We thought we experienced about every facet of the worst during the Pandemic. I’ve written about my mom’s passing (where I learned Funeral Homes are not considered essential), traveling and surgery in the past few blogs. Just when we thought it was about over – for us that is. So this post is about how we are fairing with our overall health and now our next issue – the need for another surgical procedure.
When I started college, I had to figure out how to “protect” my heart. I developed rheumatic fever when I was five. I was told I had to take penicillin for the rest of my life and I should NOT “stress my heart” by running. Imagine telling that to a five year old!
But when I went to college, I was no longer under a doctor’s care. My roommate was a nursing student and an athlete. It didn’t take me long to learn how important exercise is for a heart. So I began to workout – after all, I had to lose the Freshman 15 when I returned home for the summer. Once I began to run, I was quickly addicted. BUT my mom warned me I would wear my knees out….What do mother’s know? I said you can’t wear out your knees. How how naive I was….”Mother’s are always right” – eventually we see that truth.
I made radical changes lifestyle changes when I started my sophomore year of college. Mom taught me how to diet, which helped me lose those 15 pounds over the summer. But then I began a lifelong battle to keep my weight down. Actually, my weight went up and down, like a yo-yo. While I was basically eating an all natural diet, enough bad foods found their way into my mouth….until December 2016. This link will take you to a series of posts about my husband’s radical lifestyle change – but it really was a life or death situation for Bill. And just maybe it is helping us during this pandemic.
My heart is still aching and tears flowing from the passing of my mom during the pandemic….Oh how long will I grieve? Mom was 96 1/2 – YES, she had a wonderful long life – but our family needs her. And Bill, he still has waves of grief at his mom’s passing last June. Mother’s hold such a special place in our hearts. We both feel and share in our loss. This will be our first Mother’s Day without either mother to send flowers and call. Lesson we’re learning? Life is precious. It’s worth repeating!
Life then death. What is your perspective on these facts of life? I’ve been blogging since 2011. I guess there isn’t a topic I haven’t already addressed. And every time a dear one passes, I go back here. Like most families, when you get into your 60s like Bill and I, those loved ones who preceded us in death are too many. We have a small family. Thank goodness, our family doubled due to marriages. Never the less, we feel our family shrinking with every death.
Our close family members who’ve passed up to today: First, was Bill’s dad (1996), then my brother in law who was truly like a brother to me (1999), then a month later, my dad (1999). Bill and I moved to Sebring, Florida in 2004. We were surrounded by so many precious “Saints” as in retired (but they say not really) missionaries. During our 12 years there, we know over 40 precious ones passed – they were like family to us. And then, we became too acquainted with death as we lost one of our own saints there.
Bill’s precious aunt who was like my own. She and her husband were the reason we moved to Sebring. She and her husband, now both widowed, moved there full-time in 1995. But they had lived there part time for about six years. Slowly, other family members migrated there. But our first loss was in 2005 when our precious Aunt Posey passed. Then her dear husband, we called him our Uncle, passed in 2006.
We went a decade of no one passing in our small family – until we suffered the loss of two just weeks apart. First was Bill’s Uncle Warren (his mother and Aunt Posey’s only brother), passed in November 2016. Then sadly, my precious step dad. We were somewhat prepared when Bill’s mom passed last summer. Still, I wasn’t prepared enough for my mom’s passing. Reality is hitting, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. I’m sure most of us are learning this during the pandemic. Hold your loved ones close!!! My lesson learned through all these deaths: Watch your tongue – you want your last memory to be a GOOD one of your last conversation with a loved one! I’m grateful with each passing, I have fond memories of my last conversation with each one.
All this was to say, once we became grandparents in 2013, life became even more precious. We entered our 60s as grandparents – oh how envious I am of younger first time grandparents! It is so much easier to get up and down off the floor to play with them!
At the time our first grandson was born, I couldn’t do that! Oh my aching knees. But then, we made that wonderful lifestyle change in December 2016 – and guess what? YEP, I could start getting on the floor to play! And Bill got a new lease on life as he saw his creeping knees no longer creaking. Lesson learned? Taking weight off and getting off of processed foods helped our knees!
Now to the subject at hand. How are we all doing as we are confined to our homes or at least our neighborhood? I looked for a funny meme or two to include since I’d seen so many on FaceBook. But then I saw article after article about the potential of harm these “mean” memes are having on people. These are tough times. Lives are in upheaval. We don’t need to add to anyone’s stress – no body shaming here. Trust me, I have been there and done that. My lesson learned? Let us not joke about our weight – but for me, it’s a quality of life concern.
So for 40 years or so, I’ve struggled with my weight. I can honestly say I have lost 200 pounds in my lifetime. Gained 15 that first year, then lost it, then gained five, then lost most of it, gained 10 then lost most of it. Over time, my weight creeped on. Finally, it hit me when I couldn’t lose the now 30 pounds I faced as I was about to enter my 60s! So December 2016 not only may have saved Bill’s life, it set us on a wonderful ability to enjoy our grandsons in ways we couldn’t imagine. And it has helped us during the pandemic. We had already stopped eating out so now being forced to stay home and eat in worked easily for us. BUT we did lose the ability to work out in the gym and take long walks on the beach – our favorite forms of exercise here.
In researching for this post, I learned a new thing or two about weight gain and loss. The most telling fact I learned was that between 95% – 97% of the people who lose weight, gain it back within five years. (The fluctuation depends on the year of the research.) It made me question my own smugness. I’ve now kept off those 30 pounds for over three years. I’m not out of the woods.
