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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Obesity and Pain




I spend an inordinate amount of my time in pain. It's not acute, debilitating pain that some people surely suffer from, and for that I am thankful. But it is pain nonetheless, and it affects me deeply. It didn't use to be like this. I was an active, healthy teenager and remained so into my 20's and even my early 30's. After I became morbidly obese (at about age 28), I still had quite a bit of mobility without pain. It was harder to move, and I was far more tired, but when I wanted to be active, I could. When it was time to rake leaves or mow a lawn, I could. When I got motivated to try and lose weight, I could walk a couple miles, no problem. I could go swimming and do low impact aerobics without a thought. The only discomforts I experienced were from tiring easily and getting out of breath from being out of shape, and embarrassment over my weight.

Somewhere in there, maybe about 4 years ago, things changed. I started aching all over. My ankles and hips and shoulders would just HURT. But my knees, of course, were the worst. I knew I had a torn meniscus, so I babied it a bit. But as I got fatter and fatter, it became almost impossible for me to move. I could not go up and down stairs without extreme effort and pain. I limped. I hobbled. I hurt just to walk. I really destroyed my joints with the excess weight, and now I am paying the price.

As I have lost weight, much of my mobility has returned. I can do stairs and walk a few blocks, and I can ride my bike. But the problem is, I can't do much else. It's not a matter of aerobic fitness. It's a matter of pain. I WANT to walk further, but I can't. I want to swim, but I can't. When I do, I end up nearly crippled with pain for days or weeks afterwards. I have to stick carefully to my slow and easy exercise regimen... and really, that's fine. I don't mind.

What I mind is being unable to just LIVE. I just want to be able to get up and do simple little things that everyone does: clean the house a bit, play with my daughter, cook, shop. I want to have a more active lifestyle. But when I try, I pay dearly in pain. I would LOVE to be able to get up, wash some dishes, and vacuum. And still be able to play, do a load of laundry, and maybe even do some dusting. I am not talking marathon cleaning here. I just want to get up and move. But instead, when I do those things, I hurt so badly I end up medicated on the sofa. It's a vicious cycle: I want to be active and lose weight, but I have to be sedentary to not hurt, but I have to lose weight to not hurt...

I have been seeing a couple of doctors about this, but sadly, I just found out that my health insurance is being cancelled at the end of the month through no fault of my own. Nothing I can do but file one appeal. If it doesn't go through, I won't be getting any medication, or any knee surgery, for a long time. My only options at this point are over-the-counter medications, strengthening the muscles around the knees to stabilize them, and LOSE WEIGHT. I keep hoping that once I lose a significant chunk of my chunkiness, the pain will ease and I will be okay. But until then, I hurt. It's been a lot worse this week, maybe because of the dreary weather. I always heard old people saying that their joints hurt when it was rainy, but I thought it was just their imagination. But boy has it been worse this week.

I guess the reason I wanted to put this out there is for those heavy folks who are not yet in this position, who still have a relatively pain-free life, who still have the option of normalcy. Please don't wait to get healthy. If only I had known what I was doing to my body five or ten years ago, I would NOT have let this happen. Lose the weight NOW. You don't want to suffer later. It is not worth that Coke and chips. It is not worth that brownie. Trust me on this.

On a brighter note, I know I am far better off now than I would have been had I not lost weight. There is little doubt in my mind that if I were still 278 pounds, I would be in a wheelchair by now. My body was failing. I could barely get around. Surely I would be in far worse shape than I am now. I think I would be crippled by my weight and the pain of bone on bone in my joints. But I lost some weight, and I do feel better. And for that I am VERY thankful.

It's only going to get better from here.

I just thank God that I lost weight before I destroyed my joints.

Posted by Skinnybitch on the My Fat Spouse Forum

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