Monday, April 30, 2012

My eyes look the same, they just see differently

(originally published in Caregivingly Yours April 30, 2012)
“How long do I have to live?” to “How soon can I return to my normal daily life?” in less than four months has been an emotional and mental roller coaster ride that left the tracks long ago.

Back when I was first coping with ‘how long do I have to live?’ (but concealing lung cancer from everyone) I wrote an entry exercise, fitness, caregiving for Multiple Sclerosis in which I guestimated I had pushed Patti’s wheelchairs at least 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) over the decades.

So with my successful surgery and recovery in the past tense and one test push under the belt it was time to add some mileage.

Patti and Patrick pictured along Susquehanna River onCity Island, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Under 68˚F (20°C) sunny skies we looped City Islandin the Susquehanna River on Sunday for a mile plus (1.6+ km) outing. Originally planning on just using the level paved walking/biking path I soon was all terrain from my personal favorite concrete beach through water golf, scenic overlooks, picnic pavilions and docks.

Can anyone really push themself until they have pushed another?

by Patrick Leer


Jean faul said...
NIce article Patrick; you are such a good writer; when are you going to put all this together in a book? I am so proud of what you do for others, especially Patti and the rest of the family. Love you and keep you in my prayers. Jean
Cranky said...
That's a major milestone accomplished. So glad to read you've been able to take Patti out for a ride again. Sounds like a wonderful locale as well.
Judy at Peace Be With You said...
So glad you have come so far. Looking forward to more improvement, I am sure.
Muffie said...
That's great that you felt well enough to do so much! Just don't overdo!
FrankandMary said...
I think all of the pushing you do is for both of you. ~Mary
Anonymous said...
Don't try to be back at what you were doing before surgery just yet. However, you are my hero! :)
Jackie aka BamaWmn46
That corgi :) said...
Its beautiful! I'm sure it was a great outing in so many different ways, very therapeutic all around. I think you will know your limits but just remember to know your limits on what you can and can't do in the days, weeks, months, years ahead.

Patrick said...
As an update to this update, mowed my lawn today, 5,000 sq feet (464.5 sq meters). No it is not a riding mower or a walk behind but a pushing power mower. Any other year I would be grumbling about the first mowing of the year, not this year I embraced it simply because I could!!!
oklhdan said...
What a great attitude! I'm in awe. Makes me want to smack myself for all the whining I do about my arthritis. I loved what you said, "I embraced it simply because I could"
Kim @ Stuff could... said...
These are questions that I think long? I guess it is curiosity. I hope you are doing good after mowing!
Have Myelin? said...
I love the picture of the two of you. =)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lung Cancer Surgery Recovery Update:

Returned to Planet Fitness on Wednesday, six weeks to the day after successful lung cancer surgery. Cleared by surgeon, I completed full circuit of strength training equipment at "girly man" resistance with no problems. Get to add 10 lbs per day. Awesome scar!  Working on my 'shark bite' stories for Jersey Shore surf this summer.

Returned to MS Caregiving on Thursday, taking Patti for an unassisted outing, driving our wheelchair van, picking Patti up at her care facility, pushing and pulling Patti in her wheelchair in and out of our van and all around Walmart. ... No, not the most exciting outing but we needed to replenish her preferred brand toiletries, etc. and Walmart is if anything 'level' and big.

Surgeon offered that while I may be able to rebuild to pre-surgery strength levels in gym in a week, it may take two weeks before I return to pre-surgery caregiving abilities as more muscle combinations are involved.

I behaved and did not attempt a 'one person unassisted transfer'. I am saving that for the finale in likely two weeks. 

by Patrick Leer

(originally published Caregivingly Yours April 27, 2012)


That corgi :) said...
Glad to hear recovery is on course and you can do a few more things Patrick!! Do be careful when you try the one person unassisted transfer though!

FrankandMary said...
I'm not recovering from any surgery, but I took some time off from working out(just been walking & doing simple home stuff). This just pushed me back to the gym.

