Thursday, March 9, 2017

One year post-op surgeon's visit

I'm sure you all know I'd rather be writing about the state of the Republic these days, but I just can't. CAN'T. cantcantcant. It's so hard to live through, I don't want to experience it twice by actually recording my thoughts about it.

My hip surgery, however, I will write about, because I began recording those experiences with the goal of helping someone else who might stumble across the blog as he or she was facing a total hip replacement.

I'm not nervous in the surgeon's waiting room (as I am in, say, a dentist's waiting room), so the long wait wasn't traumatic. Just boring. I'm pretty good at being patient, and knowing it took nearly an hour to get there and would take another to return if I walked out kept me planted in my seat.

I was x-rayed (everything is in place, exactly where it's supposed to be), and finally taken to an exam room for a talk with the doc.

He asked if I was having any problems, and I still have trouble going up and down stairs and bending to put a sock on or to tie my shoe (right side only). I thought it might be because of my weight, but when he began pressing hard on the muscles, the pain was pretty surprising.

He explained that the muscle had atrophied, needed to be built up (I should probably have done more physical therapy last year), and could be managed with another round of PT. I mentioned how disappointed I was that I weigh now exactly what I weighed when I had the surgery (which is about 50 pounds more than I'd like). He is the FIRST DOCTOR EVER to reassure me that it's not my fault, and added that once I gain back some muscle in my right hip I'll be able to be much more active.

I take that to mean that if I'm not more active, it will be my own damned fault.

At any rate … I have an appointment Monday with the physical therapist. A gym membership is part of my Medicare benefits, and I can use their equipment to do the therapy between PT appointments. 

A friend also suggested yoga might be helpful, so I asked the doctor about that. He expressed some concern that I wouldn't be able to maintain a perfect posture for some poses, but in general he encouraged me to do what I could do to help with flexibility and balance.

All in all, I'm pleased with the plan and motivated to begin. I'm hopeful for a good outcome, and I realize that I'll get out of it exactly what I put into it.

I wore a red shirt (in solidarity with International Women's Day) to my appointment, and stopped for a coffee on the way home. One of the baristas asked if I was wearing red for women's day, and she said she would have, but the company dress code doesn't include red. But she said, "I'm with you!" and I felt kind of bad that she was serving me on women's day, and all I could do was say, "No, I'm with YOU."

And leave her a nice tip.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy hip-a-versary

A year ago yesterday, about this time, I was being prepped for surgery. My hip joint was replaced a few hours later, and all I can do now – as then – is echo what so many other surgical replacement patients have said: Why did I wait so long?

For me, I waited so long because the notion of needing a hip replacement never even crossed my mind. I thought that was for old people, or people who'd been in accidents or had a fall. I was a runner (well, at least until my hip started hurting). Even after I stopped running, I continued to walk five miles a day. I wasn't old enough, or injured enough, to need a new joint.

Until I was.

I'm not where I want to be, health- or mobility-wise, a year later. I still have trouble putting shoes and socks on. I still walk up and down stairs one at a time, like a toddler. And I weigh five pounds less this morning than I did one year ago, which is about 40 pounds too many.

But my hip doesn't hurt. I'm walking, slowly but pain-free, as many days as the weather allows.

I'm using real-life situations as excuses for not eating right, but also trying to be realistic about it. At age 65, it's not likely I'll suddenly be cured of emotional or stress-eating tendencies. But I could be making at least a few better choices.

This winter has been rainy so far, resulting in a muddy parking area near the creek where I love to walk. Yesterday as my husband and I set out for yet another boring walk on our road, I suggested we drive down to the creek and park in the mud anyway. The sun was out (for a little while, anyway), and the temperature was moderate. The idea of walking along the creek on the anniversary of my surgery was very appealing.















So we did. And it was a lovely walk.

And it was just what I needed. I'm filled with dread for the future. Mr. Trump will take the oath of office tomorrow at noon. Republicans control Congress and are determined to pull the social safety net out from under anyone who isn't a rich white man. (YES, I'M EXAGGERATING. But only slightly. I've seen NO evidence otherwise.)

People are going to be hurt during a Trump (or Pence – I fully expect Trump's impeachment or resignation prior to completion of his term) administration. I hope the pain isn't debilitating.

Just nagging enough to require a replacement.

Monday, January 16, 2017

90 miles an hour

I kind of checked out of life for a few days there, didn't I? Crap happens, and virtual life gets put on hold to deal with the real thing. In addition to my mother-in-law's illness, which keeps us pretty busy, my dog tore her ACL (I had no idea dogs could do that). While putting a dog on bedrest wouldn't seem like it would take much of one's time, when the dog whines because she can't be in the same room with you … well, it does. I find myself on bedrest right along with her. Hah!

