You’ve GOT to Take Care of Yourself! No One Else Will!
I’m about the most active person I know. I dance a few times a week, exercise fairly regularly, and go, go, go! I fit more life in a week than many people do in a month. Maybe two months. So…….. imagine my surprise when, without notice, my knees went from fine to completely fucked within a matter of about 2 months. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating about this. Everything was A-OK, when I went on a cruise last Oct 1. I tend to take the stairs between everywhere I go on a cruise, just to avoid the elevator crowds AND to try to burn a few of the excessive calories I am consuming while cruising. About 4 days into the cruise my knees were stiff and hurting worse and worse every time I took the stairs. I finally had to give up doing the stairs before the end of the cruise. From there they just got increasingly worse through the holiday season. I couldn’t even THINK of going to the gym- it was not only painful, but it was impossible to do any sort of class. This may be TMI- but by Christmas I couldn’t hardly get on or off the damned toilet! The pain was about 25 on a scale of 1-10, and the “hinge” movement that lifts you out of a chair wouldn’t even work. If there wasn’t a handicapped stall in a bathroom I was a gonner! At least with the handicapped bathroom I could pull myself up on the metal handrails!
Not only was I in pain, and nearly immobile, but then I started feeling like I was getting whacked in the knee with a metal club when I walked. That was excruciating! And it was causing me to stumble and fall. Very attractive I must say.
(When you click on the link above, you’ll see a video of Don & I dancing at Kingston Mines in Chicago this past June. My daughter shot this unknown to me at the time. Not the best lit video, but just a typical night dancing for my man and I!)
Anyone who knows me, knows that my “drug of choice” is dancing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you are barely ambulatory, you aren’t doing too damned much dancing! So, I was quickly becoming an unhappy girl!
Do you know that when your knees don’t work, you’re almost unable to get up from any restaurant table? Few restaurant chairs have arms, and most tables only have a center support pedestal, which makes leaning on the table for leverage impossible. The whole situation is far less than sexy and attractive, I have to say! It was a struggle every time I went anywhere. I quickly developed a keen sense of empathy for anyone going through physical challenges!
Let me tell you, I definitely have new found respect for people with knee issues.
I went to the Dr., got a check up and x-rays, only to be told I had arthritis, and would probably be needing a knee replacement STAT! GREAT NEWS! Just what I wanted to hear! Part of me felt like- do it now and let me get it over with, and the bigger part of me said “HELL NO!”
I refused to just take the word of a western medicine Dr, and decided to do all a could to get my knees back to as normal as possible, before resorting to letting someone take a saw and cut out the supporting members of my legs!
Another deciding factor on dealing with our “western medicine” practitioners came after I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Let’s just leave it at this— after waiting a combined time in both the waiting and exam room of about an hour and a half, I left, never seeing the Dr. I could hear him visiting with the patient in the next room for 45 minutes, discussing the holidays, family vacations, work, their favorite ski resorts, blah, blah, blah. I called to the assistant, and explained that I worked, and this was the middle of my work day, but no one seemed to care about me as a person, or as a patient……… I decided I deserved better treatment than this Dr. could provide, and left.
That is when I started doing a little research. I looked into stem cell therapies a bit. Hard to decipher what is legit there, and what was “snake oil” in the stem cell field. I couldn’t get enough “real data” to figure out what was what with the stem-cell choices.
Tart Cherry Juice Was My Lifesaver!
I started looking into supplements, and started taking a few things. The one that sounded the least like it would help came from a helpful neighbor. He suggested I drink Tart Cherry Juice. It had helped him considerably a few years ago, when he thought he was in line for a knee replacement. I’ll be damned! Of all the things I tried (and I’ll share what they were), this is the one that I felt had the greatest impact. Within about 4 days I saw CONSIDERABLE improvement! The Cherry Juice helps with inflammation. It tastes great, and it’s fairly inexpensive, so there is no down side that I can see! (An interesting side effect, is that I was experiencing TMJ symptoms, and realized a week or so after starting on the Cherry Juice, that my TMJ had also diminished to almost nothing.
