Monday, July 25, 2016

"Take a load off Anny, take a load for free. Take a load off Anny, and, and, and.... you put the load right on me." lyrics from "the weight" by the band

something amazing has happened! i actually put my tai chi dvd in my laptop and did the workout. if you have read some of my previous blogs, you will know that my tai chi dvd and i were having a staring contest( the dvd had been winning up to now). this is a beginners tai chi dvd. on the cover of the dvd,  it says that it is for "older adults and the physically challenged!". not sure why they used an exclamation point after that description, but i unfortunately fall into both categories. on the dvd, there is an instructor, and a student helper. the student helper's name is claire. claire is a very pleasant older adult. she knows all of the moves, moves gracefully, and does not break a sweat. claire has about 20 years on me. unlike claire, i do not know the moves, am not graceful, and actually sweated pretty profusely. the instructor kept saying that "claire is a dancer". all i know is that claire kicked my butt.

that said, i think that i will continue with the tai chi. i would rather attend a live class( claire does not talk very much on  my dvd). i found that with zumba, after doing the  dvd a few times ,just the dvd  is boring. a live class is  much more fun. in a live class, the routines change from class to class, and there is just something more inspiring about being in a live class. my physical therapist told me today, that even  not considering my bad knee, it would take me  approximately a year to get back to where i was physically able to attend a whole zumba class. sad face here. of course, i know that i would have to get my knee replaced before i could go back. anyone need a pair of zumba shoes and several belly scarves?

here are the pros that i have discovered with tai chi:

1. it can be a gentle, strengthening exercise.

2. it focuses on deep and complete breathing.

3. it improves balance, thus limiting the possibility of falls.

4. it can be calming and relaxing.

5. there is basically no special equipment required ( although comfortable yoga type pants and a tee shirt are useful).

6. it helps with flexibility

7. it is supposed to increase energy levels.

there are only a few cons:( as i see it)

1. it is not zumba

2. currently, there are no live classes being taught in my area.

 joking aside, i think that this is pretty much the perfect exercise for me now- at this point in my recovery from cancer. i really enjoy walking, which i do as often as possible, but the tai chi is a good addition to my walking. and since tai chi is supposed to help with balance and preventing falls, this might actually help when i am walking. i will let you use your imagination on this point.

i am currently still going to physical therapy for lymphatic massage. "the weight" is literal in my case. i still have a lot of swelling in my chest, side, back and arm, but my physical therapist is making quite a bit  of progress. she said that not all people respond to the massage, but that obviously i am. my husband went with me to one of my sessions, and my physical therapist taught him how to do the massage at home. it is so kind of him to do this for me, and it is helping as well. i have found that working ( 9 hours on my feet) makes the lymphedema worse. not too much that i can do about that at this point, except for limiting work as much as is possible for me and my work schedule.

as i understand it, lymphedema is a chronic condition that can be managed, but not completely cured. i still wear my compression sleeve, especially when i am working. early diagnosis and treatment are the keys here. i strongly advise anyone who thinks that they may have lymphedema, to consult with a physical therapist who is trained to treat lymphedema patients. getting physical therapy for this has been one of the most positive things that i have done for myself . again, please be  your own best patient advocate, and do what you can to make things better for yourself.

so, i am planning on continuing my tai chi dvd, and  giving claire a run for her money. i would not place any bets on me as yet. after all, claire is a dancer.....

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