Archives for: January 2010
Two friends have had knee replacement surgery in the past month. One is a single woman (Type O) whose surgery was in Texas and whose rehab was at a live-in nursing facility. The other was a married man (Type A) whose surgery was in England and whose rehab was at home. Both of them agree that rehab from knee surgery is excruciatingly painful.
Both of their doctors were very honest before the surgery. They said rehab would be pain worse than childbirth. Pain that would daily bring them to tears. Both of my friends thought that the doctors were exaggerating to make sure that they took their therapy and exercises seriously. Wrong; the doctor was painting an accurate picture.
The man described his experience using words like “torture” and “the rack”. The woman said, “More than once I was reduced to quivering and blubbering.” I’m not sure either of them would have had the surgery if they had known how horrible the recovery would be. I will follow up in a year, after they have had a chance to use their new knees, and see how they feel about it then.
But for now, they had two bits of advice for me, which are worth passing on to you.
First – keep your leg muscles strong now. If you don’t have knee problems, be thankful and build up the muscles in your legs so that your knee joint is supported. If you are overweight, all those extra pounds are adding stress to your knees. Think preventive. Be proactive.
If you have knee pain now (as I do) obey your physical therapist. Exercise those quads. Stay active and flexible. A lot of knee surgery can be avoided. When you strengthen your leg muscles, you take pressure off of the joint and give it a chance to heal. My husband had a tear in his meniscus. Physical therapy for several months and continuing to do his exercises has him 100% pain free without surgery. My patella femoral pain is more difficult to treat, but I have improved so much. The minor twinges I still get are a warning to keep up the exercises. Women my age have trouble building muscle because of hormone changes. I really have to work at it.
Second – If your knee pain is debilitating, and you are headed for knee replacement surgery, my friends recommend 3 months of work with a physical therapist or a personal trainer before the surgery. They say that the stronger your muscles and the more flexible your ligaments before surgery, the better off you will be in rehab.
I thought today that I was getting old.
I haven’t ridden my bicycle in a month or more. I ride once a week when the weather is mild. In the summer I get an early start before the temperatures get too hot. But I can’t generate any enthusiasm for riding in the cold. It’s just not fun. December and January have been cold months, and there haven’t been many good riding days. But this afternoon it was sunny and the temperature was 63. I put on my helmet and started out.
As I pedaled up the first hill, I didn’t feel stable. When I got to the top and started down it was worse. This is a long hill with a curve in the road about half way down. I usually enjoy the wild ride, braking only a little on the curve. Today I had no confidence. I applied the brakes all the way down. Now I was worried about myself. Was I getting too old to bicycle? Was I coming down with some dread disease – I’ve been reading a book about a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and his first symptom was instability.
The farther I road, the worse it got. I could hardly keep the bike on the road. I felt like I was leaning. I seriously considered turning back.
When I ride I listen to sermons on my MP3 player. I realized that I was having trouble hearing the words of the sermon. There was so much more wind noise than usual. Wind. I looked at the grass. It was waving back and forth; so were the tree branches. I found out later that the wind was 10 miles per hour with gusts up to 25. I was literally being blown off of the road.
In my neighborhood roads follow the curves of the hills, so none of them run north/south or east/west. One minute the wind was at my back, the next minute I was pedaling into a gust. But it was such a relief to know that there was a reason for the feelings of unsteadiness. Gradually I got used to the wind, and I began to pedal faster and enjoy myself more. The last hill before I arrived home I coasted down at full speed. It was exhilarating. I feel young again!
I came across a reference to an old hymn today. I’ve never heard it sung in church but the words are wonderful. It’s called “Be Gone Unbelief,” and the reason I mention it here, is because way back in the mid 1800s this hymn writer was acquainted with one of Dr. D’s principles.
Here is what he wrote:
Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
Is that not remarkably similar to “For you, some food acts like medicine.”
Here are the lines that got me interested in the hymn:
His way was much rougher and darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?
One of the confirming things when I first went on the Blood Type Diet was the way that peanuts and cheddar cheese affected me. I had always loved both of those foods, but they were rated as avoids. After I had been on the BTD for a few weeks, and had felt such good results, I had to experiment and find out what would happen if I tried to eat a few old favorite avoids. Peanuts and cheese made me noticeably sleepy. I thought back and remembered times when I had taken them as snacks in the car on long road trips. I would get so sleepy that I had to ask my husband to drive.
