I Gained Twenty Pounds


Twenty-eight years of living with diabetes.  At 18 months of age, shortly after learning to walk,  I went to the curb, sat down, and leaned down to embrace my knee. I was in pain. 

I communicated to my Mommy that my knee hurt by sitting down and holding it. Doctor appointments occurred, and I was diagnosed with Legg Perthes.  

Here is a description from the www.perthes.org website.

Roughly 5 in 100,000 people have Legg Calve Perthes Disease, or simply Perthes. The blood supply to the hip is temporarily interrupted, causing bone and tissue damage. Without sufficient blood and nutrients, the bone begins to collapse and die. A mainstay of treatment is activity restriction, including bracing or casting and wheelchair restriction to more invasive treatments such as surgery. 

My treatment was leg braces. To bear weight without my braces meant I was risking long term damage to my hip, as the head of my femur had reduced blood flow. At night, I had to be tied to the bed so I wouldn't get up and put weight on my hip. It wasn't typical with this disease but as one hip healed, it showed up in my other hip. From 1.5 years of age to 5.5 years of age, I wore my "braces". 

Me wearing my braces.

As my fellow preschoolers were learning to tie their shoes, I had already mastered my braces' tricky metal buckles with leather straps, three on each leg. 

Forty years later, in 2018, right knee pain and swelling surfaced after an early January run. Days of pain turned into weeks. Weeks of pain turned into months. I don't have a complete range of hip mobility, and the tools I used to compensate were sufficient until they weren't. The head of my right femur is bumpy and non-typical. It reveals lasting damage from those early childhood years. After an entire lifetime of coping and compensating, my strategies no longer worked.

After I exhausted the alternative, non-invasive therapeutics for my knee, I opted for surgery. It is a process to reevaluate four decades of compensation in thinking, behavior, and perspective. I wish surgery "fixed" those patterns, but it didn't. I surrounded myself with specialists and found support to address what I could. I get encouraged in the moments I don't have pain. 

In 2018 life presented a variety of stressors, and the result was a sense of overwhelm in my day-to-day. Not being able to run, sweat, move, and process the stress meant I found other ways to cope.  It was gradual, but eventually, my clothes were tight, and that never feels good. I had begun to eat more and was moving less. Mid-summer, as I went into surgery for my knee, I had added 20 to that number on the scale.

As a person living with diabetes, I check my glucose and I get a number. The app displays my historical data and even attempts to predict a value into the future.

I use a scale that collects my body weight and uploads it to the cloud. The app displays my historical trend data for these body metrics. 

Both my blood sugar and my weight are just numbers. Information for me to access to make decisions moving forward. 

After surgery, I pivoted in some behaviors, which resulted in a number 20 less on the scale by the end of the year. 

A lifetime of patterns is much more difficult to shift than short-term ones. Losing the 20 lbs I had gained in 2018 was easy compared to finding the practices to support my knee. I am still there, dealing with the pain and the functional patterns and practicing them. I found talented bodywork specialists to help me, and I appreciate them. I will get there. It is a process.

While wearing my braces, I am grateful my parents didn't halt our family's activities for my condition. If I couldn't waddle with my braces, Mom, Dad, my aunts, and my uncles carried me to where I wanted to go. 

In life we have the ability to desire what we want and finding the support to get there might just make all the difference.

As we begin to say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to 2021, what would more support in your life look like? As a health coach, I work along side my clients to co-create a path to get to what they desire. I am opening up space for new clients in January 2021. I work with people contemplating change, diabetes not required. Contact me if you are ready to invest in your health. terra@betweendiabetes.com

Bikini shot!