It is time for another exciting episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast! This is a long overdue Healthy Lifestyle Update, and I am checking back in to with you as my accountability partners. So for this episode, treat is like a warm-up for Thanksgiving: prepare yourself to hear all about my ailments and knee pain and problems, just like you are listening to your dad around the dinner table. No, not really…well, maybe a little. Seriously though, I am going to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly in regards to my journey towards improving my health and fitness.
In case you are new to Small Scale Life, we are living simply by growing, exploring and living healthy. To put it simply, we are focused on:
- Healthy living, and
- Having adventures along the way.
Before we begin, let’s hear from some friends of Small Scale Life.
Friends of Small Scale Life
For this episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, I wanted to give a big shout out to my friend Drew Sample at The Sample Hour. He just released Episode 171, which is all about Hogtoberfest 2017. In case you missed it, Drew Sample and I talked about Hogtoberfest 2016 last year. I have not had a chance to listen to this podcast yet, but given the people and personalities that attended this year, I am positive that this podcast will be simply awesome. Special shouts out to all the attendees for showing us how small communities of like minded people can come together to do some really cool stuff. Thanks for recording and posting this Drew!
I would also like to remind you that the Hogtoberfest host Greg Burns from Nature’s Image Farms does have comfrey left, and it is available for you at Nature’s Image Farm. As always, use discount code “SSL” for 10% off and FREE Shipping! So, if you would like to have your own Bocking 4 of Boking 14 Comfrey cuttings, reach out to Greg Burns at Natures Image Farms today!
Healthy Lifestyle Update: Good, Bad and Ugly
Today on Small Scale Life, I am going to discuss some of the good, the bad and the ugly related to jump-starting this journey. As you start to move, you might find out that some things need some attention and some work. You might even find out that you are not a 2 on the healthy lifestyle scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the fittest person in your dreams), you might be a 1. Right now, I am a 1. What will it take to get to a 2?
The last time I talked about this topic was back at the end of September. I have had a whole month, so what progress did I make? In a way, it is like showing your homework, a project or a speech in front of the class. Some of it might be good. Some of it might be bad, and in some cases, just plain ugly.
The good news is that I am still here, still working on it and still moving forward. I am working through the pain, and it has given me a serious appreciation for people like Todd Ehrhardt that are living and making progress on their dreams in spite of their physical pain.
We’ll start from the worst case and work backwards, so we end on a positive note. What can I say? I am a positive guy and want to end on a positive note and looking forward.
Let’s start with the ugly. If you follow Small Scale Life on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you have seen a lot of pictures and posts of my knee under various ice packs. I have been nursing a bad knee since the end of August when I worked at the Minnesota State Fair. So, what is going on? To answer that question, we have to go back in a time machine.
Back in my youth, I played football in high school and in college. As a defensive lineman and linebacker, I had my share of sprained ankles and fingers. I also had two knee injuries. As a Senior in high school, I strained my Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) on my left knee against Robbinsdale Armstrong High School (my son Ryan’s nemesis from high school basketball). That healed fairly quickly.
The bigger, more serious injury occurred in college. I was chasing down a running back on a broken play in a game against Hamline College, and a guy who was subbing in for our injured safety dove right into my left leg, bending it backward. I partially tore my Posterior Collateral Ligament (PCL) and once again strained my MCL. I also taught the Hamline sideline a new vocabulary and language that would make Salty Seaman proud. I was out for the year, and I decided to end my football career.
Flash forward 26 years from 1991 to 2017. I went from endless hours behind desks and in meetings to working on my feet a lot. In my current role, I am inspecting railroad crossings, working at events like the State Fair or presenting to people. That means I am standing, sometimes for hours on end.
In addition, I am just a little heavier now in my 40’s than when I was 18 years old. Just a bit! Those old injuries coupled with extra body weight and being on my feet a lot created a perfect storm for arthritis in my knee. Welcome to getting old and years of neglect, my friends!
Since the end of August, I have been hobbling around the house or at work and icing my knee at night. It affected me during the 14-Day Rebooted Body Walk Challenge, and I had to sign up for the 1 mile per day challenge because I was really worried that I couldn’t go farther on a given day.
I have gone to the doctor a couple times: once at the end of September and then again recently. I saw a general practitioner in September, and while the direction I got from them was okay, it was based on old information, x-rays and data from 2012. I knew I had to go to a specialist.
