Annual Fall Celebrations

Good morning friends.  Hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant and peaceful.  We had a busy weekend with family and were happy on Sunday afternoon to sit and watch football.  However, by Monday morning it was obvious that I needed to see my doctor because I’d been coughing for 10 days and it wasn’t getting better.  He diagnosed my annual fall upper respiratory infection with bronchitis.  I’m home on the couch with my Zpak and cough syrup with codeine.  Still coughing but maybe a bit better.

We took our annual trip to Chicago this fall and I was proud of my steps on one of the days.  7.45 miles with a knapsack on my back.

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I walked the whole city that day and not only did it feel good, I felt great the next day as well.  So I think that the knees are healing very nicely.  Ski season opened over the weekend (another fall annual tradition), and I hope to hit the easy slopes late February for some skiing.

Mr. Phat’s heart has strengthened and he’s feeling better in that respect.  Two heart procedures, an extended hospital stay and new medications and he’s doing very well.  However, he still has nerve pain on the left side of his body.  We thought he had Lyme Disease, but now we’re not so sure.  We’re thinking it’s some degenerative discs in his neck and back.  We’ve seen a pain management specialist and see a spine specialist later this week.  Seems we are finally on the right road for him after many many months of searching.  Let’s hope.

 

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Personal Training

I haven’t written about my training, or my trainer in quite a while.  Cathy was very gentle and kind with me through this summer as I went through my RA Flare from Hell.  I still made it most weeks, but we didn’t do much that was significant – some stretching and a little weight lifting and then she would massage or use her tiger tail on me, which helps get the kinks out and just made a suffering gal feel better.  She was always empathetic with me and I don’t think she thought I exaggerated my pain.

Now that I’ve changed meds and hopefully am feeling better, she has started gently moving toward more aggressive workouts.  Well gently until this past week when she whipped my butt!!  We used kettlebells and I worked like I haven’t worked in almost a year.

Finally I yelled “Uncle.”

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I feel fortunate that I have the time and expense to devote to my weekly training sessions.  I think they help me immensely with understand that I don’t have as many limitations as it appears.  She pushes me to work beyond what my head may say I can do.  She works on my balance alot and I’m incredibly thankful for all the time we spend together.  Especially this weekend when I spent both days up and down a ladder painting our kitchen that is undergoing renovations.

I bitch and swear at her, but Cathy is truly awesome.

 

TKR

Yes.  Total Knee Replacement.  I visited my ortho this week and learned that instead of needing one new knee, I need two.  The Doc told me in 2009 that I needed a new right knee.  So far I’ve managed my life without getting it done.  Now he told me that the left knee has no cartilage and is also bone on bone.

With RA,  the synovial membrane that surrounds the knee joint becomes inflamed and thickens.  Over time, the resulting chronic inflammation will damage the cartilage.  This will cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness.  Then there is OA (osteoarthritis) where as you age, the cartilage cushion that protects the knee will soften and and wear and this causes pain and stiffness.

Another factor is trauma.   I’ve been involved in athletics since I was young and I always had bruised or skinned knees.  I had my share of falls while skiing or hiking.  I fell while biking.  I recently got bifocals and took 2 really hard falls on my knees and hips.  So I think that all three of these factors – RA, OA and Trauma – have contributed to my current knee situation.

So I’m continuing on my normal pace – which is typically warp speed until such time as the pain and discomfort is bad enough that it impacts my life.  Then we will discuss the first knee replacement.  As the doctor said, I’m highly functioning considering the state of my knees, so there’s no reason to rush.  He suggested that when my world narrows is when I need to address surgery.

Until that time, I’m trying to concentrate a bit more on my eating and exercising.  I have been the same weight for 5 years.  Yeah, just about since I started this Blog about trying to lose weight after turning 50.  So I think that I’ve failed!!  Miserably.  I’m doubling down on my efforts because other than my weight and my RA, I’m very healthy.  I’d like to stay that way.

Steps

I’ve been mostly a downer lately on my blog.  Talking about RA Flares, cortisone shots, medications, including pain meds, and sinuses.  It was a tough winter for me, but all in all, I managed.  I can afford my health insurance and my medications.  I can afford to see the doctor.  I can afford a personal trainer to help me feel better.  And I am feeling better.  I’ve been hitting close to 10K daily steps more frequently.  Then there’s this which Fitbit sent me earlier this year:

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I took 2,709,353 steps in 2015!!!  That’s 1148 miles!!  Which is 22 miles per week on average!!  The step challenges I participated in last year really helped propel me.

