Friday, July 16, 2010

245 lbs

I've finally decided to stop putting the number of days in the heading.  It's been so many now that it's become meaningless.  This is no longer an experiment or 'diet'.  It's just how I live.

Once again it's been 2 weeks since I last posted.  I'm just too crazy busy on the day I start back to hospice to blog and the week doesn't get any better from there.  I was at 247.6 last week still so am very glad to get the new lower number on the scale this week. 

I'm now officially down 47 lbs.

That's a great number and I'm very happy about it.  I continue to see changes in my body.  I was able to buy 1X shirts for the first time this week.  I've been a 2X forever so that was really cool.  I can see the curve of my waist starting to return near the bottom of my rib cage and the rolls on my back are much smaller.  Can't really call them rolls anymore.  More like speed bumps! :-)  Still, here it is the middle of July and I have yet to hit 50 pounds lost when I was hoping to make that number by the end of May.

Oh how I long for the days when I was losing 2 1/2 pounds a week!  On average, I've only been losing half that much lately.  Oh hell.  Actually that's not too bad.  Just gives my skin time to keep up with the weight loss.  My stomach and butt seem to be doing quite well in that department.  My upper arms and thighs are another matter entirely though.  I'm hoping weight training will help with that down the road.

Speaking of weight training, lots to report on the knee for the last 2 weeks.  Last week the knee was terrible.  It never got better on my week off of hospice like it had done in the past so I started my hospice week with an already swollen and painful knee.  I didn't even attempt any of the PT exercises last week as I didn't dare make it any worse.

By Monday (4 days ago), it was as bad as I've ever seen it.  Luckily I had set an appointment to see Chris (the guy I went to for the Rolfing sessions) that day.  The plan was to see if he could help me with my remaining trouble areas - mainly the knee, lower back and neck/upper back area.

He started out working on some myofascial release in the knee/thigh area, but it was too painful so he switched over to a technique that I don't know the name of, but it was essentially all energy work.  He would just rest his hands lightly on various areas (calf, knee, all along the adductor that I have so much trouble with, etc) and just leave them there for a while.  Not massaging, just resting/holding.  You would think that not much would happen from such a simple technique, but that wasn't the case at all.

It all started out so innocuously.  Chris had his hands around my calf (I think.  It's kind of hard to recall at this point.) and I started to feel twinges of pain in various areas of my leg including my lower back/gluteous area where all the pain was when I hernieated that disc 3 years ago.  Occasionally there would be a sharp pain.  Almost like an electrical shock.  These were mostly in the inguinal area if I remember correctly.

Not long after he started I felt sadness start to wash over me.  It felt odd because I hadn't been thinking of anything that would make me sad.  In fact I had been enthralled by the sensations in my leg and the fact that I could feel the energy moving around in the leg in various areas and various rhythyms and it was even more cool that Chris could feel the same rhythyms as I was.  It was a whole new way of communicating with another person.  Very hard to describe.

I'd worked with Chris enough to know that it is not unusual for his kind of work to release emotions that get stored in the body, but that's a hard concept to grasp.  I know when we did the 10 series that he mentioned it was not unusual for emotions to come up during the work, but for me nothing ever did until near the end of the sessions when he was working on my right shin in the area that has a dent in it from a motorcycle accident that I had at 18.  I started to feel an intense fear, verging on panic. While it was happening I lay there and tried to just experience it all the while being amazed that I could feel such intense emotion simply because someone was working on my shin.  The part of my mind that was panicing was sure my leg was about to break from the pressure Chris was applying.  It couldn't do that of course.  Chris wasn't pressing that hard, but in my mind I wanted to kick and pull away and make him stop, not because it hurt but because I was terrified.

Strange stuff this mind-body connection.  Usually it's just a theory, but there are realms where theory turns into reality.

The wave of sadness lasted about 20 to 30 minutes I would estimate.  I started crying, not in a sobbing kind of way, just tears leaking from the corners of my eyes.  I wasn't remembering anything in particular during that time.  My mind just kind of wandered back through my life, but the two strongest memories were of my failed marriage and my parents divorce when I was 7.

Then finally, the sadness faded and was gone as if it had never been there to start with.  It came and went like a summer shower and now the sun was out again.  I felt very languid and peaceful at this point.  I went back to paying attention to the sensations in my leg.  Feeling the pain move from area to area and back again and feeling the energy pulsate subtly.

Chris worked on me this way for over an hour.  Maybe an hour and a half.  I don't know if that was hard on him or not.  It seems like it would be very draining to me.  I don't know because I didn't ask him.

Now if the story ended there it would be remarkable enough, but it doesn't end there, not by a long shot.

My appointment with Chris was at 1 PM.  Around 8 PM that night I noticed that my knee was feeling ..... different.  Like it had turned a corner and was starting to heal.  Now mind you, Chris never once said anything to me about my knee getting better.  I mean the whole idea of the appointment was to help the knee by maybe loosening the fascia that might have been constricted and creating misalignments but, of course, after having the sadness released I was thinking that was going to be the effect of the energy work.  It really never occurred to me that there would be any immediate physical changes in the knee.

