Howdy Hydrocephalus

Understanding my unique gyroscope


Leave a comment

Building Endurance

This year is all about my spoons. I am taking great thought and consideration in my daily activities and routines…okay for the most part. I have only a couple over did it days in the last two months rather than one or two a week. I am feeling positive that if I keep this strategy up, I will see more improvement.

So how am I doing this? A variety of ways.

  1. I bought four Echo Dots for the house. When I first saw the ads on TV, I wasn’t too sure it would be right for me. I spent a couple weeks surfing the net and finding lots of great information such as this article sharing some of the benefits that assistive AI technilogy can help people with various abilities. I was not getting any help with the local brain injury clinic so I took the plunge and bought four. Each boy has one in their rooms; there is one on the mainfloor in kitchen and one that travels with me in the car, at my studio and in the master bedroom. The Echo Dot helps me keep organized. 20180208_110948_HDRIt will tell me my missed notifications and what I have upcoming. I can set various alarms such as to wake up, eat, medicine, drink, pick up kids, remind kids have shower etc…. I can drop into the boys rooms and tell them it is dinner or they need a shower. I can make lists by telling Alexa “to add…to my list”. There is so much that it has helped me with but I will need an entire blog post to tell you about my discoveries.
  2. We got a family membership at the local YMCA where I have been working with a friend who is a personal trainer. She has introduced me to TRX suspension workouts. These workouts are great because I do not have to worry about falling. I use my own body weight and do a short body workout…ten minutes so I don’t overdo it and spend two days in bed. With her help I have begun jogging again. We walk one lap and jog two laps for 15 minutes. I was scared to get running shoes because they always had these overhangs with the sole acting like a heel so I would lose my balance easily. However, after much searching I found the perfect running shoe and love it. It is light and doesn’t have the heel thing so I feel secure. It is a Nike running Shoe that even fits my narrow feet awesome. I was so happy to find a pair. When my friend is not with me, we found out that an eliptical machine is the best machine for me. I can monitor my heart rate and hang on so it makes falling off less of a chance. I am supposed keep my heart rate at 145 bpm so I don’t hurt my head. I use a FitBit to help with running and the rest of my daily routine. I don’t have to scroll through all the screens to get to continous heart beat like my previous fitness band. I almost fell of the eliptical about ten times because I kept trying to monitor my heart rate. Now all I need to do is either flick my wrist for screen to light up and there it is! Easy peasy:)
  3. The third major routine changer is bring back my wall calendar and paper calendar. I now function with my digital calendar, wall calendar and paper calendars. I use a Daytimer 30 day wall calendar.  This calendar sits right beside my laptop computer20180208_110921_HDR

The other side of this calendar has a 60 days. I used that only before and hated it because I can not write small enough. Now I use the 30 days side can almost fit most things in. Above is my calendar and it is not filled out all the way. I use different colours of  ultra fine dry erase markers for each family member. It has been working awesome. 20180208_112629_HDR.jpgI also use two two Blueline miracle bind books. One is a weekly calendar. that gives me room to jot down everything and goes to 8:30pm and we have a lot of hockey or volleyball at those times. The second is the teal book that is undated note organizer with pages that can move in and out of book or into different sections based on my notes. I use my Google keep for mostly links and other stuff that I find interesting, but I can not put anything else on it as I will forget to look. The teal book comes with me everywhere but my planner stays by my computer so I won’t lose it.

4. I forgot because I now carry so much stuff to keep myself organized…I needed a bag to fit it all in. I am not a purse person, but when I do I use a crossbody bag. Even then if I put it down, I may forget about it and walk off with the bag lying on a restaurant or hockey rink seat. I began my search…there were bags that were too small,  too fashionista for me, or way too large. After about two weeks I took a chance on a leather backpack that could fit my ipad, apple pen, keyboard, wallet, phone, sketching pad & pens, phone charger, water or coffee container or both and a snack or two. Often it carries hockey balls and hockey tape as well! This leather backpack did not break the bank and looks nice enough I could wear it out to a restaurant. It is big enough that I have not forgotten it anywhere…yet!

Of course I am working on a bunch of other stuff too but this post has taken up a lot of my time today and I still have to put five listings on my Etsy store. It is called Crowsnest Cre8tions and I make downloadable posters and graphics. isla_280x280.29169110_36m4np9q I haven’t made much money yet…but slowly I will get there too! If interested in earning free listings and opening up your own online store. Check out Etsy here.

Disclaimer: The blog is a documentation of my life living with Hydrocephalus and Brain Injury.  It is not professional advice but tools and techniques that have worked for me via trial and error under the guidance of my medical team. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Consult your medical team. The links above contain affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you; I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.

Advertisements

The Summer of Milestones

Leave a comment

This summer has been amazing. Because I have been on my pituitary meds and energy medicine for almost a year, I have gained ten pounds, built a little muscle and endurance back.  Because of this I pushed the physical side more than I have since my brain surgery five years ago. 

Last summer I started with some easy flat hikes; paddle boarding more  and just flat easy biking. This year we have not hiked much but instead took to my old passion mountain biking. It was a spur of the moment when I bought my new to me Marin at a local bike swap. We went there to get the Wy, D & Mr. C new to them bikes.  We started the boys on flat trails, then logging roads and then to some trail riding. Well it was a test on my patience because every ride there would be one frustrated boy in tears because he fell one too many times or sacked themselves from not listening to me about riding the trail off their seats. Being the mean mom I am, I would say falling is apart of the experience. The bruises and cuts are stories to tell. I would say they are building balance and muscles that will help for hockey. We did 20km flat rides but shorter trail rides but often there teary statements of “I am never riding a bike again” to only ask to go biking the next day. Wy gave me the best compliment the other day. He called me a ” mountain bike expert”. I laughed and said “I am far from an expert. The last 50km ride I did was a long long time ago.” But It made my day and said “thanks”.

