504. How to Create and Use a Medical Resume


I just got a text from my dear childhood friend and college roomate, S, whose baby sister had brain surgery for a tumor several years ago and who is being advised by her medical team to get another surgery done by EOY.  She has an active tumor and symptoms (particularly eyesight) have been aggravated lately.

She was looking for someone to ask a second opinion so of course I was like, I LOVE my neuro.  Go see her.  And then I cried my eyes out.  I still am.  But then I figured I’d publish this post bc this method has been very helpful to me especially as I’ve met new docs and sought their advice concerning specific issues or procedures.

Update:  No labral tear hip surgery for me, at least right now.  Coach R’s “Physical Therapy” is working.  He’s an Athletic Trainer/medical professional and all and knows what he’s doing (it helps that he’s got almost 3 years of data on my gait and is also a Strength Coach) but I maintain that he’s totally just making this up in his head.  Which is okay (I just like to say sassy things) since it’s totally working.  Sometimes I’m like, Owww!  and he just looks at me with the slit eyes like, We should do this anyway.  And one day my right leg FREAKED OUT so he just held the patella in place or something and made me finish the set.

If you’re wondering how Trainer D and Smurfette are doing, they are fine and dandy.  Except Animal Muppet yelled at me for a WHOLE HOUR a couple weeks ago bc he found out I had stopped eating food again.  :/  Quote from yesterday:  How are your neurotransmitters?   Seriously, D – I am so embarrassed for you right now.  Who asks that sort of thing?  I don’t even know what that means.

Meanwhile, I’m much more interested in the fact that Smurfette is rocking a new long bob after donating her curls to Locks of Love.  High 5,  Smurfette!!

I’m also starting a podcast.  I will launch formally when I send my next email update.  But check it out on iTunes.


Back to the Medical Resume thing:  Mine has become much shorter  over the years.  Assume the doc will only glance at it briefly.  What do you want them to know, and what do YOU want to know?  Go in there with a goal (e.g. Information on Pros and Cons of X, Images and Tests, advice on how to approach a problem) and signal intent to pursue this seriously by managing your own time and the doctor’s schedule by accomplishing your agenda and getting what you need with a minimum of fuss.  If you lay it out on paper they know you mean business and can serve you better and faster.  Also, bring a friend or family member so you can compare notes later.

This image is an example – it’s what I used for my Ortho Surgeon.

I know, I know – the majority of the population will not need a Medical Resume.  But there are some of us who are so EXCRUCIATINGLY COOL that we will have a template we customize for each new doctor.  This is a tool you can use to help yourself get the level of care you want.  It’s also a great idea for a family member of friend to do for a loved one who is not able to create one for him/herself, and also for people facing a new diagnosis.  It keeps everyone on track at the appointment, especially if you’re new at this and nervous, or an old hand…frankly, I’m ALWAYS nervous.

Note to D:  This is YOUR body and your decision.  The best thing you can do is get insight from professionals.  It’s scary and it stinks, but be guided by their expertise even if it’s not what you want to hear.  You want the best outcome for the long term.  I’m sorry.  SNIFF.  Big Hugs and lots of prayers for you and your whole family, xoxo ning.

501. Jan 2016: Recalibration Phase II


Hi, everyone! My plan is progressing nicely. I have not blogged in such a long time I miss it terribly. That’s right – I’ve written 2.5 books in the meantime, but I STILL have more to say. And I’ve been informed that even though I write and talk a ton I’m not saying everything still. That’s why I’m in Therapy :/ (not the Rehabilitation kind, the Mental Health kind). So I’m experimenting with occasional blog updates.

I’ve been very under the weather and it’s been super boring. I cancelled all of my appointments last week. Thank the Lord I was okay enough Saturday morning to go to Mrs. Ridgely’s memorial service. It went really well and was completely packed. Sniff.

The only other thing I did was early in the week when I still felt okay – bloodwork and a brief consultation with Smurfette. A fantastic friend at Boo Boo’s made me this super cool Florida State Seminoles Tiara for Smurfette. You heard me – a TIARA. I noticed while I was speaking at Tea that a lady in the audience had something sparkly in her hair. It turns out she runs a collegiate ribbon business and has recently been offering hair accessories. I told her I needed an FSU Noles item for my Dietician. She made this Tiara and a gorgeous burgundy grosgrain headband for J. Smurfette. Thank you so much – she LOVED it!! Look at her face. Isn’t Smurfette adorable?


Don’t let that sweet little face fool you, though. The girl is a teeny tiny tornado. And 5 minutes after I took this picture, Smurfette done threw the gauntlet DOWN. I started verbally prepping Trainer D a week ago because my physical is coming up and my new numbers will be published and I always tell him everything so I bought a fancy scale with hand and foot sensors so I wouldn’t be freaked out when the time came for me to be officially measured at my PCP’s office. When I told him about it Trainer D’s explanation was simple – You’re in storage mode again.

Me: You mean like that Evil Catatonic State you told me about last time? I queried.

D: LOL. It’s “catabolic.”

Me: You say po-tae-to I say po-tah-to.

I admit it. I’ve had trouble with the eating again. Hence the conversation with Timmy above. He refused, FYI. I can’t think why. It was egg whites, chicken and broccoli. This is one of my tricks: you throw anything in a Magic Bullet, add liquid egg whites and microwave it. It’s packed with protein and is easier to eat.

Anyway, so I spoke with Smurfette:

S: Tell you what – you keep your calories up at X for Z weeks and then we’ll talk about bringing you down to X-Y…

Me: Can we skip straight to the X-Y part?

S: No. You have to PROVE to me that you can eat X so we can repair your metabolism.

