Monday, September 07, 2009
Thank you all who inquired about my MRI last Friday..
I did indeed take the relaxation drug beforehand and zoned out during the MRI even though I could still hear the loud noise that thing makes. Joe brought me home and parked me in my recliner where I slept for three hours!
I awoke about 3:30 pm, had dinner with Joe, went to bed early and slept for eight hours of solid sleep. Now that's more sleeping in one day than I EVER get, lol.
Saturday was a good day for me. I did have some weakness in my right leg while walking around the grocery store, but less PAIN for the entire day. Until about 9 pm when it all returned with a vengeance. It was hard for me to get into bed. I awoke about 2:30 and put an ice pack on my body. (What a lovely, comfy thing to sleep with, hmmm?) Yesterday was the worst day I've had in a while. All the PAIN back with a vengeance.
My appointment with the Orthopedic doctor is September 17 and I'll get the results of the MRI then, as well as the opportunity to ask a million questions. I don't really think I have a bone or joint problem. I think I have a muscle problem that stems from my back. Bones and joints are covered with muscles and ligaments, so I'm hoping this doctor can help or guide me to someone who can.
I'm definitely going to ask about physical therapy.
I need to know how to exercise in PAIN. When is it ok and when is it not. I hesitate to push through PAIN when I am not sure that I'm not going to do more damage.
I do know that I can't go on not moving.
I'm going to do my best to work on all the muscles I can that don't scream out in PAIN.
I'm going to do my best to get in the pool three times a week, even though dressing, getting there, undressing, getting home, showering, dressing again, etc. etc. takes 3 hours out of my day and wears me out.
I have the Wharton book on active-isolated stretching and I'm going to try to do extensive stretching every day. PAIN or no PAIN.
You can see that, in my life, PAIN is a four-letter word.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
I've seen a few members lately posting about ever-present hunger. I thought I'd post a few ways I can feel full while staying within a reasonable calorie limit.
LOW CALORIE SOUP
This is my own version of an old Weight Watchers recipe where you use "free" veggies (very low calorie) to make soup you can eat anytime.
I use a half of a head of cabbage, a couple of ripe tomatoes and an onion, all cut up into small to medium pieces. Put in a large pot with a can of chicken broth (low fat like Swanson's) and all the water you need to cover the veggies. Add whatever seasonings you like - garlic, salt, pepper, etc.
Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are soft. Allow to cool some and then take about 1/2 to 3/4 of the veggies out and put them in your blender. Puree until the chunks are gone. You may have to do this twice if it won't all fit in one batch. Add it back to the remainder in the pot and stir together.
The pureed veggies mix in and give the soup a rich, creamy texture without adding any milk, cream, or butter! The chunks of veggies make it feel like real solid food. Eat this when you are hungry. There's very few calories in it. Also, drink a cup of it before lunch and dinner and it will slow down your eating, making you feel full more quickly.
OVEN ROASTED VEGGIES
Cut up your favorite veggies - broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, etc. Put them in a large zip lock bag and coat them with a little olive oil. OR you can just put them out in one layer on a large cookie sheet and spray them with a kitchen spritzer filled with olive oil.
The end result is you have low calorie veggies coated with some olive oil, spread out in one layer on a cookie sheet. Set the oven at about 375 - 400 deg. and roast for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them.
You can put them in zip lock bags in portion sizes and use them to fill out your meals with more bulk and fiber that is tasty. It's great to add them to a frozen dinner to make it more like a real meal without adding many calories.
The trick is to plan your meal around a "core" food you like - meat and potatoes, maybe - and add calorie free or very low calorie foods to it to give you more bulk and a more satisfied feeling when you're eating.
Sometimes we really crave more "hand-to-mouth" action when we reduce our calories. Just like smokers miss that when they give up smoking. Eating unprocessed food always gives you more of that so you get the satisfaction without the calories.
We just have to remember what it feels like when we BINGE. Do you ever feel GOOD after you do that? Usually you feel pretty rotten. Eating well makes you feel better and your body will thank you for it!
Anyone want to add YOUR tips and tricks to get full without overeating?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I had a massage yesterday with a really proficient muscle specialist.
He used massage and trigger points to release the muscles in my right leg and in my back that connected to that area. He worked on me for an hour. A lot of it was painful, but I'm used to painful massage from all the deep tissue therapy I've had. I joke that I pay people to hurt me!
He gave me some advice on exercise - swimming is the only real way I should move my legs repetitively, because I get the movement of the muscle without any weight or strain.
He also suggested I use a rope looped around the bottom of my foot to pull my leg up and down, again to get movement without exerting and exhausting the muscles too much.
So I'm going to try to swim more and do some stretches. He told me the latest theory in stretching is not to hold the stretch for more than two seconds. I found verification for this in various places online, including "The Wharton Stretch Book" at amazon.com.
Still scheduled for an MRI but have no expectations there. Over the years I've had all sorts of tests, xrays, cat scans and an MRI 4 yrs ago, showing nothing.
The problem is in my muscles, which spasm and contort my body out of alignment. Strong enough to make one leg shorter at times, or to hold my back in an iron grip so I can't even reach the radio in my car. Something in my back/nerves causes this, as far as anyone can tell me. Sitting too much is a problem, standing too much is a problem, walking too much is a problem.
