This blog is so exciting for me to write. The last few years of swollen joints, legs and ankles is over…I continue to dance for joy..or rather walk for joy!!
I remember the days when as a young girl I was called “lucky legs”: Lucky they didn’t snap off as they were so skinny. My knees were bony (I love the fact I am starting to find them again!). My calves were so tight from playing sports every day of the week: As I got older my calves got to the stage where they just wobbled each time I walked and spread when I sat!
As a teenager I used to lay down on my back, my stomach would sink inwards and ribs were exposed..Ribs I still have ribs?
What wasn’t tied down was heading south! Can your underarms be so big that your arms can’t sit down comfortably? Don’t even start me on my tuck-shop lady arms..sorry to all you wonderful ladies out there who do a fantastic job…You get the picture!
We can joke about the look of being overweight but the trouble is our health suffers. Enough was enough.
My ankles were painful and debilitating. My knees were swelling and for no apparent reason. This put pressure on my back as I shuffled around lopsided. As well my heart would beat out of control whenever I maneuvered steps or our back yard. Walking brought pain, swelling and tears.
The beginning of my healing was finding out I had an allergy to nightshade plants.
With the swelling and pain going I started walking: small distances at first but increasing all the time. I received prayer at our church when Pastor Craig Sparrow called for people who had ankle issues to come for prayer. I believe through the name of Jesus we can be healed. I was able to start walking almost immediately without pain. The next week he asked for those with knee issues. I hobbled out the front again. My knees had almost folded on me that morning, were swollen to almost double the size and I could barely walk down to the front of the church for prayer. I accepted the healing and was able to maneuver the steps more easily on the way back.
I believe in miracle healing and I also believe in the process of healing. I also believe in being responsible with our health as well. I believe I have a very practical God who gives us wisdom when we ask Him – for any situation. During a time of prayer and fasting I read a scripture:
Hebrews 12:12-13 So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, Cut through and make firm, and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet (yes make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction), so that the lame and halting limbs may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.
I loved how it said make happy paths and strengthen the knees so the limbs may not be put out of joint and will be cured.
I figured there might be specific exercises for knees that would strengthen and invigorate feeble tottering knees. http://www.knee-pain-explained.com/ was the beginning.
I did them each morning before getting out of bed and a couple more times during the day. I modified exercises, particularly ones lying on your stomach and bringing the leg towards your back. I found supporting the legs together and gently as I brought them toward my back meant there was no pain.
I was careful to ensure there was little or no pain. I needed to experience positive feelings while exercising. For so long my mind associated exercise with pain.
Below are some of the steps I took in increasing my strength and health.
(This is where I put up a disclaimer. I am not a qualified health professional. I am just someone who has suffered with long term illness and issues and am sharing what has worked for me. I have also been under various health professionals and checked with them. I encourage you to do the same. However, I also found that I am the one responsible for my health. They don’t care nearly as much as I do about my health. So find what works for you and do it, sensibly.)
- Waited on God
Isaiah 40: 29 -31
He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength (causing it to multiply and making it to abound) Even youths shall faint and be weary, and (selected) young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
This became my “mantra” or confession.
- Kept my goal in mind
During the really hard times I found a goal – to walk the Camino Santiago De Compostella – The Way, an 800 km walk through France and Spain. Many said choose another goal but this kept me going. Your goals should be enough to stretch and motivate you. What is your goal? It should be bigger than just losing a few kilos. We are talking about healthy living here.
- Started on the knee strengthening exercises.
I found them at http://www.knee-pain-explained.com/ Taking them slowly and carefully, understanding my limitations.
- Started to loose kilos.
Those extra kilos meant heavy lifting and unwanted pressure on the knee joints and ankles. Next time you are at the hardware store try to lift a bag of cement. That is 20 kilos or approx. 40lbs. That is nearly how much I lost last year. It was a slow tedious process. Find what works for you to enable that to happen. I used Isagenix to finally kick-start and still maintain the weight loss 3 years later!
- Used comfrey to aid in healing.
