By now, many of you know I've been in treatment for brain cancer for the past four years. (if you don't and are curious, look here.) Many of you may not know, the brain tumors and treatment brought with them a disability.
Most of the first signs of my brain tumor came in the form of numbness, tightness, and eventually loss of coordination in the left side of my body. The tumor was in the right parietal lobe of my brain, the region of the brain responsible for feeling and movement in the left side of the body.
After my initial surgery, my left arm was completely paralzed and my left leg was very weak. In the following weeks, physical therapy helped a great deal and I was back to walking. After a couple more months I could carry a cup of water with my left hand.
Since then, with radiation, another tumor and more treatment, my left side function has been up and down.
At the moment, my left hand has very little function. I've been focusing most of my attention on my leg and walking. Just a month ago, I got an ankle brace from Amazon.com. It was easily the best $25 I've ever spent. I've been using it daily when I walk outdoors. Most mornings, I walk a quarter mile (400m) along with half a flight of stairs up and down. In the six weeks since I started using the brace my time has dropped from around 13 minutes to 10 minutes.
Around the same time I got the brace, I resumed a type of therapy called the Feldenkrais Method. It's not very well known in the US, but I've benefitted a great deal from it. I first started practicing before I knew I had a tumor. It's a type of exercise and movement therapy that can help almost anyone to move with more comfort and ease. I enjoy doing it and it helps me significantly. If you are curious to learn more or want to try it, the Feldenkrais Guild or Wikipedia online are good places to start to learn and to find a practioner near you.
(the photo above illustrates how my left arm and hand look, fairly stiff and contracted. The photo is in a mirror, so it's left-right reversed).