Friday, April 6, 2012

Me, Myself, and Arthritis.

 Things have been going great on my weight loss journey!!   I've lost 154 pounds!  I've regained a lot of my health!  I have more mobility, stamina, and energy!   I look forward to the day where I'm at a normal weight.  I look forward to being able to work again.  I look forward to being NORMAL again.
 And in that desire to be "normal" I've been ignoring a few things, the most important being that constant crunch crunch in my right hip when I walk.  The snap, crackle, and pop in my right knee is a close second.  Third and fourth would be the constant grinding in my right shoulder and the occasional but painful pop in my left knee.
 I have arthritis!!   Not just all that I listed above, but I also have ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis of the spine.  Diet can work wonders with arthritis.  The low-fat vegetarian diet I follow can arrest the progression of inflammatory arthritis.  This means that I can keep my anklyosing spondylitis from progressing and causing more damage to my spine. Indeed, my back is doing much better.  I remember just a couple years ago I'd be so stiff in the morning that I'd have to sit on the edge of the bed for several minutes before standing up, and even then I needed a cane in each hand.  I needed those two canes for the first 10-15 minutes I was up before I could walk without them.  Then it'd be another hour before I was able to get dressed.  Now, I wake up, usually get dressed immediately including putting on my shoes, and stand up without any help at all.  I'm still a bit stiff for a few minutes but sometimes I'll head straight out the door and go for a walk.  I don't even know where my canes are!!  But the damage that is already done to my spine, I'll have to live with.
 My diet will also help the degenerative arthritis in my knees, hip, and shoulder from getting worse.  That is because it was my poor diet that contributed to those in the first place.   But what my diet can't do, is repair the damage already done.  And what's more, my diet can't keep me from further damaging those joints by overworking them in their already damaged state.
 All this comes to mind because I had a doctors appointment yesterday with my rheumatologist.  He was happy with the state of my ankylosing spondylitis but said there wasn't much he could do about the rest other than prescribe me anti-inflammatories, which I don't want to take.
 So what's a fellow to do?   As I lose more and more weight there will be less and less strain on my hips and knees.  That will be a good thing!!  But in the mean time, I have to slow down and do less.  If I walk slower and slightly favor my right side there is little to no crunching in my hip or snap, crackle and pop in my knee.   This will mean less walking.  I should be able to continue my trike riding, as doing so doesn't seem to bother my hip or knees, though it does tend to mildly bother my back.
 I don't want anyone to take all of this as me whining.  I'm not.  Just talking out loud about the struggle to find the balance between doing enough, and doing too much.  I do, after all, need to keep my body and those joints functional for at least another 30-35 years!!

 -Norm  aka John Smith


  1. I hear ya on the snap crackle and popping! Greg and I have been "joking" about that for the last 10 years! Our knees especially is kinda gross sounding! I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was 16 years this has been going on so long. I've tried the natural stuff...that is suppose to help your joints, but to be honest, I didn't stick with one long enough to see if it would really make a difference.

    I would LOVE to hear some suggestions/alternatives to medicine. I know there is a topical cream of cannabis just for joints that helps as an anti-inflammatory. It ONLY has the medicinal properties in the lotion/cream for topical use...not any psychotropic affects. Thoughts??? Pam ;O)