Some things we shouldn't "attempt" yet. I'm bad at that too. But I am hoping you hold off until it is really time.
Patrick said...
Thanks Betty
Patrick said...
Hi Mary! Glad I could help though actually all I could do for 6 weeks was walk and not lift anything over 5 lbs. I was going stir crazy. :)
Jenni said...
Few people realize that an untreated neck or back injury from a car accident is likely to develop into arthritis in later years adding more pain and debilitation to the situation. The most common symptoms of a whiplash injury are pain or stiffness in the neck and shoulders, recurring headaches, numbness in the arms and fingers, irritability, back pain, and dizziness. Don’t wait to get checked out by a specialist in Personal Injury. greenville sc chiropractors
atul kumar said...
Eating green vegetables and their juices can help in Lung Cancer Treatment.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

lung cancer surgery recovery

"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.” 
Sun Tzu, ‘The Art of War’
At the theoretical half way point of recovery from lung surgery, the word itself remains somewhat alien after decades of spouse caregiving for Multiple Sclerosis.

Me feeling a little better each day is strange, almost guilty, contrasted to decades of MS caregiving where ‘progress’ is measured in slowing decline.

Though after three weeks not every lesson learned is a quandary. Foolishly trying to be ‘muy macho’ I kept the pain meds in the bottle - until the first time I coughed or accidently rolled over on my surgical side while sleeping, then I grabbed that Oxycontin like a baby grabs its bottle. … Though unlike a chronic illness, hour by hour it does get better. Yesterday, I only took two (2) ibuprofen.

For me, mainly it’s my ribs that were retracted for surgery that ache and ribs take time.

Essentially recovery is about not stressing my incisions. I have lifting restrictions. My surgeon’s anecdotes of repairing lung hernias for those who do not listen were deterrent enough for me. Not lifting more than 5 lbs - also means no pulling, no pushing, no sliding, etc of anything over 5 lbs for six weeks.

While I do not need assistance with my activities of daily living, our adult daughter has been a godsend for grocery shopping, lawn mowing, etc. even things I never foresaw such as lifting the weights weekly on our grandfather clock.

Exercising and strengthening lungs ... When I woke up after surgery I was handed my very own Voldyne 5000! Actually it’s rather fun once you get the hang of it, inhaling steadily to try and keep the bobber suspended in the “best” range.

Walking is unrestricted. I’ve currently built up walking to a mile twice daily, stretching it each day. Pre-surgery I walked two miles most days of the week.  

I must confess that in our parallel universe I have found it helpful in my healing that Patti’s outings from her care facility, now made possible by our daughter, have only fallen off about one day a week during my recovery.

by Patrick Leer

(originally posted Caregivingly Yours April 7, 2012) 


That corgi :) said...
You're looking great Patrick. But you are wise to really listen to the surgeon's advice and restrictions and to follow them; temporary restrictions are better than permanent impairments if we don't allow our bodies the time to heal. It is good that your daughter is able to step in temporarily during this time to help out too; definitely a godsend indeed!!

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...
Good to hear you are recovering well. Yet, remember to follow your dr's recommendations. You have been blessed with a wonderful daughter!

Muffie said...
Patrick, It's good to know you're healing -- even if the course is slow. Continue to get well, and follow doctors' orders. Happy Easter to you and your family!
oklhdan said...
Glad to see you are continuing to improve with each day. Hope all of you had a Happy Easter!
Bea said...
Hi Patrick... you know my postings are only sporadic of late, but I did post yesterday, and while on my blog, I looked to see who I could visit, saw your posting was recent and clicked. That's when I discovered that you had had lung surgery to remove a cancer. I read on through previous postings to catch up... and glad to hear that you are getting better each day. This kind of healing takes time (my mother had lung surgery many years ago, and my husband had major lung surgery about 20 years ago). The pain does ease up... take something for the pain as needed. You are doing exceptionally well, and your attitude is inspiring. My prayers are for your continued recovery. Bless your daughter for picking up the care of her mother during this time (with outings and such). Get well... you are looking fabulous in that photo. Take care, Patrick!
Patrick said...
Learning patience! Who says you cannot teach an old dog new tricks :)
Patrick said...
There were moments in the teenage years the word 'blessed' and daughter might not have come out of my mouth at the same time. However now days I am in awe.
Patrick said...
Thank you and happiest of holiday wishes to you and yours.
Patrick said...
I count my blessings with each day
Patrick said...
Hi Bea! Great to hear from you. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm coming down the home stretch of recovery.