Aaaaannnndddd … I'm still not over this election. I'm not moving forward. And I'm especially not accepting it. 

What am I doing? A short list:
  • Ignoring the news, but …
  • Following PEOTUS on Twitter, which …
  • Makes me crazy.
  • Avoiding walking (not election-related, more a function of time available. Or not.)
  • Eating whatever I feel like (definitely election-related)
So. Basically being indulgent and lazy and worried and busy.

The past couple of days the lyrics to a Bob Dylan song have been running through my head.

The song is about a relationship, obviously. But here we are, America, going 90 miles an hour toward Inauguration Day when we will install a man who absolutely has to be the most unqualified person to be President in our history. And there's nothing we can do to prevent running into the brick wall at the end of the road.

I never go to church, except on Easter and Christmas Eve. But I'll be in church at noon on Friday, praying for the safety and future of my country. I know that sounds dramatic, but I could use a little comfort.

And the inauguration is one moment in history I'm more than happy to miss.

Going to try getting back on track this week. No promises …

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Eleven

My first blog post, on my old blog, happened January 10, 2006. I've now been a blogger for 11 years, and if you look at the photo posted then, I honestly don't look a whole lot different now.

So that's depressing!

Possibly I need to accept that brief periods of normal weight will happen occasionally, but that I'm destined to carry extra poundage until I've taken my last breath. Possibly.

Actually, I'll keep trying and I'll keep posting and I'll keep trying to figure it out.

But seriously … in 11 years I haven't figured it out yet? Sheesh.

Anyway, if you've been here from the beginning (and I think a couple of you have), thanks. You've witnessed three marriages (mine, my son's, and my husband's son's), the births of five of our grandchildren, and the death of my father.

You've been patient as I natter on about food and workouts and half-marathon training (those were the days!) and politics and society and gardening and knitting and the weather. Boy of boy, have we had some weather.

I'm grateful for you, for your patience, for your friendship … and I'm truly grateful for technology, which has expanded my world immeasurably and wonderfully.

Thank you.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 2 begins

Week 1 was not stellar. But it wasn't awful. It just wasn't perfect, and those Whole 30 taskmasters are, I'm sure, sneering at me for having saltines one afternoon when lunch wasn't available but saltines were.

I gotta tell ya: This was not the best timing for beginning a Whole 30. I have permission from my husband to share that my mother-in-law has suffered a stroke. As strokes go, it was fairly mild, but a stroke is a stroke, and at 96, she had plenty of other issues working against her.

Her comfort and care have taken up a lot of our time, obviously, and some of that time would have been spent creating fabulous and delicious meals from all the paleo recipes I've collected on Pinterest the past couple years.

Instead we're throwing chicken in a skillet, accompanied by nuked vegetables. As one who eats for comfort and doesn't mind cooking, these thrown-together meals are definitely not meeting my needs.

The stroke happened last Tuesday afternoon. It takes 24 hours to confirm (contrasting CT scans provide evidence), so by Wednesday we knew what was wrong, although we already suspected that was what had happened. It has affected her speech – she knows what she wants to say, and she understands what we say to her, but she can't find the right words. The first couple days were total word salad, but she's made remarkable progress since then.

It was a lucky coincidence that she was in the hospital when the stroke occurred. She'd been admitted on Friday, December 30, for back pain and planned to undergo physical therapy as an inpatient for about a week before going back home.

This also was not the best timing, weather-wise, to commit to 25 intentional miles a week. My total miles exceeded that slightly, but I only took four deliberate walks for about 16 miles.

Ah, well. It's not going to be much different this week. I shall accept what IS, and do my best. That's what I would tell you to do under similar circumstances. And I recognize that I need to be at least as good to myself as I would be to you.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Treading the mill

I wasn't able to do any intentional walking yesterday at all, so called it a rest day and gave up the guilt about it. Even so, I logged more than 6000 steps. Not bad for a rest day.

I downloaded an audiobook yesterday from our library commission and set up everything I needed on my phone to listen to it. Heading to the treadmill since the roads are icy and it's f-f-f-freezing outside.

The big mystery I alluded to a couple days ago is that our Medicare Advantage plan covers the fees to join the local gym. I had every intention of getting there one day this week, but the apple cart called Life kind of got turned on end, and that never happened. But it will … I printed out the membership card and my plan is to use the weight machines for a couple months and then move to free weights.

I also want to use the bike, to help build up my leg muscles. The only equipment we have is a rowing machine and a treadmill. The rowing machine is difficult for me to get on and off, because of the artificial hip. I think strengthening my leg muscles will help. I like the results of rowing WAY more than I like rowing, and I'm hoping as time goes on and I lose some weight that the desire for results will motivate me to actually row.

