Monday, April 19, 2010

Arthritis, tragic abs and up a creek with a flimsy paddle

Life moves much like a stream, always flowing, always heading somewhere and the terrain it flows over dictates the characteristics of that flow. Flat lands create gentle meandering courses, hills create swift flowing movement and boulders create rapids.The stream can seem to disappear when it flows through a cave, but when it flows over a cliff , it becomes a waterfall. Yesterday made me feel as if my life's flow is in a waterfall of late !

Thursday I noticed that my arthritis was flaring up , and I was having pain in walking. Let me rephrase that- pain is not really accurate. It is more accurate to describe it as the feeling that my knee, hips and lower spine are not capable of supporting my weight and may collapse.Not a new feeling in the least, and i know more movement can help to lessen this feeling. It did not, but I was too wrapped up in life to give it a lot of thought. Thursday night I had trouble sleeping because there was no comfortable position to be found with my knee, and Friday it was worse because of the lack of sleep. Friday night was also fairly sleepless because of the discomfort, and while shopping Saturday I taxed the knee, hip and lower back too much. I could not complete all of the shopping, and had to send Bob into the last stop to complete the list. Again, I did not really think much about it because there was too many other things pulling at my focus. Yesterday afternoon was nice and our plan was to head to the park and play frisbee for some activity after lunch- portabello and red pepper sandwiches serve on Arnolds with veggies and strawberries on the side.

Portobello Red Pepper Sandwich
1/2 large red onion -- thinly sliced
4 large Portobello mushrooms -- stems removed
4 deli thins
2 cups large arugula leaves
2 medium drained roasted red bell peppers -- from jar,
seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 cup raw tahini (pureed sesame seeds)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Mrs Dash
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
1 large pitted medjool date -- chopped or 2 deglet noor
1 small clove garlic -- chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange mushrooms and onions on baking sheet
and roast until tender,about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make tahini
spread by blending all spread ingredients together.
When mushrooms/onions are done, place on deli flats Spread generous
amount of tahini spread on top half of split pita. Place 1/2 cup arugula
on bottom half and then, 1 mushroom cap (pat dry with paper towels to absorb
liquid), sliced onion and roasted red pepper.
Serves 4.

We got to the park, and I was having real problems walking on non paved terrain, so we decided to skip frisbee and simply walk. My knee was really bothering me , and after about a block I could not walk without hanging onto something- Bob was that something. I decided to try to just push through the pain and walk no matter what, and I could no longer do it after about 3 blocks. It made me come to some really sobering thoughts. First, in spite of weight loss and activity, my arthritis is getting worse instead of better. Second, it is time to begin walking with the use of a cane.Either that or give up walking all together. We came home, and the knowledge of this made me feel like I am now living in one of those waterfall experience , where I have no control and am at the mercy of gravity and the obstacles in my terrain. Defeated, but defeat always makes me think deep to uncover an unheard of approach. Is it possible, I pondered, to better cope with my knee and hip instability with the strengthening of my nearly non existent abdominal muscles ? Would it be possible to work on strengthening these and temporarily using a cane to give my frame more support so more speed can be archived, greater distance and therefor increased weight loss and less stress on the joints ??? Lets find out ! So starting today I am adding abdominal work into my day. I am not doing it to lose weight or get a six pack, but rather to strengthen my core muscles so they give better support and this will allow me more movement which will burn more fat and bring greater weight loss.

Dinner followed some searching on Google to find some exercises that should help this objective. Southwest Chicken with Braised Kale and Squash with Pumpkin seeds

To make the chicken , I places boneless skinless chicken thighs in a 9x13 pan and added 1 can of black beans ( drained) , 1 cup of frozen corn and 1 jar of salsa and a handful of chopped cilantro. I covered it with foil and baked it at 350 for an hour. The kale and squash were made with this recipe
Braised Kale and Squash with Pumpkin Seeds

2 bunches kale
1 medium butternut squash or small pumpkin
1 medium red onion -- coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic -- sliced
2 tablespoons Mrs Dash
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons Fig Vinegar
1 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds -- lightly toasted

Strip kale from stems. Discard stems. Wash leaves well, and coarsely chop.
Peel, seed, and cube butternut squash or pumpkin. Place kale, squash,
onion, garlic, and Mrs Dash in a large
pot with water. Cover and steam over low heat for 20 minutes or until
squash is tender. Add vinegar and toss. Serve sprinkled with lightly
toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Toast seeds in oven at 300 degrees
for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Serves 6

So today is back to school and a new , focused effort to repair the machine known as my body.My abdominal area has always been a problem ! While my arms, legs and back was strong, my abs were pretty wimpy when i was younger. Then I got pregnant, had a stillbirth, had major exploration surgery that cut me from six inches above my navel to the hair line, a pregnancy with a 12 lb baby and a C Section with an incision parallel to the other one in less than a year, and never working to regain muscle tone. Ladies and gentleman, I have my work cut out for me !!!


Sally said...

Strong abs are the key to keeping your back in good working order. I know- I have had back problems on and off for years, A couple of years ago I slipped and triggered my back problems again. I was sent to an exercise class and always the first instruction whatever exercise you were doing was to tighten the transverse abdominal muscle. You wont get a 6 pack - but hopefully you will have a stronger back!! BTW I gave my first ever professional reiki treatment today :-)

spunkysuzi said...

I too have arthritis so i know what you are describing only too well!
I do find my comes and goes in waves. Right now it's good and i do try to work my muscles as much as possible and i do think it helps.

Jeremy Logsdon said...

I think doing some ab work could be a great thing. It's amazing what all our core can do for us. Just take it slow and steady. :)

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I think developing a strong core (abs included) is vital in supporting our skeletal system. It only makes since that it may help your walking.

I'm so sorry that you are having such trouble with your arthritis. I'll be thinking about you!