Yet, another first happened for me this week. I thought for sure I was done having these moments.
I was able to go bowling!!
I not only went to a bowling alley, but did this list of daunting tasks (they were seemingly impossible a year ago) without getting hurt (eg. spraining my ankle, falling down, dropping a ball on my foot):
- Got my feet into bowling shoes
- Walked in slippery bowling shoes without falling on the carpet
- Walked in slick bowling shoes on the smooth, waxed floor
- Held a bowling ball near my stomach while moving
- Swung the bowling ball without losing my balance
- Threw a bowling ball down the lane without tipping over
I thought for sure that this was something I would have to give up. I had already resigned myself to a life without bowling. (Sometimes it is easier to give up rather than have to be met with disappointment over and over. Not a great attitude to have and I try not to be this way, but after everything…it happens on occasion.) Between my instability, loss of sensation in my feet, weak to non-existent calf muscles and good old-fashioned fear.
When we arrived at the bowling alley it was empty. This made me relieved. By not having a lot of people around I knew I could focus on what I was doing and not get distracted. With mobility problems Distractions = Mistakes = Injuries.
I started slowly, cautiously. I tested each thing separately before putting them together.
First I tried to put on the bowling shoes. After that was a success I carefully walked on the carpeting. Then proceeded to cautiously step on the waxed wooden floor attached to the lanes. Once I spent a few minutes adjusting to the shoes on the floor I found two balls, an eight and ten pound ball. I used to bowl with a ten pound ball, but I wanted the eight pound ball just in case…
My first trip down the lane to toss the ball was a disaster. It was an awkward mess. I was feeling good about walking and holding the ten pound ball that I momentarily forgot that I am not my pre-transverse myelitis self. I took three steps, started to swing the ball and push-off my left foot while letting my arm extend and the ball release from my hand. I was brutally reminded that I am not the same. As soon as my right hand holding the ball left my center I felt my weight shift along with my torso. My body bent sideways, my left foot crossed over my right and I knew I had to release the ball before it pulled me over. When I let my arm follow through forward I tried to let my foot roll up to the ball of my food, however, my muscles and tendons in their semi-permanent tightened state would not allow this. The ball slipped off my fingers and dropped down onto the lane a mere three feet in front of me to CRAWL to the pins and tap one over.
After a deep breath I turned to my husband and said “well that was awful. I need to figure out a new way to move my body to bowl.” Being the supportive man he is he helped me by taking several photos and mini videos while I tried different things so I could analyze my foot, leg and body mechanics. I used the empty lane next to us (well, technically they were all still empty) to practice my walk and bowl (without a ball). I did this over and over and over.
I tried both sized balls and found that while the ten pound ball went faster and knocked over more pins I was more unsteady with the weight. The eight pound ball had less momentum, but it was better for my balance.
After the first game I became determined to try again. I wanted to get better. I wanted to get the motion down. So we played a second game. Unfortunately I was inconsistent with my through and balance. It probably didn’t help that this was late in the evening after I spent all day using my energy.
I was able to beat my score and I plan to go back and try again when I am less fatigued.
It was a pretty incredible evening. My husband and I enjoyed not only our time together, but my accomplishment of successfully bowling without injury.