Thanks so much for stopping by and reading--it's wonderful to know that you, too, understand what a miracle it is to be able to chew, smile and eat without pain, how amazing. I am happy for you!
Thanks for the Yonanna report. I will check out more on your thread in a bit. You made me laugh out loud when you wrote that you and your family concluded that having any resemblance to ice cream should be considered an asset.
Today Romeo and I went on our morning walk, still gathering mushrooms along the way. I also brought my credit card so we could cross the highway after walking along the creek behind the university fitness center because I got a new bench (on sale) for my front porch and wanted to pick up a wind chime or set of bells for it. (This is another story for another time). It’s now a regular occurrence for us to walk the extra quarter mile or so to TriState, “Idaho’s most interesting store,” where you can buy all manner of things—kitchen ware, garden stuff, hardware, outdoor shoes, clothing, gloves, hats, etc. I was reflecting that when I first started walking with Romeo nearly 3 years ago now, we did not walk all the way to the fitness center even. We stayed on the other side of the creek. But in time we crossed the creek and went further. Then there was a time I realized Tri State was just beyond, yet a little too far. I began to look at it and think, “some day.” That day came last summer. I needed to shop for a new push mower after my ancient one finally gave up the ghost. (By the way, push mowing is great exercise and so clean compared to the heaviness and smelliness of gas powered ones. I wouldn’t want to use anything else.) I had called ahead and knew they had the kind I thought I wanted to get. Once I saw it and saw that it would work for me, I began to make arrangements for them to hold it and have someone else pick it up. But the staff offered to assemble it for me and deliver it.
That was my first TriState “ little victory.”
Since then, we have gone over there many times. Another little victory occurred when we went over and shopped for winter boots in November 2011. I ended up with some Keene Betty Boots. (never give up, I bet you know what I’m talking about because of where you live). Not only did I buy the boots, but I carried them home myself in my back pack.
I cannot tell you what it’s like to be able to go look at something I want to consider purchasing that I need-- by myself. There’s such a sense of restored freedom that comes with the privacy of that. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the friends who have helped me out and carted me around for years, and still do. I still need that at times and appreciate it very much. But not all the time. They are amazed, too, and cheer me on when I do something like this, so thought I’d mention it.
The staff there is very kind. The woman who sold me the winter boots said, "I see you and your dog walking around town. Did you know you don’t need to put his service vest on to come in here? We don’t sell food so we are pooch friendly.” That made it even easier to just cross the street if we felt like it and take a look at something in the course of our “stroll.”
This Spring and Summer we’ve gone over many times. Here I was today walking over in some splendid vegan Brooks running shoes I bought earlier in the season. It just really felt Iike I’ve come a long way, and can do more than “just walk” if we want to, and now that feels normal All thanks to Romeo, and this way of eating!
Likewise, my lawn moving adventures have become even stronger and more consistent. With the one I purchased last year, I have basically done the front and back lawns myself all season this year, except for the first couple of times after heavy rains and very thick grass. And I can do the whole back in one session (I first started doing about a quarter of it a time. I even remember the first time I successfully mowed one turn). It just keeps getting better and better each year. I had the pleasure of telling the nice kid I used to hire to do it that I would think about whether I needed him to or not, then never needing him to! So stay with it, folks. The things you want to be able to do will slowly get easier and easier. Or you'll be able to do them for a longer period of time before you hit the wall. Or at least you’re given them every possibility and opportunity to if you eat this way.
The certain momentum of this healing, however gradual or incremental, is in contrast to the situation of a poem I wrote several years ago about being in my garden. It was published in a small local literary journal that was going back then called Gumption. Now it's not that I don't have help anymore, and not that I don't lay down and let myself relax on the ground if I'm tired. It's just that the "different" is now "different" than I ever knew it would be. Here's the poem:
Every year is different.
Every year I'm different.
In the magazine about my disease
they say to build the beds high
so the gardener can wheel her chair
and sit to plant. But this year I still can favor
the ground, even if it's a long way up.
I leave lots of room for moving to stand
and laying down between the beds
my friends have dug for me.
I stretch out next to the new kale, the beets,
and watch the clouds float. Sometimes
if I drift toward sleep, the gloves emptied
onto my stomach, the dog might come to
sniff my hair or lick my upturned face.
The bees simmer in the berry blossoms
along the fence. There is no time,
only the body loosening its wrenches
and knots a little in the slow lilt of the earth
breathing. There is nothing else quite like it,
no pill or therapy or treatment
can match this forgetting.