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.