Vertical Eureka

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Eureka!!! Six months of gradually conditioning my body to stand erect, using a standing frame, finally came to fruition! Abounding pride embraced this overwhelming journey, which at times, after three decades of sitting, was a dream too big to ever dream myself. Luckily, my chiro and trainer continued delivering the message of true possibility even when I wasn’t so receptive. Like a constant, slow drip, their years’ long message¬†started seeping into the nooks and crevices of my cerebellum. My saturated brain finally succumbed to believe this possibility too!

As proud as I am of myself for reaching the vertical holy grail of 90 degrees, i can’t help but think, now what? No expectations propelled me this far, so with no expectations I look forward for what the future holds. I find this to be more of a journey of faith. As great as standing is, it is only icing on the cake. It’s to add another element to my health regiment, keeping my body feeling energized and working at its highest level since the body functions its best in an upright position. But, although the foreign concept of standing has never been something I’ve longed for, IT’S REALLY COOL! Just being able to hold a conversation eye-to-eye with someone provides a greater sense of connection.

My body accepted the new challenges well, allowing me to progress forward in what felt like a weirdly confident and natural manner. Ensuring healthy progress, I listened intently to the whisperings of my body in order to vigilantly prevent any unwanted injuries. Degrees had been perpetually increasing since my initial introduction at 30 degrees to the standing frame, in April. The higher the degree, the straighter I stood. Things were climbing at a upwardly steady pace through May, June, and July. Until they weren’t. The frustrating month of August plummeted my “standing plan” from a high of 82 degrees down to 72 degrees. My body refused to straighten past 72 degrees for the entire month. As much as I refused to have expectations, I DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS! I knew patience was the key, but reserves were running low. Ironically, the only person putting pressure on me, was me!

Manipulating massage into my exercise regiment helped me discover the missing puzzle piece crucially absent from my weekly workouts. It quickly eliminated stiffness in my knees, psoas, and diaphragm, allowing me to stretch targeted muscles which were preventing me from reaching September’s vertical goal of 90 degrees. To my surprise, massaging my diaphragm noticeably increased the strength of my voice, an extra fantastic bonus!

At the close of September, 90 degrees became reality. My 5 foot 7 inch frame stretched to full capacity. A friend asked me how it felt. A myriad of contradictions conflicted this oxymoronic, love/hate relationship between my brain and my body. It was exciting, yet apprehensive; freeing, yet confining; natural, yet unnatural; euphoric, yet painful; infinite, yet finite. Each session, I yearned for a forever stretch as body parts organically fell back into their natural position, yet I longed to be back in the familiar comforts of my wheelchair, furled up like an accordion, since this new, unfamiliar position exquisitely magnified the uncomfortable engagement and activation of core and leg muscles, as well as creating intense strain on my lower back. No matter what the feeling, the positive always outweighed the negative!

This unprecedented experience has navigated my path into uncharted territory. There’s no road map to show me where this adventure will end, or person before me, modeling steps for success. I have faith that the path I have followed will bring the greatest blessings. I thank the Lord every day for this¬†extraordinary experience, and anticipate endless possibilities when taking the next step, post 90 degrees, with strides of faith!

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