Friday, February 21, 2014

The One Year Recovery: The Symptoms, The Actions

Hey All!

 As you can see, I have not kept up my with my fitness blogging. I apologize for that. Fit Board Fusion has been on a maintenance path for the last year  while I take baby steps towards recovery. I'm so grateful for my colleagues who keep on keeping on in the name of Health & Fitness. Today, I'd like to talk plainly about two of the largest repercussions of a long term concussion as I have perceived them in my life and recovery process.

  1. Ongoing lethargy: I suspect this is just my body telling me it still needs time to recover. Still, it's frustrating for a mother, wife, community member and small business owner. Here are a few things I've found for me that helped fight the constant fatigue:
    1. Fish Oil. There are some sensation articles regarding the healing properties of fish oil. If you skip the sensation and read the more moderate articles, there seems to be some link to the correct oils giving your body the tools it needs to fight inflammation.
    2. Iron / Vitamin D combo supplement. This might not sound critical, but due to my constant sleeping, I never saw sunlight. I plan to increase my time in the sun this summer.
    3. Good Nutrition. This might sound like a no-brainer for an athlete and physical fitness enthusiast, but it takes hard work and effort. And when you're recovering from a head injury, it's even more important -- and everything feels harder.
  2. Confused Visual Inputs: The impact was just above my left eye. I don't know that much about the
    brain. What I remember comes from 7th grade science class and Google. I could see everything, but I couldn't process things as quickly. This means, reading music while playing the piano was virtually impossible. Pieces that I've been playing for over 10 years were suddenly incomprehensible. Let's be clear, I'm no virtuoso. I just like to play occasionally. Noone will ever pay me to play the piano - they might pay me to stop playing tho! Still, music is in my heart & soul - and to have that ripped from me as a result of a negligent driver has been painful at best. How I fought back:
    1. Tenacity. Have I mentioned that I'm not really a talented piano player? Good. Still, I love music. I just didn't give up. I noticed that my fingers remembered patterns much sooner than my eyes were able to process the information input. That means, about 6 months after the accident I could play pieces of music that I'd had memorized. Sheet music still confused me. Two hands at the same time? Octave jumps? Forget it! So, I kept at it. I practiced, I waited, I practiced again. I would take time off. All of the sudden, one day, I sat down and played the music written on the sheets in front of me. It was Amazing. Surprising. Joyful.
    2. Patience. I'm an engineer by training & profession. I like to find the solution: immediately. Work hard, work intently. I apply this to everything I do in life. Work hard, play hard, analyze everything. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to brain recovery. I had to accept that my body would heal in its own way, on its own timeline.
    3. Experiment. When all else fails, look around and try something new. In December 2013, I signed up for the website www.lumosity.com. I felt that I needed something to retrain some of my brain processes. The brain is amazingly redundant and resilient. I know this, I just needed some help retraining. For a nominal fee and about 15 minutes every day, I would say the Lumosity product was worth it.

Have you ever had a significant healing journey? What tactics did you employ to help you heal? Did you set goals and timelines? I would love to hear about your recovery.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Three Point Planks

Planks Are Awesome


Well, your stomach will thank you in the long run. Planks are a surprisingly "easy to carry with you" exercise. This golden goody engages muscles in your back, your shoulders, gluteus (uh - that's the butt) and thighs.  It will encourage you to maintain flexibility in your toes -- now put this favorite of mine onto the Fit Board -- and you have a whole new experience. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Standing Rockers

Warming Up


Welcome to our first blog post on the core exercises we frequently perform on the Fit Boards. These posts are intended to be simple and informative. Please feel free to ask any questions. We'd be glad to answer!

Each of our sessions on the Fit Boards begins with a Rocker Set. Today, we will specifically address

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grateful for Friends

As the "big event" approached, I desperately balancing sleep, timelines, doctor's visits -- and budget. The balancing act is where friends and family come into play - in a big way!

I am grateful for friends with flexible schedules to help work the booth. I am grateful for friends with strong backs who help deliver the booth setup. Right now, I am just grateful to be alive.

Fit Board Fusion is set up and ready to go in Booth 300. We requested a booth away from the Figure Competition but near the personal trainer certifying booths - and we got exactly what we requested. I am incredibly thankful that our booth worked out well - it looks like we won't be next to any blaring music. I look forward to conversing with types of new people!

