Yep! I took the reins, I steered the boat, I shook my world. I made a difference in my life, and I continue to do so. I will continue to do so, I will not quit. It is not in my vocabulary.
It is nearly one year (August 22, 2009) since my older son's wedding: the date of my "fat" before picture. I was about 207 lbs, and my weight was making me have trouble breathing. I was miserable and I refused to wear the back brace my doctor had just prescribed to the wedding. It was a scorcher of a day and I knew I wouldn't have been able to tolerate it. (see previous blog - A wedding, a Shopping spree and before & after) www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
It was not easy when my back, low back sciatica and neck sent pain into my arm and shoulder, it hurt so much, not to mention my knee. But by September when my orthopedic doctor last put me into physical therapy I told my physical therapist I was determined that I would gain flexibility, maintain mobility, gain strength, and lose weight. My sweet therapist gave me a good routine for me to do. It really is just a simple six step routine. I started out just doing it at therapy, then followed her orders and did them faithfully morning and night varying from 7 to 20 minutes or so. I added wrist weights at home when she did at therapy. When I went on the NuStep machine, I could endure for about 7 minutes, then 10, then she had me go on at the beginning, and after the stretches. Yes, my sciatica hurt right into my right leg. Yes, my knee hurt with the bending. These things still hurt. But, since I am waiting the wait that happens when you are on worker's compensation, continuing the physical therapy at home after the authorized sessions ended kept me sane and in control of an out of control situation.
Being on worker's comp makes you feel like a second class citizen, perhaps even lower at times. After all, I really did not choose to fall on the ice at work that wrecked my knee and affected my shoulders, neck and low back in February 2009. Waiting on them to approve medical help is like calling 911 from the depths of the ocean in a sunken submarine. Help never comes, or at least takes forever. I know there are many of you that understand this feeling.
When I was sent for a second opinion last December the doctor I saw was demoralizing. Although at that point I was well on my journey since in December 2009 I was weighing about 192, so I had lost 15 lbs by that time. The doctor suggested bariatric surgery to control my weight. I told him to his face I was losing weight, but it was taking longer because with every epidural injection in my back, I was regaining 5 or 6 lbs at a time due to the cortisone. I also stated that because of pain, my movement is limited regarding exercise. He just said he didn't believe in the injections. He also said at that time that there was nothing to be done with the neck, and yes the low back needed attention but I would have to lose a lot of weight for it to be worth the risk. I was frustrated. I was not given any answers, and I sure as heck wasn't receiving any real relief.
Taking my physical therapy and using it as a stepping stone to getting well allowed me to take charge of what I could to try to strengthen my body so that when surgery is finally approved I will be slimmer, healthier, stronger and more able to recover well. It is all I can do, and I am doing it. Physical therapy was the baby steps I needed to get myself moving. Even now, if I wake in pain, I know that the stretches will help and I do them, sometimes in the middle of the night.
So in this past year, as I have mentioned before, I HAVE lost 27 pounds. July 2010 I only lost one as it was a tough month on my back and neck. The nerve damage from the two herniated discs in my neck seems to be spreading to my main arm now, my right one. The sciatic pain in my right low back has sent zingers into my left, and has frequently woken me up in the middle of the night, even with medication.
So, I do what I CAN do. I continue to do my pt stretches as assigned once daily, with weights three times weekly. I do intervals three times per week, depending on how my back is. I traded being able to use the nustep at pt for my recumbent bike. My knee and back hurt more on it, but at least I have something I can use since therapy ended. I listen to what my knee/back/neck tell me as to how much I try to do. Some days I only rest with ice on my back instead of an interval. Some days I can only count my physical therapy stretches and the walking I do throughout the day. But this year I was able to do something I have not been able to do for a few years: garden. Yes, I hurt afterwards, so I ice and take my meds. But, the rewards are worth it: fresh tomatoes, beautiful flowers, a yard I can feel proud of.
I know that eventually something will happen to get my back/neck/knee fixed other than medications. Yes, it is scary to think of. One thing I learned on here that for each pound I lose, it reduces 4 pounds of pressure on my knees. So guess what? That means I have reduced 108 lbs of pressure on my knees. It is not perfect, but it is something. This is a slow journey, but as I wait for the powers that be - worker's comp and their insurance - I do what I can do: I just keep moving.
One day at a time. One step at a time. One movement at a time. One pound at a time. One bite at a time. One moment at a time.