Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pain

I spend an inordinate amount of my time in pain. It's not acute, debilitating pain that some people surely suffer from, and for that I am thankful. But it is pain nonetheless, and it affects me deeply. It didn't use to be like this. I was an active, healthy teenager and remained so into my 20's and even my early 30's. After I became morbidly obese (at about age 28), I still had quite a bit of mobility without pain. It was harder to move, and I was far more tired, but when I wanted to be active, I could. When it was time to rake leaves or mow a lawn, I could. When I got motivated to try and lose weight, I could walk a couple miles, no problem. I could go swimming and do low impact aerobics without a thought. The only discomforts I experienced were from tiring easily and getting out of breath from being out of shape, and embarrassment over my weight.

Somewhere in there, maybe about 4 years ago, things changed. I started aching all over. My ankles and hips and shoulders would just HURT. But my knees, of course, were the worst. I knew I had a torn meniscus, so I babied it a bit. But as I got fatter and fatter, it became almost impossible for me to move. I could not go up and down stairs without extreme effort and pain. I limped. I hobbled. I hurt just to walk. I really destroyed my joints with the excess weight, and now I am paying the price.

As I have lost weight, much of my mobility has returned. I can do stairs and walk a few blocks, and I can ride my bike. But the problem is, I can't do much else. It's not a matter of aerobic fitness. It's a matter of pain. I WANT to walk further, but I can't. I want to swim, but I can't. When I do, I end up nearly crippled with pain for days or weeks afterwards. I have to stick carefully to my slow and easy exercise regimen... and really, that's fine. I don't mind.

What I mind is being unable to just LIVE. I just want to be able to get up and do simple little things that everyone does: clean the house a bit, play with my daughter, cook, shop. I want to have a more active lifestyle. But when I try, I pay dearly in pain. I would LOVE to be able to get up, wash some dishes, and vacuum. And still be able to play, do a load of laundry, and maybe even do some dusting. I am not talking marathon cleaning here. I just want to get up and move. But instead, when I do those things, I hurt so badly I end up medicated on the sofa. It's a vicious cycle: I want to be active and lose weight, but I have to be sedentary to not hurt, but I have to lose weight to not hurt...

I have been seeing a couple of doctors about this, but sadly, I just found out that my health insurance is being cancelled at the end of the month through no fault of my own. Nothing I can do but file one appeal. If it doesn't go through, I won't be getting any medication, or any knee surgery, for a long time. My only options at this point are over-the-counter medications, strengthening the muscles around the knees to stabilize them, and LOSE WEIGHT. I keep hoping that once I lose a significant chunk of my chunkiness, the pain will ease and I will be okay. But until then, I hurt. It's been a lot worse this week, maybe because of the dreary weather. I always heard old people saying that their joints hurt when it was rainy, but I thought it was just their imagination. But boy has it been worse this week.

I guess the reason I wanted to put this out there is for those heavy folks who are not yet in this position, who still have a relatively pain-free life, who still have the option of normalcy. Please don't wait to get healthy. If only I had known what I was doing to my body five or ten years ago, I would NOT have let this happen. Lose the weight NOW. You don't want to suffer later. It is not worth that Coke and chips. It is not worth that brownie. Trust me on this.

On a brighter note, I know I am far better off now than I would have been had I not lost weight. There is little doubt in my mind that if I were still 278 pounds, I would be in a wheelchair by now. My body was failing. I could barely get around. Surely I would be in far worse shape than I am now. I think I would be crippled by my weight and the pain of bone on bone in my joints. But I lost some weight, and I do feel better. And for that I am VERY thankful.

It's only going to get better from here.

9 comments:

Chubby Chick said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you are in so much pain! But you're right... it is only going to get better from here! Hang in there! :)

Hanlie said...

Have you ever heard of MSM? Please google it! It's a completely natural product and it will help you tremendously. I use it every day and it works.

As you get lighter, it will get better. Good luck!

Christine said...

Hey. I just wanted to leave a note for you. Thank you so much for wanting to keep an eye on me even though I decided to go private with my blog - I was very surprised to see the response that I got from this announcement - but it just means so much more to know who is reading me - and I will return the favor for sure. I do need to recommit myself to my blog and to this weight loss journey - and am so happy to have you reading. Take care!!

Hugs from SK CANADA! Christine

Lyn said...

Hey Lyn it's Lyn here :) I was in a very similar predicament to you where I was in physical pain from day to day activities. At a similar weight stats I truelly know what it feels like. There is light at the end of the tunnel!! It can be done slowly bit by bit ... keep going my friend, keep going!!

Kathy said...

I really understand! I have such heel and back pain when I try to walk any distance or ride my stationary bike that I can't do it! And it makes me so mad because I want to do these things.

I preach this to younger bloggers all the time...do it before the damage is done!

Yogi Wannabe said...

Wow. That must be awful to be hurting all of the time. I am so glad that you put this out there because it really made me think. I am 29 and it was the beginnings of immobility that woke me up to begin this journey.

Thank you, thank you, Thank you.

Heather said...

you are right about that! it will only get better. I know that we all want things NOW..to be able to do this or that, or get to our goal weights, etc. but we will if we can just hold steady and keep on going. I already think its fabulous you have turned your life around and its only getting better andb etter. one day you will wake up and realize that you are living, just living.

Cammy said...

I can't imagine how awful it must be to hurt ALL the time. Fwiw, I do think you're on the right track to reduce or eliminate the pain, and I'm glad you're able to see that, too! Until you get there, be strong on the inside. :)

Sarah said...

I just found your blog. Sorry about the knee pain. I can relate-- just had my 11th surgery on the same knee. Makes the exercise hard. I've lost 185 pounds and now keeping it off is best done with exercise. The body needs to move. Your 40 pounds help a great deal though! That's 400 pounds of pressure you have taken off those joints. Congrats on your loss so far!