Tuesday, December 01, 2009
I admit it -- I married an old poop. Mind you, I had no reason to expect he'd become an old poop almost immediately. After all, our first date was roller blading for good ness sake. While he courted me, he seemed quite active -- enjoyed kayaking, rode bikes, danced and even went on nice long walks. Was this all just an act? Sure, he was ten years older than I, with a triple bypass, diabetes, neuropathic feet and a growing belly that suggested bad times to come. But what a charmer. If I'd been thinking with my head instead of another body part (no, not that one...my heart), I might have anticipated trouble. Sure enough, just 5 years into the marriage his health problems started to act up. First he needed an angiogram. Then a pacemaker. And his out-of-control blood sugar required daily then thrice daily insulin shots. What a wreck I was married to. But it got worse.
My sweet husband took no care in managing his weight or fitness, so his cholesterol readings started to skyrocket. That’s when the doc gave him the heavy meds. And the really bad problems began there.
He was soon limping and carping about his neuropathic feet and the deep pain in his haunches. Wouldn't walk with me. Sat around doing sudoku and crossword puzzles, while I nagged him to move his sorry rear end. Overnight I found myself married to an old man. I was still just a kid. What had I done?? On the rare occasion when he joined me for a walk, he would creep like a slug, and stop to stretch his hind muscles every 15 steps. Said his haunches were killing him. Not good for our marriage, and not good for his health. Things were not going well.
I had almost no empathy. Bad wife; I just kept nagging him to get active. He had allowed himself to sink into a vicious cycle of decline, and he “owed it to me” to get himself back into shape. "Use it or lose it" I told him. “Don’t be such a slug.” “Just do it.” But he insisted that he just couldn't do it.
Finally we joined a gym -- and he agreed to go regularly. I hired a personal trainer - just to keep him honest, I guess. He grumbled and complained, but our trainer stood firm. And my dear husband responded. He had no choice. Now it wasn’t just me carping at him. He had the trainer in his face too. His upper body strength started to improve. But the pain in his haunches prevented any serious walking or even cycling. And if you can't walk, how can you get the cardio you need? And you know the way it is: no cardio, no real weight loss.
Hoping to inspire him, I joined Sparkpeople.com ... with great success: lost 5 pounds in the first 2 weeks. It worked. Hubby was motivated; decided to take his own weight problem seriously. Oncehe joined Sparkpeople, things really started to improve. He’s pretty competitive, so the point system motivated; and the communities appealed to his need for social support. He logged in several times a day; recorded his activity and food religiously; and started to lose weight. Slowly. More important than the weight, his blood sugar came under control and the doc reduced his insulin shots. At last some progress. But his cholesterol, always a problem, was not improving and the doc increased his cholesterol meds yet again.
That’s when something awful really happened, and it’s a damn good thing it did. The damn pain in his haunches started to get worse. He was nearly a cripple. This was not just old age. This was not just laziness. This was not my couch potato hubby. This was something way more sinister. After five years of uncomfortable pain, it escalated to debilitating pain; and we started to take this thing seriously. Whatever was going on was BAD.
Until now, all the docs let us down. Not a single one took it seriously. They responded the same sorry way I had responded. “Just lose the weight; you can be active if you try.” We insisted that tests be done and got him orthopedic inserts for his shoes to help his poor neuropathic feet. A retired neurologist brother suggested that perhaps an old spinal surgery had broken down -- a CT scan and trip to a surgeon yielded nothing. A retired cardiologist friend suggested that perhaps a blocked iliac artery was causing the pain. A trip to the cardiologist yielded nothing - the blood flow to his lower extremities was fine.
Surfing the internet gave us the first real lead -- message boards about folks who suffered muscle pain due to STATINS. Hubby has high cholesterol. Of course he took statins. Not only did he take large daily doses of statins, he also recently began a new drug - Tricor to increase the impact of the statins. Could this be the cause of 5 years of pain?
Sweet hubby immediately discontinued all statins as well as the Tricor. We made yet another trip to the cardiologist to confirm that this could be the problem and to assure that he wouldn’t keel over with another heart attack. The doc agreed that the statins were the likely culprit, and suggested that he might feel some relief within a couple of weeks.
SUCCESS at last. Now, just 3 weeks later, my dear hubby is almost completely pain free. He’s like my old sweetheart. Walking and dancing and riding his bike with ease. He even wants to play tennis. We’ve started several aggressive projects around the house, and now I’m racing to keep up with him. AMAZING.
We know that we’re not out of the woods. He’s religiously working out and walking whenever he can. We’ve added fish oil capsules twice a day to his regimen, and he sprinkles ground flax seed on just about everything he eats. No more hamburgers (or any red meat, for that matter). Only healthy food for this new man. We’ll track his LDL and triglycerides like never before, and pray that through diet and exercise we’re able to improve his blood chemistry. So far things look optimistic. At least our marriage is back on track, and he’s become a happier human being. That makes me the happiest woman in the world!!