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My shoulder healed fast. Scary fast. You’d think I was taking super woman vitamins or something, but no sir – I’m just a super fast healing freak of nature (my surgeons exact words as I was discharged from care two follow-ups early, with 100% range of motion and almost completely pain free). I think it was the attention to the injury, and pushing myself through physical therapy that did it, but who knows. All I know is that I knocked my recovery time to 6 weeks and I’m cleared to fly! I didn’t just go to physical therapy twice a week and then come home and lay around in pain, wallowing in despair. I did physical therapy at home, I used my arm to the best of my ability whenever I could, and I ditched the sling as soon as it was safe to without re-injuring my arm (and didn’t put it back on again!). I massaged the scar tissue with Renew Lotion and Coconut oil. I warmed up my muscles with tension bands and light exercise, and slowly started building heavier weights into my routine. I was a woman on a mission!

While I was in the end of my healing phase, and still wary about pushing it too hard and flying, we had a visitor. Our instructor, Kevin Hintze with Cloud 9 in Utah came out to give me some schooling on the scooter tow system. Image

I watched the guys fly, and yet again I was plagued by this burning desire to fly a motor like that. I never thought I could fly with style. I love paragliding and I’m getting progressively more comfortable under my wing – but adding power to that? 50+ pounds of power? I’ve practiced no-wind launches and they aren’t much fun. Now add a big, clunky 50lb backpack to the mix and it’s a recipe for face-plants (if you’re me and weigh 110lbs)!

In the past when I’ve had such desire and ambition to strap a giant propeller to my back and fly away like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I’ve shrugged it off and focused on other forms of flight. Or, cracked a beer, parked my rump on the ground, and enjoyed my brew while the boys buzz the dirt on their flying machines. This time, however, was different.

Having heart disease, for me, always meant one big thing – exercise intolerance. If you’ve read my older blog entries, you know that I’d get winded just doing laundry. I used to spend hours in the gym each week doing cardio, but as my heart disease reared it’s ugly head, my cardio became a distant memory. On the up side, my high heart rate translated into a high metabolism, so I didn’t need cardio exercise to maintain my slender frame. I still wear the same size 1 jeans that I wore at 22 years old when I was in college (go ahead, punch me in the face, I know I’m an asshole). Those jeans now have holes in the ass from multiple skids across the dirt during failed hop n pop landings – but they still fit. But I miss cardio – I miss running. I’m tired of being winded, and using oxygen on the rides to altitude. I watched these guys fly, and read comments on my facebook – comments on photos of me with the paramotor, and I decided I was going to fly. I was going to buzz the ground on my own Parajet machine. I was going to rock a no-wind launch like a boss, and I was going to do it with style (no faceplants).

So what’s a 110lb girl with heart disease, out of shape, faced with a 53lb motor, going to do to actually be able to FLY it? Easy – change my life.

No, that wasn’t sarcasm either. I set out on a full blown mission to change my life. I’m not so deep in fantasy land that I believe that I can actually cure my heart disease, but I do believe that I can become practically asymptomatic.

ImageI started with my diet. I love eating healthy – I love vegetables and lean protein, but I also love sweets. I went into total diet overhaul. I got a juicer, and started having green juice every day (Kale, celery, cucumber, pear or apple, and a bit of ginger and fresh lemon juice). Sounds gross, right? Well I’d read this amazing book by Kris Carr (the woman behind Crazy Sexy Cancer) and she overhauled her diet and changed her life and in turn, saved her life. Look her up. If she could do it with cancer, I could certainly do it with heart disease! And she was right – in time (and it doesn’t take that long) your tastes for food do change. I started to love healthy juice, and vegetables have quickly become my diet staple. I hired a personal trainer out of Kansas City and started intense, challenging work outs to build my stamina. I turned a room in our warehouse into a full blown gym and started exercising here regularly. And the backpack… I started putting weights in a backpack and doing sprints in the backyard. I have to get used to weight on my back if I want to fly a motor!

So far, so good. I feel better, I’m sleeping better, I can RUN, I’m stronger… Updates to follow – but I have a feeling I’ll be flying like a boss in no time! 🙂

Blue Skies!