It’s been quite a week

My dad planted this tree in 1986 – look at it now!

We started with a wicked wind storm on Sunday night, leaving debris of branches, twigs, leaves, and, in my case some asphalt roof tiles. My pecan trees lost some branches but nothing really big, which was a blessing. But finding roof tiles brought me up short. They were in my front and back yards, and neighbors also found some. After a talk with the insurance people, a roof inspector is coming tomorrow to check it out and discuss whether we just repair it or replace the roof for a hefty deductible.

On Monday the tree maintenance people were here after a month of trying to coordinate schedules. Everyone thought they were cleaning up storm damage but no, they were just doing some major pruning and then cleanup of not only their mess but also the yard debris from the storm. I have 3 pecans trees and a huge water oak that my dad planted in 1986.

Wednesday was the eye doctor for my annual visit. My left eye in particullar has been giving me fits for about six months and now I know why: the cataracts are finally bad enough to qualify me for surgery. Yayyy! Except, oops, expensive. Good thing I can wait until next year or the year after to do it, even though the cataracts will continue to get worse. In the meantime, new glasses were definitely needed. Since the last two pairs I got were from cheaper places and I hated both of them, I decided to just bite the bullet and get them from a better quality (and more expensive) place.

Today, Thursday, I had a trip to the knee doctor. Remember those knee problems I wrote about? Well, I’ve torn the MCL and some other tissue around the right knee and the kneecap is sort of floating around without much support for the joint. This explains why it feels as though it will buckle – because it might! What I need is revision knee replacement surgery, but I am too fat for them to consider it now. That’s not actually how he phrased it, but I need to get the BMI to 40 or lower. I’m figuring that’s about another 40 pounds on top of the 55 I’ve already lost. On the other hand, I showed him the app from my Renpho scale that shows my current BMI (46.2) and that it’s already come down 9.8 points since January.

Because the knee is such a mess, it needs help to be stabilized until I can have surgery again. Not that I’m excited about having it, but I know what it will fix. So in the meantime, I’m referred to an orthopedic center to have a knee brace made for me because off the shelf ones won’t fit because I’m too fluffy. The doctor was not mean or critical; he was very straightforward and I actually felt heard and supported rather than put down because of my size.

And because the knee is a mess, it will change my exercise options. Until I get the knee brace, I’m not to do much of anything. When I get it, I’m to do low-impact exercise and if it hurts, to stop. I know from previous experience with tricky knees that my best bet will be water walking in the pool – but I don’t know when I can do the pool because of sinus surgery recovery. In theory I know I can just not put my head under water, but in reality, I will forget because I *always* put my head under water. Just to be sure of my options, I have an email in to my ENT to find out what my limits are there.

Tomorrow the golf cart goes in to (finally) get a new enclosure and a new dashboard to replace one held together with duct tape. Dad’s touch, not mine. I’m also getting new tires. I may or may not be getting a new seat covers and steering wheel. I think I ordered them back in May but we’ll see. It will be expensive enough as it is.

Oh, and I got a hair cut. And went to work. It’s not boring around here. And for fun, we have this:

Knee worries

My knees have been terrible for a long time, and although I only have two of them, I’ve had five knee surgeries from arthroscopy for meniscus tears to bilateral total knee replacements seven years ago. Unfortunately for me and the knees, I’ve gained weight since then, a lot of it, and my right knee is again a worry.

It was doing okay with walking with only a little pain around the edges, and since I have arthritis everywhere, I sort of expect it all to hurt sometimes. But then I saw the pain doctor about my back a few months ago. I have acute spinal stenosis because of arthritis, causing neuropathy in my right foot and sciatica on the right side. The doctor had me twist and move, and put one leg on the other knee while he pushed down, to see which movements caused more or less pain.

Putting my right ankle on the left knee while he pushed down on the right knee made the back hurt, alright, but I think it also did something else. WHAT else, I’m not sure. The next day I noticed that the knee felt like it was buckling when I’d stand up, and it got worse. I went to my regular doctor, working her in around the sinus surgeon and the pain guy because why have one doctor if you can have several. She thought I had sprained it and that it would heal in about 4 weeks. They did an x-ray and didn’t see anything wrong.

