A Life Update, late January 2019

Having whined so loudly and bitterly last fall about my personal health issues, I figured I was about due for a lemme-sum-up post. If you’re here for the perfume, check back on Thursday for a Mini-Review Roundup.

Still a long road to walk

So an update on my weight: down 25 pounds from last June. I kinda went off the diet in December and have had some difficulty really following the plan this month, but have only gained two pounds back. (So far, anyway.) Since I had many more than that to go, I’m back on the diet now. It’s a reduced-carb, lower-glycemic-index, lower-fat regimen, the original South Beach Diet — not the one you see ads on TV for now, because Nutrisystem bought SB out. I could probably lose weight on the ketogenic diet, but could I sustain the diet for long? I doubt it. And even if I could, it seems that cutting out an entire category of healthy food is probably not great long-term. So. SBD it is.

I have not yet lost enough weight for the Essure removal surgery I was considering, so I’m still trying to do an end-around run through getting some allergy testing, because there’s a different doctor who would probably be willing to remove it for that reason. He’s in Virginia, at least, and if I had an allergy test showing sensitivity to nickel, he’d code it as necessary for insurance to cover at least part of the cost. HOWEVER — the allergist my old GP sent me to has yet to actually order the tests, even after my repeated calls to check on it. So I need a different allergist, too.

The plantar fasciitis in my left foot abated enough for me to stop physical therapy . . . and has begun to recur, so I need to step up my PF exercises again. I think it may just be an ongoing issue for me the rest of my life, and it may be associated with SITTING a lot. Which, as you know, a writer does a lot of. Therefore, I need to be dividing my time between sitting and exercising my fingers on a keyboard, and moving the rest of my body around.

Red ginger at Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden, photo by Joe Guthrie

I messed up my knee on vacation in Hawai’i — it was that long, long steep hill down to the beach at Hanauma Bay on O’ahu first, and then that long, long steep hill at the Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Gardens on Hawai’i a few days later, plus the walking from terminal to terminal at airports. (If those two places hadn’t been absolutely AMAZING, I’d be kicking myself now for visiting them.) Plus twisting my knee on unstable ground at home the following week, twisting it again the day after that, in the long grass in the shop lot in the dark, getting wood, and then twisting it badly again two days later on snow. The new doctor in my primary care office said he thought it was probably arthritis, exacerbated by my weight, and gave me a prescription for heavy-duty naproxen sodium for the inflammation, as well as suggesting lots of R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, in case you’re not familiar). It helped to some degree but the knee is stiff and painful most of the time now. I’ve definitely been seeing the wrong GP! I’ve officially changed my primary care physician to the new guy in the practice, who was sympathetic but practical and didn’t dismiss my concerns.

In any case, I’ve now had a baseline x-ray, from which the orthopedist determined that I have mild osteoarthritis and mild narrowing of the knee joint. He gave me exercises to do, and suggested that if things are not considerably better in a couple of months, we’d try a steroid shot. The orthopedist was terrific, too. Listened to me, didn’t treat me like an idiot, gave me common-sense advice without throwing a prescription at me in the hopes that I’d just go away. Taz had actually seen this guy last year when he was having hip pain, and Dr. Maher was just that great with him. It feels good to rediscover medical professionals who take exam-table-side manner seriously.

Still a long road to walk. But I’m still walking, and still jumping through those hoops.

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Still Jumping Hoops

(This post was originally begun on September 17.)
So, okay, an update.

Last time I wrote about the medical stuff, I was still in the process of seeing specialists. I have now seen the allergist and the podiatrist, and one one of those fronts I’ve had some success.

That was the podiatrist. Actually, I’ve seen the podiatrist twice, and the first prescription anti-inflammatory did not help. Neither did the insoles. At the second visit, the podiatrist gave me a prescription for a stronger NSAID and asked if I wanted a cortisone shot. “Or would you like to treat your plantar fasciitis more aggressively?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, please, let’s be aggressive,” I said. “I’ve had it three years. I need some relief, and I want to be able to walk so I can lose some weight.” So she sent me to physical therapy. (Lord knows that should’ve been done at least a year ago, if not sooner. Should’ve been done at least in June.)

