I’m very fortunate to have the advice of a fully qualified exercise physiologist, whom I see about four times a year at very little cost thanks to a great Diabetes care plan. He knows his stuff and unlike “personal trainers” who’ve only studied a couple of years, he actually has a degree rather than a certificate or two. I saw Adam a few weeks ago and again last Monday. On the first visit (the 1st this year that is) he gave me four new exercises that use a resistance band called a Theraband.
On Monday, I showed him an updated list of what I’m doing at the gym along with any changes for length of time, number of repetitions or the amount of weight for any particular exercise. He was really pleased with the progress I’ve made so far. We went over the Theraband exercises I’ve been doing at home and he helped change a few where my technique wasn’t quite right. There were a couple that he made a little harder to do by changing how the band is used and then he gave me a couple new exercises. One that uses the Theraband and another that makes use of an aerobic step and will help me work on my balance. I had to order the step so I’d have it to use at home but I really didn’t mind because it can be used several different ways.
My new step arrived last Thursday and I incorporated it into my home exercise routine which I’d added the other new exercise plus the harder, more intense changes that were made to 2 of my other routines on Tuesday. I went to the gym on Wednesday, so by Thursday I found I was doing even more than I did at the gym. When I was done, I kind fell into a heap, took a nap after tea and was generally pretty useless – not to mention exhausted. Realising I’d done too much I opted to have a day of rest on Friday, a day I normally go to the gym. I went instead on Saturday and again had a rest on Sunday.
Today is Monday, a day I would normally be doing my home exercise routines but I need to stop and have a think about what I’m going to do on which days. Before seeing Adam a few weeks ago I’d been using my mini cycle to exercise my arms as it really helps with keeping my lymphedema issues at bay, and using my mini stepper as it helps with balance and being it’s a very short amount of height for each step it really works my thigh muscles. I can do these two exercises with no problems with stamina. For me the point of doing exercise at home on the days I don’t go to the gym is to keep my body moving and to help with things that need help – fluid issues with lymphedema, movement to keep my arthritis from hassling me and of course keeping up on practicing balance. It is not especially to burn calories, build muscles or lose weight. So with that in mind I need to sort through the eight home exercises and split them up into four at any one time. I go to the gym 2 days a week and I want at least two rest days, preferably not together.
So here’s what I’m thinking. Wednesday and Friday are Gym days. That leaves Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday for home exercise. I prefer to keep Sundays free so that will be my first rest day. I usually have a lot of computer stuff I do on Mondays so lets keep that day fairly light. Maybe just the arm cycle, mini stepper and the balance step for that day. Tuesday I can do 2 or 3 of the 5 Theraband items plus what I do on Mondays. Thursday will be a rest day and then Saturday I can do the remaining Theraband items and the other 3 from Monday. Now I’ll just have to decide which of the specific exercises to do on which of the two days I’ve set for them.
If you’re under the impression that I’ve been thinking and making decisions as I write, you’d be absolutely correct. I really needed to lay it all out and have a good look at it from a distance. I like and trust Adam, but I also know I need to listen to my body and I absolutely can’t afford to do so much that I burn out and become so exhausted that I give up. Each of the six exercises Adam gave me have a purpose so I don’t want to skip any of them, so by splitting them up into different days and perhaps doing less repetitions of a couple I can have the benefits without burning out. I’ll keep you posted!
I just finished reading over the last year or so of blog posts as I’d like to write a bit about what I’ve been up to lately but needed a frame of reference that doesn’t appear to be here. In fact, there’s a lot missing perhaps because I shared quite a bit of it on Facebook and made the assumption that my blog readers are also my friends on FB. So this is a bit of a fill in the blanks before sharing where I am now.
Last year, on Easter Monday I decided I really needed to get a bit more active and decided to take a walk by the beach. This is something I’d looked forward to being able to do once I had my provisional drivers licence but hadn’t yet done. At the same time unbeknownst to us, Rod’s thyroid levels were dangerously low. On the day I took my walk, I felt as if I’d spent the entire Easter weekend alone and looking back, I had. Rod slept more hours than he was awake. I didn’t wake him before I left, which was also a first for me.
