I’m on a health kick. It started five minutes ago and I’m already feeling better. This time I really, really, really mean it. Why am I so sure? Because once I finish this piece, I’m pressing the “publish” button before I have a chance to change my mind. When I do that, it’s out there, just like my thighs. I won’t be able to ignore the fact that readers who follow my blog will know that I am working hard for spring break 2012.
Why the urgency? Earlier this summer I had a bit of a health scare. I woke up one morning and discovered I was having trouble walking. I thought it must have been the exercise I had done the previous day, but when I realized I hadn’t exercised since 2002, I thought I might be coming down with the flu. Several days later, the pain became more widespread and soon affected not only my legs, but my arms, shoulders and neck. In a nutshell, I hurt. Walking was difficult on a good day and putting on my shoes was next to impossible. Simple chores became drudgery as every movement had to be well thought out. Eventually, this started playing with my mind and next thing you know I was making promises of large wads of cash to my thirteen year old son and his friends just so they hang out at someone else’s house. Okay, enough of the pity party. You get it. I had trouble moving. It hurt. A lot.
Two months went by before I received my diagnosis: Polymyalgia Rheumatica. The average age of a patient struck with this hard-to-pronounce ailment is seventy. Just my luck. I can’t win the lottery but I can get an ailment twenty years before my time. Anyway, I immediately was prescribed Prednisone for an indefinite period and told I would be feeling much better in a few days. Of course this was good news. I was so grateful that there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with me that I immediately cancelled my Netflex showing of “The Bucket List.” Despite this good news, I balked at taking the medication. I didn’t want to take a non-inflammatory drug where the common side effects included: weight gain, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, sweating, nervousness and indigestion. That’s what menopause is for. And I’m already a poster child for that mid-life party at my house.
So I continued my struggle to walk while occasionally glancing at my cure in the little prescription bottle I left on the kitchen counter. In the meantime I tried glucosamine and chondroitin vitamins, joint juices, heating pads, Epsom salt baths, herb remedies, massage treatments and so many stretching exercises that it was a delight to see my toes up close for the first time in ages. But nothing worked. Apparently my CRP numbers (yeah, I don’t know what that means either) were so high that it soon became evident that any relief would only come from that little white pill. What’s interesting is that it wasn’t the pain I was experiencing nor the threat of side effects but rather what my sweet mother whispered to me as she watched me struggle:
“You walk like you are wearing a tampon for the first time.”
So I took the medication. And it was true. The relief was almost immediate. And welcoming. And the hunger pains? Yes, they arrived as well as the sleepless nights. Throw this on top of peri-menopause and I’m a pretty little mess.
So while I am walking straighter, the goal is not to walk wider. I’ve revamped our grocery list cleaned out the pantry and refrigerator and set my mind to neutral when I hear endless cries of “there’s nothing good to eat!” from my children. Exercise has become my friend again. Well, I mean it will once I hit the “publish” button.
Ready, set, publish.