I had seen healing and was getting better but still had swelling in the ankle for no apparent reason. One morning while praying about it I remembered Paul’s mum, Doris’s remedy for rapid healing of bones. She practiced a lot of homeopath remedies and spoke highly of Comfrey. I had it growing profusely in my garden. I had twisted my ankle many years before and it was the start of my down fall releasing a clot into my leg. Since that time I kept having significant pain and swelling in that ankle and leg. There was an extremely tender spot on the inside of my ankle that continued to be a trouble spot. X-rays failed to show any hairline fractures but it was definitely sore to touch. After researching and consulting with my naturopath I started to drink a tea of one comfrey leaf only over a period of 3 days and then stopped. I repeated that for a few weeks. I also applied a poultice regularly over the tender spot and around the ankle and knees. The results were rapid and amazing. I could now drill the spot on the foot with my finger without pain. I recommend this page for more information and consulting with a naturopath regarding taking it but I cannot recommend this little herb enough for anti-inflammatory and healing properties. . There is a warning here though about ingesting the tea. So proceed with caution. However, do remember that any drug, herbal or pharmaceutical in overdose amount can be detrimental to your health. http://www.herbalremediesinfo.com/COMFREY.html
- Found what exercises I loved and worked for me.
I don’t know how many dollars I wasted on gym membership. I was happy for a while stuck inside 4 walls with 20 other women going around in circles but it really didn’t motivate me for long. Paul and I bought matching bikes and I had other equipment at home that had been idle for a while. I have found a menu of different exercise routines work best for me.
Find a menu of exercises that work for you and keep you interested. This is my menu.
I make use of what is around me.
I use the toilet. You may laugh but this was one of the exercises I did to strengthen my knees. Squatting up and down building up to 40 times each time you use the toilet. Exercise doesn’t have to be expensive but has to be enough to keep you interested and time convenient. Oh and a well-working bowel is also a great way to stay healthy…just saying.
I walk. I went to my local council and found maps of local tracks around my area. I couldn’t believe there were so many. It opened up a new dimension to the area where I lived – they were my happy paths! I was able to bring my family, grandchildren, husband, dog and even my elderly adopted grandmother on tracks I never knew existed.
I rode. Some days while my knees were still strengthening I rode my bike especially on longer distances. I took g’baies with me on their bikes and Paul added the cart to take the younger ones who loved the outing.
I swim. Here in the Philippines I do some swimming and water resistance training when I can. I can spend 2 hours in the water just working out as it is very easy on the legs.
I stretch. You certainly discover areas of your body that you didn’t realize you had and it works to strengthen those core muscles.
- Bought the correct, comfortable clothing.
My biggest problem has always been footwear. I have always had ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes. I nearly cried last year when I decided I wouldn’t settle for anything except completely pain free comfort. I went to a great shop Pure Performance for those in Newcastle and they helped me choose. Find shoe shop owners who care!
They let me wear the shoes for 15-20 mins until I found a pair that fit like a glove and didn’t hurt anywhere. I have only had one blister in all the time I have worn them – a lot of kilometres – and that was due to having soft wet feet from being wet for days.
I wear comfortable clothes not necessarily expensive gym clothing.
- Kept enlarging myself.
Keep building into your exercise challenges: Increase distances, weights, times, duration etc. You will be amazed as I am at how much further, faster, longer you can go.
- Measured – sensibly.
My app measures many things on my walks including steps, calories etc. I weigh myself pretty regularly. However, I don’t allow myself to be discouraged or euphoric with my results. It is nice to see the times go up and weight come down but that is not always the best indicator. There are days when I just don’t do well; I am tired; overeaten; haven’t had any significant walk times – But I keep going!
- Didn’t give up. I stuck to the plan.
There were challenging days but I refused to fall backwards. I wasn’t hard on myself if I faltered in lack of exercise or diet slips, I just refocused and stayed determined not to give up. It’s easy sometimes when we make a plan to get distracted by life and other things. I know what I want I have set my heart and mind toward it!
I hope this has encourages you and I guess the precursor to all of these exercises, tips etc is to START. You will not achieve anything unless you start. For me it has been a little bit challenging walking here in the Philippines..two typhoons in as many months, and two major tropical storms in the last few weeks. But I will keep surging on..The Camino awaits!
This was fun although long read remembering the many happy paths. I am still walking finding new paths. Not as often as I want but I am still using a menu to maintain a healthy life style – just adjusted to current places and situations..I am in the States now just coming out of winter..
Until Next time