Well-being without Being Well

IMG_1421Meet Dorphina. Dorphina is a York Excel 40300 model treadmill and she has changed my life. Before Dorphina came into my life I was spending most of my time in bed propped up on pillows or on the chaise longue in the garden. I needed the walker pretty much all the time I moved around inside the house. I fell a lot and I suffered a lot from pain.

I knew that I needed some kind of movement and activity, if only for the strictly physical reasons that spending so much time in bed was an open invitation to hypostatic pneumonia, not to mention the possible formation of blood clots and other problems. At the same time, I could not be out and about without someone to accompany me because of my balance issues and I was worried about being out in public and catching a virus that wouldn’t be much to an otherwise healthy person, but would wipe me out because of my impaired immune system. I used to have a stationary bicycle that I loved using, but I began to fall off it with some regularity so had to get rid of it. I decided to get a treadmill.

When Dorphina first came into my life, I could only stay on for two or three minutes at 1 kilometer per hour (about half a mile per hour). I would sweat profusely, have trouble getting a good breath, and start to feel panicky about falling. With difficulty, because I am very achievement oriented, I accepted my limitations and would just get on Dorphina several times a day, whenever I felt like it and for only as long as I could. No expectations.

Surprisingly quickly I was able to increase both speed and the length of my “workout”. Within about a week I was up to 3 kph (almost 2 mph) for ten minutes at a time, and I had started to use the pre-programmed settings that increase and decrease the speed gradually or less gradually and at varying intervals. At a certain point in each workout, I would find myself giggling just because I felt so good!

This is a good spot to explain the name Dorphina for those who don’t get it. I am a huge fan of endorphins, that wonder chemical produced by our own bodies. Endorphins reduce the perception of pain (analgesia), create a feel-good emotional state (euphoria), reduce anxiety (sedation) and may help moderate appetite. Endorphins, as I so often say, are our friends. The body produces endorphins when we exercise (among other things), and I do like my endorphin high, so it seemed only natural to name my treadmill Dorphina. See? Logical.

Before long, I noticed so many physical and emotional changes in myself. My balance improved. My stamina improved. My breathing became deeper, expanding my chest. My resting pulse started to decrease from its previously fairly high level. Emotionally, I began to have a general sense of well-being and I began to regain my self-confidence. My friend Leigha, who comes to help me several times a week, says that she began to notice the difference about two weeks after Dorphina came into my life. She says my outlook is brighter and I have a zeal for life that I didn’t have before.

I have a big birthday coming up in March. (Sixty- which is utterly ridiculous to contemplate!) For the first time in a long time I feel pretty confident that I will see it.

My health status is basically the same. I still have pain (though I have been able to cut back on the narcotics a little when I don’t overreach myself). The cancer is, presumably, still eating away at my bones. The difference is in how I am in myself, in my increased sense of well-being, even without being well.


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34 Responses

  1. Maxine D says:

    So glad to hear of your changes Knots – I applaud your determination, and welcome the news that you are feeling so much better within yourself. Dorphina was a great investment!!
    Blessings and Prayers

  2. Helen says:

    That is fantastic to hear.. I am so glad it is helping you .. Xx Helen xx

  3. Scorchy says:

    I like how Dorphina is juxtaposed to the walker folded against the wall. I’m so happy for you! Nothing more admirable than a real fighter.

    • Knot Telling says:

      Not sure how I feel about being a fighter, but I guess I actually am. I never named the walker, but I knew that Dorphina needed a name as soon as she got here.

  4. Agnès says:

    Triple Hourra pour Dorphina !
    The tone of everything you’re posting has dramatically changed, too. Your choice of words, the way you’re organizing your sentences and expressing your opinions… everything.

  5. Doris Ann Price says:


  6. Verau says:

    I am so happy to read this report! You are building your immunity as well. Keep us informed on your progress! Much love–

  7. Paula Sanders says:

    So glad to hear this! ! I have my mom now riding my stationery bicycle everyday. She’s 75 and has had 2 strokes. She’s doing better now than she’s been in years!

    • Knot Telling says:

      That’s great, Paula! I’m telling you the “get up and boogie” is full of unexpected benefits.

  8. dear Knot,

    I am so thrilled for you! I can hear the smiles in your voice as you recount all the amazing effects you are having with your new pal, Dorphina. your new found strength and an over-all feeling of well-being is such good news! you go, Girl , and please know I am here doing a happy dance in my head for you, cheering you on and taking my cues from you to keep my own body moving.

    much love,


  9. Kathi says:

    Dear One, I love you, as your friend and as a PT and as a 60-year-old woman who is in the breast cancer club. That’s a lot of love. Maybe not quite as much fun as endorphins, but pretty good nonetheless. 😉

    • Knot Telling says:

      Kathi, you move me very much. You have no idea what a help you were to me in my first days with Dorphina, with your advice, encouragement and support.

  10. Wonderful! Knot, you are an inspiration to us all.

  11. Maria Ratliff says:

    So proud of you KT! Perseverance…you are demonstrating tremendous faith through this marvelous character trait of yours! The testing of your faith has indeed developed perseverance!! 🙂

    • Knot Telling says:

      Thank you, Maria. I like that – I’m not stubborn; I have the trait of perseverance! 😀

  12. Catherine says:

    That is so very good yo read. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy

  13. tracy says:

    dear Knot, this news made my Saturday happy 🙂 It’s so good to hear of your progress and determination and how well, with Dorphina’s help, it’s working. I hope your big birthday will be filed with all the things you enjoy and long may Dorphina bring copious amounts of endorphins to brighten every day

  14. Bill says:

    We have a winner here!!! I too have found that moving keeps me moving. If I let the couch or bed place it’s grasp on me, it will be harder and more painful to make the move to get moving. I applaud you and your efforts to put yourself in motion, you’re going to keep feeling better and because of that I am so happy for you!!

  15. mae says:

    This sounds wonderful and I am so happy you are feeling better! I like the name Dorphina. She sounds like a friend we should all have.

  16. Thanks for visiting my blog! Sorry to hear of your prognosis. I have my fingers crossed that my biopsy comes back negative and that your life is extended well beyond expectations. Glad you are able to use the treadmill, and if that starts not working out for you, the standing vibrator seems to help a lot. By the way, I also turn 60 in March! Unless you are born on the last day, you would be “older” than me by a few days! 🙂 Come visit me anytime! Retired Nurses have to stick together too!

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