Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oh the pain!

Curses ... I should never say how anxious I am to get some good sleep, like last night when I posted on my blog.  I didn't get much sleep at all. I dealt with it, though, aided by some lovely caffeine.  I had the appointment with the rheumatologist this morning.  He's an arthritis specialist who I first went to see when they suspected that I might have rheumatoid arthritis.  Today's appointment was to see how the pain in my legs was going and how I'm managing.  Just to give a little context, I began having significant pain in my legs when I started Optifast a year ago.  Prior to that, I did have osteoarthritis in my left knee from a previous injury, but then I started to develop this immense pain in my upper legs, hips and pelvis.  Just imagine having not exercised for a while and then going to the gym and giving your hardest workout, leaving you with major muscle soreness the next morning.  That's how my legs feel everyday, but the pain never subsides.  The last time I went to see the rheumatologist, he ruled out R.A. and suspected it might be fibromyalgia (which has since been ruled out as well).  He did discover osteoarthritis in my right knee, so now I've got it in both.  He put me on some heavy duty meds in addition to the neurologist putting me on other pain meds.  I have had every test possible to rule things out.  I've seen a physical therapist for the pain and am currently getting acupuncture treatment.  So, the doctor explained that, in addition to the osteoarthritis, I've got myofascial pain syndrome.  Basically what that is is localized chronic pain that comes on sometimes for unexplained reasons.  For some patients, the pain goes away eventually, while others have the experience of it getting worse and the rest just feel the same with no change over time.  My pain is real and it is very uncomfortable, but thankfully it is not another disease.  While it hurts, I still have functioning with limitations.  The best course of action for me is to continue on the pain meds (I am going to talk to my primary care doctor about changing one of the meds because it has made me gain lots of weight) while also building strength in my legs.  He recommends I have some sort of low impact aerobic activity on my legs every day and continue with the exercises the physical therapist gave me to do.  He's also recommending an education class through Kaiser that teaches patients how to manage chronic pain.

Although the news was tough to take, realizing that I'm going to have to remain in pain for the time-being, I also got another reminder that this is why I embarked on my whole weight loss journey in the first place.  I want to feel healthier.  Continuing to take the weight off will help with the joint and muscle pain. I decided that I'm going to splurge on myself and get a personal trainer at the gym to help me with doing the right kind of exercises and working on the right weight machines to help with the pain.  I know there's an expense that comes with that, but I'm worth it.  Damn skippy I'm worth it!  Besides, this is another level of support and self-care that I want.  It's okay to go after what I want, especially when it comes to my health.  It's very hard living in the sort of pain that I do,  so if I can do things that will help bring me some relief, I'm all for that.

Speaking of weight loss, things are going well on the Weight Watcher's front.  With each new day that I'm managing my plan of eating through the program, the more comfortable I am feeling with it.  One of the things that I didn't want to do is treat the weight loss as another diet I'm going on until I'm done.  I want it to be a lifestyle that is sustainable over the long haul.  I don't want to feel obsessed with food, feeling fear around it as though I'm clinging to safety of a life raft.  And I can honestly say I don't feel that way at all on this plan.  I love knowing I can eat healthy without feeling deprived and enjoy the variety of food at the same time.  I've been experimenting with new recipes and doing lots of writing as I go through the success journal that I recently got through their store.  I've even lost a few pounds already since Saturday.  That feels really good, so I'll take it!


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