Monday, February 25, 2013

10 Funny Little Ways I Know I'm Getting Better

Most of you know that I've been dealing with health issues, specifically Lyme Disease for several years now.  One of the questions people ask is "Are you better yet?"  I also hear a lot of "When will you be done with all of this?"  It's hard to answer these questions because every case of Lyme is different, each treatment plan is tailored to the patient, and there is no way of knowing when it will all be over.  But, there are clues along the way that provide hints to improvement.  Test results and symptom relief are two indicators that I am doing better.  But there are also some some funny little ways that I know I'm getting better.  Here is my list of 10 silly clues that my health is headed in the right direction.

  1. I can stand up in the shower.   I no longer wish I had one of those plastic chairs designed for elderly or disabled people to sit on in the shower.  At one point taking a shower was so hard I sometimes didn't take one.  Other times I'd take a bath instead.  There were also times that I'd find myself daydreaming about a detachable shower head and a shower stool so I could just sit down in the shower.  I don't want those things anymore and that's a sign of improvement.
  2. I can wear shoes with heels! I've always enjoyed a great pair of heels, a tall pair of boots, and can easily find a reason that I really need a new  pair of shoes.  There was a time however that just looking at a pair of heels was painful.  I wore flats and slippers almost exclusively for probably a good year or so.  Recently, I discovered that I can wear heels again, without pain, and you know I'm taking every opportunity I can to rock my new boots and I'm looking forward to wearing wedges as soon as it warms up a little.
  3. My t-shirts are getting tight.  A while ago I lost a bunch of weight and a lot of it was muscle.  I was so scrawny that I hardly recognized myself.  Just the other day I realized that several of my favorite shirts were feeling tight around the arms and that's when I realized I have gained back some of the weight and a good part of it is muscle.  I actually have biceps and shoulders again! 
  4. I can survive a trip to the grocery store.  In the last few weeks I've been able to plan a menu, go grocery shopping, put groceries away, and cook all in the same day!  That may not seem like an impressive feat, but there was a period when I would rush through the produce section because the cool air would make me start twitching and before I made it 1/3 of the way through the health food market, I'd be standing in the middle of an isle with a blank stare on my face, not really sure what I was shopping for.  I'm glad to be done with that.  Neurological episodes and twitching in public was not my favorite thing.  I still need help pushing a cart full of groceries, but I'm no longer seriously considering using one of those electric chairs with a basket attached. 
  5. My toenails are prettier.  Maybe that seems like a weird thing to say, but for a while even my toenails looked sick.  There were rough and bumpy and not so pretty, but now they've started growing in much smoother and healthier looking.  That's evidence to me that the environment in my body is healthier.  Yay for pretty toes.
  6. I can dance!!!!  I got pretty excited when I found a groupon for drop in salsa lessons.  I love to dance, but I haven't had the strength or endurance to do it in a while.  Since I have been feeling pretty good lately I thought I'd give it a try and I was surprised how well I did.  I was able to survive a 50 minute class without a massive recovery time afterwards.  Luckily, beginning classes like these have a lot of stopping and starting so I never get too tired.  I'm hoping I can go again soon.   
  7. I can pick up a gallon of milk.  Just the other day I was out grocery shopping with my roommate and I picked up a gallon of milk and carried it in from the car.  I was so happy when I discovered that it didn't even seem heavy to me.  Not that long ago I had to buy a smaller Clean Canteen because my 32 oz size was too heavy for me to lift to my mouth, and now I'm lifting gallons of milk no problem.  Maybe that's how I'm getting muscles in my arms again.
  8. I can exercise.  It's a reasonable assumption that if I was having a hard time showering and drinking water that I wasn't really doing much in the way of exercising.  Before Lyme I was really active and it's been hard for me to learn how to be so sedentary and still.  I've been happy to discover that I can occasionally exercise again.  I've been rebounding, stretching/yoga, walking, lifting little pink 2 pound weights, doing crunches and squats, dancing, I even went indoor rock climbing!  My endurance is still low and my recovery time is LONG, but I am able to occasionally get out and move around and I'm loving it!
  9. I got behind the wheel.  Driving is one of the hardest things for me even still.  It requires a lot of mental energy, focus, rapid decision making, memory, attention to details, sensory input, etc.  For the most part, I still rely on others to do most of the the driving, but if I'm having a good day I can sometimes drive myself a short distance and it sure is nice to have a little bit of independence every now and then.
  10. My zest for life is returning.  This is a big one.  Simply having enough energy and brain power to even feel excited and desire to go out and do stuff is fantastic.  I'm excited for myself and I'm looking forward to trying more and more activities that I haven't done in years.  Just feeling desire, motivation, and excitement swell up inside of me is so thrilling.  I'm really glad that after all I've been through these last few years it hasn't dulled my spirit and that underneath all of the symptoms and feeling funky I'm still me inside.  
So, those are my top ten funny little ways that I know I'm getting better.  What clues do you have that you are headed in the right direction?

Questions, comments, and encouragement are always welcome.

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