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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - The Year of Living Dynamically

This post has been a year in the making because it consists of the makings of arguably, the most difficult, demanding, dynamic and rewarding year of my life.

It began with me discovering I was a cripple.

Yep - almost exactly a year ago, 01/03/16, to be exact, I woke up in the middle of the night, after a long hike the day before, and couldn't straighten my much maligned left knee.

For 3 months, I went through a 1 - 2 hour routine every morning, consisting of hobbling 1 legged from the bed to the shower, keeping my left knee under the hottest water I could stand until the hot water ran out, followed by 30 - 45 mins of painful stretching and exercises, just to be able to get down the stairs.

Walking was painful.  I could ride a bike which I did as much as I could and continued as much non-loaded exercise as I could such as my PIYO classes at Anytime Fitness.

I saw a couple of local Santa Fe orthopedic surgeons who basically pronounced the left knee dead and then set up an appointment with a Total Knee Replacement specialist, Dr. Gregory Stocks, at the Fondren Orthopedic Group, in Houston Tx.

In the meantime, I learned everything I could about Total Knee Replacements and continued to work out as much as I could to maintain as much range of motion and strength in the left leg and the rest of my body as possible.  I ate as clean as I could to get my weight down to take as much load off the knee as possible.

I met with Dr. Stocks on February 17th and scheduled the TKR for the first available date, which was April 4th.

I returned to Santa Fe and prepared myself physically, mentally, emotionally and financially for the challenge to come.

My trip from Santa Fe to Houston for the surgery marked the end of my left knee as I found myself unable to take another step on it while trying to get to the departure gate at the ABQ airport.

I hobbled to a nearby wheelchair and began wheeling myself to the gate where in route, a Good Samaritan intercepted me and wheeled me the rest of the way to the gate.

After continued logistical challenges getting to the hospital and getting checked in for surgery, the whole Total Knee Replacement Procedure and 2-day stay in the Texas Orthopedic Hospital, was like a cake walk.

The post-surgery pain was nothing compared to the intense knife in the knee pain I had been experiencing for the prior 3 months and to a lesser extent, the prior 2 - 3 years.

Recovery was fast and complete, with me walking for short distances without crutches within 3 days, riding a bike within a week and doing a full Rx CrossFit workout a month later.

The New Knee was the ticket to a whole new Show and I felt like I had been given a new Lease on Life.

I spent 3 weeks at my daughter's house during my recovery doing 12 Rehab Sessions at Brazosport Rehab and Wellness and then went for a few days of visiting relatives and then to work on a project that would have be going back and forth from Santa Fe to Texas 6 times in 2016.

During that time, I ramped up to my old routine of workouts and activities - PIYO, Strength Training, Core Strength and More at Anytime Fitness, CrossFit workouts at Praxis, bike riding to / from each and hikes with the Santa Fe Strenuous Hiking Meetup group twice a week, with dancing 3 - 4 nights a week - and created a new routine of a circuit of body weight overhead squats, push-up and pull-ups.

The New Left Knee had me doing more than I had done in the previous year and with virtually little or no pain.

Ironically, this freedom of movement and the joy of life it gave me also brought a sense of caution and appreciation of what I had lost and regained.

When you are crippled and unable to move and in pain and you doubt whether you will ever be able to be whole again, it feels like you have been born again when you are able to walk and run and jump again.

While the tenacity and zest for live, adventure and stretching my body to the limit was still there, it had been tempered by the memory of what I had lost and what had been given back to me.

It was really scary there for a while because I realized I had lost my independence - that I was no longer 9 foot tall and bulletproof - that I could be put down, and most importantly, I had to depend and rely on others to help me.

It was a humbling and enlightening experience, one that rebooted my Life Operating System and reprogrammed my Priorities.

2016 brought me Physical Death and Resurrection.

And it brought the end of several familial relationships.

One because it was Poison to my Soul.

One because some People can't handle the Truth.

One because I couldn't undo the Past.

It also brought me a short but intense relationship that showed me that Being Alone was better than trying to Share my Life with Another.

2016 brought me more Work than I had in previous years, more Pain than I had experienced in a Lifetime, more Joy and Restoration than I thought possible and more Heartache than I wanted.

What did I learn from my Year of Living Dynamically?

I am mentally, physically and emotionally stronger than I thought I was.

I ALONE am the Master of my World and am the Best One to Know what is Best for Me.

I am still a a Flawed and Fallible Soul, Servant to and in celebration of my Character Weaknesses and the Unpredictable and Spontaneous Nature of my Mind, Soul and Spirit.

I am Unique, Fringe and a Combination of Mental, Physical and Emotional Anomalies that People that don't know me Reject and that people that do know me find difficult to Assimilate and Process.

I Stand Alone on this Last Day of 2016 Stronger than I have ever been in anticipation of the Next Breath, the Next Day, the Next Year and the continuing Discovery that is this gift called Life.

Create your World, Build your Body, Strengthen your Mind, Search your Soul, Refine your Spirit and Love your Life.

These are my Goals for 2017 and my Wishes for You.

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