Today, I'm tired. I'm sore. I am excited for the show. I hope the lights won't be too bright for my concussed head. See you after the show!




Friday, August 16, 2013

Nerves and Concussions: The Arnold Classic is Coming!

Fit Board Fusion is just barely a year old and we signed up to attend one of the largest fitness expositions in the country - even the world.  AHHHH! We anticipated an exciting event full of energy and enthusiasm. Noone anticipated that a car accident would so deeply affect our ability to serve and energize our customers.



FBF has found some wonderful supporters in the organizers and friends of the Arnold Classic. We appreciated their support in providing timely feedback and information as we prepared during those last days before the Expo (between bouts of excessive concussion-related sleep!)  However, event with all the support, I faced the day with some trepidation.

At its base, FBF is all about core muscles, stabilization and balance. For the record, the whiplash combined with my concussion severely inhibited me from performing some of our "inspiring" exercises.  Thankfully, I had helpers scheduled throughout the weekend- but the plan all along depended primarily on me to explain and demonstrate exercises for potential clients and trainers.

Before the event started, we mapped out a new game plan. Stay tuned to see how it went...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sleep and the Buzz

Have you ever been on a long train ride - or car ride that is very bumpy? Did you arrive at your destination only to feel that your body was still in motion? That's how I have felt since the car accident. I can only describe it by saying my body is on constant buzz.

I am so tired. I wake up from this buzzed state of sleep, still feeling exhausted. I am not sleeping well; my eyes are burning when I'm awake. My head is spinning when I lay down.

I realized in a sudden moment that I haven't listened to music or the radio at all since the accident. I drive from place to place in total silence. As a part-time musician, this realization is jolting to me. It's just not having music playing in the background, but I miss the song in my heart.

I can only think that my head needs the silence to heal.

Nearly a full week has gone by since the accident. I haven't worked a full day yet. My hat doesn't sit square on my head. My shoulders are tight and I try to lay down with an ice pack fro my neck. Although I subscribe to holistic practices and I've seen the chiropractor regularly, I'm taking pain killers and muscle relaxants.

As an athlete, I'm no foreigner to sore muscles. The pain in my shoulders is due primarily to soreness and tightness - it's bearable. However, I'm unaccustomed to this constant sense of buzzing.

How long with this extended sleep continue? I'm sleeping nearly 16 hours a day! I am grateful my husband is here to care for our son. I am not an active participant in our household right now. He's cooking, cleaning and supporting my recovery efforts.

When do you think this buzzing will end?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Concussion Survey

I'm lucky. I have a supportive team of doctors who know me well. They have seen me on the race course, they train themselves and they are intent that I get back to my whole self- brain included. That having been said, my headaches are getting worse.

This morning, my Sports Med doc asked me to count backwards by 7s from 100. Really, a simple task. I'm a trained engineer - I do numbers, right? Um, no. It was torture and he cut me off, thankfully. Why could I do the word tasks but not the number tasks? This lack of cognitive ability scares me.

For the next few weeks, I'm not permitted my normal workout routine. Since I could barely walk a flight of stairs the other day, this "prescription" is kind of a no brainer - but seriously - I need someone to tell me to back off the workouts sometimes. My back is swollen. No head below to waist for any exercises.

My doc did give me an awesome tool though: the Concussion Survey. I'm posting it because in all my years of hanging around sporting facilities and coaching, I've never seen it. I think this is awesome. I hope you will be able to share it with friends and colleagues as well.

Patient Name: _______________________________ Date: ______________
Symptom Severity
Circle Appropriate Number None          Moderate            Severe
Headache
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Nausea
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Vomiting
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Balance Problems
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Dizziness
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Fatigue
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Trouble Falling Asleep 
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Sleeping More than Usual
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Sleeping Less than Usual
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Drowsiness
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Sensitivity to Light
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Seeing halos or shadows
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Sensitivity to Noise
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Irritability
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Sadness
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Nervousness
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Numbness/Tingling
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Feeling Slowed Down
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Feeling like "in a fog"
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Difficulty concentrating
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Difficulty remembering
0
1
2
3
4
5
6

P.S. I did make one edit to the survey -- I added the question about loud noise. You'll learn why in future posts.

What tools and techniques have you learned to help you on the concussion recovery journey?