Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Job

Today I spent an hour and a half at the physical therapist. It was awesome!

A bit of background:

Arthritis runs in the family. My Mom, who was obese, was walking with a cane in her early 50's, and my doctor had told me a few years ago that the way I was going I'd "have her beat" and would need total knee replacements at a pretty young age. Of course, when he told me this, I weighed 278 pounds. I was totally out of shape and could barely hobble out the door to the mailbox and back. I could not go up and down the stairs of my home unless I HAD to, and then it was agony. I was in pain all day long. I remember how sad I was that there was a park 2 blocks from my house but there was no way I could walk there with my daughter. I had to drive if I went at all.

The orthopedic surgeon had a CAT scan (I think... or an MRI) done which stated:

Severe degenerative arthritis with very little cartilage left
Bone spurs in both knees
Torn meniscus in left knee

Nice. Anyway, I started losing weight shortly thereafter, started taking joint supplements, worked my way up to walks to the park and beyond, and started using a recumbent exercise bike. But I have never been able to go beyond a 2 mile walk without ending up sore in the joints for days or weeks; same for the bike... 30 minutes seemed to be my limit. This has been frustrating. My daily pain is almost gone unless I injure myself, but I really want to increase my activity. Thus, the PT visits.

I am so happy with my physical therapist! He did a thorough interview and also checked my knees by manipulation for any other issues. He did strength tests and balance tests and a complete evaluation of where I am. He found some weakness not only in the knee area but in my hips as well.

After the evaluation, they had me warm up on a recumbent bike for 5 minutes which was a breeze. Then I was led through five different exercises for knee and hip strength, and given a sheet with directions to do those exercises at home. Afterwards, I was hooked up to an "e-stim" machine (electrical stimulation) which is supposed to increase blood flow and promote healing in the knees. I was hooked up for 15 minutes and it was kind of relaxing and enjoyable!

So, now I have a new JOB to do: get those knees (and hips) to their strongest point. The PT thinks my goals are achievable (longer walks, say, 5 miles, and longer biking sessions as well as skating) if I follow through with the exercises regularly. My new JOB is to do the little exercise routine every day (twice a day is even better): bike gently 5 minutes, then do 1-2 sets of 10 reps of each exercise I was given. I am totally, 100% committed to doing this. I want the best quality of life I can get, and I am willing to work for it! I am excited to see how far I can go with this.

As an aside, the PT was thoroughly impressed at my commitment level and weight loss. I got the feeling he deals with a lot of people who want to show up and "be fixed" but are not willing to work for it. I am so ready!

Life is only going to get better from here. I am excited... and on the way home from PT, guess what? A big rainbow in the sky with its end right in front of me. Awesome. I am full of new hope and I am dreaming of all the new things I will be able to do.


Fat Grump said...

Lyn - what I loved about this post was the way you are (straight away!) committed to ensuring you really will do your very best to make life better for yourself by following those exercises.

It is understandable that you want to have a life free of pain and restrictions and I get the feeling that just as you have worked at weight loss, you are going to work really hard to give your knees the best possible chance of working as well as they can in your new slimmer life.

It's all coming together for you, and I am SO pleased :)

Stacy said...

I am so proud of you and for you! I'm glad you got a good PT who knows what you need and can help you be able to move the way you want and to do the things you want in your life. You have accomplished so much! The sky is the limit.

Anonymous said...

Very proud of you and glad you have a PT that is so thorough.

Does your knee hurt in the cap or behind it (what I call the knee pit)?

My knee started hurting in the front, but now hurts in the back so that it's hard to put any weight on it after periods of sitting. I also can't bend it all the way.

Lyn said...


It hurts dead center in the joint. Yowie.

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

You know what that rainbow was? A meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere.

No wait... it was a sign that things are going to be awesome for you in the days and weeks to come.

spunkysuzi said...

I'm so glad to hear that improvement can happen to your knees!! That is a massive step forward :)

Anonymous said...

That is great !!!

Brandi said...

That's great! and the rainbow at the end was just perfect. =)

Diandra said...

Hey, that's great! The body has awesome potential for recovery, if only we are willing to help it along.

bd160 said...

Hi, Lyn! I've given you a Blog award! :D

MizFit said...

Im so so so so very happy for you!!!!!

(is there any way we could git you to fitbloggin11???)

beerab said...

Sounds good- my husband had physical therapy after he injured his knee and he said it did him such a world of good. He's never had pain in his knee since. :)

Lori said...

Good! I am so glad for you.

The Captain's Daughter said...

Lyn - What terrific news this is!

There is NOTHING you cannot accomplish!

Hearing such positive news from the PT is such a gift! Just proves that the body does reward us for the effort we make!

I'm finding this out right now for myself... I was soooo anti-exercise for so, (too) long but now that I'm into it, there is no stopping me - and, the changes in my body?? Well, I just cannot believe it!

Way to go, Lyn!! Know that I'm cheering you on and wish you the best of luck in your new, "job" - my money is on YOU to nail it!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, that's SO great! I'm really excited for you! Physical therapy can work wonders!

I also have knee problems (my mother was completely disabled by arthritis by her mid-forties (my age), and I've unfortunately inherited her bad knees.

It certainly doesn't help that I'm now 100 lbs. overweight.

Actually, I really appreciate that you posted about your physical therapist. I had a terrible experience with one (that my FORMER orthopedist sent me to see!) He didn't bother to evaluate me or let me warm up. He basically gave me exercises to do and ignored me while he ordered and drank a milkshake. After our visit, I was in agony for months. I filed a complaint and he was immediately fired, but my knees got worse from that day.

I know now what I need to look for in a future physical therapist.

Thanks so much! BTW, I am also starting Medifast in january, thanks to you!

Hugs, Maria

Lynna said...

Your journey is much more than about losing weight... it is about honoring yourself and bout having the courage to live abundtantly. It is an honor and a joy to watch your life unfolding. Thank you for allowing us that joy !

Lyn said...


Maybe if they had a little childcare center ;)

Colleen said...

I'm sure the therapist finds you a pleasure to work with! When I worked with a fitness trainer he would vent to me about people with unrealistic expectations who were unwilling to do the work, and how hard and frustrating it is trying to help them. Trainers/PTs are often thrilled to find someone who "gets it." I am sure you will see great results from the therapy!

Lisa said...

that is awesome :)

Happy Fun Pants said...

I'm SO glad that you've got some specific tasks on what to do to help your knees - they've been paining you for so long and I'm hopeful that you'll have relief sooner than later.

Also? Thanks for your support...and I'm sorry I've been slacking in the comment department. I've just been soo....well...overwhelmed.

Anyway, I haven't stopped thinking of you and looking forward to your posts! :)

Losing 100 said...

Isn't "hope" a wonderful thing?? I just had surgery to repair a hernia. I'm excited too for what I'll be able to do once I'm recovered. Good Job!