…[later, while she’s writing down the MyFitnessPal information so she can monitor me…]

S: Tell Trainer D that he can inquire about your nutrition, but I’m calling the shots.

LOL. They totally crack me up as a couple. So, yeah, Smurfette threw the gauntlet down and her husband, Animal Muppet, informed me of the plans he has for this next round of training. I think he said something about using machines (he hates machines but uses carefully selected ones for me bc of my motor deficits), building more muscle, and the absolute necessity of carefully timed liquid protein consumption.

In December Trainer D taught me how to squat in the squat rack like the Big Kids do and he was so excited he yelled at me the WHOLE TIME. FYI he has increased my weight gradually with goblet squats or with a kettle bell and has seen my balance and awareness improve as I’ve trained with him and Coach R, so D knew I was ready for this. He’s making me learn the movement with just the bar, or with 5 lbs loaded only on one side to work on my symmetry.


The first time I did it I got myself under the bar and lifted on my shoulders but just stood there thinking hard.

Trainer D: Why aren’t you moving? I specifically remember telling you to move.

Me: I’m trying to figure out which one is my dominant foot!!

[Tell me THAT, Smartypants.]

You’re supposed to take 3 steps back starting with your dominant foot. I have always been left-footed (e.g. I cartwheel with my left), but then after the stroke my left side got all messed up.

We had some more words and then I decided to just go for the left foot on the assumption that he’d catch me if anything happened.

And WHERE you ask, is Coach R?


Coach R is well. This is Ed Blueberry proofreading Coach R’s book. Since I’ve been sick I didn’t see Coach R at all last week. I turn around for ONE SECOND and people start asking him to go to other countries and stuff. Seriously. Last time I was like, who’s the person asking you to go? Answer: “This guy I know from the Olympics.”

Blinks. Oh. Okay.

Yeah, so Coach R has some travel coming up, which theoretically I am very glad of, but for real – I need him to stop gadding about creation and FOCUS because I have a new project.


To: Coach R

From: Me

Re: NEW Plan. Chop Chop.


I am still ill and am thus lying in bed planning bc this is getting super boring.  Please survive this weekend bc I need you to put your thinking cap on and get on this chop chop:

  1. You invent something cool
  1. We go on Shark Tank

This needn’t interfere with our Amazing Race audition – the two schemes could happen concurrently.

So that’s what’s going on in my world, folks.

UPDATE: I’m not seeing the guys this week anyway. I’ve still been ill and I had 3 different doc appointments (pre-planned check ups) and my PCP heard something weird in my left lung, but the x-ray was all clear! I ran into Animal Muppet on Tuesday (bc Smurfette works in the same building) and after we cracked ourselves up for a while I remembered I was supposed to go see my psych so D made himself useful by reading the directory so bc I couldn’t remember what floor my doc was on. I got a good report from N1, my fabulous Neurologist today, and now I get to concentrate on planning Ed Blueberry’s 85th Birthday (the 5th anniversary of my injury).  Please pray for wisdom in this matter – I want it to either be really quiet or really special.  Thanks 🙂


Prayer Requests:

  • ASK: that I will get over this cold completely ASAP
  • ASK: That I will achieve a higher level of health in Recalibration Phase II: that I will eat, rest, and move better.
  • THANK: that Mrs. Ridgely is home and happy, and that her Memorial went well.
  • THANK: for a lovely Christmas and New Year with my family, that I am SO much more comfortable than last year, that the bad dreams are better, I have such a great Team of professionals to care for me, and I did quite well at my medical appointments this week.\
Learning How on Amazon - it's all NONPROFIT!

Learning How on Amazon – it’s all NONPROFIT!


495. Bumpy

Coach R trains US Soccer's Ali Krieger - 7 exercises to prevent ACL injuries

Coach R trains US Soccer’s Ali Krieger – YouTube:  7 exercises to prevent ACL injuries

Right before I started talking at the Christmas Tea I turned to Smurfette and was like, Hey, J – you ever done this sort of thing before? Cuz things are about to get a little craaazy…..

Ann Ning Learning How | Dec 14 - AVM and Stroke Recovery Yr 3 | Yeah, I totally just went there

She told me it was cool – she knew the drill – so my no-holds-barred approach that day didn’t unnerve her. I spoke at a Brunch a couple Saturdays ago, where we welcomed some new friends into our family.  I gave a brief update on my physical condition bc when I did the Christmas Tea, Trainer D had called me out the day before. Things have gotten so much better since then, and I have definitely reached another level physically.

I was gritting my teeth the whole time at Tea. I really wanted to set the record straight so I didn’t tell Mommy how poorly I was feeling bc I knew she’d make me lie down or something.  I had to expend an inordinate amount of effort then.  But this time at Brunch it was much smoother sailing. I am SO much healthier, thank the Lord.

After I consulted Smurfette initially, I counted calories for a couple of months, saw that I had been under-eating for a long time, and learned how to game the system within a couple of weeks so I wouldn’t get the Nastygram from My Fitness Pal. I also started drinking Ensure and felt so much better (Trainer D: DUH. [rolls eyes]). And then Trainer D proposed that I adopt Macro goals (%Protein, Carbs, and Fat). And so I did this “If it fits your macros” style of eating in addition to ramping my calorie goals up by 300-400 over another few months, during which I rediscovered the joys of the sandwich.


