Taking steps to walk without assistive devices

Every week for the past 5 months on Tuesdays and Thursdays I head to my local gym to workout with my wonderful trainer. The decision to return to the gym was not an easy one. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do much of anything, but I knew I needed to do something to kick start my recovery. Although my journey started in 2001, I did not loose the use on my legs until June of 2017 when I stood after the 5th surgery. Upon standing with a walker I went to take a step and I began to fall. My husband and the CNA grabbed me to keep me from falling. They placed back into bed and all I kept saying was,” I cannot feel my legs.” I lost complete feeling on my right side from the waist down, my left leg had some feeling (when I stood it felt like I had a sponge under my foot), and I lost my proprioception. Proprioception is the ability to tell where your body or body parts are in space.

For the 1st year after the surgery I worked with a physical therapist 3 times per week. When I left therapy I was still very weak and was still unsteady and had very little balance and proprioception. My knees would hyper extend, my ankles would twist outward, and my feet would drag. I wore corrective devices such as braces to knee my knee from hyperextending and ankle braces that prevent me from rotating my ankle. I still wear the ankle braces.

Well, I thought I would share some of the progress I have made since starting at the gym 5 months ago. I am still not able to ride the stationary bike as my ankles and legs cannot seem to move forward, but I am able to use the treadmill , even on an incline. I also work on strengthening my legs and core. I still cannot do much upper body as it sets the spasms in my back off.

Leg press-I have to be careful and not let my knees lock. I pay attention to what my legs are feeling and not feeling. This is how I build new communication pathways. Repetition and concentration.
When I first started walking with a walker I had to constantly look down at my feet. If I looked away my brain had no idea where my feet were and I would loose my balance.

Each day I have to strive to keep moving forward. I have good days and some really unpleasant ones. There are days that no matter what I do I cannot seem to get the spasms and burning to stop. My legs feel so heavy and I feel like I am walking through thick mud. I do my best to not get discouraged. My families love and support along with lots of prayer are what get me through. God is doing amazing things and even on some of my worst days I am thankful because I get another day with all of those that I love.

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