The ladies from my church brought dinner to us after Mom’s funeral. There was lots of really delightful and healthy food. However one of the dishes was King Ranch Casserole. Oh, how I used to love King Ranch Casserole! It is a Mexican chicken meal with corn tortillas, peppers, and melted cheddar cheese. I couldn’t resist a small portion.
After dinner my sister and I did the dishes. We were suddenly so tired. We had planned to do some paper work, but both of us were yawning and falling asleep. We blamed it on the stress of the weekend and the long drive home. Both of us went to bed early.
I woke up the next morning bright eyed and full of energy. That’s when it hit me. We weren’t sleepy because of stress. We were both Type Os, and we were sleepy because of cheddar cheese. My sister, because she lives in Europe, eats a lot of cheese. She is often tired at night, and tries to go to bed early.
I don’t regret the delicious taste of the King Ranch Casserole. It was a treat to be enjoyed once in a long while. However, I’m also glad I know the effect that cheese has on my Type O body. It’s much nicer tonight to be alert and productive after dinner. If I needed any confirmation that cheddar cheese is avoid for me, I certainly got it.
It is a good thing when the Blood Type Diet has become so ingrained that I can go on auto pilot. I haven’t thought a lot about blogging or meal planning or recipes in the past two weeks. I’m pleased that the habits I’ve developed over the past 6 ½ years have kept me eating right without any effort on my part. I have stayed alert and energetic and healthy through a stressful time.
My Mom passed away a week ago. When I look back, I realize that she did pretty well in therapy during September, October, and the first half of November. She didn’t regain any use of her right leg. She made a little progress with her right hand and her speech, but frankly not much. However she was remarkably cheerful considering the huge change that took place in her life because of the stroke.
The week of Thanksgiving things began to change. She began to be in pain. She got an infection in her leg that sent her to the hospital. She began to eat and drink less. During December she had good days and bad days. Being an optimist, I focused on the good days, but by Christmas the bad days were outweighing the good.
My Mom has always loved to eat. Even after the stroke, she ate the pureed foods with gusto and pleasure. But after Thanksgiving, eating seemed to cause distress. Since she couldn’t speak she couldn’t tell me what she was feeling. One friend told me that his mother’s stroke caused her bowel to shut down. When she ate there was nowhere for the food to go. That’s one possibility. Nausea from the pain medication is another. Perhaps she had another stroke. I don’t know.
What I do know is that her eating became a point of conflict for us. I pushed her to eat and drink more. She began to enjoy my visits less and less. I reached a point where I realized that if God was calling her home, and her body was shutting down, that I didn’t want to spend our remaining time together in a power struggle. One day I told the aids that I wasn’t coming for meals any more. I said that I hoped they would continue to try to get her to drink, but that I just wanted to love on her.
I would sit by her bed, holding her hand, and chatting into her headphones about the events of the day. She began to smile at me again, and I realized that she knew what was the most important. She passed away very peacefully one morning, and is now reunited with my Dad and in the presence of her dear Savior, Jesus Christ.
Since I don’t keep avoids in the house, I didn’t eat avoids. I would go into the kitchen and think, I haven’t had greens today. Then I would go to the freezer and pull out a bag of collard greens or turnip greens. I would think I need an orange vegetable to go with the greens. Out would come a can of pumpkin or a sweet potato. I was on BTD auto pilot.
Exercise was a different matter. I was so busy that I didn’t think I had time to exercise. But DD was home from college, and she understood my Type O body better than I did. She planned our exercise. She made me go with her to the gym or work out to a tape on the TV. Of course she was right, I always felt better after a workout.
People ask me how I’m doing. Right now I am buoyed by the knowledge that my Mom is not suffering any more. The last 4-5 weeks had been painful and difficult for her. I am comforted by my assurance that she has entered heaven and is experiencing life far more abundant than is possible on this earth. I am very busy with paperwork and the many tasks that have yet to be done, so I don’t have time to be sad.
Physically I feel fine. I think that is because of the auto pilot. I didn’t stop eating. I didn’t over eat. I didn’t eat junk. The BTD has become ingrained. I automatically ate right, and that has been a big help.