I went to Christies Beach Bluff and walked along the trail enjoying the view of the bluff on one side and the sea crashing against the rocks on the other. The fresh sea air felt great. When I was near where the trail ends, a young lady passed me with her dog. At the end of the bluff she stopped and started doing yoga stretches. I was so impressed. What a great place to exercise with the sound of the ocean, fantastic view and fresh air. What happened next isn’t anyone’s fault. Her dog (medium sized) noticed me and came over to greet me with more enthusiasm than I was prepared for – he jumped up to say hello to me and I toppled like a rag doll, spinning around trying to catch my balance. I landed on the sharp rocks and I’m lucky to have escaped with only a broken rib. The young lady came to my rescue as did another older couple and I ended up having a ride in an ambulance to the local hospital. Imagine Rod’s surprise when I rang him and told him he’d have to get the neighbours to drive him to the beach to pick up the car!
That fall set me back quite a bit more than I realised at the time. It shook my confidence and over time I noticed that I had many many near misses with losing my balance and nearly falling. Fortunately it was often while getting dressed or standing up from my desk and if I did lose my balance I landed in either my chair or my bed.
I saw my rheumatologist in August and told him about my fall and the near misses since then. He offered a suggestion that has truly changed my world. He recommended me to the Falls Clinic at the Repatriation Hospital. Normally they only accept older people but made an exception for me. I had a few appointments with a specialist that included blood tests and a brain scan, then I was enrolled in the clinic.
Leg Press machine
Joined a Gym
My work out list
I hate this machine!
Half of the fitness gym at the Repat
A new friend
Leg Extention / Quads Machine
Recumbent Bike workout summary
Chest Press Instructions
Instructions for the Leg Extension / Quads Machine
New Gym Membership
Triceps Extension machine
Dual Adjustable Pulley
Did it anyway
I bought this today
Theraband with door anchor
View of the Treadmills
Wednesday Workout at Anytime Fitness
Noble steps down
Rowing Machine Readout
Home from the gym
Rowing Machine screen
Twice a week for a month I attended two separate exercise sessions with a bit of an afternoon tea break in between at the Repat. Each day was an hour of balance exercises and an hour of strength exercises. When I graduated from the clinic, I had the option of continuing to use the gym at the Repat or take part in one of a few different options for older people locally. And the third option was to join a gym on my own.
After a few weeks of driving to the Repat to use the gym twice a week, I was pretty keen to find something more local. I checked out the choices and decided to with a gym membership as the cost was nearly the same and I have much more flexibility in what days I go and what equipment I can use. My other consideration was the age of participants. I’m probably one of the older users of my gym, but I think it’s healthier for my psyche than spending time with the older crowd. I’m still going twice a week but my time at the gym has increased to a couple hours as I’ve increased the time I spend on some tasks or do more repetitions. Most importantly the last fall I had was two months ago. I’m much more balanced and I’m feeling better both in confidence and physically.
I have a few items I use here at home for the days I don’t go to the gym – a mini stepper that imitates walking up stairs – this requires I really work on my balance, and I have a mini cycle for my arms. It helps a lot with the lymphedema issues I have. My latest addition is a little device called a Fitbit. It’s a pedometer but also measures any climbing of stairs and is a great little motivator. It syncs to the website whenever I’m in rang of my computer which is also pretty cool from a geek perspective. I don’t have to hand enter any data. I love this little device and love that when I’m more active it grows a little flower. I’ve also seen it send me cheery little messages like “You Rock Gaelyne!”. Aww. Everyone needs a bit of encouragement now and then.
So that’s where I’ve been and where I’m going. From very little strength to enough to stand up, walk and not fall over! Coincidentally as I looked at the photos I took the day of my fall last year I was really surprised to note that it was one year ago today. I’m very tempted to take a walk along the same trail just to prove to myself that I can, and to get over the last bit of fear in facing the memory.
