If you are reading this, you came back! Thank you. Let’s catch up. Its been 23 months after all.
As I reflect back on my last blog in February 2018, I tried to tap into what I was feeling back then. Where was I? What was going on.? But the story is more about what wasn’t going on. Not only wasn’t I running…I was having trouble walking!
I was struggling.
I had gained alot of weight. I was trying to “rinse and repeat” how I had lost the weight the first time around. R-U-N-N-I-N-G. A lot, a lot of running. But this time around, I had a problem. My knees. They hurt. And not just the normal kind of pain that comes with running. (Haha, lets just pause, and read that again….haha. Yea. Truth. Ok, we move on). I had this nagging pain behind my left knee. Also a swelling. Something was wrong. For a really long time, I wasn’t listening to my body.
Reality was, I wasn’t only having a problem running, but it hurt to walk long distances too. By the time autumn rolled around, I was seeing an orthopedic surgeon and having all the pokes, and prods, and scans and tests. They ruled out arthritis – good. They ruled out any sort of tumor – good. But what I had was a meniscus detachment – bad. My meniscus totally pulled away and detached from my knee from behind. I couldn’t really walk. I had to address it, as much as I didn’t want to. The solution was s.u.r.g.e.r.y.
In November just after Thanksgiving I went into surgery to have a meniscus reattachment. I have all the pictures, but when I look at them, it looks like a someone landing on the moon. LOL . They drilled through my knee and reattached it from behind. Looking ahead, I had 8 weeks of sitting on my butt, allowing it to reattach before I could put any weight on it. 8 weeks of non-weight bearing recovery and physical therapy after that. Wow, this wasn’t going to be easy.
It went down just about as I expected. It was a tough recovery process. I went from flat on my butt in a totally extended leg brace – to two crutches – to 1 crutch – to back on my feet, with a noticeable limp. The PT folks were terrific. The surgeons get all the glory in these situations, but it’s really the physical therapists who get you up back on your feet again. I was really grateful. It gave me a new appreciation for two things:
1) Your knees are really important. I had a new appreciation for my mobility. I saw myself so u.n.a.b.l.e. to do anything by myself. I mean, Peter had to put a plastic chair in our shower, and help me hobble in there on my crutches, remove my brace and unwrap my wound, sit down. And only THEN could I wash my hair. Oh, you will have a NEW appreciation for how g.o.o.d. it is to wash your hair, when you can’t shower for 12 days after surgery. Then he had to help me get out and reverse it all — back into the brace. Whew….It was a journey.
2) The second, and most important thing that made an impact on me was how much harder everything was because of my weight. In those 8 weeks immediately after surgery, I felt 2X heavier than I really was. Everything was hard. Getting up and down the stairs in our home. Getting into and out of the car. Hobbling to and from the driveway. Now, warranted, I was in a fully immobilizing knee brace, and not allowed to even rest weight on my left leg, but still…..dragging myself around was hard. (It was more of a hop…really.)
I decided during those 8 weeks – I was going to change. I felt 70 when I was 53. What was I going to feel like AT 70? Was I going to make it TO 70? I’m not being dramatic. How often do you see Fat Old People? Think about it.
The scarier part came next. Once the crutches were gone and I hit the 6 month mark around May 2019, I was supposed to be better. “Back to normal”. But I wasn’t. My left knee was stiff. I had scar tissue that wouldn’t let me extend it all the way. When I went up and down the stairs, I could feel my knee catching on something inside, and it hurt. It wouldn’t glide. It wouldn’t Be A Knee. Then the terrible thoughts start…..“Maybe…I wasn’t going to be normal…ever again.” G.U.L.P. That just made me eat.
My surgeon told me, “take it easy. I don’t want you using it too much. No walking. Bike ride, swim only.” So for two more months, I rode my bike on a stand setup in the basement. It helped. But it wasn’t getting me the progress I wanted. So, I was becoming desperate, impatient, defiant. My anxiety, my nervous energy lead me to eat. I wasn’t eating well, I wasn’t tracking. I stopped going to Weight Watchers. I quit. I quit myself. I went back to drowning my emotions in sugar. I was moving further and further away from the goal of being more active, and losing weight to live a longer happy life. I began looking at gastric bypass websites. I joined a gastric bypass group on Facebook. Oh I recommend doing what I did. When you read what people go through who take that route…TRUST and BELIEVE, it was a scared straight situation! No. I wasn’t going that route.
So what to do…what to do. In the end, I decided to stop listening to my doctor. NOT my advice to all of you. But it worked for me. “Defiance”, remember? I remembered what my physical therapists used to say. They were, of course, following the surgeon’s instructions, but they were very overt that recovery would come from movement; not from being sedentary. So – with all the things I didn’t know, there was one thing I DID know. I had to Move. But how to do it? What to do when the only kind of movement I was ever good at was r.u.n.n.i.n.g.….and that was the one kind of movement I could NOT do??
One weekend, while I was sitting on my @ss on the couch watching tv, reading Facebook …… (so freaking ironic).. I came across a post in the local FB community “21043 Happenings”. And it changed my life. For real. I know a lot of people say that a lot for things that are a lot less than “LIFE CHANGING” ….but listen up, this one if for reals.
I met David.
And what happened next, was it. I was about to MOVE.
Much much more tomorrow.
Ciao for now…..Diane