Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Today is one of those days that reminds me that it's the "little" things that keep me motivated and focused. I rode my elliptical for 30 minutes this morning. Now that probably doesn't sound like a big deal to most people, but to me (and anyone who has followed any portion of my story over the past 4 months) it's monumental. Yeah, elliptical trainers are non-impact, and great for people with knee problems, but the aren't so great for anyone with an acute flair up of osteoarthritis.
When my knee blew out up in March, I moved the elliptical back into the spare bedroom in the basement. No point in tripping over something that I couldn't use anyway. As I was going through physical therapy and struggling to even use the exercise bike, I grew increasingly frustrated with my body. I realized I had done a lot of damage by carrying around so much extra weight for far too many years, but come on...I had spent a decade working to diligently right the wrongs. When the knee went, I thought my faith in my ability to move had followed.
It's been 4 weeks since I was able to resume exercising with any respectable level of intensity. I make certain to move my body for at least 30 minutes six days a week (even God rested on the 7th day - I think I'm supposed to follow his lead). I started with 5 minute bouts on the elliptical and slowly progressed to 10 minutes. This morning was mostly about overcoming the fear of pushing the envelope. I won't ever know what I can do if I don't try, right?
That was perhaps the most satisfying 30 minutes of elliptical training of my life, and it was such a little thing in the grand scheme of my journey to health and wellness. But I'm empowered to push a bit harder and do a bit more each and every day because of that "little" thing. What more can I ask for?
Monday, June 30, 2008
I've been struggling with acute knee pain since March 17, 2008 after receiving new custom-made orthotics. The past three months have included 1 urgent care visit, 2 visits to my primary care physician, 3 prescriptions for various anti-inflammatory meds, 1 MRI, 1 set of X-rays, 7 visits to the ortho, 12 physical therapy sessions, 1 bout of sciatica, and 2 Synvisc injections to my knee (the final one is today). Add a partridge in a pear tree and the story might have been tolerable.
I have finally found my silver lining to the past 14 weeks of torment...it is patience and faith in the human body and it's ability to repair. I mowed the lawn last Thursday with no pain for the first time this season. I rebounded this morning, pain-free, for the first time in 14 weeks. These are the little things that make me remember what it feels like to have a body that functions well on a daily basis, and I don't take this lightly. I am very fortunate to have found my way to a healthier lifestyle long before I destroyed my body to the point where replacement rather than repair, rehabilitation and rejuvenation are the options. And some days I find myself just getting up to walk around because I can do it pain-free...and as crazy as that might sound, it's all right with me!!!!
Monday, June 23, 2008
The phrase eating to live instead of living to eat is one that defines so many of our perspectives as we approach achieving a healthier lifestyle. I've done some intensive study over the past week on the real roots of such a lifestyle. I read Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and realized that the next stop on my personal road to health is destined for a trip through the land of veganism.
After reading Dr. Fuhrman's book and finding a supportive SP team that ascribes to the lifestyle change, I spent the weekend restocking my kitchen and took the plunge this morning. Can I just say that in the first few meals, I am full and satisfied in ways I have not been in quite some time. I only measured my starch and fat, and other than that allowed the beans, fruit and veggies to sate my appetite. It was pretty cool eating so much food at lunch and stopping when I was truly full - not overly stuffed and feeling guilty for the feeling. Typically when I transition to a new eating plan, I binge and gorge on the old stuff to make up for the period of forced abstinence, and that didn't happen this weekend. I'm ready for all of the health benefits that are attributed to a vegan diet, and I'm looking forward to many days and weeks of increased energy and true wellness as I fuel my body with the utmost in nutrition.
Monday, June 16, 2008
This morning I visited my ortho for my first Synvisc injection to start me back on the road to full mobility. (Ironically, tomorrow will mark the third month since I was sidelined with these knee problems.) I wasn't exactly excited when they took the syringe out of the package and I realized the full effects of a needle going into my knee far enough for the fluid to lubricate the joint. I can only speculate that the needle aggravated a nerve because I have had a dull toothache-type sensation most of the day. On a positive note, the knee does feel a bit more fluid, and for that I am most pleased and grateful.
The 3 injections are given 7 days apart over a 15 day period. Many people note immediate improvement after the first or second injection, but full efficacy is generally noted at the 12 week mark. The current findings show a six month period of relief on average before the cycle must be completed.
So here is my game plan. Within the next 6 months, my goal is to reduce my body weight by 10% and substantially increase my muscle strength, particularly in my lower body. The ortho gave me a high probability of foregoing the injections every 6 months if I am able to accomplish my goal. Here's the beauty of the plan - it's totally achieveable, as long as I am both patient and consistent, and the rewards will be phenomenal.
As for the accountability, I am tracking my intake faithfully using the SP food tracker. Each week, I export the file and forward it to my dietitian - boom...automatic feedback and accountability. My strength program is very lowkey for the first 3 weeks, just to give my body time to get acclimated to both the injections and the process of working out again. The cardio will come after I see how the knee reacts to the 2nd injection. And I'll be blogging a lot more - just because whether it makes sense to the world, it will bring clarity to some of my sticking points and allow me to regroup before I encounter "brick" walls.
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