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Old 12-18-10, 12:43 PM   #1
jppe
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My Health Update Part XXXXXXX

Not sure why I'm posting--maybe just therapeutic in some way. Maybe I'm bored from my limitations. Thanks for allowing me to share my insights and updates though.

Here's an update on my health issues.

I have a condition that in laymans' terms is called "Reactive Arthritis". TWL is probably very familiar with it. It can be triggered by several things but one of those is a virus to the digestive/intestinal system. The symptoms are arthritic like to the joints in the legs and feet--swelling, pain, etc. However my joints do not show any signs of arthritis (roughness of the joints)--which is good. My latest foray was the result of some really bad food for supper while I was out of town in mid November ....which resulted in some serious intestinal distress.

I had the condition 30 years ago (triggered by a different issue) and was able to suppress it over time with some medication. In fact, I did so well eventually I was able to completely go off the medicine and have a completely normal and very active lifestyle and the condition lay dormant until last month. Boy has it come back with a vengeance.

While I have some swelling in my feet and ankles it is almost manageable. The swelling and stiffnes in my knees is continued work in progress. I requested and started the medication I was on 30 years ago and I immediately noticed some improvements-the pain in those joints improved immediately. However the swelling and stiffness in the knees continues.

Every day is a wee bit better-but just a wee bit and I'm very much wanting quantum leaps in improvement. I had hopes to be back spinning the pedals on a bike at least by January 1. At the current rate of improvement I'm still shooting for January 1 but it just might just be 2012 instead of 2011!!

My next stop is with my Orthopedic doctor to get his opinion on options for a more rapid improvement (there are at least 3). I have already drained a good bit of fluid off of one knee but suspect that knee could stand to have more fluid pulled off. That is not a pleasant exercise but if it leads to a faster recovery I'm all in. The next stop is with a Rheumatologist who I have found to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful with these types of issues.

I've progressed from a wheelchair..... to a walker..... to crutches.... to a cane..... to nothing for short periods. I still find a cane useful doing stairs but can only do steps going up and down one step at a time and using my better knee/leg doing the work. Even on flat ground as hard as I try and can only do baby steps. I concentrate on relaxing the legs and using the heel toe method for walking just to make sure I'm using the right technique (similar to thinking about spinning a bike maximizing the pedal stroke) but it's an extremely slow go. I walk like a person with Parkinson's or Alzheimers where there body forgets how to simply walk as fast as normal. The range of motion in the knees and my overall stamina is very limited.

I love riding in cold weather and really miss it. There is something about breathing in cool air and the crispness of the weather that I always found very refreshing-much better than the 90 degree temps and 70% humidity during the summer! There also seemed like there was a lot more quietness and stillness in the winter. I had planned to purchase a new frame and move my components over but have put that on hold as well. I had my eye on a "highly visible" winter jersey/jacket that I really wanted but not sure I'll be riding in cold weather for a while. No sense in tossing dollars towards cycling stuff not knowing if and when I can sit on a saddle again.

A small group of us do 100 milers on Saturdays in December and I miss those.

There were several bike rides and tours that I had planned to do in 2011 and am debating whether to sign up for those. Some of those I might go ahead and see if I can get a slot especially if I can at least recover some of the dollars if I'm just not in riding condition to do the rides.

I already know that when I can get back on a bike it will be more challenging that when I first started riding 10 years ago. It's amazing how fast the muscles can atrophy and the cardio system weaken. It's only been about 4 weeks. A couple months ago I jokingly posted about putting back on the 60 lbs that I'd lost primarily from cycling to have a goal to rejuvinate my interest in cycling. While my weight will not be an issue it appears my challenges might just be a lot more than I anticipated. Hills will definitely feel like hills once I'm back riding. In fact I might have to be selective on the routes on even my local rides just to make sure I can handle the hills--and we really do not have hills locally.

I know many of you have overcome physical ailments and am encouraged by your stories. For example, BluesDawg is a shining example for us all!

My latest goals are to make sure I can simply walk down the isle with my two daughters this year without looking like a cripple or even worse toppling the two of us over!

I'm trying to be patient and fortunatly I'm blessed with patience but at some point enough is enough. I want to ride my bike--and once again wear my 50+ kit.
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Last edited by jppe; 12-18-10 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 12-18-10, 01:21 PM   #2
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One day at a time. Good luck.
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Old 12-18-10, 02:56 PM   #3
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May the road rise to meet your feet and sun be always at your back. Blessings be upon you.........
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Old 12-18-10, 04:25 PM   #4
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Hate to say it but there is no hope... If you haven't had the gumption to wear the 50+ shift round the house when your daughters visit and threaten them that this will be the only Clothes you will feel comfortable in for the next year- then you have had it

Never know- they might club together and hire the suit for the wedding for you.

I am surprised the speed you have got off that walker. Improve at this rate and it will not be long before the Body comes back. Hikeand bike said one day at a time- Plan a bit further ahead than that. Reckon a week will be about right then you can set a target to attain and go for it.

Just don't plan for the 100 miler in January- It may still be too cold.
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Old 12-18-10, 04:35 PM   #5
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I'm sure it's agonizing to be off the bike for that long, but I bet all the riding you've done will actually help you get back into shape quickly.