The PTs have asked me to continue the stretches I was doing, and gave me another couple to try. They’ve also done ASTYM on me, twice, and I have to think that’s helping a great deal. My heel feels a lot better. I’m not pain-free, but at least I can walk about 7000 steps without being crippled the next day. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks of treatment, my heel pain will lessen more.

The allergist did not test me for allergy to the Essure device or its components, largely because he did not have those tests in-house at the time, but also partly because they’re expensive and partly because he thought there was something else going on. He did order some blood work on me; it turned out to indicate that I do not have systemic inflammation going on. So that’s a dead end for Essure removal. He suggested I see a dermatologist for the rash on my arms. (It’s not that bad. I’m used to it now, used to the scars.)

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels (no, this isn’t me).

As for the diet, well, I’m starting to get frustrated with it. I am tracking everything I eat. I am exercising regularly, 5 days a week, usually about 35 minutes a day, and keeping my caloric intake about 1000 calories under what I expend (based on Fitbit’s estimate). I’m drinking about 80 ounces of water a day and have stopped drinking the one diet soda a day I had been allowing myself. This should have led to about a two-pound loss every week. However, I haven’t lost any more weight at all. It occurs to me that this is the point where I got frustrated with South Beach Diet last time, too — when I had lost 18 pounds and the scale refused to budge any further over a month’s time. GAH.

I have to persevere anyway, because I have to get healthy. I have to.

A lot of dieters swear by weighing once weekly, or weighing not at all and only gauging success by the fit of clothes. I have found in the past, however, that if I skip weighing every day, my brain tends to go straight to thinking, “Oh, we’re not dieting. Go ahead and eat the banana bread.” So I weigh once a day, in the morning after I’ve peed and before I’ve eaten anything. And I’m generally pretty patient with fluctuations… it’s just that I haven’t seen any loss since Sept. 8 (and I’m back up 2 pounds since then, pretty consistently). It’s so frustrating.

I begin to wonder if the NSAID I am taking for my plantar fasciitis is making the scale not move. Hmm.

In other news, though: I had been having a great deal of acne, almost more than I’d had as a teenager. That’s abated, and my face is clearer than it’s ever been since I was, oh, twelve. Low-sugar diet? Maybe. Perimenopause? Maybe that, too.

And now I have a few fun outfits to exercise in, too. This is good.

Updated update, October 1.
My sleep study showed no sleep apnea or diminished oxygen during sleep, so I think we can rule that out as a cause of fatigue.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels (also not me).

I’ve now had a full month of physical therapy, from ASTYM to stretching and icing, and can report that my heel pain is maybe 20% of the level it was in May. This is an enormous relief. I’m not completely pain-free, and might never be completely pain-free due to that heel spur, but I plan to continue for another week or two, to try to reach toward zero pain. I’m consistently walking at least 7000 steps a day, and more often 7500 or 8000, which was just unthinkably painful back in May.

I have lost all of two pounds since September 17th. This is frustrating.

Before you ask: Yes, I’m drinking enough water (at least 100 oz., sometimes more). Yes, I’m eating enough healthy food (5 cups of veggies a day, lean protein, one serving whole grain, one serving fruit, limited fats). Yes, I’m exercising 5 times a week (deep water aerobics, walking, low-impact HIIT videos). Yes, I’m logging everything I eat (including those three pecan halves I ate after dinner this evening). Yes, I’m still eating approximately 1000 calories less than I burn every day (which should lead to a two-pound loss every week). Still, no movement on the scale or in my clothes. I may need to exercise 45 minutes/day instead of 30. Gah.

I know a number of people who’ve had success on the ketogenic diet. I might not be able to sustain that diet for very long — it seems crazy, what with the extremely low carb limits — but I wonder if I should try it, just for a jump-start? I don’t think two weeks of it would kill me.

The allergist wants me to come back to do some specific allergen tests soon. I see the endocrinologist next week.

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