Wednesday, December 29, 2010

W27 D4 - walking

I just saw some photos of myself on facebook that made me cringe, taken at Christmas a few days ago. But I exercised yesterday, and today, and will tomorrow and every day. I can only walk at the moment, so I will walk. And keep walking.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

W26 D5 - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I have family (mine and my husband's) arriving from tomorrow afternoon and throughout the following day - there will be 5 extra people here tomorrow night and a total of 10 extras at the peak. My mother will leave after lunch on Christmas Day, but others will stay up to 3 days after Christmas.

People are bringing food and drinks, but I am providing the core of all meals and many snacks, so the house is full of food. I don't expect to lose any weight this week!

Not that I have lost any this year. Weight-wise, it has been a year of failures and setbacks. My shoulder is bad, it makes me cry, and the busy season is not letting me rest it.

But apart from my heath, it has been a good year. Next year will be even better.

Friday, December 17, 2010

W25 D6 - bicycle

We bought the kids new bicycles for Christmas this year and decided to get me one as well. I have not ridden a bike since I was a teenager, so I was very nervous. I am also scared of heights - yes, even that low to the ground! The smallest adult bike they had still seemed too big to me, so they built me an "extra small" model and it was ready today. The shop was only a 20 min walk away so to save taking it apart to put in the car I walked up there then pushed/rode it back.

I pushed it most of the way as it was in the middle of shops and traffic. No way I was riding on the road! When we got to the quiet streets near home I rode on the footpath. Very wobbly at first, but once I got going it was great. Even though I was going quite slowly, it is very fast for little effort when compared to walking. After only about 200m I had to cross a street so I stopped. And fell over. I hit quite hard with my knee and both hands on rocks and weeds. Later I saw my knee was bleeding under my jeans. What amazes me, and I am very grateful for it, is that it didn't hurt my sore shoulder much. I would have expected much worse.

I pushed the bike over the street and then (and for this I am so proud of myself) I got back on and rode the rest of the way home except for a steep bit. It was only a couple of blocks but it was my first ride in 20 years. Now the bike is put away for a week, until Christmas. I can see myself really enjoying riding, once I get used to it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

W25 D5 - diagnosis

Yesterday morning I had my shoulder xrayed and ultrasounded and got the results in the afternoon, then saw my doctor today. It turns out I have a big tear in my supraspinatis tendon - the rotator cuff. It wasn't at all what I was expecting (I thought I had frozen shoulder) and at first it really threw me. The thought of a ripped tendon made me really nauseous too. But by the time I woke this morning I was at peace with it. It is good news, I think, in comparison. It needs to be looked after, like a newborn kitten, but it feels like part of me again.

Since there was no trauma to my shoulder and the pain has been gradually increasing over 5 or 6 months, I assume it was originally a little tear that has gradually got worse. My doctor and I are taking the conservative treatment option first: rest and gentle physio, then a cortisone injection if I need it. Only if there is no improvement over a long period will we look at surgery. I am already back on anti-inflammitories which are helping with the pain of the inflammation in the joint.

Of course it severely limits my exercise. Some authorities recommend a sling to immobilise the shoulder so it gets proper rest, but there is a danger of frozen shoulder. Better to just be careful. I can't do anything that uses or jerks the arm. So walking seems the best option at present. Outside or on the treadmill at the gym.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

W25 D2 - back to the gym

I found someone to share a two-for-the-price-of-one offer at the gym so I rejoined starting from today. I did 13.15 min on the treadmill (plus cooldown), 1 km, and I plan to try to better my time each day. That included a lot of slow walking at the start, but a 100 meter jog at the end. Then I did 30 mins on the bike, while reading a fitness magazine, 9.2 km. I will probably have to reduce the time on the bike, so I have to beat 6.1 km in 20 mins. With less time on the bike, I will do 2 treadmill sessions. I am not able to use any of the other gym equipment or do aerobic classes at present. Aquarobics may be ok, I will try it.

The reason for my limitations is still my shoulder. I am having an x-ray and ultrasound this week to confirm - or at least to rule out other possibilities - but it looks very much like adhesive capsulitis: frozen shoulder. I had it in my right shoulder 8 years ago after 2 years of RSI, and now it has hit my left. It greatly restricts movement in that arm and is quite painful if it is bumped or if I try to lift too much. Getting comfortable at night is near impossible so my sleep is broken and unrestful. I can no longer do up my own bra, although I can undo it one-handed, and if I am particularly stiff I can't take my shirt off either.

Exercise is vital to reduce the adhesions, staying still makes it freeze up more. But I have to be gentle. I knock it or jerk it accidentally every few days and weep in pain, but my shoulder is actually much freer for 24 hours afterwards because I have ripped the adhesions.

I have been walking many mornings and some evenings lately, moving and swinging my arms helps keep the shoulder limber and less painful, and getting a bit of exercise is a nice side effect. I've missed quite a few days from rain though - we have had almost constant rain for about a month and evacuations nearby from flooding. And summer + rain means humidity and mosquitoes. Even with insect repellant on when I go out, I am now covered in itchy bites. But... must walk as often as I can. I wake so stiff and sore that it is a relief to get up and about.

So, I am back at the gym - gently - plus walking hopefully a couple of times a day. It's a start.

Oh, and I am getting a push-bike for Christmas!