16.  Now is *not* the time for fasting...but maybe it is.

16. Now is *not* the time for fasting…but maybe it is.

The results were good. I became more mindful of what my body was telling me – e.g. on days that I “run” and train I have to eat a Giant Breakfast. I know now that once I “feel” the deficit I’m in the danger zone. I used to fast weekly in my Old Life. When I started this practice (I researched it and talked to the Health Nurse at work, FYI) I hid my scale so it wouldn’t be about that. It was fabulous – it’s how I learned to use the body to engage other parts of you. But now I can’t muscle through – I feel my body shutting down if I am failing to fuel appropriately, and I feel an intense obligation to MommyDaddy et. al to not allow this to happen. So last week at the Running Gym I instated a mandatory snack time for myself at 10.30am (this left an appropriate block of time prior to the start of any activity) since I had not been able to eat enough that morning. Coach R played along while I chewed my Quest bar dutifully, but Trainer M declined to participate.   I was going for the: If I have to suffer, we ALL have to suffer effect. Oh, well. You win some you lose some.

When I started eating more appropriately I was also able to “run” and train harder.   This is where the rubber really hits the road. My core strength, balance, spatial awareness etc. are improving, slowly but surely. I can do more things and know the tricks to make my eyeballs last longer and to prioritize so I can exercise the mental acuity I need for certain activities. And as time passes, I am getting better at managing my deficits and surround myself with people and safeguards to help me recognize when I need to scale back my activities.

When Uncle Bus passed away I was extremely sad. I’m still sad. And I recognized that I have a LOT of older friends and this situation was just going to escalate. I informed my people that I would be a MESS when this happened.

Well, it happened. Aunty Haigouhy went home to be with the Lord last week. She was Uncle Joe’s wife. They were special to me.

50.  A Cup of Water

50. A Cup of Water


Last Sunday we went to the hospital to see her one last time.   I tried to press myself into the wall outside her door and just disappear.  She was “asleep” but became agitated when she heard our voices. I hadn’t seen her in a long time because she had been moved into a home a while ago. Sigh. It’s been kinda rough.

I put myself on an eating vacation. I postponed an appointment with Smurfette, which confirmed Trainer D’s suspicion that my regimen had been derailed. I informed Coach R (technically, I email bombed him as is our custom), and then I tried to do “mindless eating” by watching a video of him training Ali Krieger (US Soccer) while I ate half of my barbacoa salad from lunch.

It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. At one point he’s explaining how to move one’s arms – you know, athletically. I started giggling and haven’t stopped for four days. Poor Coach R. I know he’s very good at what he does and all, but seriously? How am I NOT supposed to laugh at this stuff? Truly, though – you should watch this video, esp if ACL injuries are a concern of yours.

But you know what? Even though things have gotten kind of craaazy bumpy I’m doing well right now.  I was in excruciating pain when Dan Uncle passed away at the end of 2014.  Over the last couple of months I’ve had similar stress, compounded by a medication-induced cough, and a harrowing trip to the ENT, but have not been in that kind of pain.  Thank the Lord the cough cleared after 3 weeks and Coach R no longer has to carry my cough drops in his pocket.  I’m still nauseous.  Last week in the middle of a set with Trainer D I paused with my kettle bell mid-air and shifted my eyes from left to right and said simply, Trash can.  (i.e. in case I throw up, where do I go?)

did have some weirder head pain that made me nervous enough to get a full work up even though I’ve been assured nothing’s growing in there.  The last time I got an MRI was in 2012.  So I got a new one a few weeks ago and it came back clean (Yay!)  so the pain was just stress-related. Surprise, surprise.  It’s gotten better with time.

Stretching my hips at a fancy restaurant with Boo Boo's family.  April 2015

Stretching my hips at a fancy restaurant with Boo Boo’s family. April 2015

Notably ,my right side hurts as often as my left side now, or more.  I guess it’s the cumulative effect of 4 years of guarding my left side’s weakness.  But I know how to roll stuff out, and I’ve scaled back on my cane usage and typing/piano to save my arms (which is a new wrinkle, but we’re rolling with it).  I routinely get out of my chair and squat to stretch my hips – it doesn’t matter if we’re at a fancy restaurant, or in some other context that’s weird – the point is that I know what I need to do.  This is still a work in progress, but I don’t feel helpless anymore – like I just have to wait for things to happen.

The end result:  My wellness level has shifted upwards.

Feel free to cheer rowdily at this point.

This is another indicator that all my Training + Treatment is working. Thank you, Team Tanimal!!

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!


491. BMTCR Day


The week after we progressed to the no-holding hands during step-ups incident this happened:

To:      Coach R
From: Me

Re:      I decided 2 things.

I decided 2 things this morning

  1. I’m going to bump my caloric goals up by 100
  1. Today is BMTCRD – Be Mean to Coach R Day
    1. this is in response to how you wouldn’t hold my hand last week (?!?!?!)
    2. don’t worry – recent attempts have shown that when I’m trying to be scathingly mean people think it’s utterly hilarious
    3. you should be grateful – EVERY day is Be Mean to Trainer D Day.


See you soon!


477.  Hey, Mommy - Look what I did! | Seriously, I just reread this post to make sure it was the one I was looking for and it's a riot.  The best part is that it's all true!!

477. Hey, Mommy – Look what I did! | Seriously, I just reread this post to make sure it was the one I was looking for and it’s a riot. The best part is that it’s all true!!

This brilliant idea struck me while I was ignoring my multiplying oatmeal and doing my hair.   I do some of my best thinking while wielding my hair implements. But I put the iron down long enough to shoot this email off chop chop.

Later that morning during Stretchy Time:

Me: Are you ready for BMTCR Day? I’m punishing you for not holding my hand last week.

Coach R: But you were successful.

Me: Irrelevant. It’s the principle of the thing, R.

