Thursday, June 25, 2015

Health update

It's been a while since I've mentioned where I'm at with my struggle to be healthy and fit. In October I had a setback when I fell down the stairs of a Double Decker GO bus when the driver accelerated to leave the bus stop as I was making my way down to exit. I slammed my right knee into the fiberglass wall and hobbled off the bus after exchanging angry words with the driver. He admitted he didn't look at his monitors to see if anyone was exiting from the upper deck. A week later, I went to put on my shoes at my sister's house after Thanksgiving dinner and my knee screamed, I screamed, and just like that - BURSITIS.

What an absolutely awful condition. There have been days when I could not walk. Days when I cried just from going down a few steps. Days when I could barely get out of my office chair after sitting for an hour. Nights where I couldn't sleep because of the pulling and swelling sensation. Days of sobbing and feeling sorry for myself because I lost my stability, had trouble with balance, and was stuck with limited mobility and range of motion. It's taken close to 40 physiotherapy sessions, a dozen acupuncture treatments and months of stationary cycling to get where I am today - walking, standing, climbing stairs, descending stairs and being able to bend the knee and put full weight on my right leg. I'm not out of the woods yet as my knee is out of alignment after months of a poor gait, and I am experiencing hip pain and joint pain that I am told should eventually subside. I've also been warned that surgery may be necessary.

You know that saying, a body in motion stays in motion? There was no motion so my body became a body at rest, and even though I restricted my caloric intake to 1800 calories a day, the scale moved up and before I knew it, I gained 20 pounds between November and May. I blame the weight gain to reintroducing bad foods into my diet - sugar being the main culprit. This month, after turning 41 on the 14th, I literally slapped myself in the face. Self-pity isn't my style but it's easy to be swallowed up by it. My lowest recorded weight in the past three years was 238. My highest weight (2010) was 328 (rough estimate). I am now 260 -- so no where near the shit show of 328, but far away from the best weight of 238.

I'm back to cycling since long-distance walking is still off the table. And I mean hardcore cycling, with hills and steep inclines that stretch for two kilometers or more. Living in east Courtice, surrounded by long stretches of country roads, I can cycle for 15 to 20 kilometers and burn 1000 calories in an hour. Of course, some of these roads are narrow and with no shoulders, just deep ditches, it can be nerve-wracking when drivers act like douchebags. I am not an aggressive or entitled cyclist. I am a "share the road" cyclist. I am a"stop at the stop sign" cyclist. I am a "helmet always on" cyclist. I am a "always uses hand signals" cyclist. I am a "wears a light when it's dusk" cyclist. I am the type of cyclist that motorcyclists will go out of their way to stop me and tell me they appreciate I follow the rules of the road. I don't do it because I'm a nice person. I cycle the way I do because it's the right thing to do, and in some cases, the law. It's a shame that law-abiding cyclists have to be thanked for being law-abiding.

As it stands, I think I am back on track. No more sugar. Lots of cycling. And more weight training. I've been told when it comes to cardio, your body eventually becomes efficient of whatever exercise you undertake and you have to "switch it up". For me, that means more challenging bikes rides and lifting weights in my ghetto home gym.

Wish me luck!


Squiggles said...

Good Luck! I am officially on a diet (10lbs in 6 weeks so far) but found I cannot restrict/omit something. If I crave it, I need to deal with the craving. Otherwise, it becomes a complete monster and nothing I eat will satisfy me. So, any ideas on Pizza Hut pizza? I am craving that one something fierce right now.

I myself have the bursitis (took an MRI to figure that one out) and another issue with the knee. The last couple of days of this current flare up, I can't go down the stairs normally. I take them 1 at a time. And deal with the dirty looks. I find it interesting that physio sessions worked for you. I took about 10 of them, then backed away. It made the issue so much worse. Regardless, I feel for you. Literally. It sucks. And the truly sad part: it can never be healed. It can be maintained only.

C.J. Smith said...

Good for you! I am so proud!!!

Oh man, luckily I no longer crave or desire all the "drive and get" or "doorbell" kind of foods (DQ blizzards were my vice). But I have my weaknesses and pepperoni pizza with anchovies is right up there. I will indulge but I found, before the injury, if I was going to eat that I had to be prepared to burn it off, and I would. I'd eat it and the go for a 2 hour walk where most of the walk would be uphill.

Bursitis can be managed. This all I've taken away from it. I'm just grateful for being able to do stairs and to get up and out of a chair without pain. Some days are still better than others, but at least I can kick a door close without dying.

And thank Christ, I can ride a bike without pain. Pedaling up a steep hill is difficult but pedaling up a long incline is manageable. I also need to buy a proper road bike that is fitted to me.

Bicky said...

Good luck and keep up the great work with the exercising. That's my downfall. I need to move more. Some days, I just don't wanna.

Anonymous said...

Try this cream. I had tendonitis and it was painful walking but this really helped: Penetrex. I got it on amazon and it helped with the inflammation and swelling and remember to elevate your legs. Also tried home use ultrasound machine from Costco. The combination really helped.

Anonymous said...

Get a Personal Trainer. You only need a few sessions and, if you find a good one (shop around, try a few til you get a good match) they'll set you up with a good program.

Whenever I need to lose weight I revert to Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. Works every time (except you need to jump around so you might be a few months away from trying it).

Good luck and keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Good luck!

Peter said...

I'm glad to hear you're back in the saddle, Cindy.

Did you get all those bike lights you wanted last year? I've taken to riding with mine in strobe mode all the time. Trust no driver. I also want to get one of these Flash Flags (copy/paste to browser address bar). Yes, they look geeky, but not as bad as a hurt cyclist lying on the road.

Keep up the great work! We look forward to more progress reports over the summer.

Ciao, bella!

C.J. Smith said...

I've got cool lights! Thanks to your suggestions!

Jules said...

Good luck to you! I know the battle, over the past year I have put on a lot of weight and struggled. I challenged myself to a 25KM walk to raise funds for cancer this fall, all around it makes me feel motivated and forces me to get back into shape.
I loved your previous updates, you are awesome and should be proud of your progress. Hope your feeling better.

George said...

I wish I could ride a bike again. I've now been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee and hip. Walking is a chore until I get moving a bit and bike riding is fine as long as there are no hills :(

At least I can still golf (using an electric cart) and bowl although not at my previous skill level. I'll have to live with it but I don't have to like it. I refuse to use the standard NSAID and other anti-inflammatory drugs unless the pain is unbearable.

Keep it up CJ. One day hopefully somebody will come up with a therapy that works.

C.J. Smith said...

Hills are awful as I can't put the full weight on the knee to push to pedal. Anything that's steep, I have to walk the bike up where before the injury - please, I was a champ. It's very frustrating but I remind myself it could be worse. Like George, it could where I couldn't do any kind of incline!

I'm working hard. As always, I appreciate the support.

J. Allan said...

Fresh asphalt is definitely one of the nicer things in life when riding the roads around Ontario.

Thrilled to hear you're back in the saddle. Happy Trails!

Skin Man said...

I am going to assume that whomever clicked "What a moron"?, did so in reference to the bus driver.

Yah Team CJ!