Hang in there!
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Old 12-18-10, 04:39 PM   #6
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Good luck on a quick recovery. You have a bunch of years left, don't push it to the point of hurting you in the long haul.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:41 PM   #7
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My thoughts are always with you. Keep up the spirits and hard efforts and it will pay off.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:59 PM   #8
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I'm sorry to hear that your condition has turned out to be so serious and challenging. I know that it is hard facing the fact that you will temporarily be unable to do things love to do and had planned to do. But I also know that you are a determined person who will rise to a challenge. I have been inspired by your exploits in the hills as long as I have been reading this forum. I'm looking forward to reading about how you tackle this setback and get back to flattening those mountains.
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Old 12-18-10, 06:33 PM   #9
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I'm pulling for you Joe.
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Old 12-18-10, 07:00 PM   #10
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glad to hear you've graduated to cane/no cane. hang in there.
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Old 12-18-10, 08:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
I'm sorry to hear that your condition has turned out to be so serious and challenging. I know that it is hard facing the fact that you will temporarily be unable to do things love to do and had planned to do. But I also know that you are a determined person who will rise to a challenge. I have been inspired by your exploits in the hills as long as I have been reading this forum. I'm looking forward to reading about how you tackle this setback and get back to flattening those mountains.
+1 BluesDawg expressed my thoughts exactly. Here's to a speedy and full recovery
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Last edited by Beverly; 12-21-10 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 12-18-10, 10:59 PM   #12
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Joe -- we're pullin' for ya! I'm inspired to learn that you've already progressed from wheelchair (hard to picture that, having met you) to even sometimes unaided walking. Wishing the best for you... keep us posted as you continue to recover.
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Old 12-18-10, 11:30 PM   #13
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Good to hear there is progress and I'm sure it's never as fast as you'd like it to be. Don't worry too much over your fitness as you have a good base and know how to train.
Please do keep posting and let us know how you are doing.
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Old 12-19-10, 08:42 AM   #14
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I hope you have a speedy recovery although I'm sure it won't be fast enough for you. Enjoy the small victories and take it one step at a time.
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Old 12-19-10, 08:46 AM   #15
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speedy recovery! this too will pass. enjoy the wedding walk with the girls. no matter what that will be a thrill.
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Old 12-19-10, 09:37 AM   #16
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Just this morning I was reading the thread Poll: What Career - Current or Past? bjjoondo posts there about having "Reiter's Syndrome." When I looked it up I found out it is also called "Reactive Arthritis". Looks like a few BF members are (unfortunately) familiar with it.

From what you're saying, I would not delay seeing a top-notch Rheumatologist and Orthopedist a minute longer. And if you're not going to a Physical Therapist, I think that is necessary as well. The best care available is at teaching/University hospitals, if you're lucky enough to have one of them within driving distance to you're home. Impress upon your doctors the fact that you are an athlete; explain the miles you were riding.

You are one of the strongest willed people . . I can hear it in your "voice". My best wishes to you for continued progress! Happy New Year!!
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Old 12-19-10, 11:17 AM   #17
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From what you're saying, I would not delay seeing a top-notch Rheumatologist and Orthopedist a minute longer. And if you're not going to a Physical Therapist, I think that is necessary as well. The best care available is at teaching/University hospitals, if you're lucky enough to have one of them within driving distance to you're home. Impress upon your doctors the fact that you are an athlete; explain the miles you were riding.

You are one of the strongest willed people . . I can hear it in your "voice". My best wishes to you for continued progress! Happy New Year!!
I agree. Good PT is like magic, and your doctor (and PT) need to know you are an athlete.
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Old 12-19-10, 12:34 PM   #18
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Best of luck for a recovery. Being away from the bicycle is no fun, but dealing with your other issues make cycling look like a low priority.
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Old 12-19-10, 08:54 PM   #19
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To those who have opined about jppe's determination, as someone who has had the pleasure of riding with him on numerous occasions, I'll verify that quality! I also know him to be stubborn enough to push himself so he will regain his ability on the bike. I've attempted to offer some help, but he politely declines.
I need him to get well so he can shove me out there on the track next summer at Lowes Motor Speedway for the time trials, and keep me challenged as we ride many of the same events every year around the Carolinas. Can't have a successful 2011 season without one of my riding comrades...I'm pullin' for you buddy
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Old 12-20-10, 02:40 PM   #20
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"There were several bike rides and tours that I had planned to do in 2011 and am debating whether to sign up for those."

Sign up! I'm very sorry to hear about the health issues, but everyone on this this board KNOWS that you'll be back. Hang in there.
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Old 12-21-10, 03:59 AM   #21
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Good luck Joe, and I for one appreciate the report. Hope to see you around one or two of the "event rides" we shared last year -- and will again this year!
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Old 12-22-10, 10:31 PM   #22
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The entirety of one of Sir Winston Churchill's speeches in his last years was as follows:

"Never give up.
Never give up.
Never give up."


You've progressed towards recovery quite remarkably in a short time.

Continue! The days are already getting longer, and you will prevail.
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