Soon after this exchange I had occasion to punish Trainer D, too. I pulled out all the stops. I emailed Smurfette, I hid in the elevator even though D hates it when I don’t take the stairs (I recruited a staffer to be my lookout – his job was to create a diversion in case D approached), and I purchased a special “treat” for him at the grocery store (the broccoli apple puree in the picture at the top.)

I forwarded the email string between me and Smurfette to Coach R as a cautionary tale. “Do not let this happen to you,” I said solemnly.

I saw Trainer D again at the end of the week. I left the banana that was actually rotten at home bc I was feeling magnanimous that day.  I thought the one I included with the Broccoli was sufficiently brown.  It turns out that man actually LIKES brown bananas.  Grrr….  Plus his caloric needs are so great that he delights in whatever I bring him.

I have to ask him how the broccoli tasted. A couple days later, after I had been meaner than usual for a week and made a semi-public example of him, we reached an understanding and called it pax. Or to be more accurate, I decided to stop antagonizing him. We’ll see what the new week brings.

Update:  I’m scheduling this on Monday.  So far so good.  But I can’t make any promises for the rest of the week.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

486. What I ate Wednesday

Languishing bananas?  Problem SOLVED.

Languishing bananas? Problem SOLVED.

The title of this post is a tongue in cheek reference to many food blogs – it’s a custom for food bloggers to do a WIAW post that chronicles their food. I’m not limiting mine to one day, though. It’s been rather a rough week. But on the upside I haven’t been as nauseous this week as I have been. I think I’m on the upswing!

Let me just make sure you understand that I have ALWAYS loved food. It’s just that my body’s first response to stress is nausea, loss of appetite etc. My post-injury relationship with food has been a rocky one – it’s so confusing, eat, don’t eat, eat more, eat less – my body has changed so much I can’t keep track. Well, I don’t really have to keep track because the message has been quite clear for the past several months: EAT. Thank the Lord that my diet is already relatively clean so we didn’t have to do a major overhaul there. Mommy says that in my old life I used to eat twigs and call it yummy. Good thing I didn’t have a Vitamix back then.

But the goal right now is to eat more and to do so in appropriate macro quantities (The macro mentality – tracking % Protein, Carbs and Fat – was Trainer D’s idea – I haven’t discussed it with Smurfette yet). At first it was just eat more. I learned really fast that if I fell under a certain number of calories My Fitness Pal sent me a nastygram in big red letters. So within two weeks I was gaming the system so MFP wouldn’t be mean to me. One night I got the nastygram so I took a screenshot and sent it to Smurfette and Trainer D with the note: 5 almonds. Problem Solved.

Heh heh. You can be one calorie over and you’re considered “good.” When I self-regulated to the point where I was comfortable Trainer D adjusted my Macro Pie goals (MFP shows your calories in a convenient Macro Pie chart). One of the funniest things for me is to have my Pie tell me that I need more fat. When I do I just go over to Daddy’s chocolate box and eat some of his favorite truffles. Sharing is caring, right?

We’ve hit a few bumps in the road as I’ve encountered things in my life that stress me out. This is a typical text conversation on Thursday morning when I go get my PTSD treated and then have Michael & Me Time and Training Fun and Games:


This is my Magical Multiplying Oatmeal.


I have been advised to do “Mindless Eating” – you know that thing our culture tells us NOT to do, e.g. you NEVER sit in front of the TV with a bag of chips. Well, apparently Mindless Eating can be a good technique if you’re trying to get nourishment in you but your body is protesting. Problem is that our TV is on the other end of the house from where the food is. One morning I had Greek yogurt and strawberries.


Breakfast was going nowhere. So I brought the iPad out and Googled your friend and mine, Chip Ingram. 6 minutes and 23 seconds later, my breakfast was in my tummy.



In the evenings I’ve had a harder time eating and swallowing so I have been loving this omelette – egg, cottage cheese and arugula. Thanks, Mommy!!



And I have also found comfort in making other people eat things I don’t want to. Example: Languishing bananas no more. Trainer D will eat them! And if he won’t, his friend, Trainer K aka Rowlf will.


Side note: Coach R gets Kind bars and natural gummy bears.


Gen and CMD get flowers bc of food allergies etc.

Ok, it’s almost 5pm (I’m writing Wednesday night). So I’ve got to go downstairs and start eating quickly. In addition to my caloric/macro goals I have retained the old hospital habit of drinking water etc. freely only before 6pm. When you cannot walk to the restroom you learn pretty fast that curbing your liquids at night is advisable. Now I can walk but I still limit my liquid intake. I also try not to eat carbs after 6pm – Trainer D suggested this after talking to me about my sleep patterns. Apparently carbs might have been spiking my blood sugar, which most people are fine with, but can cause sleep disturbances in some (like me). So I have an hour to drink the rest of my Ensure and water, and I’ve also scheduled a whole wheat English muffin and peanut butter. Coach R suggested some complex carbs starting the night before Training.

I’m going to go do my duty bc I plan on feeling MUCH better ASAP :).

Have a great day! I will, too.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!



477. Hey, Mommy – Look what I did!


Hey, look what I did – I got the mail all by myself last week!! This has been the work of about a month. I started asking Mommy around Ed’s birthday if I could practice my walking alone outside bc it’s nice out now. I have been asking for 3+ years, and I thought the 4th year might do the trick. Answer: no. But I did get to walk a bit that afternoon bc Daddy was fixing the garage door so technically someone was outside with me. It was soooo funny – every three minutes I saw him peeking around the bushes to verify my location and that I had not passed out. But last week I just announced, I’m going to go get the mail, and no one stopped me! It helped that Mommy was busy preparing dinner. This is the upside of using Leo less bc my arm has been hurting so much: My gait is more confident.

