Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Here Lizard, Lizard, Lizard

There was a passel of lizards in my dream last night ~ clearly they were trying to deliver a message. I looked up their animal totem meaning to give me insight and here is what I found.

  • Lizard totem tells me to listen to my own intuition above anyone else's.
  • It can show me how to break from the past by letting go of old ideas or negative behaviors which endanger my growth.
  • Lizards are experts a subtle perception.
  • Lizards reveal hidden messages through the dream state.
  • They prompt the energy of change.

Ufff ~ what an intense message ~ looks like I need to start writing down my dreams no matter how bizarre they might be! Also, interesting that a lizard can lose it's tail and grow another one in it's place ~ hopefully I won't grow a brain tail again. Speaking of sleep and dreaming I am finally beginning to dream again and it's getting a wee bit easier to fall asleep. I think I just need to be patient with the whole healing process. I wonder how long it's going to take before my brain has found a happy medium.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Forget Me NOT

I just finished reading another inspiring book ~ Forget Me NOT by Jennifer Lowe-Anker. What an incredible journey the author has had thus far ~ her strength and courage have inspired me to live more in the moment and get started on my own memoir. Ever since I picked up Ghosts of Everest I have been spellbound with the mountain and the mountaineers who climb the highest peak on the planet. You know, you've probably read about many other blogs where I have yammered on and on about Everest (29,035 feet) ~ but seriously, I can't help myself. This feeling that wells up inside me when I open up a book about someones journey up the mountain is indescribable.

I have some theories ~ maybe my brain is re-playing some heart memories of some distant relative who climbed Chomolunga-The Goddess Mother of the World. Perhaps I identify with the incredible endurance of the human spirit to keep moving forward even when you have nothing left to give. Anyway, with each Everest book I have read I have learned about the greatest mountaineers on the planet. Their stories are intertwined in the brotherhood of the rope.

One climber in particular I have grown to greatly admire and respect ~ Conrad Anker. Not long after he discovered George Mallory's body on the North side of Everest he was in a deadly avalanche in which he narrowly escaped. His best friend, Alex Lowe, and Dave Bridges lost their lives that day. Since that tragic day, Conrad has gone on several other expeditions, has started a Khumbu Climbing School and married Jennifer Lowe-Anker.

So, this weekend I was up in the Keene Valley with some friends at the 13th Annual Mountainfest ~ both Conrad and Jennifer Lowe-Anker were doing a slide show presentation about her book and Conrad's expeditions. I had both of them sign some books ~ it was amazing meeting them both! I also had a chance to go on a snow-shoeing outing ~ shhhhhh don't tell my surgeons. There wasn't anything on my discharge papers that said 'no snow-shoeing' ~ it just said no vacuuming for 3 months! Despite the bitter cold ~ it was down in the negatives at night and a high of 13 on Saturday ~ I had a great time this weekend relaxing and breathing in the sweet mountain air.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What A Heartfelt Acceptance Speach

Each year around Oscar time I try to make an effort to see as many nominated movies as possible. The Golden Globes is a good barometer for the Oscar nominations. I have already seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Burn After Reading, Mamma Mia, Tropic Thunder, The Dark Knight , Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E and The Reader. There are several films on my Netflix list: The Changeling, Rachel Getting Married & Vicky Christina Barcelona. The Academy Awards are on February 22nd so I should have time to see an handful of movies on my wish list.

Some movies have yet to be released in the theaters ~ maybe later this month ~ The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road, Last Chance Harvey, Slumdog Millionaire. I am thrilled that the films that have been heard to be Oscar worthy are not extremely violent in nature this year. I enjoy seeing an intricate drama that really gets under my skin, makes me really think about what matters in life. Last weekend I saw THE READER ~ what an incredibly hard story to tell. Fabulous acting all around, especially Kate Winslet. I am so looking forward to seeing Revolutionary Road sometime, soon. The reunion of Kate and Leo is worth the price of the ticket. When Kate won her Golden Globe for RR I was so touched by her message to Leo ~ I posted her acceptance speech below. She addressed Leo in the beginning of the fourth minute ~ What a connection those two actors have together ~ simply magical!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ultimate Vertigo Test

Just search my blog for the words: dizzy, swirly, vertigo, tilt-a-whirl ~ the posts are numerous! One of my motives for going forward with my decompression was to rid me of vertigo. Since my surgery I have not had one incident ~ knock on wood ~ and yesterday I had the chance to prove my theory.

