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Monday, November 18, 2013

Farber Writing Workshop

I followed up my knee rehab appointment with another visit to my PT, Karen, last week.  It is quite apparent that the range of motion is noticeably limited in my right knee.  She left me with a full set of exercises that I can do at home and/or at the gym to help stretch and rebuild the muscles around my bum knee.  It's a good excuse to get back to the gym regularly after my "summer" vacation, which has now extended through most of the fall.

My visits to rehab have been a bit humbling.  First of all, Karen pointed out that I was bow legged, which puts more pressure on the inside of the knees, possibly accounting for my meniscus tear.  Okay.  Then she further volunteered that one leg is shorter than the other (I forget which one).  It seems that I'm coming up a bit short (so to speak).  I came out of there feeling like a deformed specimen of humanity.  All I need is a hump on my back, and I could pass for Igor from "Young Frankenstein".

Speaking of deformities, one of the things I forgot to ask Karen about is my L1 vertebra compression fracture, which may have been caused my my MM.  Are there specific exercises that would either help or hurt this condition?  I have found that lying flat on my back using a wooden yoga pillow under my lower back seems to help.  Here is what it looks like:

At first, it feels like a medieval torture instrument.  It takes a minute or two to relax into this posture while various vertebrae crack up and down my spine, but then it feels good.  It takes me a while to clamber back onto my feet after this contortion exercise, but afterwards, my back feels great.  I think this is a really helpful exercise, but I hope I'm not risking permanent disability or paralysis by my self-help therapy approach.  If I make to January without incident, I plan to ask Karen's opinion on this.

I went into the Farber today for the monthly meeting of the Writing Workshop that I have been attending for the last two years.  It was inspirational!  The people there have endured the pain and uncertainty of being either cancer patients or caregivers, and they all bring talent and creativity to the room.  They want to write for various reasons:  to document their difficult journeys, to help them remember things they might otherwise forget, to find an outlet to express their feelings, or to leave a legacy for their loved ones, to name a few.  It's amazing the clarity of purpose and zest for life that comes from knowing that one's time may be running out.  I really enjoy interacting with these special people.

Amy, the coordinator, is great at challenging us and giving us guidance.  At each workshop, she gives us a prompt, usually inspired by a poem, to write a piece addressing the prompt in only 10 minutes.  That's a challenge!  And then to read it out loud to the group?  Gulp!  Today, I couldn't believe the excellent pieces that rose to that challenge.  I came away from that workshop filled with energy and inspired to write.  I was determined to update my blog today.  So I did.

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