Fall colours have just hit their peak and are starting to fall like rain here. It’s funny to think we were camping in snow a few weeks back! Since then it’s been really nice and warm most days, although with crisp cool nights and regular frost. (And amazing northern lights that I have not photographed for you! It gets dark again!)

Klondike River just before it empties into the Yukon River

Every evening we take Hank for his walk. While we used to walk about 70-80 minutes every night, we’ve been kinda stuck in the 25-30 minute routine since I’ve been back on my feet. I’m just so stiff and sore.

Jeff and Hank, me tailing far behind, as usual
Hank peeing, or likely just pretending, marking all of his territory

It’s been a great long weekend. Many of our summer establishments are closing soon, and we’ve been sitting on a pile of gift certificates and free drink cards, so we went out for a free dinner with some friends on Friday, thanks to all our gift certificates we’ve won at trivia nights, and topped off the night with some free cocktails at Gertie’s.

Sangria at Gertie’s

We decided to stick around home most of this weekend, getting some winter-prep projects done. I had a long mental list of things I wanted to do and clean… but didn’t almost none of it. (I’ll explain why in a sec!)

We caught Hank with his head in an empty box of Milkbones!

We did get out for a drive to check on the cranberries though!

We sampled in three spots, and they just seemed, yucky. Some were tasteless, some were kinda mealy, but there are billions of the things this year everywhere.

After sampling in three spots, we saw some other berry pickers and Jeff stopped and asked them what they thought. They said they maybe were not quite ready but it didn’t matter, because freezing them is the final frost they need to make them perfect.

So that’s what we did. We picked a bunch and froze them on a cookie sheet to see if her theory was right.

It would have been a great day for fall photography, but smoke was rolling in from Alaska’s fires. We had rain that extinguished ours, mostly, but I guess Alaska didn’t. I did hear some of ours were becoming more active with our warmer, dry weather though. We could use some rain! Usually at this time of the year it pours for weeks. (Or maybe only when my Dad comes to visit in August?)

Our berry picking ground was so dry, but totally littered with cranberries and juniper berries.

Maybe I should have brought my real camera though… even with the smoke…

So I have to tell you want has been consuming me this weekend.

On Friday I had an appointment with a movement specialist/exercise therapist. My local doctor recommended her months ago for rehab for a year of inactivity, and the hip stiffness that has left me struggling to put on socks. But I had put it off for months while I was working through all the lingering joint pain from chemo.

I finally arranged an appointment. I met with her for an hour, and it changed my life!

She is studying Neurokinetic Therapy. She wanted to know all my injuries, scars, surgeries, concussions, and what was holding me back now. I mentioned my stiff hips, and my Achilles tendon as my biggest problems, and went through all my health history. She did some measurements and then some basic tests where she pushes a body part and I had to resist and push back. I completely flunked a couple of them. Completely.

She said you have no core strength, no lower back, and no glutes. The core weakness makes sense to me, since I’ve had it sliced open, through all the muscles, twice now. I told her how my calves are always sooooo tight though, which makes these big knots in my Achilles, so much that something snapped in my calf a couple years back like a guitar string (which hurt so much, but made it better after it healed?).

She discovered that my calves are doing all the work when I walk, and they aren’t supposed to. The idea of this neurokinetics therapy is that you have an injury, your brain directs other muscles to take over, but nothing ever tells your brain to go back to the right way to do things, which is where this therapy comes in, to reset things.

She rolled out the sides of my calves with a hard roller that hurt like you wouldn’t believe. Then showed me these really simple backwards leg lifts I do while laying on my stomach, immediately after stretching or having my calves rolled, using just my butt and lower back to lift my leg. I couldn’t do them at first, but could after she finished rolling me out! She wants me to do this 3-4 times a day, with either Jeff rolling my legs with a rolling pin, or me stretching solo with chair, both followed by these backwards legs lifts.

I put my socks on to leave after the appointment, and I could easily reach my foot to put my sock on! I left her office with looser legs than I’ve had in years, long before I went through cancer treatment. I even teared up on the way home. I didn’t realize I had such a bad problem that could be so easily fixed! I figured I was just going to get some hip stretches or get told to do yoga and that my tight legs were just the way I was built.

She started with the calves at this first appointment, with the thought that would allow me to quickly regain more mobility which would help the rest of my stiffness. We’ll move on to more of my problems and issues next week!

I feel so much better, I can’t even explain it! Two days later, I decided I was going to walk to every Pokemon Go stop in town (part of the game, you get to do game activity on your phone as you walk by things in your town). I could really feel my butt, and hamstrings working when I walk now! It took me 2.5 hours, with some shopping stops included, not walking fast (and walking to every Pokemon Go stop is such an inefficient way to get anywhere, I walked around so many blocks!). Later that day, I walked again with Jeff and Hank. Over 13,000 steps in one day! And I wasn’t crippled!

I am noticing I’m bending to pick things up differently now. I can bend my knees now instead of just bending at the waist. Why was I doing that? I also think I was walking up every incline with a straight leg. I bet it is because my calves were too tight, this therapist found that the front angle of my leg to my foot, even when I was stretching up as hard as I could with my foot, could not hit 90 degrees. How do you even stand she wondered?

Now that my legs aren’t so tight, I’m bending and crouching and using my knees more. I feel my pelvis moving more when I walk too. Tonight we walked faster than normal, and walked twice as far. It felt amazing! I have new legs!

Why were my legs so messed up? I don’t know. I mentioned I have had terrible shin splits on and off since my high school basketball days. She said it’s all part of the same thing. I was simply using the wrong muscles to move, and she could fix it entirely in just a couple weeks.

Why do I always think I should just live with things, or that I can fix things myself? One appointment has changed the trajectory of my life. I never want to sit on a sideline again!

OH, and the berry picking lady was right, the cranberries taste normal after freezing! We better go back for a whole lot more!