I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the beautiful weather the Lord has blessed us with this past week. I have no choice but to be thankful when I am fortunate enough to enjoy 75° weather in Northeast Ohio during the middle of March! It’s been great to get outside for a little bit each day and enjoy the sun’s energy. I certainly have been doing my part to soak as much of it in as I can.
And speaking of energy, congratulations to my alma mater, Lehigh, on their amazing performance in the NCAA basketball tournament! Unless you’re a Blue Devils fan, the Lehigh/Duke game was an exciting feat of David vs. Goliath proportion. I have no doubt all of the North Carolina fans took pleasure in the Mountain Hawks victory!
While we are on the topic of victory, I continue to celebrate the small victories I make each week during my physical therapy sessions. My hip flexor and quadriceps muscles continue to grow stronger, in turn allowing me to activate them for longer periods of time during the workouts. After a strong table workout today I was able to get on the FES bike and ride for a couple miles using my own muscles to do most of the work (while being electrically stimulated). As I was rolling across the parking lot towards my vehicle after the workout I experienced a tingling sensation throughout both of my legs – something which I have not experienced before. I took it as a good sign that the nerves in my leg muscles had experienced some type of signal as a result of the morning workout.
I’m thinking of adding an extra day to my workout regimen to further help strengthen the muscles and restore any potential nerve activity. Myself, as well as others, have actually noticed that my legs have put on some additional mass. Furthermore, I recently received some “wearable therapy” wraps that will stimulate and increase muscle mass in my glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and ankles while hopefully waking up the nerves at the same time.
Nerve regeneration in the spinal cord after injury is a very tricky and delicate undertaking. In general, human nerves regrow at the rate of a millimeter a day. However, there still exists debate on whether or not the spinal cord nerves are able to regenerate. There are those who operate under the school of thought that regeneration is minimal at best and unlikely to lead to any recovery or function. There is another school of thought that believes that repetitive exercise and patterned neural activity can assist in helping to “wake up” dormant and damaged nerves. This process, known as the “Dardzinski Method”, is the basket of thought I’m placing all my eggs in. Patience is absolutely mandatory. In most cases, it can take several years of constant repetition of the same motion to restore function. Nonetheless, I’m in it for the long haul and am so very grateful to the many people who have donated funds to my Discretionary Trust. I hope you take some heart in knowing that your donations are having a real impact on my physical progress!
In other news, I will be speaking at Perry High School next Tuesday evening as part of the “A Walk in Their Shoes” program. I have also been invited to speak at a conference in Austin, Texas in August. Provided some logistical issues can be worked out, I’m looking forward to accepting the invite. I also received word from the IRS that my 501(c)(3) application currently resides in the “Applications for Expedited Review” pile. They are currently reviewing applications submitted last July. Considering my application was received on October 20th, I have abandoned all wishful intentions that their stated 90 day expectation for a response will be met.
Rather than begin this journal with a quote, I wanted to close with one that was shared with me by my friend, Nicole. I hope that anyone dealing with their own challenges and demons can find some solace in its truth – and put its truth to work for them, choosing to focus on the positive no matter how dark it can tend to get at times. It is from Dr. Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor:
“Everything can be taken from a man, but for one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there are always choices to make.”
God Bless and Stand Strong!