Friday, February 1, 2013

Dance in the rain

I really enjoyed doing my daily blog in January and am delighted some of my friends have asked me to keep going because it gives me a great reason (/excuse) to do so!

I thought this month I'll keep going with the inspirational thing, since I certainly need lots of it right now!  So I'm going to mix some things I love together - books, quotes, words and art - and try to post an inspirational picture and quote, combined or linked, every day.  I've been working on some inspirational art to put up on my walls - I figure an overload of motivation and positive thoughts can only be good... Plus, it gives me another theme.

I have just actually spent a couple of hours managing to hang some pictures on my wall. (Awkwardly, but accomplished! Ok, half-finished...)  Sometimes it feels amazing how my body has got used to doing things with such limited use of my right arm... one of the questions on the shoulder function questionnaire I've done a lot (at various places... many many times...) asks how much difficulty do you have getting dressed? (I can't do this/ much difficulty/some difficulty/ no difficulty) and I'm never quite sure what to put anymore.  Initially, getting dressed one handed was a real challenge - there were times I needed help as I simply couldn't do it on my own; but now I am quite adept at getting my left arm out of my left sleeve without requiring the right arm to 'pull' (go on, try it! It's not easy!!) - so getting dressed is not difficult anymore. (Ok, there may have been a couple of occasions I've got stuck in a dress this winter and had to shout for help from my Mum, but just a couple!) But that's not because I don't have a problem, it's because there just seems to be this amazing ability in the human brain to adapt and make something work, so I never know what answer to put on the questionnaire (then multiply that by about 20 questions... although after question 5, I pretty much fail at everything)!

And as much as that's a good thing, it is also my biggest problem right now.  My Dad was talking to our friend, the neurologist who has been treating me (actually, who saved me by getting to the actual diagnosis) and he said to my Dad that everything is working, mechanically, now, it's just "in there" and tapped his head.  My Dad (despite sometimes asking me a similar thing or telling me it's having confidence in my body - which I then disagree with: it's not!) said he felt quite defensive of me and said he didn't think it was that, I was really trying as hard as I could and working hard.  Our friend laughed and said that wasn't what he meant, it was not psychological, it was the brain that had to 'learn' how to make the muscles work again.  It gets 'stuck' in a pattern of movement - and it's SO hard for me to really understand this, because I just think I should be able to make my body move however I want - but it gets stuck because it has developed certain movements, as a protective movement or as an alternative movement to prevent pain and now my challenge is to change the neuromuscular pathways; to teach my brain how to use my muscles normally again and this will increase my movement, which will eventually allow me to start increasing my strength, which will - hopefully - eventually reduce my pain!!

When I think back to February last year, I was SO excited to be getting the surgery and finally having doctors who knew what was wrong with me and how to fix it. But I had no idea what lay ahead... Just as well...!

Today I have a picture I painted (well, I use the word loosely because dribbled paint and blew on it is more accurate) and a card on a bookshelf that go together.  I've had the card a while, and I love the quote and a few months ago I saw a similar picture somewhere and thought it really visualised the quote on the card; so I painted my own version of it and I really love the outcome:

And my quote for today is for my Mum.  It's her favourite, and so very true:

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." 

  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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