A Major Announcement…

Ok, well maybe not a major announcement, but I’m back. Back, to letting my brain flow through these cold fingertips of mine. Back, at least for today. I have missed you and appreciate the messages of encouragement, wonder and care I got from some of my readers. Each letter strengthens my daily resolve.

 

I have no reason for stepping away from the blog…just as I have no reason for returning again. However, here I am. I wish I could relay tales of wonderment while I was away, but alas, it has been just like any other span of time encompassed in the last few years. Taking each day…each moment…for what it is. Dealing with the immediate and trying to look forward to the next.

 

The next hour…

The next day…

The next pain free moment…

The next quiet dinner with my wife…

The next…always waiting.

 

I have found that days have very little identification at the moment. One seems to bleed into another, into another. I am still working a few hours a week with my student, and have found it to be equally rewarding and exhausting. Equally challenging and educational. We are currently reading the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. I bought a copy myself so that I could read along and we could have deep discussions about the story, and meaning of the book. If you have not read this one, I might suggest it. I’m sure a trip to your local library may uncover and old copy. Very interesting perspective on life and where it may or may not be heading, all taught by the unlikeliest of characters.

 

Well, Friday is another big day for me. It’s new doctor day! (Typed in my most sarcastic thought) This will be Primary Doctor numero 5 in a three year period. That of course does not count all the other specialists and incompetents that I met along my journey. The last two moved from Oregon to Georgia. To Georgia!! Absolutely no disrespect to any Georgia Peaches that might be reading; but who moves from Oregon to Georgia? Better yet…who finds two doctors that decide to move from Oregon to Georgia….This guy!

 

So I have filled out my new patient paperwork, copied and delivered a small novel of medical records and reports (they can request the rest of the bookcase on their own) and delivered it all with sticky tabs and notes. Hopefully when I walk in the doctor will have an idea of why I am there, and won’t have to read the folder to know my name. In all fairness I did meet the new doctor very briefly when I went in for the paperwork, and felt a calm energy about her.

 

Now finding a doctor is rather interesting in my case. I don’t have, and haven’t had for awhile, ‘traditional insurance’. Therefore calling around and finding a good doctor is not all that easy. About a year ago my wife found a local Physician’s coop where we pay a monthly fee and then have a certain amount of visits a year, with my doctor it will be 9 a year after the initial visit. Then, when it comes to testing deals have been worked out with various labs for reduced costs…but still all costs to me. Each doctor has their own plan of visits, and varying prices for the initial cost. So finding the right doctor is like rolling the dice in Vegas. You go in with the knowledge you have and hope for the best.

 

So we will see where we go now on this journey of mine. Each season seems to bring a new road…or more correctly a new direction of the road. Seldom does it appear as a fork, allowing me to choose my way. It’s more like a spoon…dipping down and then climbing out the other side.

 

So for today I write, with no promises or expectations on tomorrow. The sun is shining; the weather is in the 70s and it’s my favorite month. I think my cane and I have a date for a path. A path I WILL choose.

 

May all of you have a pain free moment until we read again.

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Friday Outing Part IV

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For your listening pleasure!

Well Friday turned out to be the nicest day of 2013 so far in the Portland area. Seemed like a perfect day to head to the Oregon Zoo. We had been talking about making this outing since we first began working together, but the typical Oregon weather had different ideas…until yesterday. I have to admit that I was a bit worried how I would hold up walking around the zoo…especially after the hellacious day I had on Thursday, but I did ok. The only thing we missed was the Insect Hut….and you know what? I was just fine with that. I think after the bat exhibit, I had been thoroughly creeped out.

One very cool thing about the Oregon Zoo that I have learned since living up here is they have been a pioneer in Elephant study. The lineage began with Rose, who was brought to Oregon from Thailand in 1953. On April 14, 1962, Packy was born…marking the first elephant birth in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years. At the time Zoologists were not even sure of an elephants gestation period. It was also the Oregon Zoo which discovered, in 1984, that Elephants communicate using infrasonic waves, which are above a human’s hearing range. (Source: Oregon Zoo)

iPhone 08951 years later and Packy is still hanging tough.

Now, just under 51 years later we had another elephant calf born at the Zoo. On November 30, 2012 the zoo welcomed little Lily to the family. This was the first chance that either of us had to see the new addition…and she did not disappoint. The elephant exhibit was the first stop for us. We were able to watch little Lily walk around with mom. She was pretty darn adorable.

iPhone 090 iPhone 091

From that point on, we were off. It was lions. It was tigers. It was bears. Oh my. Like I said before, we saw it all. Being that is was a Friday, the crowds were reasonable since shool is in session. We did have a lot of younger kids, school groups, and clueless stroller wielding mothers. There were a couple of times where my student asked if we could leave an exhibit because the volume had become piercing. Yeah, no problem there bud!

