Tuesday, September 03, 2019
What gets me up and moving even on my worst days? That's easy! I remember family members who didn't get up and move except to move from one room to the next. What I remember is the difficulty that they had as they aged. God willing, I will have a few more years to add to my life. In 13 days, I'll be 65 and hope to live at least as long as my Dad, who passed at age 87 from Alzheimer's. He never was much for exercise after he retired. He used to play basketball in the backyard when we lived in St. Louis County. We all did. My Mom died at age 47 from a blood clot to the brain. After my Dad retired he moved to Florida. For a while he would take walks around the neighborhood and talk to his neighbors. Then it turned into just watching the kids at the daycare playing. Then Alzheimer's took over.
My late uncle who was a terrible diabetic. All he would eat was sweets and drink milk - gallons a week. Once he retired, he came home and sat down. He said he didn't have to do anything again. He went from the bed to the bathroom to the kitchen to the living room. Rarely, he would walk down 2 steps to the porch and sit. He said he was retired therefore he didn't have to do anything. That was his answer to everything. He refused to take his blood sugar or do anything. I would take his blood sugar which fasting was at least 288. He didn't care. He eventually got Alzheimer's and lost the ability to walk first and foremost. He fell frequently. My son and I would get calls from my Aunt asking for help getting him out of the floor. Getting him to the doctor for his three month checks were traumatic for us. He'd start with not being able to put shoes on. He could, he just refused. My Aunt would fight him every time. If she was successful, then the next challenge was getting him out the front door and down the steps. Usually that ended up with him sitting down on the steps and refusing to get up. This was all before the Alzheimer's even started. Then the challenge if we made it this far was to get him in the car. Repeat all challenges at the doctor's office getting him out of said car. He smoked like a freight train. He would usually drop his lit cigarettes somewhere in the car, at least twice. I'd have to find a place to pull off the road and look for the cigarettes. Then, about four years later he started developing Alzheimer's. My now late Aunt wasn't much better, she recently died at age 91. She walked until she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and it became very difficult just to go room to room. She had frequent falls too after my Uncle died. She lived 1/3 mile from my house, and I'd get calls for help. Usually she would get herself up and go to bed but she crawled to the bed. So her walker would be in whatever room she crawled from. Plus she'd always lose her glasses. So I'd walk over and find her glasses and get her walker and get her up and moving. Her heart finally took her down totally. That and strokes and mini-strokes.
So I look at the ones I helped out over the years and see that. That reminds me to get up and move no matter how rotten I feel. Yesterday was a terrible pain day but I realized I hadn't moved much so I spent 1 1/2 hours walking around the house so I could get my 10,000 steps in. Does this work everytime? No! I'm far from perfect. Some days are so awful I just can't do it. I still get up and move around but I'm not focused on those 10,000 steps.
I think of all the years that I did nothing for my health and well being. Years wasted. I walked and rode bikes when I was growing up all the way through high school. Started working and going to cosmetology school and that all stopped. The I moved back to Kentucky. I started walking every night, three miles. Then, my job changed and that quit. Then I got married in 1991 and until I had my bad fall in 2006 I rarely got much exercise. Nothing formal just short walks from the car to whatever I was doing.
After my fall and traumatic brain injury I did a little walking but nothing serious. Then, I had a near death experience in 2007. That shook me up. I took notice. I started walking - very slowly because I could barely walk from the car to the house. The pain from gallbladder surgery and CPR took a toll. In 2008, I originally started Sparkpeople. I went from 278 to 250 and thought that was fantastic and quit. I still did some walking but not much.
In July 2011 the doctor told me my A1C was over 10. Not good. He gave me two months to get my act together. So on July 24, 2011, I started walking. It wasn't great at first. With my Asthma and other problems I was stiff, out of breath and unable to walk far. I started walking 1/4 mile at a time. I did that a couple times a day. Then I started adding a little more distance. I made it to 1/3 mile, then to 1/2 mile, then to 1 mile. It took me a while but I walked. I was on Januvia, which my body could not tolerate at all. I spent my days and nights in the bathroom. I quit it. By the time I saw the doctor in late September I had lost 17 pounds and my A1C had dropped.
Fast forward to September 2019, I'm still walking everyday. I've worn out two fitness trackers. I'm on my third one, don't know how much longer it'll work but I'm walking around the center of the Earth, one step at a time, one day at a time. I'm closing in on 11,400 miles walked since July 24, 2011. Never did I ever think I could walk 1000 miles! My first challenge was a virtual hike of the Appalachian Trail. I did it! In fact park of my actual walking was on the Appalachian Trail. I loved hiking too. On May 15th, 2019 I started my 6th virtual hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Despite the set-backs I've had, I have persevered. I'm going to keep walking as long as I can. Back in 2006 I was told I would never walk without a walker. Ha! Proved them wrong. I remember hiking the Appalachian Trail and when I got to the top of the knob at Carvers Gap, I shouted to the world "see I did it and without a walker or cane. So screw you and your diagnosis".
Now, I'm hoping to take walks on the beach starting in just 1 1/2 weeks. depends on the hurricane damage. This is the third year in a row that we've had to deal with hurricane damage. At the very least, I'll be taking walks by Boone Lake next Monday, at my brother's house in NE Tennessee. He doesn't have internet, so if you don't hear from me that's why. I hope to have internet at the condo at the beach when we get there.
Right now I'm on my 6th Appalachian Trail walk and almost done with the Colorado Trail via walking4fun.com. Lots of cool trails with photos of where you're at. Great motivator. Check it out.
Take care everyone. Sending you much love, hugs and much encouragement and support on your journeys.