My Recovery is Going Fantastically

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and that’s for a few different reasons. For one thing, I’ve been going to school and the gym a lot more than before, and I’m feeling really good. I still have a few aches and pains all the time, and a little bit of stinging and lost mobility, but beyond that and headaches I’m doing alright.

I’ve also started managing the freerunning and parkour team “Kinema”. It’s a student team in Madison Wisconsin. Most student organizations and teams are iffy at best and downright terrible at worst, but these guys are an exception. If they weren’t good, I wouldn’t be managing them, after all! Their YouTube channel is here, their twitter handle is @KinemaF. One of the guys is even a gymnastics coach! I mean jeez, how cool is that?

I’ve been shooting and editing their videos, managing their events, and their finances. To be honest, parkour and freerunning are like blogging. You don’t go into it expecting to make money, you go into it because you want to do it. And if you you’re one of the lucky few to get recognized and end up with a lot of exposure, making money is the icing on the cake.

Speaking of money, something cool about wordpress is that unless you self host through WordPress.org and then register your domain through another third party like godaddy, you can’t put ads on or monetize your blog! This works for and against you. You know that the many writers who review products are impartial, and you know that you will be presented with a clean, organized interface. Unfortunately, this same advantage is the reason that groups looking for a free or low cost interface to advertise themselves and earn revenue from can’t use WordPress.com. When you start up, be sure to take this into account. For this reason, I’ve moved my main blog from WordPress to blogspot, at the link AthleticZen.blogspot.com. I want to have the flexibility that that provides, but I’m going to miss the interface and templates offered by WordPress.

Never Lose Hope

Recently, I approached Apeksha about writing a guest post for her site, because I believe that I’ve got a story to tell that fits right in on her site. I know that many of you are used to logging for a daily quote to keep you motivated at work or while training, and too read about athleticism, sport, motivation, and the success that can be achieved when those three factors are brought together in rare perfect harmony.

My name’s John and I just started to write recently, after I broke my neck wrestling. During one of the final tournaments of my career and after competing for almost 4 years without a single major injury, I shattered my spine.

20130227-133342.jpg

It was the quote in the article: “Thank You Roger Federer – A Letter to the Champion.” that resonated especially deeply with me.

Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.

Orison Swett Marden said this, and I believe that this is very deeply and profoundly correct. Right now, I’m more proud of what I can achieve than I ever have been in my entire life, despite the fact that I’m the weakest that I have been since I was 8 years old. I’m proud because I am successfully by Orison Marden’s definition, because I have progressed so much since my accident. 6 weeks ago, I was unable to move my toes, raise my arms, or feel my legs because of the trauma to my nervous system.

Now, I can ride a bicycle, lift weights, and even go to school as a full time student. I write about my progress on my blog, but I decided that simply talking about what I was doing wasn’t enough. Now, I’ve made it my goal to be as supportive and informative to people with similar traumas to mine, and those who have suffered much more greatly than I have.

20130227-133429.jpg

Just like Apeksha learned lessons from Roger Federer, I have learned from my injury. These lessons are:

When you are depressed, friends will help you,
When you are weak, you will find the drive to push on,
When you have lost hope, hope will find you,
Never doubt the strength of the human spirit.

It’s been an honor writing for the site. I’m a big fan and this has been really exciting for me.Please read and share this story with everyone who has lost hope and tell them about my journey and hopefully if they can learn one thing from my experience – Never lose hope.

You can check me out and follow my recovery process at GoandDoit.wordpress.com and in a few months read all about his adventures: running, biking, and motivating others to do the same.

My First Occupational Therapy Session

I’ve already written about starting physical therapy here, and I figured that I should start writing about my visits to an occupational therapist, what I’ve learned, and any advice that I can give to you based on what I’ve experienced.

So here you are: full blown, no holds barred; this is what goes down when you break your neck and you need to start using your dominant hand for something other than a prop when you need to carry something.

Today I met with an occupational therapist for the first time since the accident. Because my brace is off, I’ve been cleared to lift weights up to thirty pounds with my upper body, and as much as seems reasonable and appropriate with my lower body.

I visited an occupational therapist for my hand and arm. Even now, I’m still confused about the difference between an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. Maybe some knowledgable souls can help me out by posting their answer to that question in the comments below.

Before the actual screening process even began, I s run through the usual medical history questionnaire, along with a full set of upper body strength and range of motion tests. Between all of the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals that I’ve had to visit, one of the few things in common between them all is the strength and range of motion test. By now, I practically have that thing memorized. I might have even had a dream where I was taking a range of motion test! Haha

The occupational therapist, who is often just referred to as an “OT”, helped me out by screening through what issues I should be worrying about and what will just take time to recover from. After eliminating things like fatigue and some soreness in my muscles in my neck that I haven’t used since my anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF) as simply caused by not being used to using the muscles, we moved on to range of motion and deep pain.

The OT massaged out some of the small, stabilizing muscles in my neck and then had me do some exercises to work them out and increase the up and down range that my head could travel. Before doing any exercise, he measured the exact degree of my range of motion, and then the degree at which I could move afterwords. Consistently, my range of motion was always increased by at least 10 degrees, if not more.

After stretching me out and checking my nerve function and assuring me that I was recovering at a normal rate and telling me that I’m recovering faster than most people do after an anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (I would ha used the acronym there to save time, but for some reason my OT would always call the surgery by it’s full name. He was fine with being called an OT instead of an occupational therapist though, for some reason), he gave me a packet of things that I’m supposed to do, and also told me how often I’m supposed to do each one. After the appointment, I bought a Home Ranger Shoulder Pulley (model 240) to help me do passive range of motion exercises. I think the pulley is great and already after a few uses I feel my should and arm loosening up.

In my case, my range of motion is better when I’m not engaging the muscles in my arm or shoulder, so using the pulley helps me stretch out. Then, I do the same exercises that I had done passively and assist with my left arm, helping my muscles and nerve relearn where to go and how to feel. I could go on; but I think that a full on review might have to wait for a separate post. Maybe I’ll set up an amazon affiliate account, and if you want to buy a pulley after reading my review of it, you can get the same low price that you would always get on amazon, and help support my site, my tours, my message, and my fundraising all at the same time.

Anyways, my first meeting with an occupational therapist went great. My occupational therapist is smart, efficient, and professional, all without losing that personal touch and feel. If you’re nervous about your rehabilitation you shouldn’t be, because you’ll have a great physical or occupational therapist helping you out.