Once again, another fantastic Friday outing. Here are some of the pictures from the day. Not as many quality shots as I would have hoped for, but the iPhone and sun don’t always mix. Especially when the iPhone is used to clouds.

iPhone 098 iPhone 097 iPhone 096

Put a bird on it!

iPhone 099“Hey Bill, you feel like moving today?”

“Nah, maybe tomorrow.”

iPhone 101

Tweet tweet, feed the Lorikeet.

Quick insert here. My student was VERY excited about feeding the Lorikeets. You pay $1 for a little cup of nectar and then you walk into an enclosure filled with these beautiful birds that attack you for what’s in your hand. I decided to just play camera man, which was a good thing because I also had to play Birdman a few times and get the excess birds of the Feeder. Now, let me explain this enclosure…I wish I had taken a picture. The enclosure consists of a pathway about 50 yards long. In the middle is a covered area. I did not notice any signs of warning posted anywhere that this was not the best place to stand. You see, while you are busy feeding the cute little buggers hanging out on your hand and arm and shoulder and head…there are others who have taken a higher refuge in the covered area. Now you do the math…lot’s of people means lots of nectar…and the nectar needs to go somewhere. It was after 3 very close calls, that I realized we might be safer cleaner if we stepped out of the covering. Then, out of a random act of randomness…there was another adult who decided she had enough of the cuties and literally handed it off to me. Really? I didn’t realize I looked like a bird stand. At least I got out of there poop scott free.

iPhone 104Amateur! My goatee is longer than yours.

iPhone 105This old washing tub reminded me of my grandmother. I have a faint memory of her having those drying wheels.

iPhone 103I’m going to Prom!!!

iPhone 100More shrimp please…my pink is fading!

iPhone 094I had to be torn away from this little ocelot.

iPhone 093Looks like someone got into their mother’s makeup bag.

iPhone 106iPhone 102

Bearly able to contain the excitement.

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I’d be lion if I said I didn’t have fun.

Mind over Matter

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Well here is the story most of you have been waiting for. My adventures on the disc golf course.

 

Quick terminology for those unfamiliar with disc golf (or ball golf) terminology.

Par – the number of throws (shots) it should take to complete a hole, or an entire course. Most holes in disc golf are Par 3.

Ace – Hole in one

Birdie – I throw less than the stated Par for the hole.

Bogey – I throw more than the stated Par for the hole.

Mini – This is a miniature size disc. Usually used as a marker for normal size discs, sometimes they are used for fun events and can be thrown into a mini sized basket.

 

Saturday started out quite differently than most disc golf Saturdays in the past. Previously, I would wake up and stretch a little bit…then head out the door to throw. Since this week’s events started a bit later, I had plenty of time to properly prepare myself. So along with stretching, I really worked my mind. I spent more time talking to my body, preparing mentally, then I did stretching out. I had to remind my body that it was healthy enough to do this.

So finally the time had come and we headed out to Horning’s Hideout. We got out there about 11:00 and milled around, visiting with friends. Once my partner arrived, and we got checked in, we headed out to the small course to warm up our arms. After 4 short holes we were feeling good and went back to await the beginning of the tournament. Here is a look at the team.

20130422-202433.jpg My partner in disc crimes, Melissa

We finally were given our players info and scorecards and shuffled off to our holes. The course, normally 18 holes and a Par 56, was transformed into 21 holes and a Par of 63. For non-golfers, Par is the number of throws it should take for you to finish the round. More than 63 throws is called ‘over par’, while taking less than the required throws is known as ‘under par.’ We began on one of the new holes and had to use a miniature disc and throw at a miniature disc golf basket. We walked away from hole one with a par. I missed my first, and really only, makeable put on the 2nd hole of the day. After that we found our groove.

The great thing about playing with a partner is that each player will throw, and then we get to take the better of the two throws. This came in handy on the 5th hole we played. My partner teed off and landed safely, half way between the tee box and the basket. This was great, because my tee shot got away from me and smashed into a tree just in front of the tee. We walked up to my partner’s disc and readied for the second shot. I grabbed my Roc and eyed the shot. I was still about 130 ft from the basket. I let go of the disc and it began to glide along the exact route I directed it. It began moving slowly in the direction of the basket, before slamming into the chains….and popping out and onto the ground, beside the basket.

20130422-202518.jpgYou can see my lonely disc resting next to the basket.

