Thursday, July 14, 2005

Jacqui Passed Her Specialist Exam

Becoming a specialist - in this case a veterinary internal medicine diplomate - is an arduous and daunting task that takes years of effort and study plus the monster 2 day final exam. Leaving your work to care for a very ill mom who lives far away from your work is a herculean task!

An amazing daughter, JACQUI did it! She has now PASSED the enormous 2 day test and completed her residency in internal medicine at Colorado State University. After the end of this week, all that will remain for her in study is the last 2 years of research and writing to complete her PhD too. It will keep her BUSY, but will probably seem like a holiday compared to all she' d done in the past.

I am SO PROUD of her and SALUTE her marvelous accomplishment. She was quite worried about this exam and had so little time to prepare, but once again, she accomplished a virtual miracle! YAY Jacqui!

We can all be happy that many dogs and cats will be able to recover and prosper due to all the great work of Dr. Jacqui Whittemore! Hooray and Hallelujah! --pam

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Come on, let's exercise!

I must tell you that exercising - being in motion - has been the most therapeutic part of my recovery! Just DO IT!

As puny as I've been, as soon as I could, I started back at the rec center. Creeping along with my walker, lifting very light weights and riding the recumbent bike slowly but steadily.
At first, I could only ride the bike with the controls OFF - no weight at all! Little by little, I have gotten stronger and built some stamina.

So many of us avoid exercise and only notice the strain and effort when we do it. I implore you - re-focus and let exercise - of any kind - give you strength and power and happiness! Don't focus on the work, focus on the child-like wonder of movement. Children move all the time and delight purely in the joy of motion. Try and regain that child-like feeling - it's more empowering than you can imagine!

Truth is, I came to exercise quite late - I did NOTHING till I was in my early 30s. I was terrible at sport as a kid and decided that sport and exercise wasn't for the "smart" crowd. After confronting my thighs at age 31, I decided to try something and started jogging. I was terrible at it, but could do it on my own time and there was no team to let down. Finishing the first mile took almost a year, but I did it. The day I finished 4 miles I thought, "I can take care of myself and my life!" It was so freeing and empowering!

20 years later, I'm still at it and it has given me great pleasure. My running days are over due to the hardware in my foot, but I can bike and I will be able to hike and I can lift weights to stay healthily strong. I'm no spring chicken anymore, but I will cherish every chance to keep moving.

You DO it! Walk, bike, swim, hike, dance, whatever you like - just DO it! It will enrich your life if you focus on the positive. Of course you have time. We all have the same amount of time and this is important! Who knows, it may save YOUR life too!

My hearing is normal!

Having ear surgery to replace two trashed little bones in my ear has been one of the scarier parts of this adventure. As a musician, hearing is key to my ability to work and be of use in my field. Losing hearing in my left ear put my future as a choral conductor in real jeopardy.

After two months, it was time for a hearing test and follow-up with the doctor. Boy, was I scared! Success! My hearing is actually just as good as before and maybe a tad better. I've lost a bit of very high frequencies in the left ear, but nothing we would use in music.

I confess there is still a problem with my eustachian tube - my ear feels full and I sound really funny to myself. This drives me nuts! I hope we can "fix" this, but at least it doesn't affect my ability to do my job!

It is great to be walking with - or without - a cane. I can do so much more than before - hooray! I try to remember all the good things and ignore the rest...good practice for learning to be a better person. When one has been so injured, one spends so much time constantly monitoring and evaluating every physical sensation. It's necessary at the time, but let's face it, too much time thinking about oneself is not a good way to spend the day. Enough is enough! Time to move on!

Thanks for listening!