Follow me on my journey to lose weight and get healthy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A new blog for a new life

Welcome to my new blog, devoted to my pursuit of weight loss and an overall healthier lifestyle. While I haven't ever been what I would consider obese (even though the medical height/weight charts would put me in that category), I've struggled with being heavier than I ought to be and a general level of unfitness. My goal isn't to be a muscle-bound he-man, nor to have a washboard stomach with six-pack abs. I simply want to be healthy so that I may serve my wife, my future children, and, most of all, God Almighty, to the best of my ability for as long as I am allowed to live on this earth.

There are two main aspects to my unhealthy life up to this point:
1) overeating, particularly of things like candy and pop
2) inactivity

The past few months have been a struggle for me. On November 21st, 2011, I started the P90X program for the second time. I had originally started the program in July and made it about six weeks in before being hired for a new job, looking for a new place to live, and moving some 200 miles interrupted my routine. It's a poor excuse, but I used it well. So, after 10-11 weeks of general inactivity, I restarted the program, having noticed considerable results in the six weeks from before. During the workout, however, I felt a twinge on the outside of my right knee while doing some push-ups. I figured I had overdone it and so backed off the push-ups, but finished the rest of the routine (two days later, when I could hardly lift my arms, I knew I had overdone it).

My leg was sore, and my gait was affected, so I decided I would wait a few days for it to improve. A few days became a few weeks, and finally on December 27th I got in to see a chiropractor, assuming my back was part of the problem (an additional symptom was that every time I rolled over in bed, pain would shoot down my right leg). X-rays showed a scoliosis-type curve to the right in my lower back, and that my right hip was significantly higher than my left. I went through a few adjustments and was starting to feel better, until January 5th. That morning I woke up in considerable pain and was barely able to stand, much less walk. I saw the chiropractor twice that day and twice the next, taking off of work because I wouldn't have been able to function. I didn't return to work until January 17th, but because of a delay in getting a work release from the chiropractor, I spent about three hours at work before coming home, never having set foot in the lab itself. While sitting around waiting, I called Iowa Ortho, an orthopedic center affiliated with Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. They couldn't get me in until February 6th, but I made an appointment anyway.

The next day I went to work and managed about 6 1/2 hours before the pain was enough that I needed to return home. The husband of one of my coworkers is a chiropractor, Dr. Crivaro, and seeing that my visits to the first one weren't resolving my issue, I decided to see him. I was able to get in on Thursday, January 19th, having taken the day off. I stayed home on the 20th, too, and on Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th. I saw Dr. Crivaro both of those days, and I was doing quite a bit better by the time I walked into his office Tuesday. At that point he felt comfortable enough writing me a work release.

I generally only made it two or three days at a time before I needed to take a day, sometimes two, off from work, but I was definitely seeing progress. I continued in this fashion until my appointment at Iowa Ortho. The visit was short, but the Physician's Assistant and the Doctor both made a preliminary diagnosis of a herniated disc in my lower back. They recommended an MRI, and in order to help me be capable of lying down for it, I was giving a six-day prescription for Predinsolone, a steroidal anti-inflammatory, and a ten-day prescription for Cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxant. I was in some discomfort when I went in for the MRI on the 8th, but with some adjusting and putting pads under my right leg, I was able to make it through the half-hour scan. Until the results came back, I was told not to go back to work. I was able to see the doctor on the 13th, and the diagnosis of a herniated disc was confirmed. The doctor wanted to wait four weeks and then see me again as herniated discs can often resolve on their own.

I went back to work, making it full days but not full weeks at first. I had the doctor's office prescribe more muscle relaxants and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, which seemed to help. I ended up not taking either on Sunday, February 26th, and felt pretty good. I went to work on the 27th without taking any, and made it through the day with little trouble, though my muscles were tired by the end. At some point in the week, I started taking the muscle relaxant in the morning before going to work, but I made it all five days, a major blessing.

Then, this past week, my wife, Abi, got sick (as did many of the people at our church, and since we had had a potluck on Sunday, we're wondering how much sickness was going around and then got picked up by others). I started feeling sick yesterday and ended up coming home after three hours with a massive headache and some terrible nausea. Much to my relief, after a couple hours' sleep and some food, I felt pretty much 100% better.

So that brings me to today, the beginning of this blog, and choices that need to be made. I still occasionally feel a bit of tingling down my leg, so I'm guessing the disc issues haven't fully resolved, though things are getting much better. With that in mind, a full-blown workout incorporating weights doesn't seem like the smartest of choices to make at this point in time. The weather has been phenomenal lately for mid-March; today it's supposed to reach 67 degrees, and except for tomorrow, the rest of the ten-day forecast has highs no lower than 60 degrees, many days 70 and above. With clear skies predicted for most of the ten days, too, it seems that getting outside would be in order. I have in the past embarked on a running program, the Couch to 5K program at www.c25k.com, but I don't know as I'm quite up for that yet, either. That leaves me with getting out and walking, and that's a great place to start.

I invite you to follow me as I begin what will hopefully not be just a few week or few month endeavor, but rather a lifetime of good choices leading to an overall healthier lifestyle. Your comments and encouragement are most welcome, and I encourage you to start making choices that will lead to a healthier life for yourself.

God bless!

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