Next was one of my most difficult holes, from a physical and mental standpoint. I had spent much of my time leading up to the event, and most of the morning, reminding myself to just take it easy, have fun and let the discs do the work. The last thing I wanted to do was try and power my throws, which would result in more energy. Even though I did not power a single shot, there had already been one hole where I felt a small tug in my arm. I stepped up to the tee after my nearly amazing shot, and let a drive go. I suddenly felt a blinding amount of pain in my throwing arm. I did not say anything out loud and was ready to power through it, hopefully. We were only about a 1/3 of the way into the round, and I was not ready to concede. So I sat for a few moments, just before I fell over. I finished out the hole (we got one of our bogeys (1 over par) on this hole). The arm seemed to cool down quickly, and I was able to move on….gingerly.

The round continued without much hassle. There was a hole we were teeing off on later in the round, when suddenly we hear the explosion of chains behind us. Someone had just hit a hole in one from the previous tee pad. We continued to play decent golf making most of the shots we should make.

Now if anyone has ever watched Portlandia, then you might be familiar with the phrase ‘Put a bird on it”. In this funny show, they poke fun of Portland, OR and state that any arts and crafts project is better if you put a bird on it. This has become a joke in Portland, as you know will often see chicken sandwiches called the Portlandia. So, back to the round. I began telling my partner that we needed to make our scorecard better by putting a birdie on it. Then came hole 19 of 21 on the day. This has always been one of my favorite holes as it works out well for a right handed thrower. From the tee box the basket is unseen, laying about 200 feet up a road and sharply off to the left. I stepped up with my trusty Wraith, and let it fly up the gut of the fairway. Then, just as I had directed it, the disc cleared the tall lumber and started take the familiar left hand turn in the direction of the basket. Quick side note: This particular hole has to different placements for the basket…one shorter that the other by about 50-70 feet. After we all threw, we began our short walk up to the basket. I was pleased to see the basket had been set in the shorter of the two positions, but was even happier to see my beautiful disc laying only 4 feet from the basket. I walked up and was able to just place it into the basket for a birdie.

Our scorecard just got better!

We finished up our last couple of holes and began the tallying of our scores. The other couple that we played a round with shot a 70 (7 over par) which was great since the female on the card had only played a couple of times. After tallying up our scores, we finished up with a 67 (4 over Par). Not too shabby for a couple of golfers who have been limited by injuries and not played very often. We went back to the tournament area to turn in the scores and wait to see how everyone else did. In our division there were 14 teams of men and women. Finally, the scores for the first round were tallied and posted. Here is what the top scores looked like. 55, 58, 59 and 67 (2 groups tied). So that put us tied for 4th place after the one round.

Now I know that a 4th place finish sounds great under the circumstance, and trust me it is. However, I look at it a bit differently. I know the players that shot the 58 and 59. There is no tournament or competition, in which I (or any others that played Saturday) would compete with these golfers. They are typically in a higher division because, well, they’re just that good. Since this was a fun event and we were playing mixed (one man, one woman) doubles…we all got smashed into one generic group. However, the way I see it is that they very well could have competed in their own division….therefore, I was not comparing myself to them. If you look at it in that sense, we came in first (tied for first) in our division. To say I was thrilled would have been an understatement. I did not expect to be anywhere at the top of the leader board, but there we were.

There was a 2nd round that day. I night round played after the sun set with lights attached to the discs to make them glow. I did not partake in the 2nd round knowing it was just too much for my first time back out. Plus my body loudly let me know it was ready to head home about 6:30 that evening. One of the organizers of the event, and a great friend, stepped into my place and played the night round with my partner. They held on to our 4th place finish, breaking the original tie and securing 4th place by 7 strokes over the next team.

**Aftermath**

I purposely waited a few days to type this blog, so that I could truely relate to you the aftermath of the round in relation to my ailments. The point of the day was of course to get out and play the game I missed, but also to see if it’s maybe something I could put back into my life, perhaps on a limited basis.

Saturday – I think I was too caught up in the moments to worry about how I was feeling. As I already mentioned, I had strained my arm early on, and although sore it was feeling ok. The rest of my body was sore, tired. I was ready for bed shortly after we got home, but the pain began to set in early and so it was a later night then I had hoped.

Sunday – Sunday was a strange day. The reactions I got from my body were not what I was expecting. It was a very up and down day. I woke up feeling a lot better than I had anticipated. My energy seemed normal and pain was limited. This all changed in the early afternoon after dropping my wife at work. I barely made it home with enough energyu to make it to the couch where I proceeded to drop off into sleep. I woke up a bit later feeling a little refreshed, but that only lasted a couple of hours before the pain and fatigue set in.

Monday – Another up and down day, but the pain was more increased. Again I felt good at times, and then just as quickly I felt lightheaded and nauseous. I was able to rest quite a bit, but by last night I was tight and barely moving around. Any movement took a lot of energy. I worked on this blog for awhile, and had the entire entry just disappear. At that point the pain was too much and I was a bit pissed about losing my whole entry, so I gave up on the day and went to bed.