Added later in the day: I did it. After talking it over with Rod about whether or not he wanted to go with me, and if he thought I was OK to go alone, I went to Christies Beach bluff this afternoon and had a lovely – and emotional walk to the end and back. I stayed away from the rocks and only walked on the side that’s parallel to the bluff. I had a few tense moments as people walking their dogs passed me but I made it. I feel so much better for having made the trip and faced my fears.
Oh, and I should also mention that I now have my full drivers licence as of a week ago. Whoo hoo!
I’ve made a decision. The other day I got a phone call from a place I’d never heard of before that had received a referral for me to continue my balance and strength rehab with them. This new place is very local, and does indeed have the equipment for balance exercises. So I cancelled an appointment with my GP to fill out forms for the Strength for Life and instead went for the initial interview for the new place. It was a ‘good’ interview but as I left there was something in the back of my mind that was troubling me. It’s taken a few days to come to the surface and it’s done so in typical Gaelyne fashion. I’ve found myself ranting about stuff with people I know understand me. Not ranting verbally, but in writing, which makes sense because that’s how I tend to work through things that bug me.
I’ve just rescheduled the appointment with the GP to fill out the permission forms for the Strength for Life program at Noarlunga. I’ve decided to keep my options open and only make any further decisions about any program after being able to compare the choices available in person. The current choices are continue driving to the Repat Rehab gym twice a week, The local place (ECH) which is local to me, Strength for Life at Noarlunga Leisure Centre, or a membership with a gym such as Anytime Fitness.
So what is it that was bothering me about my interview the other day? Well. ECH is for people who are basically about 15yrs older than me. The girl doing the interview kept trying to play detective to “figure out” why I have issues that most people don’t deal with until they’re over 65. At the time I was too polite, and too surprised by the questions to put words to it, but since then it’s been mulling in my brain and found voice in my private rants with friends. The answer to the question boils down to having had breast cancer when I was 40. My cancer thrived on estrogen, so I had to take Tamoxifen for 5yrs to keep estrogen at bay from my system so any residual cancer cells wouldnt be able to take hold. This in turn caused early menopause and my bones and joints responded to the lack of estrogen by pushing me into early osteoporosis and worsening osteoarthritis. So there we have it – premature ageing.
For a very long time I’ve been feeling frustrated and angry about this whole premature ageing thing but I realised today that it’s a bonus. Yes that’s right, a bonus. If I hadn’t had the tamoxifen and had plenty of that youth elixir estrogen in my system, I’d probably be dead. Given that alternative, coping with all the stuff I do seems like a worthwhile trade off. Better yet, I can still do something about the ravages of age by continuing on this path of rehabilitating myself, strengthening my bones and muscles, learning better balance techniques and improving my well being.
Next week I have a one to one session with the girl at ECH to learn how to use the equipment and so she can evaluate what my exercises will be. I’ll keep the appointment and probably attend at least one session so I can meet the person who will actually be running the sessions and of course the other people going through their paces. The girl I see initially isn’t someone I’ll be dealing with regularly so I will withhold judgement on whether their programs are acceptable or not until I see what a session is really like. I’ll do the same with the Strength for Life program, and see if I can get a tour for the Anytime Fitness gym before making a final decision.
Hey there! Happy Boxing Day! We had a nice Christmas. I gave Rod a Samsung Galaxy Tablet – a 7inch job. He’s still finding his way around with it but so far seems happy with it. He gave me a gorgeous jewelry box that looks like it belongs in a D&D setting. I’ve never had a full sized jewelry box before and honestly, this is the first one I’ve ever seen that really suits the person that is me. Santa also snuck a speaker tower into the house and put it by the tree after we went to bed. This uses bluetooth so I can just start music on my phone and away it goes. The speaker is so much better than what I had in mind to go with my phone for music. It has a built in radio, can charge my phone, and as it’s bluetooth I can connect the computer, iPad, Rod’s computer, or his tablet to it so it’s very versatile. It was a big surprise, but a really nice one!