The biggest milestone took place when my brother, R-man and his two kidlets, C & M visited.  When I lived in the Kootenays many moons ago I spent a winter travelling 50km each way to learn how to kayak in the Nelson, BC swimming pool at night. I kayaked until I moved to Manning, Alberta. Six years ago, I bought a white water kayak again. I think I only used a few times before I was too sick to. Then the spring after my surgery I liquidated all my fun stuff I couldn’t do anymore; camera, studio equipment, kayak, TKD equipment, running shoes, cruise vest, soil probe, and identification books for work. I kept my Giant & golf clubs.

 Last summer we wanted to go white water rafting but we ran out of time. So after we were all together I called Canyon Raft Company located in Fernie, BC. I booked us all. I showed the kids pics and when I saw the looks of terror on two of their faces, I said that the pics were taken at higher water levels. We were rafting at low water levels knowing that I was telling a small fib. 

So we drive to Fernie Alpine Resort where we are picked up on the bus. The driver, who is one of the two owners, let us know about some Great Lakes nearby and hiking. In Elko, we got to see where there is a 40ft waterfall where some very experienced kayakers like to drop off of only at low water because even then it is dangerous. It was beautiful. We then drove to our starting point.

But before we got into the rafts, we got our gear on, wetsuit, helmet & paddle for most but not for someone like me that has body regulation issues. When I get cold my fingers and toes can turn white or purple. But I was prepared. I brought my swimsuit, on top of that I had my thin one piece thin outfit for paddle boarding, next the wetsuit, then water socks, I also grabbed a spray jacket and eye Glass band. We received a lecture about the gear and our hike down to the boats.

The hike down was beautiful. Sport sandals or shoes that can get wet mandatory!!!

At the bottom we met all the guides and the photographer. We received a very thorough safety briefing and then were broken into our groups for the paddle. Our guide has been in Canada six years. She left Melbourne for the mountains – water in summer and powder in winter. Along with us is the owner of the company and the seven of us. M is too nervous to paddle so she rides the trip but gives us all the best facial expressions that we see in later photographs. I am grateful to have an extra adult because I am not too sure how the three boys in the back are going to do….mmm…slack it and watch the adults work…I am almost 100% sure. R-man and me are in the front. With Mr. C behind me.  Once settled with the group photo taken we are off first down the river.  Whoa…hold it….we are the last boat in the line. I picked it because I thought we would be last….oh but no..here we go with the first two sets of Rapids back to back. All I remember is one is called something about marbles.

It is a weird feeling. Trying to coordinate paddling with R-man while trying to keep an eye ahead and listen to our guide’s directions. All I could think of was am I dong this right, trying to have myself breathe to calm down and not get overwhelmed and not to get distracted by the scenery or water.  Around the bend we go and wow the adrenaline is kicking. Once we finished we relax and wait for the other three boats. We have two fall out from one of the three boats but everyone is safe and put back in. During our waiting my right side is going all twitchy and my right arm feels weak. The thoughts that go through my head are “oh no…am I done. We just started. Can I paddle the entire  What is going on. Am I dehydrated?” I have some water and it was the right thing to have. Then we forward paddle into our third rapid…something about a shoe. 

 Here we are heading into the third set. We hit a rock with a jar and all stay in.  I go ass over tea kettle after we hit a second rock right when I am leaning out to paddle a wave. My paddle stays with me in a death grip. Mr. C see me go in and reaches for me and he goes in. When I fell out I couldn’t see a thing. I wanted to swim to boat but then was told to put feet up and cruise and that is what I did. I flew. It was awesome, you can see they had to throw the rope float bag at me. While Mr. C got to hang onto the outside of boat. I grabbed C’s paddle as it floated by me. When I get in, we are all laughing. Wy said he flew into C, C lost a paddle and D was flying and was heading for the water but was saved by our amazing guides. What a rush!!!Mr. C goes up front for the rest of the trip and we go have more rafting fun….brrrr. I am working so hard that I am still keeping warm. Win for me!!!

We make it through the rapids to an amazing float section with pristine coloured water. Then we have lunch. After lunch before we hit the canyon we get to try our hand at cliff jumping. There are three choices low, medium and high jumps. Of course Wy & C start the trend with the medium jump.  Mr. C does the large jump, I do the medium jump & M does the small jump.

Here they are jumping.then all our guides show us how it is really done.After this we hit the canyon with a waterfall, lots of whitewater, surfing a hole…during lunch I got really cold with purple fingers. I ended up lying on warm roaches trying to stop my teeth chattering. I ended up putting on the spray jacket for rest of trip, except cliff jumping and it saved me. there was so many much action that everyone was hooting, hollering, screaming and laughing.  We had to avoid a big rock by turning and hitting a rapid. It was the best rapid of the day….okay hard to choose favourites but I think the adults in the group agreed with this.D raises his arms in glory. We missed the rock. But the best fun for Wy, D & M was….riding the bull. When we hit the landing place, I barely could get out of Raft, my coordination, balance from my whacked internal gyroscope was completely off. I was shaky and didn’t clue how dehydrated that I had become because I was cold, I didn’t drink. Mr. C helps me get dressed in dry clothes by holding up towels. I was riding on a high that I had completed this milestone. I knew that I had used up all my spoons and would need recovery time but it was so worth it. We will be doing this every year from now on.

I was not the only one beat. R-man & Mr. C were sore; the kidlets fell asleep on bus ride and in car ride to Coleman. 

Mr. C always gives me crap that I push myself too hard. I say that if I didn’t push myself as hard as I do, I would still be shuffling my right foot and having a right hand that accidentally drops or throws things. I know self care is mandatory but so is also living and having fun.