Sunday, September 1, 2013

Seven Years on

I retired December 31st, 2005 and spent much of the next year following a fairly rigid fitness route and schedule so that by September, after turning 57 I could spend a few years on a personal project. Despite some setbacks I managed to get progress until March 2008.

From then for the next 3 1/2 years I spent the time chasing a number of health issues, first with a cardiologist trying to understand some issues with my heart which turned out to be a partial blockage of my pulmonary artery and a heart which is very healthy except a super fast acceleration time.

I did have a high cholesterol level, but it's been above normal most of my life. A small change in my diet, switching to lactose-free, fat free milk and dropping most dairy products rich in milk fats and cream got the level to the high end of normal.

Then it was my digestive system which took a second gastroenterologist in December 2011 to tell me they didn't really know the cause the adverse food reactions and bleeding small intestine, but then suggested changing a radical change of my diet, following a FODMAPS free diet, worked most of the time.

You can search Google for FODMAPS, but it pretty much wipes out most common foods, like wheat, most grains, most dairy products and many common fruits and vegetables. Add to that no beef, poultry, pork, and most fish and seafood, and no eggs, along with no green or leafy vegetables, you can see it's restrictive to the extreme.

That has helped a lot but still left an extreme food sensitive digestive system, and living on a restricted diet with occasional food experiment, which most fail with miserable results. It's still a healthy diet with supplements, but wow, extreme is an understatement. Then came the problems with my Sciatic nerve.

In June-July 2011 I pinched my Sciatic nerve which left my left leg, especially from above the knee to the ankle numb and weak where I couldn't put much weight on it without it collapsing. Nothing hurt, it just didn't work.

Then in June and especially July 2012 I pinched it where I was flat on my back for 4 days and took a month to walk short distances without pain, or sit or stand for more than a few minutes without pain. It took until September where I began walking.

During that time listening to specialists and doing research I discovered the only real treatment they recommend and that works for mild-to-moderate pinched nerve is walking. Something you can do as much and often as you can without any help.

You don't need drugs, specialists, or even a gym or trainer. Just get out and walk. And in the last year I've gone from walking 2.5 miles 3 days a week to 8 miles 4-5 days a week. I still can't carry more than 15 lbs without pain, carry big things (eg. laundry basket) without mild pain, or work bending over for more than a few minutes.

I'm progressing and that's the point, get my health and fitness back to something resembling normal, except I'm now 7 years older and the personal project which we (physician and I) discovered was part of the digestive problems (excerbating symptoms) has been on hold for nearly two years now.

I don't know when I'll get back to it, I hope to someday before I die, but it's one of those things you just don't know. Only time will tell and it's completely in my hands to accomplish and why I'm working on my health and fitness and getting out of debt.

It's frustrating to have lost the years not working on the project and find myself back to square one, only smarter but not better, but it beats the alternative of having it trash my life, my health and my fitness in the process.

The goal this coming years is to continue the walking, but trade some days (now 16-20 days per month) for running and add back weight training I dropped a few years ago. The running will take work as I have reoccurring shin splints and the legs still aren't 100%  with balance and numbness problems.

But it's a goal, and sometimes you can only keep trying and hope the opportunity isn't lost.

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