Saturday, August 22, 2015

30 days

I just took a look at my Daily Mile dashboard, and I last recorded a walk 30 days ago. I had no idea it had been so long. I've been telling myself a couple of weeks. Maybe three.

I stopped walking because my hip hurt. I continued to do four miles a day as long as I could, but those days consisted of whatever I had to do before the walk, followed by the walk, followed by resting. Sometimes for the remainder of the day.

It finally occurred to me that walking was aggravating the pain, and I needed to stop. I put on my big-girl running shorts and made a doctor's appointment. And went to it yesterday.

Where I learned that I am, apparently, officially, old. And maybe I should change the name of this blog again.
Not my own personal hip x-ray, but illustrative of my problem.
I had two x-rays that cost more than my first car and way more than my new dishwasher, and learned that I have a misalignment of my spine, along with some degenerative disc disease, and a cartilage deficiency in my right hip. Bone on bone.

I saw the Physician's Assistant instead of my family doctor, and she was great. She knows my history and said, "We see this a lot in athletes, both men and women." Athlete! She called me an athlete! As I've mentioned to a few friends, at least I didn't lose all that cartilage by being a slug.

But still. No cartilage = no cushioning, and until you experience it personally you really have no idea of the pain. I've tried all the recommended OTC pain relievers; ibuprofen seems to do the best job for me.

What I haven't been doing is exercising. To me, exercise is walking. Both the PA and Dr. Google recommend stretching. I also learned that yoga, bicycling and swimming may be beneficial. I don't have a bike, nor do I swim, so I'll be taking advantage of the apps on our new smarter-than-I-am TV to find some gentle yoga routines.

The other word for what I have is osteoarthritis – such an old-lady word. I'm not old. In fact I'm so not old that I have to pay for those expensive x-rays out of pocket, because I haven't met my insurance deductible and I'm too young for Medicare.

I see my family doctor week after next to discuss treatment options. There's no cure for osteoarthritis, but I've been assured by Dr. Google that I can live a long and comfortable life. Heh.

My grandmother had it, along with osteoporosis and COPD. She sat in a chair the last 10 years of her life, tethered to an oxygen tank watching soap operas. That, of course, is what I think of when I hear the word 'osteoarthritis.'

But my bones are dense and my lungs are clear. I only have a third of her problems. My total mileage for the year may be stalled at 624, but I'm certainly in better health than she was, and I've taken better care of myself than she did.

I'm trying to find the bright side.

It's a cartilage deficiency.

Not brain cancer.


MadAnne said...

I was in the same place a while back. One doc in Fairlea wanted to do surgery right away but the one in Charlottesville had other ideas. I go to a yoga class three to six times a week. I ride my bike every day on a beautiful paved trail. I honestly don't think I could walk if not for yoga. I am not motivated at home, so luckily I am within five minutes of the Y. Go to Bad yogi for a hilarious video of a home practice and for some really good yoga tips. The Y also has an indoor pool I will investigate this winter. My mother was barely getting around when she was our age so hang in there. I am a bit of an evangelist when it comes to yoga, it truly does make my life possible.

Debbi said...

I'm so glad yoga has worked for you. I wish I lived closer to a studio, but I will practice on my own and limit movement if I feel pain. Will check out Bad Yogi, thanks for that recommendation. I have a friend whose daughter is a yogi, and I'm going to reach out to her for advice, as well.

gingerzingi said...

Debbi, I'm so sorry to hear this! Given how much you walk it must be shocking news.

Loved the doctor calling you an athlete. I totally understand why that is important.

Keep us informed about your treatment options, such as they are, and definitely whether you take up the yoga. Hey, maybe you can put in a swimming pool?

Debbi said...

We filled in our swimming pool, many years ago. Kind of regretting that now ...

Thanks, Gingerzingi ... of all my friends who read the blog, I knew you'd love the athlete part the most. And I knew you'd understand more than anyone how it hurts more not to walk than it does to walk.

gingerzingi said...

I've always thought that "when God closes a door he opens a window" business to be trite and wishful thinking. But you know, sometimes a forced change really does open a new world. You're going to have to go outside your comfort zone of walking and redefine your athleticism in a different way, and that could be really exciting. You will have to consider options you might not have recognized before. Sometimes the things you don't plan in life turn out to be the best things that ever happened to you.

No matter what, I know you'll face it with grace and courage and old-fashioned orneriness.

Vickie said...

Do not regret filling in your pool. You did not know. They are also a ton of work. Do you have a neighbor with one you could use? Or one where could combine with other errands and go a couple times a week?

I can't walk either. My husband bought me a cruiser (bike) with wide tires. It is built so I am Abe to sit upright, no hunching. I have a big basket on it. I can do that. I would suggest it. The adult three wheelers are great too.

Yoga is wonderful. Highly recommend it. Proper positioning is very important.

AlisonH said...

Stanford was working on an artificial cartilege a few years back. I'm curious to know where that is now, but I thought I'd mention. And of course hip replacement is the usual treatment, failing that possibility. Best wishes with it. Oh and: glucosamine chondroitin does help with cartilage regeneration just a small bit, but it's not regulated and you have to be careful who the manufacturer is and if you're prone to diabetes it can tip you over to it. But it is available over the counter.