I drove over to my office and had lunch with my co-workers yesterday. Four days out of five, my co-workers would often choose striped or checked shirts to wear. Mind you that I only work with a handful of people. Anyway, when two or more of them would don the stripes on the same day they loved to mess with me by standing side by side. If I looked at them I would get the serious spins ~ it was just awful to have to talk with someone and look the other way for fear of falling over or throwing up ~ yikes!

So, yesterday, three of my co-workers were wearing stripes or checked pattern shirts. And when they all lined up together the wave of vertigo was no longer there ~ woo hoo! Hooray for the little things that can make life so much more enjoyable. I had yet another milestone yesterday when I tried the Wii Fit step aerobics activity. I did so well I managed to unlock the advanced step exercise. I could almost feel my brain singing as the neurons were firing on all cylinders and working correctly.

More later, I was looking out the kitchen window, admiring how warm and beautiful the sunshine looks, thinking I could maybe go for a walk outside today. Then I checked the forecast and saw that 18 degrees with a cold 25mph wind did not sound so enjoyable ~ drat. So, I am off to the gym to practice my new physical therapy exercises ~ enjoy your weekend ~

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Brother Fire

Fire is such a primal energy source and yet I still would fail miserably at being a pyromaniac. Seriously, I have so much trouble lighting a fire in the fireplace. I can get the fire lit, but it fails to meet my expectations ~ how silly is that?! I want to see a blazing fiery furnace, but a good fire takes patience and time. Just because there aren't leaping flames doesn't mean that heat isn't being generated. I know, this is all so elemental, but it made me ponder a bit on this snowy, icy night. Just for the record, no, I have not fallen off the wagon and started using morphine again!

Fire makes me think of one of my favorite Bible stories, The Fiery Furnace. The bulk of the story is about three men (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) who would not bow down and worship a golden statue so the king ordered them to be thrown into a fiery furnace to die. They claimed that God would spare them from death. The fire was so hot that it killed the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace. The king was awestruck when he saw FOUR men walking around in the furnace. Perhaps an angel was sent to protect them from death. When the men were ordered out of the fire, not a hair on their head was singed.

I've rambled on again ~ surprised? But really, I learned something from brother FIRE today, even if there aren't raging flames, energy is still being created. It mirrors my life right now ~ my steady recovery. I might want an intense flame, but in reality I have red coals, providing a steady flow of heat. It's so painfully hard to pace myself in this recovery process. I don't feel pain until I have waaaay overdone it. I keep having to remind myself that this is going to be a slow process. Thank you FIRE for subtly reminding me and teaching me to be more like the slow burning coals.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Monthsary!

How could a month passed by so quickly ~ one breath at a time. It's been a month since my brain lift ~ I survived Christmas and New Years Eve. I really don't have any complaints. My recovery is moving along at warp speeds. According to my husband, AKA Warden Bubba, I need to park it and slow down a bit. In theory, that's good advice, but he is out of the house 40 hours a week at work and I no longer require any caretakers ~ you connect the dots.

I started physical therapy and am doing quite well. It's such a humbling experience to pick up three pound free weights and do bicep curls when I used to curl 10-15 lbs before the brain tail hurled me down a dark and twisted path. The hand bike was the most challenging exercise I did today at PT. My session finished up with the balance board ~ man was that fun! Having vertigo was one of my chief complaints prior to surgery and I thought I might never feel balanced again. I have been working on the balance activities on the Wii Fit and I have already seen some improvement.

Baby steps ~ one day at a time ~ slowly I will get my full strength back again. For a year before brain surgery I was growing my hair out so that I would have an adequate comb-over and today I had my hair cut. My hair stylist was so gentle and made extra care not to rake the comb over my zipper scar. She cut off about 2 inches and evened everything up a bit. We decided to wait until the spring before jumping into a new style. She commented that I had so many hospital chemicals all throughout my hair still ~ it will take several more weeks for the morphine and anesthesia to make it's way out of my system.

There's a nor'easter headed our way tonight ~ snow and ice expected overnight and throughout the day tomorrow. Planning on chilling on the couch and relaxing all day long ~ hey ~ maybe I will even dive into studying again for my SQL exam ~