Musing & Progress... Back After A Long Time

The Usual Housekeeping...
It has been over a month since my last post! Yikes! It is hard to believe that it is already June, even when the New York winter seemed to drag on forever. However here we are and what an awesome summer it has been thus far. To bring all of you up to speed on the latest fundraising process here is a brief update...

This past Tuesday, June 4th, we hosted our very first official fundraiser. 28 golfers gathered at the Doral Arrowwood Golf Resort in Rye Brook, NY to play 18 holes and help us raise money for my stem cell treatment procedure. The weather was amazing, everyone had a great time, and the support and enthusiasm for what we are working towards was really a blessing. I want to thank all those who came out and played for their kindness and generosity. Thanks to you we were able to raise enough money to cover my physical therapy for the summer, cover the cost of forming our own not-for-profit foundation, and save a good start towards the whole cost of the stem cell treatment itself. We are on our way!

Speaking of establishing our own foundation, be on the look out for its announcement. The Stem Cell Alliance has been awesome in helping us get started and we are deeply grateful to them. Starting our own foundation will simplify things for us and you, our supporters, while allowing us to take things in the direction of our personal vision. So be sure to watch for that.



For all of you who have been sharing the blog we are now over 7,000 views, so thank you. Finally, our last order of business... We are hosting our second fundraiser for raising money for the treatment on Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 6pm at the 89 North Music Venue in Patchogue, NY. It will be a dinner and theater performance and you can read all about it, purchase tickets or make a donation here- A Night of Dinner Theater & Jazz.


Now Back To The Blog...
Tomorrow will be my 8th week at Push to Walk NJ and it gets better and better and tougher and tougher. We continue to work towards strengthening what muscles I do have and building my core. I am seeing steady differences each week. Increased circulation, less pain and joint soreness, stretching, improved digestion, and better rest are all on the rise. They weighed me last week and I could stand to lose a few... goodbye potato chips. So I've given up random snacking and reduced my overall bread, carbs and sugar intake. It seems to be working.


The above photo, for those who did not see it on Facebook, is of course me and my trainer Tiffany. I am in what they call a "standing machine". The way it works is when it is in the down position it is essentially a seat. I am transferred from the wheelchair into this seat. My feet are placed in secure slots that resemble the treads on an elliptical workout machine. If you look closely you can see that my knees are strapped into curved pads to hold my legs in place. On the opposite side of the angle from which the picture was taken is a long lever. The seat I mentioned before is hinged and as the lever is cranked I am lifted and held in a standing position. Like car jack for changing a flat tire! The weight I must lose being the flat tire.

My upper body is not strapped in. That is why Tiffany is holding my shoulders. She holds my shoulders back to ensure I maintain proper posture and technique as I go through a series of core-strengthening exercises. I do several types of sit-ups and if you look on the floor you'll see the orange therapy band that is helping to develop the muscles around my shoulder blades.

So how does it feel? Weird. Really weird. I haven't seen myself at my full height in years and all of this is done in front of a mirror. The work-out is relatively fast-paced so I don't have a lot of time to allow the mental and emotional implications of what I'm doing to really sink in, and in a way it still hasn't yet. However I will say, it is a unique boost in self-image and confidence I was not expecting. It has a way of lending a level of intensity, importance and excitement to what I'm doing that has had a very unique effect on my psyche these last few weeks. Everyone has expected me to react in an emotional way, tears and such I suppose, but I don't feel that at all. It feels more like "Hell Yeah! It's about damn time! Let's do this!" Beats crying all around, I have done enough of that.

Physically, it runs the gamut. Obviously the more time one spends in the machine the more accustomed your body becomes. The more times I'm in the machine the higher up I stand and the longer the trainers keep me in it. I was there almost full hour last week. My first time up there was moderate muscle spasms in my thighs, hips and stomach as bones and tendons felt weight and stretching for the first time in quite a while. Tingling and burning. Then comes the drop in blood pressure as gravity takes over and the heart has to pump harder. Light-headed and a little dizzy they give me a break and lower me back to a sitting position. A drink of water and a few deep breaths and I am at it again, this time higher than before. Last week I reached my highest yet, but we're not quite to full height. When it's all over I'm craving lunch and a nap. Oh wait, not until I log my 2 miles on the FES bike... God, it's good to be getting back in shape!

Much love to all of you. Thanks for reading.

Comments

  1. Ah - you posted what I've been waiting to hear about: Your impressions of being in a standing posture. Thanks so much for sharing that, and keep that Rocky theme music coming. This is awesome.

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  2. damn, just wrote a whole thing and signed in wrong.... BRAVO.Caleb! So thrilling to see your progress. Xan on a somewhat different trajectory...he was in a standing frame within weeks of discharge from rehab thanks to guidance from those with lots of experience...who got us to CORE right away...of course, I cried but he did not. Like you, he was thrilled to be upright to his full height...6' 2"...big psychological boost. Will you add EMS to your routine at some point to help rebuild muscle tone? We need to get that going here...takes so much time to do it all...yeesh. Look forward to witnessing your journey...can't wait til you start the stem cell therapy...very exciting...keep up the good work and hang tough, brotha...behind you all the way.

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  3. Caleb - so inspiring! Thanks for updating us - I love reading about your progress!

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  4. Caleb - so inspiring! I love reading your updates! Cheering you on here in Florida. Love you!

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