Today, though, all I have to do is get from the house to the second floor of the garage. Which is where I'm headed now. Hope your day goes well and your apple cart runs smoothly.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Intentions vs reality

My intention in beginning the blog again was to post daily. And maybe I will still. Here I am on Day 4 of the Whole 30, still compliant and still publishing a post.

But life threw us a curve ball yesterday, a long one, and I just don't know what's going to happen going forward or how it will affect my schedule and motivation.

Family responsibilities will be greatly increased in the future. I don't like to discuss anyone's issues, other than my own, here on the blog. Suffice it to say that my husband remarked last night this was not a good time to cut down on nicotine gum OR start a diet. 

From his lips to your eyes. Or something like that.

As far as eating and activity, yesterday was good. I managed to get four miles logged, even though walking was the last thing I felt like doing. Need to put a chicken in the slow cooker, do some laundry, and DEAL with this day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The best-laid plans, redux

So what I was going to tell you about today, that thing I was going to do yesterday, didn't happen. So I shall leave you in suspense until it does. And who the hell knows when that will be? I love a mystery, don't you?

Life has gotten a little complicated, as life does, but despite being hungry a lot yesterday and not having anything handy and being waaaaaay tempted to hit a vending machine or eat a loaf of bread … I didn't.

And despite it being gloomy and grey and raining lightly, I still walked outside. Only 2.5 miles, though, so I'll have to make up for it every day this week if I want to do 25 intentional miles. I'm going to be obsessive about this, I can feel it in my artificial joint. Heh. But obsessing is how I get things done.

I see lots of shiny new planners out there, this being the first of the year and everyone resolving to GET ORGANIZED once and for all. Many of the pages have a big space at the top to record a goal, and then the area below is divided into sections where you can enumerate all the things you need to do to reach the goal.

My to-do would be pretty short: Just. Do. It. (Thanks, Nike!)

Part of the amazing pantry
that came with this house.
Switching to paleo (and starting out with a Whole 30) meant making sure I had appropriate food in the house, but since this isn't my first paleo rodeo, I didn't need to break it down into steps. I just made sure my grocery run included vegetables, bananas, and sliced turkey.

[It's kind of funny (not ha-ha funny but ironic-funny) that I recently stocked the pantry with decidedly non-paleo non-perishables, getting ready for the Trumpocalypse or maybe just making sure we won't starve should he plunge the country into a major Depression. Stop by any time if you need pasta or beans.]

Day 3 coming up. One and two went well, and I'm encouraged to keep going. Life will surely get in the way today, but knowing I got through yesterday gives me hope that today will work out.

Because, really. What's the alternative?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The best-laid plans …

Very little knitting was accomplished yesterday. Mostly because my ass was not parked in a chair watching football all day, but was instead outside walking or inside, reclining and resting from walking.

Another of my 2017 goals is to log 25 walking miles each week. I haven't yet decided if these miles will be total steps for the day calculated by the FitBit or the intentional miles I log using the MapMyRun app. (Ahhh, running, how I miss you.)

So far, because the year is new and I'm feeling optimistic, I'm leaning toward intentional miles. And so far, because the year is new and the weather has been cooperative, I'm averaging four intentional miles per day.

Because my hip pain was so bad in 2015 and because surgery and recovery took a good quarter of 2016, I used total steps to calculate my mileage for those years. It feels like a Big Deal to go back to counting just the MapMyRun mileage. We'll see what happens. (For the record, total FitBit miles this year = 12.) (And also for the record, who calculates their mileage year after year after year?)

I don't know about you, but when I'm well above my ideal weight (or even well above my almost-to-goal-at-least-I-can-wear-nice-clothes weight) – which is where I've been for almost two years – I don't pay much attention to the little things. I get my hair cut and eyebrows waxed regularly, but I don't wear makeup, rarely wear jewelry, and I don't do my nails.

Until now. My husband's cousin introduced me to these nail stickers called Jamberry.

And. I. Love. Them.

She hosted a Facebook party (remember Tupperware home parties? So old-school.), I placed an order, and did my first manicure December 21. That's it on the left:


The application is supposed to last two weeks, and I'm sure it would, but I'm easily bored and also easily amused, so I've been doing mine about once a week. Second application, in the center, was December 27, and I did the one on the right yesterday.

Do I feel better about myself with fancy fingernails? I don't know, maybe a little. Does that even matter? Yes, it probably does. If I feel good about myself, I'll be more likely to stick with my eating plan (so far very good) and because I know that works, I'll feel way better by summer.

Or so the theory goes.

