2019: The Year in Review (and new 2020 goals!)

As the year 2019 draws to a close, I have been taking some time to reflect on the major milestones of the year. There was the trip to Miami in February, where I had the pleasure of seeing Greg successfully finish the World Marathon Challenge (7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents), and where I set a Personal Best for most steps taken in a single day (18,000!). On this trip I really pushed my limits and built up my endurance so I could walk farther distances without breaks.

There was my first round of constraint-induced therapy for my leg in Birmingham, Alabama in March, where I learned how to weight shift on my left side while walking. A subtle improvement, yes, but one that had a major positive effect on my gait.

I started a full-time job as a Junior Underwriting Associate in April, and managed on my own for a weekend away in DC to visit friends. I love my job, and feel blessed to work in an environment with amazing people who are fully invested in my development (and where I can use my Spanish on a daily basis too!). 

In June/July I got the Bioness unit to help with my walking, and spent three weeks back in Alabama for a round of intensive constraint-induced movement therapy for my arm. I learned to embrace the Use it or lose it! Motto, and now involve my left hand in functional activities like fixing my hair, zipping my jacket, and tying my shoes. I definitely don’t perform these tasks as well as I used to, but the important thing is that I’m making an effort.

Fast Fwd to October, which was a big month for me. In October I walked in heels at my friend Hannah’s wedding, and then traveled to London to visit my sister and best friend. This was my first time traveling abroad post-stroke, and I managed without my parents. That week, I achieved the goal of independent travel and improved my sense of awareness when navigating crowds. My siblings and I also traveled to Dublin, where we drank Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse, visited Trinity College and saw the Writers Museum. That month, I also rode the subway in New York for the first time without help. 

In November I resumed PT to improve my gait while wearing the Bioness, and in December I made it through my first busy renewal cycle at work. 

And today, I achieved another recovery milestone while at the gym. I walked three miles in an hour’s time (59:09 to be exact ;)). When I started my workout, I began at my usual 2.5 pace, but decided 15 minutes in that I wanted to set a new standard and push my limits. So I escalated my workout from a speed of 2.5 to 2.8 to 2.9 to 3.1. Aggressive – potentially, but no progress was ever made by staying within your comfort zone. I was feeling good, my Bioness was firing correctly, and I was feeling inspired to end the year on a high note.

3.1 is the fastest speed I have walked at since my injury and one hour without any breaks is the longest I’ve walked on the treadmill. It makes me excited that I was able to walk fast and for extended time without breaks. In PT this month I set a 2020 goal to run a mile by the end of the year. I’m ready to level up, and would love to be able to run again, as it’s something I always enjoyed.

Fast walking is a start, and now that I’m getting more comfortable with the Bioness, I think running might just be feasible. I’m feeling thankful for all the blessings of this 2019 year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish in the 2020 year. New decade, new year, new chance to work hard to achieve our goals. Onward!

PS – If you’re interested in reading more about my journey with recovery and how I try to turn a traumatic experience into a beautiful opportunity for growth, be sure to pre-order your copy of my new book, Fast Fwd: The Fully Recovered Mindset, publishing in April 2020. Only 8 days left to place your pre-order, don’t miss out!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fast-fwd-by-madeline-niebanck/x/22095378?create_edit=true#/

2 thoughts on “2019: The Year in Review (and new 2020 goals!)

  1. I always look forward to your updates Maddi and you never disappoint. Thank you for being who you are. No matter what one is recovering from, your thoughts, courage, and positive strength gives everyone the inspiration to tackle it head on. So proud to call you my niece. I love you Maddi and HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know 2020 is your year ❤

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