Sunday, February 17, 2013
About 8 months ago I faced a stark reality. My fledgling attemp to rebuild my economic life was just beginning to bear some fruit. I had found a niche in the construction field that seemed to be recovering and might provide a good living for myself and one or more of my grown kids if they wanted to participate. But a fall on a jobsite had me in pretty dire straights. The Arthritis I had endured in both knees for many years was now manifested by severe pain, but worse, loss of the majority of range of motion in BOTH knees. I had managed to get by when it was just one. Now, without insurance, I, for the first time, had to go to another source for some support. I enrolled in the VA, got an initial screening, and began to prepare for what I suspected was coming. Knee replacements. By July I had been advised to apply for Social Security Disability. To my shame I had often sneered at those who used the "system". Faced with no real alternatives, I applied. This was during the time that I was being examined to see what the extent of my damaged state was. It was a shock I was not prepared for. Not only were both knees basically destroyed, but all the years of abuse had created similar damage in both ankles and hips. Having been told to prepare for up to a year of waiting for a determination from SSI regarding disability, I was shocked again when once my medical information was reviewed, I was approved in just under two months. My disability was considered permanent. The VA surgeon wants to begin with the most limited knee, my request to have them both done at once was rebuffed. He does not think I can sucessfully rehab them both at one time, due to the extensive work that will have to be done on each.
So. A minimum of about a year and a half of surgery and rehab. No, I should not return to construction work. I will be 62 at the end of that time.
The other shoe drops. My long neglected body was now much larger than it needed to be. Everyone there including myself was shocked at my current weight. 288 lbs.
I spent most of my life hovering around 220. Large by their standards, but a weight that allowed me to be very active, play sports, and run the occaisional 10K. Because of my density I suppose, I was examined by the Air Force as I began boot camp and found to be within tolerance for my body fat content. At the end of basic I was at 216. The occaisional pain I had from earlief broken bones, and a knee surgery were not really limiting and sporatic.
So December 4th, 2012. I am faced with reducing my BMI to 35. That represents for me, a weight of 243. Oh, and by the way, stop smoking.
What a wreck I have created.
Miraculously, my lungs are clear, no diabetes, cholesteral is low. Blood pressure ok. Before my latest bad fall, I could and did work hard physically. Using Ibuprophen to keep moving.
What do I do? Having leaned this from my previous 3 years of economic stress, I did nothing for a month. In mid January I began to seriously work on losing the weight.
It was about two weeks later I stumbled across Spark People.
That has changed my life, on so many levels.
I will tell you that story, even if it is just so I can actually tell it for myself.
Today is Feb 17. My weight is 261.
My goal is not the 243 to get my first surgery scheduled.
My goal is 216, my weight leaving boot camp, 41 years ago.
My other goal is to retake my life, and stop having life happen to me.