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.