But I’m not really here to talk about Christmas. As many of you who know me on Facebook are aware, I quite enjoy a few different Bingo games and Solitaire Blitz. Although to be honest, I haven’t been too happy with Solitaire Blitz since they changed the format over about a month ago. I still play it though as nothing better that’s similar has come along.
The other day I noticed something I had never seen before and thought I’d mention it in case others might be interested too.
When you go to select your boosters, have you ever noticed the little triangles on the bottom of the screen? I thought they were decorations, but then one was lit up so I clicked on it and discovered I had a bunch of free Jokers to use that I didn’t know existed. Here’s what the triangles and the second page (if there is one) looks like:
If you’re a Solitaire Blitz, Bingo or Bejeweled player on Facebook, feel free to add me – the more the merrier. Leave a note though so I know who you are and what you play. Otherwise I might not realise why you’ve requested the add.
I know I don’t normally write about Facebook games, but it crossed my mind and I thought I’d share. Cheers until next time!
Thursday was my birthday and I had a busy day out with Rod so thought I’d share what we did and how I celebrated 51 years on this earth. We had to be in Nth Adelaide by 10:45am but we got lost because Melbourne St kept eluding us. It’s a main thoroughfare yet we missed a turn and ended up going in circles. We left home late and without coffee so combine that with being lost, having only my phone for a GPS and it was cloudy so it kept recalculating. I can’t read maps well either. So after we blew up at each other I made Rod pull over and look at the map. We got closer but were still lost. I finally found the right place on the map that matched where we actually were and somehow we finally got where we were going.
My appointment was with the eye specialist for a special test requiring a machine he only has in his N. Adelaide office. Early on when I realised we were going to be late, I rang to let them know. As it turns out they were also running late so that at least worked out. There was nowhere to park and usually I just pop out and ring Rod to come get me when I’m done but he didn’t have his phone as he’d sent it in for repairs earlier this week. So I left him my phone and hoped I’d be able to use the phone in the doctor’s office when I was done. That panned out fine and I also aced my tests (field of vision and glaucoma).
So with that drama over we found our way to the Central Market in the city and made a beeline for the International Food Court for a beer and a feed. Love the cheap lunches there. All you can pile on a plate for $6.50. It’s not the healthiest of foods, but it is yummy.
Once we were topped up with food we moved on to our next plan. I had a full shopping list of really miscellaneous items to pick up and one elusive item we searched for last month there and didn’t find. Sometime ago I found and picked up a bottle of what I thought was hot mustard sauce. Well it’s mustard tasting (but not deep yellow) and when you use a drop or two on a spring roll or dim sims you get a lovely bit of ‘pain’ and instant sinus clearing – and then it goes away… so of course I have to do it again and again as I really love the heat, the temporary pain and oh yeah, having my sinuses feel clear every once in a while. The bottle I’d had in my cupboard had languished unopened for over a year because the label was in Chinese and I forgot what it was. When I finally opened it one day I was thrilled to find it was something I remembered from Chinese restaurants in the states. I put it in a dropper bottle, knowing it’s potency. Within a few months we used the whole bottle up and silly me, I hadn’t taken a photo of it so didn’t know what to ask for at the Asian groceries. I knew it came from one of the Asian groceries and there’s only a handful I’ve visited. So my plan was to visit one or two of the other places we hadn’t been to last month to see if I could find it. Within minutes of walking into the first of the only two possible places it could be, I recognised the bottle. This store had an English label on it in tiny writing so I finally know what magical elixir I’m using. Mustard Seed Oil. Oil. Ahh. Not a sauce. Mystery solved. I bought 4 bottles and the lady who rang up our order kept asking me if I was sure I knew how hot the stuff was. Imagine her surprise when I told her we’d already finished one bottle of it and that’s why we’d come back for more. She either thought we were brave or stupid. Maybe both. This is definitely something used by the DROP, though. So maybe she’d only tried it in a larger quantity. (Yikes what a thought).
