When the Healthy Coastal Lifestyle Bites You in the Butt

I did everything that I was supposed to do. I watched what I ate; walked, jogged, and did cardio classes; weight-trained; and practiced yoga. As a result, I dropped a good bit of weight, improved my overall health, toned up, and started feeling quite amazing. In short, I made significant strides to taking a bunch of weight off my knees so they would be stronger and not hurt.

In the epitome of kicks-in-the-teeth, the cruelest of ironies, improving my health to make my knees happier wore one of them down. It’s the classic, “Well, shit.” moment.

Earlier this year, my left knee started swelling and staying swollen for no discernible reason, and it started twinging a bit. My daughter pushed me to go to the doctor to see what was up. A doctor’s appointment, x-rays, a follow-up, and an orthopedic referral later, I have an answer, and I don’t like it: Arthritis. My orthopedist compared images of my left knee from three years ago to Tuesday’s images and noticed some definite degeneration. The very things I had been doing to improve my health hurt my knee. That was really disappointing.

I’m trying to be positive. One, I was doing everything right, and my doctor was pleased with the improvements I’d made to my health, because that’s part of the treatment for the knee. I didn’t damage it doing stupid stuff. Two, I’m under no restrictions. I can still walk, run, take aerobics classes, practice yoga, and do weight training. In fact, he was kind enough to give me even more exercises to do! Granted, they’re dreaded wall squats and lifts, but the quads and knees are already feeling more settled. Three, he sees no reason why I shouldn’t be able to achieve my goal of completing a 5K later this year or doing some hiking.

I simply have to add things to my life I wasn’t prepared to add at this point. I have to add anti-inflammatory medications or supplements to my life – and I really don’t like having to take medicine if I can avoid it. I have to add rehab exercises to an increasingly busy schedule. I have to add the reality of considering cortisone shots versus pill-popping – and I HATE needles!

This is my new reality: A body that is beginning to show some signs of age. Now, I have a choice. I can either accept this new reality and deal with it; or I can pretend it doesn’t exist, give up, and undo all the progress I’ve made. That choice is pretty easy to make. I’ve just gotta grab my turmeric and knee brace, and I’m back on the move.