Orthopedics is the closest thing to a muscle specialist and I have a referral for that doctor after my MRI.
Meanwhile, I just do what has helped me in the past, not a cure, just a management of pain and restriction. In time, I ususally get some results. The pain is not excruciating any more, just annoying and frustrating. I don't limp every time I take a step, but about 50% of the time.
That is some improvement over a week ago. Counting my blessings. Maybe that is what has helped me lose 2 of the 5 lbs. I gained over the past month and a half.
Monday, August 24, 2009
For six weeks Iíve been unable to put weight on my right leg without really bad pain. So Iíve been unable to walk without a limp. Iíve gone from wearing a pedometer and getting my 10,000 steps a day, to trying to get from the bedroom to the kitchen with the fewest number of steps possible.
You can imagine I Ďve done a lot of sitting; a lot of time in my recliner with my feet up, listening to books on my ipod with my cat Rosie by my side.
I only go places I really have to go and where I can get what I need with the fewest number of steps. Getting in the car is difficult because it really hurts when I lift my right leg to get in. Iíve started backing up to the front seat, sitting, then swiveling around until Iím in position to drive. Still some pain there, but not nearly as much. I can only get in and out of the car about twice on any given trip, then I have to go home. Some days I wait for Joe to get my mail and put out my garbage so I don't have to walk to the end of the drive.
Iíve lived with chronic pain for about 7 or 8 yrs. This is the first time Iíve had pain anyone could ďseeĒ. Ususally, pain is invisible, except to me. Now I canít walk, so itís visible. I really donít like that.
Iíve tried chiropractic, massage, ice, rest, and now am scheduled for MRI and Orthopedic appointments.
All this has brought me to a lot of thinking about my life. Iím big on counting my blessings and start each day that way. Now Iíve divided my paper into two columns - Good and Bad. The Good column goes on endlessly, being thankful for family, loved ones, good health, excellent blood-work, seldom ill, nice home, nice neighborhood, reliable auto, steady income which does not depend on me working ever again, many toys like HDTV, ipod, endless art supplies and books, etc.
The Bad side has only one entry - Pain.
After my last massage late one afternoon, the following day showed some improvement for the first time. I began to have an hour or two during the day when I could put weight on my leg and walk around the house without limping! Still some pain, some residual soreness, and I had to be careful not to walk too fast or over uneven ground. Next day, even better. As long as I interspersed an hour of rest in between times on my feet, I could get around a little longer, still with some pain but not enough to make me limp.
Itís so amazing how the act of putting one foot in front of the other can be such a great and wonderful thing. Pain brings you to a halt and gives you lots of time to think. Iím so grateful now for the act of walking which we usually take for granted and have added it to my morning litany of ďThank You for...Ē
Iíve gained about five pounds over these past six weeks of immobility. I wasnít able to exercise much before the limping began. Once it took hold, despair set in; fear of never being able to walk again without a limp, etc. etc. The only thing I can do that feels good, when pain is bad and Iím so down, is eat. Now thatís a hard habit to break, especially after eight years of it.
But, hey, thatís why Iím here.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Well, I spent a day reformatting my computer and re-installing and tweaking everything. The only major problem I had was I couldn't get back online. I called Time Warner RoadRunner, my cable, phone and internet provider, and a very nice lady there worked with me for over and hour! Everything showed I was connected but I still couldn't access any website or email server.
I called my son's tech employee and he very nicely spent almost another hour with me on the phone - still no luck.
Then the TW woman called me back and said she found the problem. TW had quarantined my account due to a virus problem they detected. All fine and good, the virus is why I reformatted to begin with, but I can't believe they didn't FLAG my account so their own employees wouldn't waste so much time trying to resolve and issue that only TW could fix!
Also, if you pay for cable tv, phone and internet, you'd think they could send you an automated phone message if you've been quarantined!! You can believe I'll be writing a letter to them about that. So glad that's over.
You may remember, I decided to undergo a month of electronic impulse acupuncture in the hopes that it would help me with the chronic pain I've been living with for years. The result is - It DID! My back doesn't hurt, my shoulders and neck don't hurt, and all the general body aches I used to wake up with are gone. I feel so much better!
However................. It's like finding a miracle cure for pain and in the middle of it - breaking your leg!
I didn't break my leg, but I have a badly injured ligament in my right leg, up around where my leg joins my body. Every time I put weight on my leg I have excruciating PAIN.
I started with chiropractic, massage, ice and rest. I then went to my M.D. who gave me Ibuprofen and x-rayed my lower back and hip. I go back tomorrow to see him again and will ask him to refer me to an Orthopedic specialist. I have all the symptoms of a loose ligament - the ligament doesn't hold the bones tightly enough, so they move out of alignment. It's like your leg is out of joint. VERY painful.
I've gone from wearing a pedometer, trying to get in all the steps I can, to counting and planning every step so I don't have to take more than absolutely necessary. I limp.
Joe has been so sweet, picking up things for me at the store, waiting on me when I need it. I've tried to keep on living life the same, just a lot more slowly. I've learned from living with pain that if I just stop everything when I hurt, I'll never do anything at all. So I keep going.
Ever optimistic that improvement is just a day away.
Happy to be back here with my SparkFriends.
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