It continues to be a busy Fall. It has actually been an incredibly busy year for me with lots of personal business to attend to and very little real holiday time. Instead I've just been moving forward and whenever I get a chance throughout the week I take moments to relax with coffee and a good book, watching good or funny television programs, getting together with friends and going out for movies.
This week at my diabetes group, I learned that I've made some wonderful progress on my health goals of losing weight. I've managed to lose 30 pounds. This is weight that I gained in the last few years when I began experiencing tremendous knee pain and had problems walking. There were long stretches of time when I could not even walk one block. Suffice to say that this lack of mobility was not good for my health.
I tried many different things to regain mobility before I discovered that I actually have osteo-arthritis in the knees. This problem seemed to come out of no where and hit me suddenly so it was rather a shock. I struggled with knee pain for a very long time and self - treatment before I finally told the doctor about my knee problem. She promptly sent me for x-rays.
Some of you might remember me writing on this blog about the many ways I tried to deal with the pain: cranial-sacral therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, herbal medicines, supplements, and pneumatic compression therapy. When the doctor learned of my knee pain she sent me for x-rays and physiotherapy which helped temporarily. Ultimately, when I contacted a fitness helpline it was recommended that I buy myself some rehabilitation walking poles and start a walking program again. I was very skeptical as I had tried using a cane to no avail and I couldn't walk more than a block. I thought how on earth am I going to walk with poles? Anyway I did purchase the poles because I was desperate to try anything. I am very grateful that I did for they have given me a new lease on life.
|Photo Credit: Urban Poling, Activator Poles|
It took awhile to be able to learn to walk longer distances, stand for awhile or be out of the house for any length of time. But I am now able to do all these things and lead a more or less normal life. Some days are easier than others. I still get pain and stiffness but nothing like what I was experiencing a few years ago. I also can't just go out for a long walk like I used to. These days I limit my walking to errands and appointments. In future though I do hope to get back to long walks just for the fun of it. But over the summer there were many days when I left my home and forgot my walking poles behind. That is because I was walking so well and without pain and stiffness. With the coming rains the stiffness has returned and I don't walk quite as upright. I can still get by without my poles most of the time but I take them wherever I go and use them when my hands are free of shopping or when I need the extra support.
I've worked very hard to walk again and have also worked hard at implementing various forms of health and fitness on a consistent basis. The loss of 30 pounds has been an incredibly slow process despite all my efforts. But I am very pleased with what I've been able to accomplish so far and try not to think about how some people would have lost the weight more quickly. I've never been one of those people. In fact I gain weight incredibly easily so to make steady progress toward my goals is a good thing. I'm hoping to be able accomplish much more in coming months.
One of the many benefits of walking again and losing the weight is that my blood pressure has improved a lot over time. Though I have never been on any blood pressure medication my blood pressure was on the high side of normal (134/76). Then I brought it down to acceptable levels for diabetics last winter (130/76) and sometimes a bit lower (128/70). Last week it was 122/77 and three months ago it was 122/66. I'm sure I can improve this reading a bit more in the coming months. My blood sugar levels also dropped from 8.4 in April to 7.4 in July. I need to get tested again very soon.
If you are experiencing a limited form of mobility or are experiencing pain in your knees, I highly recommend you get yourself some walking poles or even two strong sticks that are tall enough to hold at right angles when you walk. The rehabilitation poles are not exactly like nordic walking poles since you hold them at right angles when you walk (as in the photo above). Once you are experiencing less pain in the knees you can graduate to regular (nordic) walking poles that you hold at a slant when you walk. An ability to exercise or remain mobile really helps us keep healthy in many others ways. Of course, a good and healthy diet helps a lot too.
Addendum, October 30, 2014: What most people won't know is just how much I relied on my faith in God during this multi-year process of trying to get better. Trust me folks, the journey has been very difficult and not without challenges. Especially since during this same period of time I also had a lot on my plate as a caregiver for my mother and all the many things that entails when a parent is elderly and not well.
In addition to praying a lot, I found it helpful to set goals, stay focused on my priorities and eliminate extraneous things and distractions, actively working on relaxation, learning to go with the flow and listen to my body and last but not least, making a daily choice to remain positive.
When one is fighting a battle of any kind, one must do everything possible to remain positive and it helps to look for daily blessings in life. Ultimately it is God who is in charge and we must learn to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves or we can become quite miserable and discontented.
A wonderful scripture that has always helped me is
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
So whenever things look bad or indeed are bad, I remind myself that all things will work out for the best. By the time God is through I will understand why even the bad times and the difficulties have worked together to bring me to the right state. As I look back in life I can see that this has always turned out to be true though we never see it at the time we are going through it.