Taking A Different Approach, Part Two

I am sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.    My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.


Adding injury to the mix.

Luckily I was pretty active for the most part, so I was about twenty-five pounds overweight. Around the same time as the depression hit, I had some foot problems that kept me from wearing any closed in shoes. It looked as if surgery was the only option. I balked and wore clogs and sandals, was less active and the weight came on. I started a new job and thought that would help but I gained ten pounds in the first nine months (they were big into potlucks).

After consulting with two surgeons, they determined I had two bone spurs in my right heel. One is a Haglund’s Deformity and the other on the bottom, is a calcaneal spur  (heel spur). The bursa on the back of the heel from the Haglund’s deformity was no longer fluid filled and had formed a large, painful ball which was irritating the tendon. There were two options for surgery. One would have me off my feet for eight weeks with a possible eight month or longer recovery. The second option was less invasive but still required three complete weeks of no weight-bearing then several weeks in a boot, but it would not totally fix the problem. The thing that scared me most was being told that if I fell, I could damage the foot more than it was before surgery from either procedure. The second option recommended orthotics after surgery, but the surgery had to be done first.

Below is an x-ray I found online that illustrates what my bone spurs look like.  The tenonitis in the back of the heel has progressed to tendonosis.

What’s the difference?  Achilles tendonitisis an acute, inflammatory, repetitive stress injury of the Achilles tendon,commonly affecting athletes and active individuals. When tendons (tendons attach muscles to bones) are inflamed they may become painful. Research, however, indicates that when there is ongoing or chronic pain from a tendon such as the Achilles, the tendon is not persistently inflamed but actually degenerative, with thickening, scar tissue, and sometimes partial tearing. This degenerative condition of the tendon is referred to as tendinosis. Understanding the difference is changing how tendon “overuse” injuries are treated and is crucial to effective management of these conditions.”  Excerpt from Achilles Tendonitis or Tendinosis? Minnesota Sports Medicine.

Bone spursOf course I turned to food for comfort and I was up to forty pounds overweight. Did I mention that I am pre-diabetic? Well, this weight was not helping and I could feel changes in my body and how I responded to certain foods. I really needed to do something.
This is when I took my husband’s advice and went to see his chiropractor. He said he could work on the shortened tendon and muscle that caused the problem initially and possibly give me relief with orthotic shoe inserts (ok, I had heard about orthotics before but this time there was no cutting of tendons involved with this option). The ball on the back of the foot would most likely remain but not be as painful. I was skeptical but it was a better option than surgery. Besides, I could always have the surgery if it didn’t work.
When I went to the chiropractor I also found that I was out of alignment. This helped explain the bit of length difference in my legs as well as the pain in my neck, shoulders and lower back. I have been going to bi-weekly sessions and everything is lining up, so to speak. I am able to move more comfortably, I stretch daily to keep the muscles loose and (gasp) I am now wearing closed in shoes with the orthotic inserts. I am very pleased about that.
So that should help get me back to being more active, right? It was a good step, but there was still that pesky depression to work on.

Next: Part Three, weight gain and depression.  What am I going to do?


Taking a Different Approach Part One

Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.  My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.

Part One.

A couple of years ago something changed and I just decided not to care about my health. I am not sure why. I was going through menopause, I felt depressed and on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Life was not all that bad. My perception was that it was and that there was some elusive magic something that would make it better.
Growing up in my family, food was the answer for all situations and feelings. My stressed-is-desserts-spelled-backwardsgrandmother had breakfast ready for us in the morning and was already planning lunch as she cleaned the kitchen. Dinner was ready when my grandfather came home from work, and we always had dessert. Always. When friends came over she made us treats. If I was sick, she would prepare a favorite food; if I was sad, there would be comfort food. Something wonderful happened, we would celebrate with food. At the holidays she baked everyone’s favorite cake or pie. I equated taking care of those you love with food.
So this is what I did. I used food for comfort. Happy, sad, angry or even bored, food was the answer.
The more weight I gained the more depressed I felt. There was also the apathy about doing something to fix the problem, on top of the menopause symptoms with mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats.
If you are wondering why I didn’t seek medical advice about these issues, I am not one to take medications unless it is absolutely the last course of action. Caffeine and ibuprofen are the only two medications I would use. If that didn’t fix it then I would just have to deal with it. I have always leaned towards a more natural or holistic approach to health (well, before I didn’t care). I have watched family members become so dependent on various medications without working on the underlying causes. They did not always find the answer in the medications and the side effects were more damaging than the initial problem. I am not against medications if one needs it and understands the benefits and risks. It’s just not something I choose to do. I want to explore what is causing the feelings and how I am responding to them and try to determine what avenue I need to try. Sometimes it just helps to talk to someone I trust or seek out advice from another source. This was enough to deal with, I thought, but there was another issue I had been putting off taking care of.


Next time, Part Two.  Adding injury to the mix.