Tuesday – So here I am retyping, recreating this entry. My pain levels are elevated. My joints are all tightened up, and my feet and hands remain numb and tingling. However, i still have the memories of Saturday settled into my brain, so when the stabbing pain begins, I close my eyes and picture some of those shots in my mind….and for just a brief moment, I am released from the pain. I will take those brief moments.

Overall I accomplished what I initially set out to do, that was finish a full round of golf. I, however, felt like I accomplished so much more. I was thrilled with our finish, and even though my body is yelling at me, I am determined to get back out there and play again. It will just be a continued effort of mind over matter, and making sure that I continue to play easy and listen to my body’s limitations.

And now that I have bored you with all my words, here is the part you have all been waiting for….the pictures.

20130422-202556.jpgMy wife and I. She came out to support us.

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My life partner and my disc partner

 20130422-202546.jpg Hole 11 – Put a Birdie On It

20130422-202537.jpgHole 5 with a Mini Basket on the top. Any close putts had to be made with a mini disc into the mini basket.

 20130422-202532.jpgHole 10 – The maroon disc was sliding into the picture as I took it.

20130422-202525.jpgHole 13 – Parctice discs laying around the basket.

 20130422-202509.jpgHole 9 – The signature hole. Notice the Peace Sign?

20130422-202620.jpgMy post-round view from my anti-gravity chair. 20130422-202612.jpgYou cannot walk far at horning’s without encountering a Peacock.

It’s Golfing Day

These are personal shots from Horning's Hideout in North Plains, OR.

These are personal shots from Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, OR.

Morning dew dampness

And smell of fresh hay

Morning coffee

Running the sleep away

Wake up, wake up

It’s Golfing Day

~

Chilly air

Making pimples goose out

Warms my soul

Just to be out

Let’s get some birdies

Pars are ok

Let’s just have fun

It’s Golfing Day

~

The cry of Peacocks

Checking your ears

Chatter of golfers

Preparing for years

Saturday at Horning’s

What more can I say

Except, just this…

It’s Golfing Day

~

The plastic is wiped

The skies are grey

Bags are packed

With the needs of the day

Towels at the ready

Umbrellas tucked away

No rain today

It’s Golfing Day

~

Assignments are assigned

Players ready to play

Let’s get out to our holes

It’s Golfing Day

~

Plastic cuts

From the arms whip

Chains bang

After releasing grip

Rip the driver

Place the putter

Cheer for the good

The bad just a mutter

Put your gripes away

It’s Golfing Day

~

The fun will come

And the tired too

But I am ready to throw

And see what I can do

The fun will begin

And so I say

Let us cheer

It’s Golfing Day!

T Minus

5 days until my big disc golf adventure. Ack!!! Didn’t I just write the blog about how it was a few weeks away? What happened to the time? It’s sneaking up quickly on me. Still trying to figure out if I’m ready for this. If my body is ready for this. There is only one way to find out. Do it!! I know I will accomplish nothing by merely talking about it.

I thought I would give you a little sneak peek into the preparations for the event.

 

20130414-233027.jpg Here are the socks.

20130414-233039.jpg The shirt

20130414-233107.jpg A new crazy hat to keep my head cozy.

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And finally the pants that are about to be redesigned into knickers.

So this is getting real. And the nerves am apprehension are getting real. I have been practicing some here and there, putting between rain drops and throwing between storms. Here is the outlook for the weekend.

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Now I live in Oregon where our motto is: If you don’t like the weather then drive five miles or wait 5 minutes. So things can definitely change quickly and I’m not going to get my hopes up thr the weather will be that nice until I am standing out there on Saturday.

More practice, more putting and more preparations this week. I can do this! I got this!

Not Broken

Body is beaten
Mind twisting images
Fibro flares
Not the end
The beginning
Not defined
Defining
Not strong
Strengthening
Not sharp
Sharpening
Not honed
Honing
Beaten
Not broken

Social Support

In this day and age, we really are pretty lucky to have the social media that we do. Whether it be WordPress or Facebook, there are a lot of support options for those of us with chronic illnesses. I wanted to profile a few of the Facebook pages that I follow. These pages have helped to strengthen my will to be the best I can be…despite Fibro.

 

So please give these great pages a view. Also, if you have any pages you follow, please feel free to add them in the comments section and I will update my list for all to enjoy.

Facebook Pages:

From The Fog

Fibro Feist

Fibromyalgia This: Diary of A Pain Warrior

Surviving Chronic Pain

Fibro Fighterz

Positivity in Pain

Voices of Fibromyalgia

Fibro For Men

BEHIND FIBROMYALGIA

Closed (Private) Support Groups:

For Fibro Men

United in Understanding: Fibromyalgia, Lupus & RA