Friday, September 25, 2015

#RABLOG Post WEGO Day 5 - Your Favorite Exercise and How to try to stay in Shape

For a huge many of us, even those without Chronic Illnesses, joint problems, RA, Diabetes, and the list goes on, we DO HAVE problems finding the proper exercise that fits into our "health problems", that gives us enough exercise to get the heart rate up, curb the fat intake, and keep muscles in tone, and help to keep our bones in much better condition also.

I have to admit, all the time I was in Jr. High and High School, I was never one for working out, being in Volleyball, playing Basketball, or playing in Little League. Throughout the most of my younger years up until about the age of 21, I had a weight problem. I was not just hugely obese, but I did have more weight on me, than someone with my build and height.

I also had actually while playing baseball with my friends and cousins at the age of about 14 years old, was used for "2nd base" rather than the base itself. I had a very severe tear of cartilage in my right knee. It got bad enough, that I could not participate in any type of PE classes, and that next Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, when I was about I guess 14 or 15, I was in Baylor Hospital, the children's wing for Orthopedics.

I spent 7 days in the hospital after having a very huge surgery at that time (it meant cutting along the inside of my knee and the scar was about 8 inches or so long. In fact my Dad came and ate Thanksgiving Dinner with me, since everyone was at my Grandparents having a feast, and he dd not want me to be alone. The funny thing was, they brought 2 huge plates with all of the Thanksgiving fixings on them. But, they accidentally left the slices of turkey off of mine... it was so funny! But, that right leg, was in a full cast that as from my toes all the way up to my hip as far as they could get it. I was in that hot thing (thank goodness it was Fall/Winter, for over 3 months! My Orthopedic Surgeon, who did work on the Dallas Cowboys at one time, did an excellent job. They had done a special type of scan the night before, and he feared I may have some type of a tumor in my knee. He was not sure exactly what it was, thus the morning they rolled me into the huge OR, I had been told, I may come out and not have all of my leg left. If it was "cancer" then they would have to remove as much as they could in order for the cancer to not spread.

I came out fine and the "lump" formed due to the damage in my knee. In fact, before the surgery it had gotten so large that my muscles on the side of my knee would "jump" over that lump. So, I spend 3 months at home, no elevator in our old 3 story, plus a basement high school. So, Mom and Dad picked up my books, and lessons, and then turned them in for me each week.

But, that one incident put me on the road of having to be cautious the rest of my life about what type of sports I played in, or anything that I may put a large amount of stress on that knee.

I went ahead to snow ski for several years in my late 200's and early 30's. I became an AVID walker, and walked at least 5 miles a day, 6 days a week, and sometimes 7 days a week. Then as the years past, the lawn work, gardening, even snow skiing had to come to a halt once I was diagnosed with SO MANY joints in bad shape. I had a left elbow and shoulder surgery in my early 30's. I also had the left knee with torn cartilage and had to have surgery on it. Then I had rotater cuff tears, in both shoulders, a couple of times, thus I had arthroscopic surgery on those at least 2 or 3 times each. Then I needed both wrist fixed, both with carpal tunnel, and chose to have the left one done, then so many other things developed, that right wrist was the least of my worries health wise.

This was about the time my PCP after seeing me for months, following all of my joint problems, labs that came back "odd".... he did a total screening for ALL types of autoimmune illnesses. His guess was right on the money. I had RA, Lupus, later came Sjogren's, also Raynauds. I also have Degenerative Joint and Disc Disease which also contributed to more surgeries, than I could even count.

In 2007, if my memory serves me, I had 8 SURGERIES, that one year! Finally ending with both total knee replacements, then after several scopes, I had a complete "reverse" shoulder replacement of my right shoulder. I've had gallbladder issues, and had that removed, and in which complications sent me quickly to Dallas at the Methodist hospital, where I spent 6 WEEKS, and they never really "got" exactly what was wrong, and at the end of my stay, I had a 2nd heart attack, before leaving the hospital.

I've had to have a 4 level cervical spine surgery, replacements and fusions, my hips have been injected with corticosteroids numerous times. I recently had DOUBLE hernia's that required surgery, and in the middle of all of that, I lost ALL of my teeth to Sjogren's. It took over a year to get the bad ones out all the way and then get my dentures in, then wait to have the bottom ones "mini pinned" in.

So, after all of that I am sure you are wondering what the heck does that have to do with my "exercise" program now?

Now, I walk daily. Whether it is outside, around my long driveway, or around the house looking things over and making sure all is okay. I also try my best to do ALL that I can on my own at home. Whether it's vacuuming, doing laundry, cleaning the floors, cooking, cleaning, errands, some light gardening in the cool mornings or late evenings. I have a pedometer that I try to keep up with my "up" times. And I've found, as far as keeping in good shape, physically, mentally and emotionally, just being outdoors, looking at the trees, birds, waving at the neighbors, and so forth those are my ways of staying in shape.

I even cut smaller tree limbs when I can, or put leaves in a pile and use the trash can lid to help scoop them up. As I said, I have learned to "improvise" in many ways, yet the challenge of opening a jar lid, or getting on a chair or stool to put things in the upper pantry, or whatever the task is, if I feel like i can at least do some of those things, the less I feel depressed, I feel even though fatigued, especially if I overdo it, yet it is often a "good type" of tiredness. 

So, whether I am outside trying to clean flower beds, and walk all over my small bit of land in the back, or make 20 or 30 minutes around the driveway, to keep I am less stressed, more energized, and I feel at the end of the day, I have "accomplished" something worth while that day.


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