That said, this happened a few days before:


To: Coach R

From: Me

Re: I’m making the reception desk nervous.

This morning’s funny: I just walked into [the big Med facility] w Mommy for her checkup.  I went straight to the waiting room.  Mommy just sat down and told me the receptionist saw me walk by and was extremely concerned and wanted to call a wheelchair.  Sheesh.  I thought I looked pretty good today, too.  Ps this happens routinely.

It really does happen routinely. I forget what I look like but it’s quite shocking to strangers when they see me approaching. E.g. when Ruthie and Ernie had Peter, their youngest, we went to the hospital and we got dropped off at the entry. I didn’t bother bringing my cane and when the front desk saw me walk in, clinging to the non-sliding part of the door, they were a little appalled and couldn’t get me into a wheelchair fast enough. I wanted to ride in a chair since I knew the interior walk to Ruthie’s room was long, but it was a really wide one and wide ones aren’t as fun bc your arms won’t comfortably reach the rims to make the wheels go where you want them to. Daddy pushed me. Thanks, Tanpo!!

Meanwhile, last time I was online I told you how Trainer D kicked me out of the gym. I didn’t sign up for this, I told Coach R during Stretchy Time. This is me being grateful, I deadpanned, pointing to my face – which was contorted into an expression I fondly hoped conveyed appreciation.

“I can see that,” he said wryly.

Honestly, I didn’t even want to tell Coach R about it but I felt like it fell under the category of Safety Issues I’m supposed to be disclosing. Still, it was a real struggle for me to come to the point. We had to play a couple rounds of the Movie Line Recognition Game before I felt okay enough to dive in.

You’re killing me, Smalls, you’re killing me – The Sandlot

There’s no crying in baseball! – A League of Their Own

Well, it was all for naught. After a two-week break, Trainer D told me (after I pressed him) that he wasn’t serious about cutting me off.  (!!!) ARGH. I was incredibly frustrated with him but so relieved, too, that I promised not to be mean(er) to him (than usual). He was serious about the cyclical physical deterioration but he’s just going to adjust accordingly.  Side note: he missed my shenanigans while I was traveling. I’m all, Shenanigans? I know not of what you speak.

I’m just saying that he dragged that conversation out for a super long time – there was all this stuff about the level of cardio I was allowed to do on break, self awareness and reporting of pain, nausea, etc., a lot of blah blah blah – I was quite shocked because in my world we do not joke about getting kicked out of Rehab/The Gym. I mean, I thought he was completely serious – he went all into his theories of periodization and the teaching of some guy I can’t remember the name of…Junda. Yeah, that’s it, Junda. Okay, I don’t really know. So I went home and made this list in my One Note App (Team Tanimal members have pages where I keep the questions I need to ask them):

Trainer D almost fell out of his chair with glee when I showed him this list.

Trainer D almost fell out of his chair with glee when I showed him this list.



I further consoled myself by firing this email off to Smurfette:


To: Smurfette

From: Me


Also, did that man tell you he threw me out of the gym 2 Fridays ago?  Bc he had been secretly/nerdily calculating the next occurrence of a physical downturn and he had the gratification of seeing his theory confirmed.  I had barely gotten the sentence out of my mouth about having trouble eating and he sailed in, smugly triumphant, with how he’d seen this coming, etc.  So now he is refusing to train me every 6 weeks.  Mm hmm.  I was so distressed I forgot to have the “protocol” conversation I’m supposed to have bc I almost fell on Coach R (flashback during a walking lunge exercise) and I almost threw up on him the week before (just because of stress)…

Smurfette is such a crack up, she read this portion of my email aloud to Trainer D for his amusement – because apparently when I’m trying to be scathingly mean I’m utterly hilarious. PS. I forgot to have that other conversation with him but I solved the problem by email bombing him like this:

Dear Trainer D, I’m experiencing a higher level of stress that manifests itself physically. There are 3 possibilities:

A) Fall

B) Vomit

C) Cry

Please plan accordingly. Consider yourself officially informed.

Cheers, atnt


I talked to Coach R “live.” It’s a good thing I did my duty (the assignment was to make sure protocol was locked in and ready to go in case anything happens), I told him a few days later, because I was RIGHT – I totally DID get asked if I did my homework. Booo…All this talking about feelings is awful. But I’m told it’s part of healthy healing.

So that’s what’s been going on in my world. Business as usual, except I’ve been working on a special project while I’ve been on break. All the PTSD flashbacks started happening so fast and so often, and I’m remembering all this stuff I didn’t want to remember so one night I got fed up, and was like, FINE. I’m gonna put this to music. It’s a special video I made to thank my medical peeps and I think you’ll enjoy it, too. It has been very well received by my Focus Groups and I’ll share it on Wednesday. Adieu!

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

463. Marked Progress

All of this Recovery is exhausting

All of this Recovery is exhausting

I’m feeling so much better now that I’ve got my new doc and Smurfette looking out for me that we’ve moved into a new phase of Recovery.

Trainer D was the one who informed me that now that his wife was presiding over my fuel he was really going to push me. He wasn’t kidding. I hit a new “running” milestone last week and was rewarded with an excruciating set of lunges the next day to strengthen my running gait. It was 4 sets of 10, actually (on each side) – so I was dripping sweat by the 80th and am still sore. I got to hold on to a bar for balance but weight-bearing was a no no and he was not in the mood to let me rest in-between sets, either, which wasn’t fun. I rested anyway after the first two. So there.

