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Walking my journey

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I had someone ask me today how I walked so far. She commented that she gets out of breath going to the car. I told her I know the feeling. I started small and just built up to where I am now.
For those who don't know me, I had complications from gallbladder surgery back at the end of November 2007. They didn't think I'd live and in fact when my family got there my blood pressure was 17/0. I have memories during that time of visiting a wonderful place and seeing my late husband and some of his family that passed on. I've figured out that was because they were the most recently deceased. Anyway this really kind gentle man told me that I had to come back because there was work to do still.So I woke up. First words were "why are they putting rust in my arm?" I was getting a blood transfusion and it took a few seconds to figure out where and what was going on. I had internal bleeding and I know I got at least 4 units of blood because that's what I got after I woke up. At any rate I looked like someone had been the life out of me because of all the bruising. My kidneys had failed but by the time I left the hospital they were back to normal according to the kidney specialist. He's the one that told me what happened. I got severely dehydrated and everything started to fail. So after I came back I had an ordeal to restart from. I could barely walk.
This is where the journey originally started. I barely made it from my Aunt's van to the house when I got out of the house. I was ready to collapse. Unfortunately I had to have assistance in laying down and getting comfortable plus getting back up out of bed. When I was able to sit up for awhile, I went to my computer and found SparkPeople.com - I don't remember what brought me here or how I even found it. All I know is it's the best thing I ever did.
I had to sit up during the days because I couldn't get in or out of bed without assistance and my son was still in high school. I had to rebuild my strength so I walked around in the house because it was December and the weather wasn't too good. Come December 28th I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon. I wasn't supposed to drive but the person who was supposed to take me forgot. That left me driving 30 miles to the doctor in dense fog. We made it (my son - he was 15). I had a time parking the car but made it. Didn't realize there was a small hill I had to walk up. Needless to say by the time I got to his office I was in agony. He released me to drive and from follow up.
Let the walking begin - very slowly is how it started. I started walking next door to my Aunt & Uncle's. They had steps to get in the house. Oh my gosh did that hurt. Slowly and I mean slowly I increased how far I was walking. I got up to over a half mile with no problems. In April we visited my brother. We went hiking at Oceola Island - the one mile loop. I thought I was going to die before we got back to the car. I couldn't breathe, my legs felt like they were going to explode.
Come May I went on a field trip with my son's art club at school. We went to the Art Museum and Zoo in St. Louis - tons of walking and some steps too. Then to a shopping mall. All this and riding on a school bus. Funny though because I hadn't been on a school bus since June 1st, 1972! I barely got in - in fact my son had to push me in. Yes I was that bad! I took a muscle relaxer on the trip home and slept most all the way. For some reason after that summer I quit the walking. Just up and stopped except when I went to my brother's and I walked all over the place there - maybe it was because he lives on Boone Lake.
So fast forward to July 2011. My doctor told me that my blood sugar was way too high (A1C was 10) and I had to exercise and lose weight or he was putting me on insulin. He gave me until September to make changes. Well I did. So he gave me until December - by December I had my A1C down more. So anyway he was able to reduce my Glipizide from 10mg twice a day to 5mg twice a day but kept my Metformin at 500mg twice a day.
I had started walking. I've learned since I have my mapmyrun app on my phone that the .25 miles I thought I was walking is actually .33 miles. What I thought was a mile walk is actually 1.33 miles. So I've really walked further than my miles reflect because there's no way I'm going to attempt any sort of adjustment.
I thought that .25 mile walk in 15 minutes was doing fantastic - it was for me. Add my dog in to the equation and you can see why it was actually taking longer - Miss Sniffs Every Inch was enjoying the freedom of being on a leash and getting out of the yard. Gradually that .25 mile made it to 1 mile and eventually to a over 4 mile walk. I started out slow and have built myself up to greater distances. I have asthma, arthritis and fibromyalgia working against me. My doctor says walking is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Commit to walking - even if you barely make it out to the car or even to your front porch. Commit to walking. Even if you just add a few steps everyday to your walk it will help. You will succeed.
In June 2009 my younger brother had a quadruple bypass. He started the same way after he got home from the hospital. He was a little more physically fit than me so since he lives in a city subdivision setting, he would add distance by walking to the next driveway. He worked up to a 2 mile walk fairly easily. It was harder for me.
When I had the gallbladder surgery I weighed 278 - my highest. Now I'm around 208. I haven't been working really hard on losing the weight. I've slid back a little and picked up a few bad habits. I am still walking every day that the good Lord allows it. Of course I don't walk in the ice and snow or rain. Don't need an accident or to get sick.
The point is you can do this. If you want to start walking by minutes go for it, start with 10 or 15 or whatever you're comfortable with. Then add on more minutes. I can walk for 4 hours now.
I can go hiking at Carvers Gap on The Appalachian Trail. I can hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to just about any waterfall - I just have to watch things because of my asthma and being diabetic. I don't want a repeat of the Abrahms Falls hike where I had an asthma attack, panic attack (because no cell service and I caused myself to get chest pains thinking about having to be rescued by helicopter) and my blood sugar bottomed out. I know what to expect now, so I will take it into consideration.
Just remember if you have asthma make sure you have your emergency inhaler with you. If you're diabetic bring something in case your blood sugar gets too low - I keep glucose tablets in my pocket since they are faster than candy (and fewer calories).
Getting outside to exercise helps your moods. You will feel better. Even though I'm walking with my dog I take time to meditate and enjoy the surroundings. I thank God for being able to do this. I use this time to say some extra prayers for my family and friends. Sometimes we walk out to the cemetery where my cousin, aunt, uncle, grandparents and great grandparents are buried. We walk all over the small town we live in.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You know that you are an amzing person . So glad to be on this journey with you .
    1700 days ago
    I had no idea about your problems with your gall bladder! I had mine removed in 2004, but had no complications. Your story is amazing, and it's inspiring that even though it was hard, you continued to walk. I totally agree that even if people can't walk far at all, they can start somewhere. Great job!! emoticon
    1703 days ago
    What great strength you have!
    Never give up!
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    1703 days ago
    You are amazing and have been through so much. I hope you are as proud of your accomplishments as you should be. I'm so glad that you found Spark People, for yourself and also for the rest of us. It is members like you sharing their inspirational stories that helps to keep us all motivated. Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us.

