Three Trails in Three Days: Day #1 Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas

For the past eight years, I’ve taken the theory of daily exercise to a high level.  I walk between 4 to 6 times per week religiously, racking in up 3 to 5 miles and sometimes longer, which works out to be around a two hours duration per jaunt.  When you spend two months between a hospital bed and wheelchair, you begin to appreciate the small things.  In my case, its walking.  I can sniff out a good trail just about anywhere that I go in my travels.  I find walking to be extremely therapeutic with both physical and mental benefits.  It’s easy to get out of an exercise regiment  after a serious injury.  I fell into that very trap going from an avid skier, snowboarder, tennis player, runner, in line skater, and golfer to loosing interest in many of these activities after my surgery.  Getting out and about is a huge part of the recovery process.  It’s the first way that I gained a sense of independence after my stroke.  It all started with short strolls down my driveway to the mailbox each day, then small journeys around my neighborhood and so on.  Now I walk pretty much everywhere in the city.  I don’t have a car here, nor do I need/want one for the most part.  The point is to get out there and see the world!  Don’t allow a disability of any size or shape dictate how you live your life.

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If I’m not at home and you need to find me in Dallas, chances are I’m on the Katy Trail. With awesome views of the city skyline, the Katy is the remains of an old railroad stretch which was given to the city in 1993 by the Union Pacific Railroad.  This “Rails to Trails” concept stretches five miles from the SMU campus, through uptown, dumping out at the American Airlines Center in the heart of the city.

Ischemic Tongue Twisters on Year II

Journal Entry 9/19/2017

I was just informed thirty minutes ago that I was diagnosed with yet another stroke.  This is in no way tied to the previous incident eleven years ago.  It feels like winning the lottery yet being struck by lightning twice type of deals.  I have been told that this is a freak event in no way caused by my own doing.  The tear was found in my neck causing the difficulty with speech.

If there is no meaning to all of this, then I am loosing my own battle.  I do not loose!  I’m frustrated beyond belief but towards no one in particular.  People will find out in the hours ahead in disbelief.  I am relieved that this is not associated with the first go around.  I am not sure as of this moment yet somehow I wanted it this way.  At least I know what the goal is up front and not having to deal with the aftermath later is a slight relief.  I’ll come back better than ever through all of this.  I’ll take it and I’ll beat it again!

 

*The below footage was taken by my sister a few hours after I was admitted into Mount Nittany Medical Center.  My speech was moderately compromised due to the impact of an ischemic stroke (clots) occur when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed.  A Hemorrhagic stroke (bleed) occurs when a blood vessel is ruptured.

On this day two years ago, I became the proud owner of both!

 

 

“A Less Than Stellar Hair Day”

E957FC3B-E62D-4AAB-973D-B662747F3654Yesterday, I paid a visit to The Neurology Clinic at Baylor where they performed an Electroencephalogram (EEG). This test is used to find problems related to electrical activity of the brain. An EEG tracks and records brain wave patterns. Small metal discs with thin wires (electrodes) are placed on the scalp, and then send then sends signals to a computer to record the results.

I have lived with epilepsy for my entire life but when symptoms presented themselves in the form of minor seizure activity (called aura), I had not a clue as to what the spells were caused by.  I always knew that if there was a device that could monitor my brain activity during one of these spells, an experienced professional would detect immediately that something out of the ordinary was going on up there. Epilepsy presents itself in several forms and is typically a result of abnormal brain activity.  The results may include abnormal behavior, sensation, and sometimes the loss of awareness.

EEG technology will find and track most forms of epileptic activity. The test is painless and actually quite relaxing (I got a 22 minute power nap in while the test was being conducted).  The results will then be reviewed and discussed at my next neurologist appointment.

If you or a loved one have any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with a neurologist immediately.

Special thanks to Barbara who was my awesome EEG tech yesterday.  You were a great sport!

 

 

 

This Year is a Go for The Katy 5k!

If you need to find me in Dallas, chances are that I’m on the Katy Trail getting my 2.5 mile cardio workout in between 4 to 6 days per week.

Last year, just an hour before the start gun fired, threatening weather made us bail at the last minute. Well that is NOT going to be the case today! I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time.

Spectators likely won’t spot me at the front of the pack but I’ll be pushing hard to cross the finish line at a strong pace.

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Two of my Greatest Nemeses Collide : ICE AND ARENA SEATING

By this point we all know that ice and I have not seen eye to eye.  I’ve ungracefully wiped out due to freezing conditions more times than I’d like to count. Whether it be shoveling snow, taking out trash, grabbing my mail at the end of the driveway, or slip then bail acrobatics in a few parking lots over the past years. (Last night I attended the Dallas Stars vs Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game and thought the segue was appropriate so just roll with it!)

However, navigating Arenas and Stadiums can present a whole slew of challenges for patrons with even the smallest of disabilities.  I have learned three tips which I feel are worth the share when attending events in these complexes…

  1. Arrive early-This way you don’t have to maneuver and snake through the masses in order to find your seats, hit up concessions, or use the rest rooms.  You avoid feeling rushed and overwhelmed as well.
  2. The aisle seat-I tend to purchase aisle seats whenever possible. When I book tickets, I often explain my situation to will call, the ticket agent, or concierge. With my paralysis, it just makes my world a little easier.  It becomes challenging trying to navigate around attendees in narrow aisles as well as others trying to slide past in front of me.  Plus it gives me a little extra room from a comfort standpoint.  (Having the bladder size of a squirrel such as myself makes the aisle seat vital commodity as well.)
  3. (And this is a big one!) Ask for assistance-Why do venue operations hire so much staff?  So event goers can have a great customer experience!  Certain venues have inadequate parking, seating, elevator access, handrails, entrance/exit points, and amenity access.  Staff typically understands the shortcomings of their respective facilities.  They are there for guidance and information purposes so just ask for help! You are not inconveniencing anyone in asking to navigate you through the facility.

As you can see, these stairs down to our seats were extremely steep and narrow.  Getting up and down was a little challenging but an over all success due to adequate time and planning before puck drop.  Finally, a shout out to the American Airlines Center staff is deserved.  They were on point and Awesome!

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