Earlier that week I had a physical. I managed to stand on their special scale that tells you all sorts of appalling information you’d rather not know about yourself bc the nurse slid it close to the wall and put her hand out to guard me just in case. Then I had to hold on to this metal thing for what seemed like forever – I watched the computer screen to see the bar approaching the “finish” line to see how much longer I had to stay on. I was sweating bullets then, too.

Over 3.5 years post injury I can finally stand well enough to have my height measured. I shrank. Maybe my bones settled differently or something must have happened bc I lost ¾ of an inch. My BMI just got worse. Oh well, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

That reminds me. When Doc was reading Smurfette’s memo she was just skimming and reading out loud. All I heard was the word, “cookies.” I was like, Booooo. Although Smurfette assures me cookies are okay for me, but just not in mass quantity. I’d like to remind everyone that I was raised by Baker Smurf.

439.  Thanks.  PS this is YOUR fault.

439. Thanks. PS this is YOUR fault.

I was the one who asked Coach R if we could up the ante experimentally after he had remarked in that sad, plaintive voice, We haven’t done the full workout in a long time…

It’s hysterical – after a year of working together he’s starting to speak plainly. There is less code and more “knees up…more control…I wanna see this pace…more agile….”

The tiger is showing his stripes. The muscle memory he regarded with eyes wide a month ago is now simply a reason for him to expect more.

Last week he informed me very calmly, We’re going to do something called “Super Sets.”

The ridiculousness of the name set me off. When the laughing subsided he explained the rapid succession of A and B I was going to repeat for a while. In the middle of A I realized I was extremely hungry and that I should consider eating a bigger breakfast on the days that I “run.” I mean, my Ensure mocha is delicious and all, and I pair it with some oatmeal or a GF waffle, but I have to think of what else to add.

We then talked about what would happen if I came in to the Running Gym for several hours at a time as is the custom for some. I’ve been amusing myself by thinking of the possibilities since then. It would be great.

If I planned on a 3 hour session the first two would be Coach R’s and I’d do whatever he said. This is what happens anyway. But the 3rd hour would be mine.

This is my list of activities and learning modules so far:

11. Wok Breath

11. Wok Breath

  • Hair care
  • Manicures
  • The merits of exfoliation
  • Community reintegration – We can borrow a wheelchair from next door and I’d push him around the neighborhood so I’d be getting exercise
  • Cartoons and Snack Time
  • Coach R needs to teach me to watch Soccer bc it makes me jumpy since people always seem to be getting hurt and they’re not wearing a lot of pads like in American football
  • 121.  How to Eat Ice Cream While Minimizing the Health Consequences

    121. How to Eat Ice Cream While Minimizing the Health Consequences

    Super Sets My Style: e.g. rapid succession of folding towels (I didn’t go to OT for nothing, people!) followed by nap time (for me, not him.  Coach R can use this time to go make some poor injured athlete drag him around the Gym while wearing a harness and “sprinting” with good form.  #TrueStory. PS Coach R does this thing where he leans back until he’s almost supine so the person towing him has to work extra hard.)

  • Bossy Smurf Administration – Powerpoint, Excel, White-Boarding etc. 101 in 20 – minute increments. That’s my limit. At the 20 minute mark I have to get up and stretch/squat. Trainer D has recently put me on an 8-minute schedule. I’m doing it to see if it helps with the pain management but it cramps my style. Example: my timer just went off but I’m kind of busy typing. Grr…

Coach R has a lot to learn. We’d better get started. I explained to him that if I were in charge we’d do things differently: That’s how we play it in Acute Care. Just kidding. I just said, This is what earlier stages of Recovery look like – none of this running around, jumping and squatting business.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!


461. Doing My Duty

That's right, P2.  Eyes on the prize.

That’s right, P2. Eyes on the prize.

It has only been a few weeks since I started my new health regimen and I feel SO much better. Of course, I know there is still a long way to go, but after I met my new doctor and spoke with Smurfette the Dietician my blood pressure (which was appallingly high that morning) went down, my pain melted away, and I started resuming the activities I had abandoned as I went downhill at year end.

This is what has been happening:

Jan 7
To: Trainer D
From: Me

Thanks for helping me Mon.  I “ran” better and was feeling good through Tuesday.  My hip started to protest again this (Wed) morning but thankfully I went to see Ninja CMD and she took care of it.  This message requires no email response – I just wanted to ask before I forget and so you can think about it and talk to me later:  I’m concerned that the hip pain is now directly related to my improper body usage/quad dominance whereas prior to this there was no discernible pattern except that it was triggered by stress.  Do you really think the pain I’ve had lately is due to quad dominance, and is it fixable?

Thanks 🙂

To: Me
From: Trainer D

I am pondering. Figure it out we will. Pain free you will be…

I was hurting so badly I sent him that pathetic email on the 7th, but I saw my new doc and Smurfette on the 8th and 9th and immediately felt so much better that I went to The Gym later in the morning of the 9th and informed him I no longer cared about his answer since both issues (stress and quad dominance) should be addressed.

Smurfette has me logging all my food in My Fitness Pal so she can see what I’m eating. To review: the concern is quantity (not enough) as opposed to quality.  I told D this morning that I have trouble staying awake long enough to eat all that food!  This is primarily a Sunday problem since we’re out for most of the day.  I find it much easier to eat and am much hungrier on Training Days.  E.g. On Sunday night I agonized over whether I could get away with not eating that 8 oz of strawberries bc I just wanted to go to sleep.  I decided that since I wouldn’t be red flagged by MFP to go to bed.  PS.  He loved the story about how sometimes I can’t finish all of my Ensure (Active High Protein Low Sugar , Chocolate! Coach R quizzed me on this – not the Chocolate part, the protein part.) upstairs during my extensive grooming routine so I take it to the kitchen and make an Ensure mocha.  🙂

To: Smurfette
From: Me
Re: My Fitness Pal info…

(You’re supposed to log exercise as well as food in MFP.)