The worst part of trying to maintain an active lifestyle is the fact that our gym and the beaches closed mid-March, etc. Coupled with the fact, stress is a HUGE factor in weight gain. I am sure everyone is experiencing lots of stress now. Until three weeks ago, I was’t struggling with that concern. I was able to take long walks – but on sidewalks. And I KNOW that is not good for my knees – but I wasn’t “feeling” anything….
Uh oh. I posted my latest news to all my friends about a meniscus tear to my left knee. One close friend commented, “you can’t get a break.” No, not a break. A tear. This isn’t my first rodeo with a meniscus tear, it’s my second one, thankfully, the other knee. I have had knee issues since my first knee injury mentioned earlier – not the tear. I think it was in 1994 I was diagnosed with Chondromalacia patellae… :
…also known as “runner’s knee,” is a condition where the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella (kneecap) deteriorates and softens. This condition is common among young, athletic individuals, but may also occur in older adults who have arthritis of the knee.”
“Chondromalacia is often seen as an overuse injury in sports, and sometimes taking a few days off from training can produce good results. In other cases, improper knee alignment is the cause and simply resting doesn’t provide relief. The symptoms of runner’s knee are knee pain and grinding sensations, but many people who have it never seek medical treatment.” From Healthline
My recent x-rays and MRI show both conditions are there. Somehow, I overcame all my knee problems in the past. With only a few exceptions of periodic setbacks. While we were RVing, I actually was able to go on long hikes. After our December 2016 lifestyle change, I managed to get my walks up to five miles and hikes up to 10 miles. So now others may understand what I am now facing a set back that is rocking my world. Mainly because I love to RUN and PLAY with my grandsons! What a GREAT summer we had last year with them. One of the main milestones was Bryce, the then almost four year old, learned how to bike ride.
And now I am feeling the pain of the residuals of the pandemic. When the Orthopedic doctor informed me I would need surgery to maintain any type of active lifestyle, I said, “Let’s do it!” He said the good news is they can now schedule “elective” surgery. He didn’t tell me the bad news was that there was a long line in front of me. He had mentioned if I didn’t have the surgery, the partial meniscus tear could expand and pretty much take my knee down. So now I have to watch every step I take….
But we have wonderful news for our grandsons summer plans. We will have the boys this summer and I will have surgery to fix the issue. I’m scheduled for June 4, 2020. (UPDATE: I prayed for an earlier date and it was delivered! I had the surgery May 7 and am on the road to recovery!) The boys will still have a VERY active summer, I just will have to watch from the sidelines. And we will get the help we need to make sure they have another wonderful summer here. Stay tuned for that, hopefully, “Life begins to normalize after the worst of the pandemic” or something like that.
To write this post, I did some research. It will be seven weeks of total in activity before the surgery followed by another four weeks of limited activity. Perhaps others may benefit from what I found. One is a well documented on-line resource called “Healthline.” I really like what I’ve learned, in addition to the info on the condition of my knee: “The 17 Best Ways to Maintain Weight Loss.” That may sound like a lot ways, but a lot is at stake in my opinion. I’ve just benefitted in so many ways since I lost that 30 pounds. Fortunately, I am hitting on at least 16 of the 17 – the one is I can’t exercise!
Before I share anything, I looked to know where it originated and who is behind it. This on-line resource is staffed by specialist Medical Doctors from various fields to include surgeons, Registered Dieticians, Pharmacists, Optometrists, Psychologists, Dermatologists, just about every professional involved in health care! A note from the site:
Unfortunately, many people who lose weight end up gaining it back.
In fact, only about 20% of dieters who start off overweight end up successfully losing weight and keeping it off in the long term (Verified source).
However, don’t let this discourage you. There are a number of scientifically proven ways you can keep the weight off, ranging from exercising to controlling stress (Same source).
These 17 strategies might be just what you need to tip the statistics in your favor and maintain your hard-won weight loss.” (From Healthline)
To compliment this, I have a wonderful friendship with a like-minded blogger, Ellie Marrandette. We have so much in common and our hearts are knit together in this lifetime. And we are glad to know we will also spend eternity together. For the purposes of this blog post, the fact she is a certified nutritional counselor.
She and I have talked lot about Bill’s and my new nutritionally focused life-style. Well, more like we email each other and comment on each others blog posts. Anyway, she has helped reinforced what I need to know and do to continue to make good choices. She recently published a blog post I really liked and now am recommending it as a bit of an easy read: “Combatting Covid-19 Through Nutrient Therapy.”
Bill is now able to take longer walks and is bike riding again. His surgical site didn’t really slow him down except for two weeks – while he continued his healing from his other surgery. My hand has not healed as fast. My sister in law warned me, hands heal slowly. But it is healing! And now, I must continue to just rest easy.
My child, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22
Continued good health. Take each day as it comes and make sure you live it to the fullest.
Thank you! It’s all going to work out.
Oh, knees…. I remember seeing a meme years ago that said “Be kind to your knees when you’re young; you’ll miss them when they’re old.” I never had knee problems until a couple years ago when I broke my leg. Now, I have a deep understanding of just how much misery those kinds of injuries can inflict. I wish you all the best in your treatment. They can do amazing things these days and will, hopefully, get you back to where you want to be very quickly. My best advice is to do everything exactly as your physical therapist suggests. I followed her advice to a T and did really well. Good luck!