I know, I know…I haven’t blogged since Tuesday. What a crazy week! I was helping out in the Conti Infirmary where everyone – my two g-babies, son-in-law and very pregnant daughter – have been alternately sick the last two weeks. The illness has passed, so they can welcome g-baby #3 into a relatively germ-free house within the next few days. Cassie’s due date is Friday, but she went a few days early with Claire and Luca…so…Monday? Tuesday? So exciting!
I brought the kids to the mall on Friday to ride the carousel and those 50-cent rides that jolt kids around for a couple of minutes, but they imagine they’re driving a car or flying a space shuttle. Amazing what joy a roll of quarters will bring a 3- and almost 2-year-old and their Grammy.
The other thing that’s kept me from blogging is the news I got Wednesday from my knee doc. What we thought was just a meniscus tear (something that could be repaired with a simple scope) turned out to be much more, and the knee surgery I had in June, the one we thought bought me at least 5 years with my original equipment, turns out to have been in vain.
I’m getting pretty good at reading MRIs and x-rays. Most anything in bright white isn’t good. No, no, no. You don’t want to see bright white. But we did see bright white. A big old mass of bright white on my upper shin bone, lit up like the Griswold Christmas tree. It was fluid, which means, for lack of a better word, death. The bone, said my doc, is dying.
“We see this in women ages 40-65,” he said. “But usually it’s in women who are heavier than you.”
Doc doesn’t know about my obese past; all the years I spent going up and down the scale. At that moment I figured why tell him? Nothing I said would change the diagnosis.
So I walked out, a little stunned. My five years of reprieve from a total knee replacement is most likely down to 12 months or less. But rather than be angry, I was resigned. Sad, but resigned. I’ve done the anger thing. Anger is like snake oil. It cures nothing.
|The sign on the exam table in knee doc’s office|
In April and May 2010, I wrote two blogs about how I live with the consequences of living most of my adult life on a weight roller coaster and more importantly, being morbidly obese for several years.
In the Refuse to Regain post, I wrote: “I haven’t wanted to explore this, mostly because there’s not a damn thing I can do about it now and I can’t change the past. But the question is begging to be asked, the question I’ve avoided since making goal three years ago: Do I have all this arthritis in my knees, shoulders, wrists and toes because I was overweight and obese for so many years? Like stretch marks and loose skin, is arthritis my daily reminder that, for years, I fed my insatiable desire for starches and sweets; gained and lost and gained and lost a lot of weight; and for the most part treated my body like it was separate from me?
“The answer is probably not a resounding ‘Yes’, but it’s not ‘No’ either. I am, in many ways, responsible for the shape of my body now. The choices I made about diet and exercise and the things I declared acceptable (basically ignoring the weight elephant in the middle of the room) accelerated the degeneration of my knees and feet, and perhaps contributed to the degeneration of my wrists and shoulders.
“Even though I give myself a lot of credit for stopping the weight before it got any higher and for losing the weight which has given my other systems better health, here on the other side of weight, displaced anger still exists.”
We all lose weight for a variety of reasons: to avoid heart disease or avoid or regulate diabetes, to look better or fit into a size-smaller wedding dress, to be able to play with our kids, to fit in an airplane seat. All good reasons. But how many of you have lost weight because of the potential for osteoarthritis? My guess is not many. I certainly didn’t have a clue obesity could cause this arthritic mess of a body I’ve got now.
On Lynn’s Weigh last year, I wrote: “Even now, I get angry when I think about what I’ve done to [my body] and for what it can’t do anymore, much of it due to having been morbidly obese. But…I promise myself to do my best to stop the cycle of anger, grief and guilt I put myself through with much frequency. I will do this by journaling more positively and finding alternatives to self-flagellation as solutions to my perceived failings.”
Nearly a year later, I’m…eh…doing OK with stopping the anger cycle before it gets looped around. I try not to live in regret, but it still pops up once in awhile.
My plan now is to: 1) pay close attention to the pain, which right now isn’t too bad; 2) get educated about total knee replacement in “younger” people; 3) play with my grandkids; 4) keep working out; 5) keep my weight stable; 6) don’t beat myself up.
G-baby #3 will arrive soon. Very soon. And right now, despite the knee and wrists and everything else, that’s all that matters.
Life. It’s good. And if I’ve learned nothing else through this, it’s that there’s redemption, regardless of what we’ve done to our bodies or ourselves in the past.
*** I need to add that if you comment about how you know someone who’s had a knee replacement and have said it’s the best thing they’ve ever done and they wished they’d done it sooner, let me know how old that person is. 47 is really too young to have a knee replacement because replacements wear out in 7-10 years and the next knee is never as good as the first. You get mileage on the first one, yes you do, but I’m trying to think ahead. I’d love to hear from folks who had TKR in their 40s. Thank you!