…I use placeholders for working out with Trainer D and Coach R bc the app is difficult for me to type in and if I try to enter strength training I don’t know the names of everything we do, can’t remember, etc.  So I’m calling it “Calisthenics.”  I have to remember to tell Trainer D about it in case he might be deeply offended :).  But even though sessions are an hour I count fewer minutes of actual activity since I allow for resting, laughing, stalling, walking in between places etc…

A while later:

… I have not noticed body changes but I HAVE noticed behavioral changes.  Specifically, after I saw [the doc] a couple weeks ago and you (thank you SO much for that quick, informal consult) I felt so much better.  My pain melted away and my blood pressure went down.  I have been uncomfortable for all of Q4 bc I’ve known something was wrong.  Trainer D was brave enough to be a true friend and call me out.  He’s all, I can’t diagnose, I can only recommend….That was code for, if you don’t take action you will never hear the end of this.  So now I feel like things are going in the right direction and I’ve got people lined up to help me transition from survival mode to sustainability.  I’ve resumed my home circuit Training D told me to do, I make more of an effort to fuel up, I have resumed more of the home activities (cleaning, cooking, filing) that really fell by the wayside as my condition deteriorated over the past few months…


…PS.  Let me just say again that I feel LIGHTYEARS better since joining the practice and speaking with you. Thank you!! I saw both Trainer D and Coach R today.  Fun times were had by all.  D was right about the alimentation.  I hate it when D is right.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!


456. Agility


… I don’t want to be dependent on a machine to run forever. I could never afford [an AlterG], and Daddy has informed me that there will be no more purchasing of exercise equipment on my part, anyway. So that’s why I have Trainer D and Coach R. Coach R has been talking about doing some “light agility exercises” (that was one of those times when I laughed in his face but then realized he was serious – Coach R does not joke about agility), and Trainer D is…Trainer D. In fact, it was his overwhelming enthusiasm for ORFR that made me nervous enough to diversify my “trust” portfolio and seek out an AlterG and Coach R…

From 364. 3rd Year Status Update: Mobility

364.  3rd Year Status Update:  Mobility

364. 3rd Year Status Update: Mobility

Coach R (Q3‘14): We’re gonna have fun today.

Ooh. Maybe we were going to watch cartoons on one of the TVs and eat popcorn. But then I remembered that Coach R’s definition of fun and my definition of fun were likely different.

“We’re going to do the agility ladder,” he announced.

Yep, very different.


He had to tell me multiple times about each pattern we were supposed to do. Please note: the ladder is taped on the floor, so it’s a flat surface I can’t trip on. Also, I say “we” since we progress up and down the ladder together although I have graduated from holding one hand plus Coach R gripping my arm to just the one hand.

Here are some quotes from Ladder Time:

Me:   I didn’t realize how brain damaged I was until I started working out.

R:     You can go faster. (Translation: Chop Chop)

Me:   Daddy’s over there (the waiting room is within eyesight of the ladder) so I gotta not fall down, k?

C (a pro athlete who was observing and remarked to another pro during their workout): I’m jealous – R never holds my hand.


And here’s the latest and funniest exchange yet:

R:      Knees up – I want to see more bounce and faster movement on the balls of your feet. You’re more athletic than you think.

Me:    [voice full of hope] I could do bunny hops (two-footed jumps like little kids do on a balance beam).

R:      That would be…interesting. (Translation: Bunny Hop = unacceptable substitution for this exercise.)

Me:   [uncontrollable laughing…once I caught my breath:] Ok, R, if you were me, what would it look like?

R tried hard to modify his movements but only got a quarter way down the ladder before I doubled over laughing again.

Me:   Umm…I said If you were ME, what would it look like?

R tried again after an even longer pause indicating he was thinking deeply about the scenario. This time his knees were a hair lower than his first attempt but he was unable to slow it down.

I laughed again and realized I couldn’t press him any more to imagine having impaired mobility. We all have our limits.

I will say, though, that the Ladder has gotten easier with practice. It helps to see the parade of athletes who frequent the Running Gym on the Ladder as I “run” in the AlterG. I get plenty of examples of what it should look like. I can even recognize C by the movement of her feet if I just see a blur out of the corner of my eye. One day I asked: Why doesn’t it look like that when I do the ladder? C: ‘Cause that’s all I’ve been doing for the past 5 years.

Practice makes perfect. That’s why we’re doing this – not just for the (unintentional) laughs. Believe it or not I’m pretty compliant – I generally do as I’m told but ask questions to indicate that I’m paying attention to the kind of care I’m receiving. This is a habit I formed when I woke up and got tired of people sticking needles in my uncooperative veins. I decided if someone wanted blood, they’d have to give me a good reason. Now that I’m training with crazy people it’s comforting to know there really is a method to the madness.

I asked Coach R one day if he thought I’d ever run on a regular treadmill. I’m not sure yet, he said. I’ll know more once I see how you do on the Agility Ladder.

He’s exposing me to more challenging types of movement. Interestingly, he also noted that he’s actually more comfortable with me in motion as opposed to being still. This was soon after the time when I almost fell off a table but was already lying down.

During a different exercise I queried, How come we’re doing this?

He answered simply: Because if the more difficult movements become easier the simpler ones will, too.