The next morning was a shock though because when I woke up the swelling in that knee had decreased by about 75%.  It was such a shock that my mind just couldn't process it.  Things like that just don't happen.  Now remember, this is the knee that just 24 hours before had been in the worst condition it had ever been in and that a week of rest had not brought any improvement to it and that it had only mildly responded to a half hour or so of massage that my PT had given it.  And here, suddenly, Tuesday morning, I awoke to find the knee undeniably improved after Chris did 'nothing' to it.

Since such a result is so far outside of the convential view of reality, I just brushed it off with a "Huh.  That's cool.  Weird, but cool." and went about my day.  I did talk to Chris and told him what had happened and briefly worried about what I would tell my PT the next day.  He was going to want to know what I had done to make the knee better.  I was praying he had an open mind.

The next morning I was surprised again.  The knee felt even better than it had the day before.  That was another shock.  It hadn't occurred to me that it would keep improving.  To me just having that much swelling disappear was miracle enough.  It didn't even enter my mind that the knee might continue to heal.

When I saw my PT later that day and explained to him that I was not a nut case and that my knee really had improved that much due to energy work, he was great.  He's been a PT for over 30 years and had seen the mind/body connection manifest in various ways before so he was completely accepting and in fact encouraged me to do more of the energy work with Chris.  The coolest thing though was how he could validate how significantly improved my knee was from the last time he'd seen me the week before.  It wasn't just a figment of my imagination!

That was Wednesday.  The knee has continued to improve.  It is now Saturday morning (even though I'm supposedly writing this on Friday, but I was too busy yesterday to get to it).  I almost can't comprehend how much my knee has healed.  (I know I keep saying that, but it is really hard to comprehend.)  Practically all of the swelling is gone.  I don't feel any tightness in the knee at all when I bend it.  It's almost the same size now as the uninjured knee execpt for some swelling on the outer side of the knee cap.  There is still some discomfort, but it feels strong again.  I have full extension in it again and can walk without a limp.  For all I know it will just keep this up until it is completely healed.  Nothing is outside the realm of possibility anymore as far as I'm concerned.  Still, I'm scheduling another appointment with Chris in a few days.  I think it will help.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  I'm just so excited that I can now see the possibility of getting back to exercising again.  I have things I want to do and games I want to play and I need two good knees to do them!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 164 247.6 lbs

Yes, it's been 2 weeks since I last posted.  I was so busy last week I didn't have the time, but my weight last week was 249 lbs.  And now this week basically the same as it was 2 weeks ago.

I have actually been doing pretty good food-wise the last 2 weeks so I can only say that it has something to do with not being able to exercise like I used to.

I had my first real PT session a couple of days ago, so now I feel I am officially on my way to recovery, but it won't be fast.  Edward Drangle, my PT, only adds exercises one at a time so if something starts hurting then we will know which exercise is doing it.  Plus my treading water has been cut back to only 20 minutes every other day so we can see if that is hurting my knee.  I actually did my first 20 minutes yesterday and my knee has been hurting more ever since so I'm trying not to get discouraged.  At least I know I did the right thing by going to a PT.  It was all just too complicated to figure out on my own.

For example, since herniating my L3 disc 3 years ago, the adductor in my right thigh has not been right.  Right after the herniation, I wasn't able to lift that right foot up to set it on my other knee so I could put my shoe on nor could I raise it up high enough to put my pants leg on either.  All that improved so I didn't realize it still had some weakness, but that weakness has made it difficult for my right leg to keep up with my left leg when walking.  Since the adductor is weak then my body had to recruit other muscles - esp in the lower back - to get that leg moving otherwise I'd just fall flat on my face.  Just another piece of the puzzle....  Now we have to see to what extent we can strengthen that adductor again.  No telling if there is permanent damage there or not.  It sure feels like there is though.

Also it is amazing, but Edward had me feel the difference in the muscles between my two legs and while there is some tone in my left leg (what little I can feel underneath all the fat that is - ugh!), my right leg muscles are just mush.  But it was knowledge like that that let me know I found the right PT.  I have so much confidence in him.  He's very zen-like in the sense that he seems to know how to just be in the moment.  In other words, when he is working with me his focus is solely on me and then when my appointment was over he moved on to his next client and gave his whole attention to him.  I really like that.

I had to join a gym near my house as Edward is clear across town from me and it wasn't very practical for me to drive all that way so often.  This gym is just 2 blocks from my house.

So, even though the weight loss has slowed way down, I am still losing and there is still so much room for improvement that I'm not discouraged.  It's not like I'm working as hard as I possibly can and still not losing weight.  Once I'm better I can exercise again and perhaps finally start doing sprints and build muscle all of which will speed up fat loss.

I'm very happy with what I've accomplished so far.  45 lbs is nothing to sneeze at.  Even if I didn't lose another pound for the rest of the year I would have won because for so many years I faced one New Year's after another where my weight hadn't dropped or (more usual) had increased over the year.  This year I know for certain that I will end the year at least 45 pounds lighter than when I started.  I can breathe easier, bend easier, and move easier than I could in January.  So while I wish I was still losing 2 1/2 lbs a week like I did in the beginning, I'll take any weight loss I get at any rate it comes.  At least, after 20 years, I've finally figured out how to do it.