I also started taking Hyaluronic Acid in a gummy form. I don’t know if that has had any impact, but for about $30.00 per month, I’m not taking the chance of stopping it! Besides that, the brand I take tastes really good, and looks pretty cute, so it’s like a free “treat” every day, that I can totally justify!
Look Into “Alternative” Solutions! They Just Might Work!
I have two other, slightly pricier things which I tried, and, and believe helped to get me beyond my pain. I was recommended a “sports medicine” guy, Ryu Kawajiri at Body Craft in San Diego, and he gave me a combination of exercises, manipulation and a machine he used on me. The machine is an acuscope. The theory behind the acuscope is that it applies low voltage micro-currents to reduce pain by stimulating the nervous system of the body. It detects the abnormal electrical tissue responses and adjust its own response to produce a balancing effect. You don’t feel anything when you are hooked up to the machine, you just lay on the massage type table, and relax. Some of the manipulation of the muscles that he did was a little uncomfortable, but not too much.
The most interesting thing about this treatment, is that Ryu had informed me my biggest issue, and why my knees were hurting is that I breathe wrong, have too tight of muscles in part of my legs, and not enough in others (hello high heels) and my core was too weak. The exercises he has me do build up my weak areas, and the core, so that I am walking correctly. Who knew you could breath wrong? You are supposed to breath in through and out with your stomach, and your shoulders shouldn’t move at all…….. go figure! So, I am now lying around in strange positions, breathing in and out through a balloon……. And feeling SO much better! My treatments started out as once a week, but very quickly were spread out to a few weeks apart. After only a handful of treatments, Ryu informed me that I didn’t need to come back, unless I started experiencing some discomfort again. Was it worth it? Damn right it was! I can see the difference! I am still doing my breathing and stretching exercises, because I never want to go back to the pain I had.
The last major part of my therapy has been Bowen work with another amazing healer, Sharon Edmiston. How or why this therapy works is beyond me, but, once again, it DOES work and that is all I care about. After discussing what is going on with your body and your life, fully clothed you get on a massage table. My practitioner comes in and touches you very lightly in a few places, walks out for a few minutes, and then repeats the same process on a different part of your body. I can’t figure it out, but then, do I really need to? All I know is that it is helping, and for the little it costs it is well worth the expense.
I’ve done a few other minimal things, such as making bone broth and drinking it occasionally. But just occasionally, like when I have a chicken in the house to do so!
Pain Relief in A Cream!
I went to a health fair and went by a booth with some “pain creme.” I stopped to talk to the woman at the booth, she asked if I had any pain, and I mentioned my knee problem. She sat me right down, began to rub the pain creme in, and I walked away a few minutes later. Believe me, I returned about 10 minutes later and bought the largest bottle of it she had! I couldn’t believe how much better my knees felt, almost immediately. I am still using Real Time Pain Relief daily! It relieves pain, not only in my knees, but in my feet and legs when I need to stand for long periods of time. I like it SO much, and turned so many of my friends on to it, that I actually became a vendor for it. I’ve tried other topical cremes, but none can TOUCH this stuff! It’s effective, it’s made from natural ingredients, and you don’t smell like your grandmother when you use it!
My Arthritic Knees Are Restored!
I don’t believe it’s been any one thing that has turned my knees around, but in about 3 months I was back to about 90% normal in one knee, 95% normal In the other. I have actually, almost completely, had my Arthritic Knees Restored! It certainly beats the alternative, I have to say that! I know that if my knees had continued along the path they were taking, I’d probably already have had at least one knee replacement by now.. No doubt in my mind! I’d have had months more of pain, and then the surgery and recovery period.
My dancing would have stopped completely months ago, and it would be many more months before I could have looked forward to dancing again. I’m not so sure my personal psyche could have dealt with that outcome!