Then this week I got this from Fitbit:

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Since getting my fitbit 12/25/13, I’ve gone 2500 miles!!! Even I think that’s commendable for a full time, chronically challenged person.  And I have this one to thank for taking alot of those steps with me:

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I’m going to keep moving no matter what!!!

Thanks

Not to be redundant, but I need to give some thanks today, Friday as I finish out the week with my first Fitbit Workweek Hustle Challenge with Bridgette from Bridgette’s Digits and not only did she rock her steps this week, but she made me step up on mine as well.  No pun intended.

Screenshot_2015-11-27-14-53-48This is where I am today at 3pm – the day after T-giving, with a total over 60K for the past 7 days and it’s because of her motivation, and the challenge.  I’ve already been out and walked the dog for 2 and a half miles, run a couple errands and still have 9 hours left in the day.  Bridgette and I have been neck and neck this week in our friendly competition and we confessed that it was both fun and motivating.

So Thanks Bridgette.  You’ve come a long way this year.  Last year I know you couldn’t imagine yourself taking 5,000 steps a day, never mind 10K or even 20K.  I know that you have shaped up big time this year and I’m very proud of you.  I’m happy that I had you to kick my butt around this week – not sure I would have done half this week without you breathing down my neck.

If you want to increase your steps – an activity tracker is a great way to challenge you to move more!  Which I needed today after a day of eating.  This was our contribution to the Thanksgiving spread:

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Mr. Phat’s Antipasti

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend Everyone.  Hope you had the chance to Opt Outdoors today like I did and that you’ll participate in Small Business Saturday tomorrow.  What great concepts!

Walk Across America

As part of a work wellness program, Blue Cross/Blue Shield had a challenge called Walk Across America.  It was a 9 week event and the idea was to get 10,000 steps each day for a total of 630,000 over the entire Challenge.  Participants formed teams and we had weekly updates.  My results are below:

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Not only did I hit the goal, but I exceeded it.  And walking that much for 9 weeks, after doing a 4 week challenge in the spring has made my legs tight and strong.

Here are some of the ways I got my steps recently:

bSailing along Narragansett Bay.  I know it seems that I wouldn’t get that many steps sailing, but getting to and from the boat and to and from a restaurant and loading and unloading gave me alot of steps.

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We had a beautiful day.  The couple that own the boat are old friends and she has RA.  She’s one of my only really close friends with RA and we are on the same meds and I think probably have about the same level of disease activity – which is that we lead busy, active lives and try not to let the RA keep us down.

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One last Trip to Fenway Park for the last home game of the season.  This involves a lot of walking through the city.  The Red Sox have not had a very good season.  Better luck next year.

With all this walking, I should have lost some weight.  I definitely slimmed up a bit, but all this activity can’t be done without some eating.  And we’ve had some good eating, including a trip Friday night to Frank Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven, CT.  20150925_182318 That was the summer sensation pizza.  Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Garlic and Basil and Mozzarella.  They’ve been making pizza since 1925 and it’s the very best I’ve eaten.  I wish I could say that was all I had……but it wasn’t!

My favorite way to get steps through the entire summer was like this:

abbieOn the bikepath next door with Abbie the Jack Russell.  Those walks should be able to continue until the snow flies!!  Gotta keep my legs in shape for Ski Season?!?

DSC02405It’s coming quickly!!!

Who Am I Kidding?

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See that?  That’s 3 of 4 bags that I’m donating.  Clothes I’ve had for a long time hoping I’d be able to one day fit into.  Every spring I bring about 8 large plastics buckets up from the basement, re arrange my drawers and closet and then do the same in the Fall. It’s a chore I hate and I finally realized that it was made more complicated by all of these extra clothes.

So this weekend I committed to stopping the madness and tossing out what doesn’t fit or what I haven’t worn in a season.  The result was 4 large garbage bags.  Hopefully someone else could put them to good use.  Some even still had the tags on them!

I know I’m kidding myself if I think I’m going to get back down a couple of sizes.  I’m realizing also that lots of clothing isn’t necessary. I need several nice pieces for work and several nice pieces for play.  Workout, yard work and lounging pieces.  That’s it.

I feel lighter already!!!