Total hip replacement has resulted in more limitations than I'd imagined it would. I knew I would have to give up running, but other activities have turned out to be either uncomfortable or impossible. I alwaysalwaysalways have to have someone handy when I climb a ladder. Because someone is not always handy, I haven't finished the big painting project I started a couple years ago.

I completely refuse to go out the front door when there's ice on the porch. Fear of falling is a thing. A real thing.

I can't get down on my hands and knees. While I still use my steam mop to clean my floors, the corners and baseboards are bugging me A LOT. Losing weight and getting back in shape will help me be more mobile. I don't want to head into old age (okay, I'm 65 so I guess I'm already there) feeling so limited.

I have a dentist's appointment late this morning and then … well, I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Let's just say that having a Medicare Advantage plan has its advantages.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kickoff!

No, not football, although there's plenty of that to look forward to today. [Actually, watching football for me really means dedicated knitting time more than rah-rah-rah-sis-boom-bah.] I only watch three regular programs on television – Jeopardy, House of Cards, and Grace and Frankie. The latter two won't be back until spring, so my knitting time has been limited to half an hour daily. But with games all day, I should be able to finish two more Pussyhats.

The kickoff in today's title is for a Whole 30, which is a good way to plunge back into paleo. I've been collecting meal ideas on Pinterest and printing out recipes. The idea behind a Whole 30, though, is to keep things uncomplicated – wholesome foods, simply cooked.

Breakfasts [for me] usually are eggs, and when I visited my son last month he had a super-cool frying pan for omelets. I bought this model and it works perfectly for Whole 30-compliant, cheese-free egg dishes. Three whisked eggs covers the bottom of the pan nicely. Fill with a bit of cooked sausage or bacon and whatever vegetables are handy – tomatoes/onions/sweet peppers/mushrooms – and serve.

So Whole 30, Day 1, has commenced, and I'm actually kind of looking forward to eating cleanly and well for the next month. The last week of the project will be our week at the beach. I may or may not be really strict about it then. One thing's for sure: I'm not worrying about it now.

I logged 3.5 miles of outdoor walking yesterday. It was probably around 45° and I was sweating before I was halfway finished. Thank you, climate change. I wonder what the lasting effects of too many too-warm Januarys will be? It's always best, when considering anything, to think things through to their logical conclusion. Since I'm not a scientist, I'll take their word for it that the effects will definitely have an impact. Oh, and that there is such a thing.

Thanks for reading, as always. It was nice to see so many "likes" on Facebook yesterday. It only takes another minute to leave a comment. Bloggers love comments, hint, hint. Ask me anything … or tell me I'm crazy. Your choice! HAH!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Here we go again

Last time we met, I was full of hope and confidence and optimism. Hillary Clinton had secured the Democratic nomination for President and we were going to elect a woman to the highest office in the land, damn it.

Didn't quite work out that way. Sadly.

Sadly for women, sadly for the country, sadly for the world, in all likelihood. Because the guy who got elected just isn't good for any of us.

IN MY OPINION.

I'm going to do what I can to #resist, but I won't be marching in Washington, D.C. the day after the inauguration. My husband and I had already planned a little winter getaway. Instead of showing up there, I'm knitting hats for the Pussyhat Project. Three done, at least three to go. I've promised six, but hope to get a couple more done. We'll see whether that happens.

As always, when I start blogging at the beginning of the year, it's about my weight. Blogging has helped me lose weight in the past – that old accountability factor – and I'm hoping it will help again in 2017. Other actions which have had a positive effect in the past are:

  • Keeping a food log (I'll use the LoseIt app)
  • Taking progress pictures (not sure if I'll do this)
  • Following a paleo eating template (will begin tomorrow)

I've been counting my steps every day for two years now, using a FitBit One (the little clip-on model), and I'm happy to report that even though I had hip surgery last year, I still walked an average of 4 miles a day in 2016. Total miles = 1,465 and total steps topped out at 3,607,004. Those are TOTAL steps/miles, not intentional ones. I've been using MapMyRun to measure walking distance. 2015 sucked (due to hip pain), but I improved a little bit last year and hope to do much better in 2017. (And you'll note the change in the blog's title – there is no running with artificial hips, but I can certainly improve my walking pace, which is currently a glacial 23-minute mile.)

Why am I not starting back on paleo today, the first of the year, new beginnings and all that? Because we're going to eat Hoppin' John, for dinner and for luck. Legumes are restricted on a paleo plan, but I think we're going to need all the luck we can muster this year.

Besides, diets are supposed to begin on Monday, amirite?

You can help me help myself this year, by leaving an occasional comment, suggesting recipes, and sharing your own struggles and successes. I'm determined, and I know you are, as well. Let's do it.