Down Shift on the Up-Slope

I bet most of you almost forgot who I was! Summer is almost over and I have yet to update all of you on my progress. What a beautiful summer it has been. We've not had the air conditioning on once up here in New York. It has not been entirely ideal, as many of you know. One of the main reasons I did not write was because, 1. I had very little new to report, and 2. my intensive physical training routine was suddenly impeded by a knee injury that demanded rest. Every grey cloud has a silver lining though and I have been blessed to use that time to my advantage, accomplish a few things and take things in a new and exciting direction. Often when a big, 18-wheel truck driver carrying a heavy load is climbing an incline on the highway they will shift into a lower gear, turn on their emergency flashers and make their journey steadily and safely to the top. It's not about speed. It's about consistency and determination, and sometimes a little patience.

For those of you who don't know... towards the end of May while working out I  injured my right knee to such an extent that I am prevented from bearing weight on it for several months. After an uncomfy stint in a rather hefty knee brace and several weeks of sitting still the doctors were pleased with the healing process and I'm back at the gym working on my upper body at least. The big question I get asked is, "so is this a set back?" Only if I let it be, besides keep reading.

As many of you know for the last year and a half my brother Ethan has been driving me to New Jersey sometimes twice a week for a progressive workout program designed for spinal cord injury. Part of the importance of this was to be able to use the "FES Bike" or Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike. This unique piece of equipment is essential to maintaining bone and muscle strength and tone, as well as a host of other factors that prevent breakdown and disease. One of the goals this year was to utilize our fundraising efforts to acquire one. Well, at the counsel of the manufacturer we sent a proposal to my insurance company first who responded with a resounding "NO!" No big surprise there. However, in the effort get my knee injury properly treated I had to switch insurance carriers (thanks Obama). So we tried the proposal with the new carrier and surprise, surprise... somebody in that office understands the concept of preventative medicine! I have been approved and will be getting my new FES bike here in my home in just a few weeks. If you're wondering what it looks like, here you go...

FES Bike in action...
Essentially the way it works is a series of sticky pads with wires in them are "stuck" to key places on my legs. Those wires generate a muscle contraction while the pedals of the bike provide the resistance a normal bicycle would. This process "tricks" my body into thinking it is riding a bike, and yes you are definitely tired out afterwards. The real exciting news is I will now be able to do it every day, not just twice a week. Kiss my ass Lance Armstrong.

The second blessing in disguise has come in the form of guys just plain rock. What they do is provide an umbrella not-for-profit for families recovering from a catastrophic injury. They take all the guesswork, banking, tax-deductible receipts and other headaches and handle them for you. All donations, whether online or by check are completely tax deductible and simple. So click on the link above and help us spread the word. As it stands right now we are still on the fundraising campaign, but our next goal is not a second stem cell treatment (more on that in a minute). To round out my home-based workout routine I require a standing frame and an adapted weight machine. We need to raise about $12,000. Anything you can do would be amazing.

Finally, during my rest time I was able to do some research on what the future holds in medical research for SCI and make some new friends in the spinal cord community. There are some exciting things ahead friends. In October I will be able to share more when I'm allowed, but in all honesty what I've seen puts stem cells in the shade... and it's happening fast. If I've peaked your interest watch the videos and then click on the link below.

Thanks for reading.

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