While browsing in that shop I was really surprised to run into something I’d chatted online with a friend here in Australia about – she’d asked me once to explain dark and light Karo syrup. I found both. I didn’t look at the price but imagine it wasn’t cheap. It wouldn’t be something I’d use. But at least if anyone ever asks me, I know where to find it.
We then did a trip around ALL of the aisles of the Central Market, stopping at a few stalls for various bits and pieces. I found some cheese I’d never tried before and bought a small amount of it. I thought it was rather expensive but when I got home and looked at the photo I’d taken of the name of it, I saw the price – um. $59.95 a kilo. Lucky I only bought 140g – about $8 worth. The cheese is imported Dutch Reypenaer VSOP and has been matured 2 years. There must have been a big import of it as I noticed it in a few of the bigger cheese stalls. I LOVE the cheese stalls at the market. If it weren’t for Rod being a bit impatient at shopping I could definitely spend a lot of time (and no doubt money) on various wonderful cheeses. The variety at the market is amazing.
The rest of my food list was pretty typical for us – mushrooms, onions, capsicum (red & green peppers), and anything else that looked good. Once I’d found all the produce I wanted we went to our usual favourite Asian grocery in the Market – Kims – and Rod stocked up on a few kilos of frozen raw prawns (we buy a few bags each year and it tends to last us several months). I went on the look out for some new noodle bowls. I had two from the same store that I bought a few years ago and used every day. Rod broke one and a few weeks ago I broke the other one, so I wanted a few replacements. Sadly they didn’t have the same pattern, but had one in the same style. I took that and a medium and small bowl in another pretty pattern. All of the bowls are smaller than what I’d had, but that’s OK and a kind of gift to myself as well. I do want to reach my next birthday at a lighter weight. Smaller portions, smaller bowls.
Leaving Kim’s, we passed a small stand with clothing and other goods imported from Indonesia. Last year I picked up a beautiful skirt from there for only $5. This time I found a lovely large zippered bag in pink with sparkly stars in the material for $5. It’s big enough and padded enough that I can stash my iPad in it for going out and it has a really nice lining in it too. Bargain!
Lemon Balm seeds. OMG, I have hope. I have SEEDS to plant in the dirt in my back yard. Where I’ve never planted anything before because I could never be sure there was any permanency in our being here. This. This is MOMENTOUS to me. I’ve been keeping my eye out for lemon balm since I moved here 15 years ago. It’s hard to find at nurseries in seedling format and I haven’t ever run into the seeds. I once found some dried lemon balm at a shop in the Market but that’s been long ago used up. We were on our way out of the market and passed by a shop that I think is where I found the dried lemon balm last time. They had a wire rack with seeds in packets and as I walked by it, I thought I saw the word ‘balm’. I walked a few steps further and when my brain caught up with what I’d seen I had to turn around and go back. It was indeed what I thought it was and you better believe I bought a packet. A packet of hope, encouragement, and faith. Oh yes, I feel that strongly about these little seeds. Not only is it hope and encouragement to go forward and dig in the dirt and plant something I hope will be there for a long time to come – with me enjoying it as well, but also this plant and me have an affinity with each other. It was growing at my home in Saginaw and I always loved the smell when I crushed the leaves. I dried some one year and the day I stripped the leaves to put them in jars for making tea with it, I had a bad cold with a stuffy nose. It took most of an afternoon to harvest the leaves (it was a good crop), and when I finished for the day a miracle had happened. Breathing in the lemon balm while stripping the leaves cleared my nose and the cold was gone. I also found that the tea helped with headaches and it never failed to help with sinus and cold issues. We all know my health is on the shaky side (heh, no pun intended there), but to find seeds for this plant… I don’t know, it just gives me hope for a better year health wise too.
So that was our big adventure in the city on my birthday. It was a fun day and I found some nice things aside from getting lost and oh yeah, forgetting to have coffee for the whole day (gasp!) it was quietly special. And I found hope. That’s a pretty big find in a little packet of seeds.
… There are other photos from the day on Flickr