Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saya Bisa Jalan: a goal


I was looking at my last set of travel photos. Here is a picture of me with my fashion consultant, a guard at the sultan's palace in the city of Yogyakarta on the island of Java. In the year that has passed, I have, only thought fleetingly of my desire to travel again. I have archipelago dreams again. I still want to climb a volcano. So much has changed in the past year.

I look at the picture above, and remember my exercise of the Indonesian language. Besides saying terima kasih (thank you), the phrase I remember using often was "saya bisa jalan" which means "I can walk." Walking was a challenge, enough so that I traded in my travel ready walker for a 140 dollar wheel chair from Century Health Care in Jakarta.

In Indonesia, I never had trouble getting help. But, I always wanted people to know my needs were slight. From a wheelchair, it was not unusual to find someone practically willing to carry me. That is when the importance of "saya bisa jalan" became clear to me. I could walk, and already was getting concerned when people viewed my difficulties as worse than they are. `

I started my vacation being misdiagnosed by a Redding neurologist as having Multiple Sclerosis. I sat with this news from the of my diagnosis in June until my first consult with a neurologist here in Santa Clara County. After my hour long consult, my doctors agreed my case did noit appear to be MS at all. Contrary to any rumors I may have started, he did not say my old doctor was on crack.

This has been my journey. Perhaps I have shared too much. But since my last MRI made spinal decompression surgery possible, I have had dreams, and setbacks. as well as much frustration. Within months of returning to San Jose, I eventually stopped walking. I wonder if that was wise. Still, I have followed direction of my therapists, and believe I will walk again.

My new mantra is "saya bisa jalan", and rising out of each breath is the rise in my determination. In the standing frame, I constantly monitor my breathing and my posture. Each breath I bring in slow, through my abdomen. In the beginning, keeping straight placed a strain on my back. Each day, I feel my back straight with less conscious effort. Each breath solidifies my resolve, and I even smile. This is why this frame is so special. It makes this posture accessible, and I can even disappear into it, as each visit builds upon the gifts of the last one.

Exercise, and muscle development is slow, but since I have started using the standing frame, my body is becoming more limber, and stronger than it has been in months. I have been able to cut my use of muscle relaxant, which leaves me feeling more vibrant. Every day, I find my legs, my back, and my belly stronger than before. I still intend to start walking again. I plan to travel, and I will climb a volcano. My experiences now suggest this is all feasible. I missed visiting Mount Merapi before. I will not miss out again.

Besides, if I want my own pleated batik sarong, it would be cheaper to have it made in Indonesia.

Thank you for reading.

12 comments:

Chrissy said...

Don't stop, I need to read your stuff as often as possible. You keep me grounded

ChrisAu said...

Keith - You are one strong soul! Nothing beats a determine spirit and I believe you will reach your goal. God bless you! I have added you to my blogroll.

Pete said...

Hope you fully recover soon

PS : Thks for dropping by my veganformation blog. I am not a vegetarian but would try to eat vegetarian food whenever I could.

Keith said...

Chrissy, I believe both our goals are possible to achieve. I have prayers for you, too.

Keith said...

ChrisAu, I see your name, and I recall the table of elements where Au means gold. I thank you for visiting my blog. Terima kasih

Keith said...

Pete, I live in a house where my meals are free. I will not become a vegetarian here. Still, good vegetarian recipes are always exciting!

Anonymous said...

I guess i missed out something important in your previous post..not MS? :D i think i should congratulate u on that! what did the doctor say?

and oh, to use google translate, just go to translate.google.com, copy the part u wana translate, and click the 'translate' button. ;)

wishing u the best of luck!

limzhi

Keith said...

LimZhi, the doctors started unraveling the MS diagnosis almost a year ago. Sadly, the decision to do the surgery was long in coming thereafter. I would have loved to start this process before i quit walking...

Santa Cruz Nick said...

I don't know if your previous doctor was on crack, but he sounds like he spends a lot of time in the hospital pharmacy.

I Love-Hate America by Bing said...

You have an amazing strength and willpower ...and I know that comes from your faith in our Creator. You know that everything has a purpose, "All things work for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

Keith said...

Thank you Bing. I am very excited by the progress my body is showing. Yes, I believe, and I believe my belief makes my Creator happy

Amor said...

Terima kasih on visiting my blog Keith. I replied just before I went to sleep and planned to visit you today.

Glad to know you are recuperating. Yes you can walk again, and I would love to see your pics travelling, and climbing mountains and volcano. Continue believing, nothing is impossible with God.

Anda bisa berjalan. Got that from Google, I hope it's right. :) God bless you more!