Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Crappy ankles = belly fat

The direct result of crappy ankles, in my opinion, is a bulging belly. I cannot get control of my belly except by artificial means. Like girdles. Or sweat pants. Or loose blouses.

Not walking, eating exactly the same amount, drinking wine on the weekends and the dreaded menopause equal weight gain. It's more than irritating.

I remember, was it in my 20s; maybe my 30s, when I could lie in the bathtub and my stomach wouldn't reach over the water line. Today, even if I fill the bathtub up to precipice heights, I can see a mound with a belly button on top.

I know people my age and older who eat only salads. Or nothing basically. And it's true, some of them are stick thin, but do they have any fun in life? I can't imagine how. When I look at a menu, I go straight for the fried food. Fried shrimp. Fried oysters. Now, I don't always choose those. But put a hamburger and fries (or tater tots!) beside a salad and decadence is going to win every time.

I've read Mark Bittman's books. I've even underlined in them. And cooked from them! But Mark Bittman is not my husband. My husband likes to eat as much as I do.

Now, in my defense, I exercise. I go to a gym. I used to do the elliptical machine for 30 minutes. But those days are over for now. I ride the recumbent bike for 45 to 60 minutes. And I do weights.

So I am not sitting around watching The Blacklist and eating hamburgers. Instead, I download it to my iPad and watch it while riding the bicycle at the gym.

Am I making excuses? Should I have more discipline? You decide. But keep it to yourself. I already have enough guilt and shame. (Also I love cheap penny candy [now 25 cents] and I need a haircut.)

Photo by Stu Spivak | CC BY-SA

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Colon cancer to ankle replacement: the saga of an aging cowgirl

I have a new story to tell, and it's not about colon cancer. When you continue to age because you've survived colon cancer (and I'm very glad I did!), other ailments creep in. In this blog, I've mentioned my crappy ankles before.

When I was, oh 14 or 15, I played basketball for junior high. That was back in the day when you played half court. Lucky for me, too, because I couldn't shoot or dribble. But I could rebound the heck out of a ball. The coach said, "The minute you get the ball, pass it to someone else fast." Which I did, so I guess I could add "passing" to my basketball talents.

Problem with being a good rebounder AND wearing Chuck Taylor high tops is that ankle support was minimal. So I sprained my ankle about once a month.

Turns out spraining your ankle when you're a kid becomes ankle arthritis when you're an aging adult. 

And it's quite painful. There are times when I'm walking that I cry. But not all the time. If I take enough Voltaren, I can hobble along at a decent pace. Those of you with arthritis anywhere understand, I'm sure.

I've had both ankles operated on twice. One for a ligament tightening (because loose ligaments caused me to turn my ankle when I was just walking down the street) and one to clean out the arthritis.

So now it's time to do the big one. The special Facebook group I'm on calls it: TAR. That means total ankle replacement.

It's not common like knee replacement and hip replacement. It's new. And I'm scared. Like in knee replacement, in ankle replacement surgeons basically cut off your bones and insert a metal joint. But unlike knee replacement, the ankle bones that hold the metal joint are more slim. Not thick like the femur and the upper tibia.

And the foot is a complicated body part. For a glimpse of what the surgery is like, look at this video. I might warn you not to eat first.

When my new doc looked at my ankles, he used a phrase befitting of a gal with a blog named Cowgirl Attitude. "That horse is out of the barn," he said. Meaning, I guess, no more repair work on those ankles, honey, it's time for TAR.

So my surgery is scheduled Dec. 9. I'll keep you up on the details in case a surgery of this sort is in your future.

Photo credit: Rachel Patterson | CC BY-NC-ND