A week ago during Stretchy Time Coach R said plaintively, We haven’t done the full workout in a long time…

Bahahahaha!! Poor Coach R. I haven’t been letting him do what he does best at full throttle. Well, things are looking up. My pain melted away after I saw my new doctor and consulted Smurfette the Dietician last week. I have resumed the home circuits Trainer D instituted and thought I was doing GREAT! And then My Fitness Pal was mean to me on Sunday. But I digress.

Trainer D informed me that now that I’m seeing Smurfette he’s really going to push me. PS. My core was so sore I avoided laughing for several days this week.

So a few days later I asked Coach R if we could resume the full workout with zero restrictions. I figure if he sees me in distress he’ll adjust accordingly. He had looked at my chart and realized we had been doing more stuff than he recalled but it’s significant to me that his impression was that we had been holding off.

Well, it’s time to ramp it up again. Wow – I haven’t thought about movement this much since I was a kid in a leotard trying desperately to get airborne. The current state of things is similar: Execution is elusive but my theory is fantastic.


Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

451. Recalibration


Hello, there! This is Kermit THE Frog…Just kidding. It’s actually me. I’m just having an “It’s not easy bein’ green” moment. A Very. Long. Moment. But I hope you’re well and are in the swing of things now that it’s mid January. Woo hoo – it’s now 2015! Time has been passing and I’m trying to be happy about it. Here is a wonderfully encouraging thing that helps:

When we had Dan Uncle’s funeral in early December, his sister got on a plane right after finishing her own cancer treatment and flew around the world to attend. It was lovely to see Aunty D and Uncle P again. I remember Aunty D from when I was a wee thing, but I didn’t recall that I saw her earlier in the year before we went to Oregon. Apparently I don’t remember much from that time, but that’s another story. Aunty D spent some time observing me appraisingly from a distance and then we finally got to share a meal together with the whole family.

I did that Asian thing where we try to make each other eat things and I served her a shrimp dumpling from the plate on the lazy susan. I was like, Watch this, Aunty D, and deposited the morsel with surgical precision. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but let the record show that I didn’t spill anything. (I did not attempt to help with the sauce.) Her eyes widened a bit, and she turned to me and said (in a tone that implied that the serving of the dumpling confirmed what she had been thinking,) Tell your coach I say you are very much improved.

Thanks, Aunty D! She had been watching my gait, how I navigated the crowds, and was able to play the piano. That was so encouraging for me, especially as I’ve struggled with the end of the year and those wash-out feelings. I told both of my Trainers and they were very encouraged, too. We’re on the right track.

Well, we’re on the right track, but we’ve hit a bit of a speed bump. One of my own making. So I’ve spent this time thinking about what needs to change and how I’m supposed to measure success differently. I’m recalibrating.




I’m starting with addressing how I approach food. I mentioned before that I have some serious psychological hang ups regarding eating. They stem from living in the hospital and having a PEG (food tube). Basically, I woke up and for a (long) while conceded NOTHING. I was like, this is the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard, and if you think you can grab the other end of that tube and just pour stuff in, you’ve got another thing comin’. Mm hmm. I was a real treat as an inpatient, promise.

145.  Illness, Body Image, and Why I Eat the Way I Do.

145. Illness, Body Image, and Why I Eat the Way I Do.

I force fed myself for a couple of weeks in order to reach my mandatory minimums. Meal time was horrific. Finally, I admitted that I couldn’t do it anymore during a weekly “Family Conference” meeting and my Doctor immediately made the nutritional supplements (drinks and pudding) disappear and relaxed my minimum requirement (i.e. I got in trouble if I ate less than 50% on my plate whereas it used to be 75%.) One of my nurses told me the general opinion did not look on this favorably, and one day they were all Tut-Tutting over my meal tray and my Doc was there and just said, She knows what she needs!! And that was the end of that.

I remembered this incident while lying on CMD’s acupuncture table one week and realized I needed something. So I started drinking Ensure (Active, High Protein, Low Sugar) in the morning and immediately felt SO much better.


I now have a subscription via Amazon Prime and a couple of cases show up magically on our doorstep. The only person who has voiced discontent about the Ensure thing is Tanpo. Last week at lunch he sat next to me saying, EAT! Don’t just move the chopsticks around. (He’s on to me.)

372.  Wink Wink

372. Wink Wink

And then this happened at dinner:

Dad: Eat this. (Pointing to some meat on his plate.)

Me: No, thanks, Dad – I like to eat my meat at lunch so my digestive system can rest in the evening.

Dad: See? I’ll cut it really small and it’ll go down easy.

Yes, I’m a grown woman, and my father is cutting my meat. Thanks, Dad!

Actually, this is not an uncommon thing. Whenever we go to dinner with my dear cousins JE asks if she can cut my meat for me or makes sure NonyaJ is nearby to do it 😊. Thanks anyway, ladies – I can mostly get by on my own. I didn’t graduate from OT for nothin’.

So yeah, I’m in the middle of some serious adjustments over here. I’ve just been making this stuff up for a while and I got away with not eating at the beginning of 2014 bc my activity level was so much lower. But now things are different and I’ve felt the difference enough to know I need some professional guidance (Hi, Smurfette!). When I asked if he wanted to weigh in on what I tell my new doctor and Smurfette, Trainer D said I already know what I need to disclose but did throw this sentence in: [Maybe emphasize] your ability to sustain daily physical activity while decreasing stress through alimentation.


Am I the only one who needed to Google “alimentation”? At first I was hoping he was practicing his GRE vocabulary on me, but he said it was his Spanish brain typing.

Either way, I know where I need to start, and I’ll keep you posted. But in the meantime I wanted to share 3 really great things that happened recently. I’ll be posting them this week, and they are proof to me (despite my alimentation issues) that I’m getting better.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!