But it still hurts and I’m limping. Actually, it’s more lurching because the back still hurts because the neurotomy (nerve burn) hasn’t killed off the nerves yet. Anyway, I’m offsides. It hurts to sleep because I touch the knee to the bed and wake myself up when I move. It’s wicked sore all around the kneecap. And now I’m scheduled to see an orthopedist next week for an evaluation.

Deep in my heart I am afraid that my knee replacement needs revision, that the weight I gained damaged it enough that that one push by the doctor triggered something. Maybe it’s loose. Maybe it’s something else. But whatever it is, I’m afraid that it’s my fault for not taking better care of my body for all these years.

I had lapband surgery and lost 145 lbs to get myself to a weight where a knee surgery would be easier to do and to recover from. And then I gained a whole bunch of it back. I knew it was not good but I couldn’t stop myself. Or wouldn’t. There was lots of stress in there, but the one thing I can control is what I put in my mouth. So it’s past time that I actually honor that knowledge.

I’m proud of myself for having lost 55 lbs but wish I didn’t need to have lost them in the first place. I need to get over that, and get over the guilt and fear so I can deal with whatever I learn next week. I suspect an MRI will be in my future. I hope the nerves in the back die soon so sitting in the car on the way into town doesn’t hurt so damned much.

And if I need another surgery, I can figure it out. It’s what I do.

I’m Still Here

My UmbrellaYikes, I just realized how long it’s been since I posted anything.  Honestly, it’s not you, it’s me.  And the rain.  Every day is like every other day and has been for so many weeks that we thought we spotted a big wooden Ark with a bunch of animals on it.  Every day it’s been between 65-71 degrees, with either drizzly rain or downpours.  Everywhere you look there are spots of color where umbrellas bloom instead of flowers.  The one pictured is mine.  I love it, it’s cheerful and pink, but it’s heavy.  At least that keeps it from turning inside out in the wind.

It’s been a stressful spring and summer, dealing with budget cuts and staff layoffs.  I was afraid that I would start eating over it, since I tend to be a very emotional eater and Lord knows that stress sets me off most times.  But somehow I’ve been able to hold on to my WW foodplan.  It almost feels easy and intuitive and as of last Saturday, the total is 11.6 since rejoining this spring.  Food and eating are the only things I really can control now, and holding on to that makes it easier to deal with stress and out-of-control-ness in other places.

But progress is and will be slow.  My metabolism isn’t what it used to be pre-menopause and exercising is very difficult with bone-on-bone joint pain.  I’m starting to have problems with the “good knee” (which isn’t all that good anyway).  I’m way more worried about the knees than I am about my appearance.

Chubby LadiesWhich is leading me back to considering weight loss surgery, the lapband method.  I have two friends in different parts of the country who have WLS scheduled within the next few weeks.  I know others who have been successful, and others who have relapsed and regained much of their weight.  I know that some of you think that WLS is cheating and taking the easy route.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own path.  This may not be one that I will ultimately take, but at my request, my doctor was putting in a referral to a bariatric surgeon at the university hospital to start the process of asking the questions and see if this is a decision I really want to make.

On the plus side, the weight would come off fairly quickly, at least an initial chunk of it.  I don’t have a weight goal, I’m not looking to be skinny – I will never be skinny.  But I do want to walk with less pain and know that knee replacement surgery is in my future.  I can do that more safely and with better results over a longer time period if I am not carrying so much weight.

So, that’s what’s going on in my life.  Work, watching my weight, getting ready for my parents to come up from Texas on Saturday for an 8 day visit.

Stress Eating Peanut Brittle

Peanut BrittleWhen I am stressed, I eat. I have a difficult conversation coming up with someone that I’ve already had to put off several times – for good reasons, mind you, but the delay is just making me more stressed. Though the Friday and Saturday snow days were really a treat and did rest my spirit some. And I had those scones at home already.

