I joined a health and fitness program quite some time ago but have never fully committed to it. A seemingly endless string of starts and stops has become the norm over the past few years.

Even though this program requires a very minimal time spent working out, something kept blocking me from fully committing it.

Last month my motivation returned with a vengeance. I booked to go on The Rock Boat in January 2020 and am determined to have a better experience than I did when I went on it two years ago.

The Rock Boat is a five night cruise loaded with about 30 amazing bands. I can’t even tell you the two ports off the top of my head because I DON’T CARE. As an admitted live music fanatic, the destination is meaningless. I’ll be spending a week with amazing like-minded friends that I made on previous sailings on a cruise ship with 30 bands spread across five on-board venues. I NEED to be able to move about the massive ship and I WANT to be able to wiggle my booty to the music !!

I went on The Rock Boat in 2013, 2015 and 2018. 2013 and 2015 were amazing trips … 2018 not so much …

In mid 2016 I managed to badly hurt my back . . . which lead me into depression, laziness, and a general feeling of absolute helplessness. With a pre-existing case of Cerebral Palsy I’ve always found the medical “professionals’ to toe the same company line – “It’s the CP I can’t help you” – anytime I complain of back or neck pain. It really is entirely upon me to do the work to improve my situation.

In preparation for the 2018 Rock Boat, I began going to the gym daily and using the treadmill. But, I only did this for about 30 days prior. It just wasn’t enough.

Treadmilling is a great manner for me to practice proper gait technique with the luxury of handlebars and a smooth consistent surface. But let me loose “freewalking” and I am very quick to get out of whack. I wasn’t even halfway to Miami when the back pain kicked in from stubbornly walking through the airports when I should have requested a wheelchair attendant to deliver me to the gate.

I had two days in New Orleans before boarding the boat and put myself into even worse alignment by navigating the tumultuous cobblestone streets in the French Quarter. Once I was on the cruise I found myself in terrible pain. Moving about the ship was difficult and I was often opting not to attend a show simply because the thought of walking that far exhausted me. To make matters worse I was taking pain medication that made me tired and I literally SLEPT through my favorite show of the trip. I don’t even know if it was because I was completely oblivious to the fact that it was even happening or if I simply decided I was hurting too much to attend.

I refuse to make that mistake again! It’s July 4th as I write this and I am now on day 30 of consecutively going to the gym and walking a minimum of one mile. I am also adding weight training to my routine. I am committed to continuing this for the SEVEN months (not just one) leading up to what is going to be an amazing trip.

At 30 days in I absolutely feel better in my day to day life. The past few days while sitting at my desk it struck me that – nothing hurts! Even more surprising, when I stand up after prolonged sitting – nothing hurts!

Seriously – I had been living with a constant sharp stab in my butt/back with every step I took . . . always worse after being seated (and I’m an accountant so always seated lol). I had been maneuvering around my house always holding onto a table or a wall, never far from something to grab if that pain ever became too sharp…

This morning as I showered (always a scary venture as my balance is so compromised) I felt something strange in my legs . . . and realized that my calves were working. I haven’t had any strength in my calves for years . . . but they were actually working, along with my abdominals, and I felt SECURE on my own two feet! It was exhilarating to feel SAFE in the shower for the first time since late 2015.

The MOST exciting thing I’ve observed in myself the past few days . . .

I can WIGGLE!!

Lol seriously . . . I had music playing yesterday while making my dinner and I realized I was sashaying my hips to the music and almost bopping around the kitchen while I worked.
These physical improvements happened in under one month of committing to daily activity. I am positive that I felt this good prior to the last Rock Boat … but was caught off guard by how quickly my body retaliated to free-walking. I won’t be making that mistake this time. With a hefty price tag to be on this cruise I have invested too much to throw it away by failing to be at my very best.

I’m going to continue with daily treadmilling for another few months and then will venture away from the treadmill to acclimate to free-walking in order to prepare myself to be as active as possible on this trip.



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