Instead, by taking my own destiny in my hands, exploring alternative procedures, and being willing to put a little of my own money on the line, I am almost completely “back to normal.” OK, that’s a lie. I’ll never be normal, but the use of my knees is back to where almost where they were last fall when this started! I have a bit of stiffness in my left knee some days, but that is it!
You CAN Take Control of Your Health!
You CAN take control of your health, I have no doubt about it. I’m not some sort of crazy over-the-top health fiend. My diet is fair to good, on a good day. I enjoy my foo-foo martinis whenever I entertain, I have my fair share of desserts. BUT, by doing a few special exercises and drinking my Tart Cherry Juice, my life has been given back to me.
Research your alternatives before simply taking the word of Western medicine doctors! Take a few minutes on Google to see if there is an alternative to the medications, surgeries and the extremes the Western doctors want to give you! You may find a natural way around your problem.
If your insurance doesn’t pay for a procedure, consider what the “cost” really is to you. One of my procedures is about $100.00 each time I go. Another $50.00. However, I can cut back on a few frivolities to make it affordable. AND, I had to look at what the cost was if I went the other way? Unproductivity due to pain. The inability to do what I love in life. The time that I would have been out of work if I had a surgery and needed to recover………….. A bit of money out of my pocket FAR outweighed the alternative.
Put Yourself First!
Put yourself first when t comes to your health. DON’T just take the word of the first professional who tells you what is going to happen with your health. Talk to people who might know alternative methods, and be open and willing to try something new. After all, do you really want to be put on medications, and have your body cut open? Do you really want fake body parts, which are going to eventually wear out again, put inside of you? Aren’t you worth taking the time to find the very BEST FOR YOU? I am, and I did!
A great example of WHY taking the time, putting out the money and making the effort to get my knees better happened about a week ago. My grand daughter Nell was in town, and we did a “girls day” at the water park. I wasn’t sure how many of the big water slides I’d be able to do. If you’ve ever been to one of those water parks, you know, the water slides entail, literally, hundreds of stairs to get up to them. Stairs seem to aggravate my knees more than ANYTHING! If I’m going to feel pain, it’s on stairs. Guess what? We were there from 10 AM until they closed at 6, and I conquered every slide in the place, WITHOUT A TWITCH OF PAIN! I couldn’t stand the 3 stairs into my house over Christmas, without almost crying, or literally having to have help into and out of the house!
This is where you play the old Frank Sinatra song…….. “I Did It My Way!”
3/19/2018- BREAKING NEWS! KNEE UPDATE!
I just wanted to give an update on the success of my knees 6 months after originally publishing this blog. My knees are doing EVEN BETTER than they were at the time of the blog! I am still drinking the tart cherry juice and still taking some of the supplements.
I make a point of staying with the cherry juice when I travel, even if it means shipping it through Amazon to where we will be staying. I can feel the difference in my knees when I miss drinking it for more than a few days.
Since that time I started going to a gentleman who bills himself as a “massage therapist” near where I live. However, I’d call Robert Sherman a miracle worker! He works on my knees if I feel they are a bit “creaky”- but he also works on anything else that may be giving me a little ache or pain!
My right knee is “as right as rain!” I’d call it 99% PERFECT. The left knee very occasionally gives me a teeny-tiny ache. I’ll give it a 97% score- still not bad for a 60 year old who is uber active!
Since the time I wrote the article, we have moved into a 2 story home, (with the steepest damned staircase you have EVER seen!) I traverse the stairs with no trouble, I am back to doing Zumba without any problems, and I regularly walk and take Body Pump. I DO listen to my body, and in Body Pump I still avoid doing lunges, because I can feel that it isn’t a good move for my knees. We dance at least once a week, and I have no limitations there.
I wanted to give an update to show that this wasn’t just a “temporary” little fix. Taking my health and my care into my own hands has made all of the difference in the world!