November 2022 personal health update

It’s been six months since I provided an update on my health, and I am pleased to report that my condition continues to be stable – and continues to show incremental improvement in several metrics.

In August, I started swimming as a new form of exercise. Initially I could only swim one lap at a time, needed to catch my breath, and could only complete 4-5 laps total before I felt exhausted. But within a month I could swim 4 laps at a time without stopping, and 20 laps total. Now I’m able to swim 10 laps at a time, and can swim a mile (34 laps). Plus I’m getting out of the pool feeling good, not exhausted. That progress has been really exciting.

In addition, my respiratory capacity, measured as “forced vital capacity,” has crept back up to the low end of the normal range, which I have not been at for 4 years. I’m walking faster than I have since 2019. And, with more careful eating and more exercise, I’ve been able to gradually drop over 30 pounds since February, which helps my general health a lot (still more to lose!).

In October, I was asked to travel to Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya to support a workshop on new approaches to refugee local integration and self-reliance (I’d done an analysis for the consortium last year). I took the trip, with some apprehension about how I would handle the travel. It turned out not to be a problem at all. I walked a number of very large airports using only a cane, and managed the fieldwork without any trouble too. It was a thrill to know that my leg weakness is not yet an impediment to getting back to East Africa, where I had not been since COVID.

On top of all that, teaching at Davidson College has been a real pleasure this fall, I have excellent students to work with. And the family is doing well too. Our new home construction is coming along, so by next year (maybe August to October 2023?) we will have a fully accessible home for the time when I need it.

So I’m feeling great overall and am hoping that continues for a long time to come!