Training Belt and had me attach it to my buoyancy belt.

Instead of swimming, she had me run upright pointing out that it is perfectly safe for my knee because we were in the deep end. I felt such joy and happiness and overwhelming gratitude to Abbey for creating wonderful, healing, challenging moments for me in the pool. I sweat and I felt a runner's high and I know in every fiber of my being that I WILL be back on the roads. I once again felt like a compelling athlete, a phrase that Ross Lilley, founder and Executive Director of AccesSportAmerica uses when describing the athletes of all abilities he works with. I had absolutely no knee pain! She said that during the last 30 seconds to really give it all I had. I imagined myself approaching a finish line of a race. As she counted down from 10 she encouraged me to really pour it on and when I was done I threw my arms up in victory. She had me swim back to the shallow end for a series of great upper body and lower body stretches.

I felt incredibly blessed and grateful that I have a wonderful support crew to get me back doing what I love and need to do for my physical, mental and spiritual well being. Everyone knows how important it is for me to return to the roads.

At times, we can feel frustrated and disappointed when it seems that what we had planned and hoped for didn't pan out as we thought. But it doesn't matter in the long run because there is always the grace.

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.

50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.

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