My food is complicated by the fact that I’m going away on Thursday for a few days in Chicago. Part of my pre-travel eating involves making sure I don’t have food going bad in the fridge so I’ve learned to be very careful about buying fresh foods or making copious quantities of food I won’t be here to eat.

This doesn’t excuse buying peanut brittle or eating the whole box, though it did take me 3 days to do it. I love peanut brittle and haven’t had it in a million years. It’s nothing but pure sugar with some nuts which is why it’s so yummy. And will rot my teeth. Good thing I finished up all the decent size pieces – those little nibbly bits with peanuts got tossed.

For a brief minute this morning I contemplated signing up for a trip to China next fall (until I woke up and realized that it was too much money for something I never really thought about doing and can’t afford to do anyway). But I do admit that one bit that loomed large was the problem of stuffing myself into a plane seat to fly for some 24 hours to get there in the first place. I drank water while I contemplated rather than eat sugar. And I decided not to go, but not because of the plane part.

I admit, though, that I really hope the conversation happens tomorrow so I can move on. I have WW tomorrow night after work and before packing which should help me see the consequences of my stress eating and wipe the slate clean before the trip.

Thanks for your concern about my foot and my knee. I don’t think anything is broken or infected – I’ve had these pains before and did some research. The foot is probably because of pronation and the need to wear my orthotics to keep the foot properly aligned. The knee pain is the result of degenerative joint disease and the joint warmth and stiffness are a result, especially after overdoing. Or walking funny because the foot hurt. Or both. In any case, I see my primary care doctor a week from today for a physical and both will be on my discussion list.

Back to American Idol. The boys are singing tonight and the pitch problems are driving me crazy. I would much rather listen and critique than imagine being up there singing but still, it’s entertaining even when it hurts the ears.

Nursing My Sore Knee

Knee Cryo/cuff combines compression with coldThe Evil Princess of Exercise skipped out on water aerobics tonight. I’ve been doing a lot of walking, standing, and stairs in the last 2 weeks and my bad knee is very cranky, to the point that bending it hurts like hell and straightening it means that bending it later hurts more.

I decided that, although water exercise is the only realistic thing I can do, an hour of hopping around in a cold pool wasn’t going to cut it today. So I came home, popped an extra anti-inflammatory, and piled on the frozen peas. And ordered myself a heating pad that plugs into the car lighter so I can warm up the knee while parked outside the gym before going in for a workout.

When I finish this post, I’m going to dig into my files and find my post-op exercises and start working them again. I’ve lost range of motion since the surgery – I can’t do much of anything on the recumbent bike or bend it as much – and I want to be sure I don’t lose more.

My dad commented when he was here and walking behind me at one point that I walk the way he did before he had his knee replacements. This isn’t a good thing and although I knew I was kind of lurching around some of the time, I hadn’t realized that everyone else was seeing it, too. Which is pretty silly when you think about it.

I had a great visit with my parents, who went back to Texas yesterday. I’m not sure what we’ll do the next time, because we did everything! Art and natural history museums, walks around Yale and downtown, trips to Mystic Seaport and Litchfield and East Rock Park, and Sunday’s steam train/riverboat trip on the Connecticut River. We had great weather and easy travel, and my new blow up aerobed worked out beautifully.

It gave me great pleasure to do all the cooking and give my mom a little vacation, although it was weird to not have leftovers. Cooking for three is different than cooking for one person who doesn’t care if the separate parts are ready at the same time. We ate fairly simple food (meat, vegetable, potato) with light-dessert most days. My mom rarely snacks while my dad demolished my box of Healthy Choice fudge bars. I was somewhere in the middle and felt pretty snack-deprived, although I wasn’t really all that hungry. It was the habit of them, I think, that I missed.

Now the house is quiet except for the sound of rain outside. I’m home alone with my sore knee and the frozen peas and the time to think about who and what really matters.