    Cindy emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1704 days ago

    You are just emoticon

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    1704 days ago
    Ramona, I'm glad that you are here. I get discouraged sometimes but you are so encouraging to me.
    1704 days ago
    WOW !! what an amazing story. Roc
    1704 days ago
    You have come a long way! Keep up the good work
    on a job
    1704 days ago
    What a great blog and what a time you went thru.I am so happy to see you doing well and sparking you really have changed your life emoticon emoticon
    1704 days ago
    Your story is amazing. You have survived an enormous ordeal and have succeeded at improving your health. Thanks for being an inspiration to my self and others.
    1704 days ago
    Ramona, I needed a tissue warning. I knew a little but never realized all ou have been through. What a brave son you have. What love.

    I am so proud to be your friend. God has blessed me with you.
    1704 days ago
    Your story is so inspiring! I used to be able to walk 2 miles every morning. That was 2 years ago. Since then, I have become very sedentary. I was also put on Cholesterol medication. When I tried to go back to my walking, my legs hurt so bad I wanted to cry. I was taken off the meds, but my legs still hurt. My cardiologist has done tests on my legs to see if I have any blockages, which I don't Guess I am just REALLY out of shape now. I weigh more now than I ever have. I think I might have started out trying to walk to fast/too much too soon. Anyway, it has made me scared to try to walk again. This weekend I am going to buy a bike, and start riding. After I do that for awhile, then I will give walking another try. I am so glad that you are better now....what an inspiration you are.
    1704 days ago
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