So. Back in for follow-up on the knee injury I gave myself on the ship, this time with my regular doc, as she was full up last week so I chose to visit another one. The injury itself is getting better but, as I already know, my knees are under a bit of strain already and looks like they may be starting to develop arthritis. (As in: she never mention the word to me, but the description she gave me of the X-ray and the possible therapies discussed point in that direction.)
Cue me not being surprised. Also not being surprised that the #1 recommendation is to lose weight, as I knew that already - with buying the house, then a series of short illnesses, then the wedding, I'd fallen out of the weightlifting habit and stopped watching what I was eating, and 20 pounds came back on (I can pretty much thank sodas for that as they are my downfall), and I could feel the strain increasing on my knees. Strain that I'd had previously, at 50 pounds heavier, which had gone away with that loss.
At any rate, the pressure I feel as the day goes on is because the joint fills up with fluid to cushion it, stiffening it. For now, Tylenol and glucosamine. The usual anti-inflammatory drug therapies won't work as they make me swell up like a balloon, and the other one that's usually prescribed (Celebrex) works on the same pathways, so may cause the same problem. She'd have given me a sample if she had any, but didn't and didn't want to prescribe me an expensive drug if we weren't sure it was going to work properly. I could get a (cortizone, I think?) shot, but I forget why she didn't want to go there yet. And if it gets worse, we'll go for an MRI but hold off on that for a while to see.
The annoying bit? Isometric exercises only for my knees, at least for the duration. Which leaves out exercises that put my knees through a range of motion, such as squats, which are also some of the best things you can do to strengthen your lower body. Bah.
Anyway. Toby and I had already decided to get back to watching our eating, as we'd both backslid and started eating a lot more crap (well, mostly drinking, as we'd both soda-ed up), and as a kickstarter I convinced him to follow, for a while, Mark Bittman's plan of (mostly) vegan until sundown, then whatever you want for dinner (within reason, of course). I see it as a general way to shift my diet more towards plant-based foods and whole grains*. I think Toby may see it more as a way to limit the amount of money we'd been spending on groceries and dining, as he's been grumbling about that recently, and plants tend to be cheaper than meat. :)
I did lose five pounds in two days, which freaked me out a bit until I realized I'd inadvertantly cut my sodium consumption by about half, which would definitely cause me to lose water! And, to combat my mother's insidious voice from the start of every diet as a kid**, even though it's "only" water weight ... that is five pounds of water my knees are not having to support right now.
ANYWAY. Just as Bittman says, we're not being ramrod-straight about it, for instance we've got friends coming over this weekend for ribs. :) And I don't think I'll want to follow this forever, just enough to get me to shift my general eating patterns over to the side of eating more vegetables and whole grains than I am now, and hopefully gain new habits as to waht to eat for breakfast, for example (I can always tell when I eat more protein and whole grains, as I feel better in the morning than when I breakfast on refined grains).
Meanwhile: I plan on splurging on ice cream often ... we've just got to make it from hand, with our new uber-powered ice-cream maker, instead of picking it up from the store. That ought to put up just high enough of a barrier to make it a less-than-every-night thing!
* And, despite what people say about "white foods" -- refined carbohydrates like wheat, sugar, white rice, potatoes -- being bad for you, you will pry my potatoes from my cold, dead hands. Bittman is all about indulging in things like that in moderation, which makes him a breath of fresh air.
** Oh yes, lots of diets as a kid, on which I never lost any fat, just that first drop of water weight. My maternal grandmother was especially poisonous in that regard, putting me on diets when I went to visit them. I remember sneaking out of my room at night to snack on dry spaghetti in the pantry because it was the only thing I could find to eat that wasn't "healthy" or in a can.
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