In late October, I was able to get to see an ortho. They took new x-rays of my knee and confirmed that I had arthritis and poor cartilage in both knees, particularly my left knee. Apparently the x-rays revealed that my lower legs are slightly misaligned from my knee, and this alignment forces the bulk of the weight and force to my inner knee and inner foot.
Based on discussions with the ortho, we decided to move ahead with Physical Therapy, holding off on cortisone shots or surgical options. One of the options was removing a wedge from both of my lower legs, forcing realignment of my legs. This would force my weight to be more evenly distributed through my legs to my feet. While the ortho shrugged it off and said it was like taking a chunk out of a tree (with a reciprocating saw), the thought of that did not appeal to me at all! Who wants someone sawing off part of their leg?
The bottom line is that my why’s for getting healthier are becoming even more urgent. Life will get a lot less painful if I do the work to rehab myself and can shed some weight.
Truth be told, it has been a miserable few days since the weekend. My knee was really sore after swimming a mile on Sunday, and I was really hobbling around the house and work. It was pretty painful, and I could feel my other muscles tightening up and tiring out while they compensated for my knee.
Got a walk with @jdoms91 tonight in the neighborhood. When we got close to shingle Creek, we hear two Great Horn Owls in the stand of cottonwoods and other trees along the creek. Owls are awesome, and I have learned to mimic their calls. Needless to say, we stopped and I called. Two owls got excited (they are territorial) and flew into trees right over our heads. They eventually decided to move on, and they took flight. The geese and ducks called out warning calls as the two owls flew over the water. It was a fantastic to see them fly. What a night! It is amazing what you see on a walk in the urban area sometimes.
There is hope, however. Yesterday I went to the Physical Therapist. We discussed the situation and she put me through some evaluations to see how bad it was. Probably the most difficult part of this was squatting down. That was pretty brutal. She also twisted my knee around trying to check if the meniscus was bad. That was a little painful.
She was able to see a lot of issues I have with my legs and muscles. The fact is that my calves are too tight, as are my hamstrings. My glutes, core and my quads need to be stronger, and my hips need some work as well. All of these things impact my knees and my lower back, which have both been pretty sore over the past several months.
I walked away with a laundry list of stretches and exercises to start rehabbing those muscles. I am working on that list of stretches and exercises at least two times a day, and I will be going to have therapy for the next six weeks. I have to do the work to make this better; no one can do it for me.
It certainly has been a wild year for me. I don’t usually go to the doctor or physical therapy. I haven’t in years. That all changed this year as I have truly tried to rehab my body.
- Through Kevin Michael Geary’s Rebooted Body, I took care of some sleeping issues and got my lower back checked out.
- I can also attribute my recent trips to the doctor, ortho and therapist to the Rebooted Body Walk Challenge as well.
Maybe I should send Kevin my bills? Totally kidding of course!
So, you might be asking, what is good about any of this?
The good part of this journey is that I am trying to get myself in a better place physically. Stretching and working out again is going to help me. I have been getting back in the pool more consistently, and last night I even tried the stationary bike. I can tell you that the pool has felt better for my knee that the bike! It was rather painful to spin those pedals, and my resistance level was set at 3. Sad because I used to start at 8 or 10.
Anyway, this journey is not an overnight sprint. It is a long, slow walk. My progress will be measured by inches at first, and then feet. It is going to take time and effort, but it is not too late to fix myself.
I have to do the work. I have to commit to it. This is important, and it is becoming more and more important as I get older. When you are young, you can do things that and ignore warning signs. I do not have that luxury. As I told the physical therapist, my 68 year old father-in-law walks better than I can right now. That needs to change.
My journey is just starting. Stay tuned to these Healthy Lifestyle Updates; it is going to be an interesting, and sometimes frustrating, walk.
Thank you for tuning into this episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast. Share this post and podcast; maybe that person you share it with will get inspired to go to the doctor and get help for their pain. Maybe you will be inspired to get moving and start your own journey. I am starting small, and you all can probably walk circles around me. Are you willing to get off the couch and start? Join me and give it a try!
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Thank you again for tuning in. Remember to grow, explore and be healthy! This is Tom from the Small Scale Life Podcast, and we’ll see you really soon!