Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Keep moving

Today, I --  Gin -- am here, speaking personally, as opposed to in my official role as the Social Media Coordinator. 

There's a lot of disagreement in the medical community about almost everything, but the one thing that most experts agree on is that keeping active, both physically and mentally, is good for us.

That can be a bit of a challenge for those of us with XLH, especially as we get older. Our joints can become arthritic and our ligaments and tendons can become calcified, so movement hurts. Pain causes us to stop moving, and then the reduced moving makes it harder to move without pain, which causes us to move even less. 

For the last couple decades, I've been turning to stone, with calcifications in assorted soft tissues, from the posterior longitudinal ligament (the rubbery thing that runs along your spine, keeping the vertebrae from flexing too far, while still allowing it to flex somewhat), to my Achilles tendon. I don't know if being more active while in my 30s and 40s might have prevented or slowed down the calcification, but there isn't anything I can do to reverse the calcification now. (Note to young members: Keep moving. It's important for everyone, but possibly more so for XLH patients.)

What I can do now is to keep the restrictions from getting any worse. Or at least try to. I can't exactly run a marathon or even walk much, but I can do little things. I can't move a lot or fast, but I can move more

Last summer, I committed to spending fifteen minutes a day in the vegetable garden. Every single day of the growing season. No excuses. At the end of the summer, I wasn't running marathons, and I still needed my cane for stability, but I did feel better. As far as I could tell, the calcifications weren't any worse, and I consider that a major victory!

This summer, I'm back to my fifteen-minutes-a-day commitment. I really do enjoy my time in the garden, but when the weather is hot and muggy, or my joints are particularly creaky and I'm irritable, it can be hard to make myself go out and weed. Knowing it's just a small commitment, that I can stop at the end of the fifteen minutes, helps get me out the door. And then, once I'm out there, I'm more likely than not to stay out for an hour or so. I don't move very fast, and I rely on my hoe so I don't have to bend too far or kneel, but I still get in a bit of exercise every day. 

I'm feeling better, and the garden looks more productive than ever. It's amazing what my fifteen minutes a day are adding up to. This year's garden has 400 onions, 200+ garlic heads, 36 pepper plants, a dozen tomato plants, and an assortment of beans, swiss chard, winter squash, summer squash, cucumbers, broccoli and herbs. I'm feeling better and eating better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.