Wednesday, June 16, 2021

New Realities


As most of you know, I have arthritis in enough places in my body that old "Arthur Itis" seems to want me to just sit down and quit. But my mother didn't raise no quitter. I just keep going. It does get harder and harder though.

You may recall that I had my second spine fusion surgery last July, and then total hip replacement early this January. Before each, in between each, and after each there has been physical therapy, not to mention lots of pre-op and post-op appointments and x-rays and recovery meds and recovery ordeals. Ask me how I got through Covid confinement? I spent a lot of time in clinics and hospitals and medical center offices. 

Now I have emerged, but not as good as new. Last month I consulted with my spine surgeon about back stiffness. Seems that goes with the territory after two fusion surgeries. He referred me to a rehabilitation physician and both referred me for physical therapy. 

I had completed PT after each surgery, and while my hip is still healing and strengthening, it is progressing well. Last week I met with my physical therapist for an update, to find out what I can do to maximize my recovery and return to some of my mobility. 

Now I have to face reality. I will never again go for that easy striding three mile walk with lightness in my step as I glide along to music in my ears. For that loss I am in mourning.

I have a new PT routine to maximize my strength and mobility. Instead of a routine three times a day, which was a drag, and often not completed, I now am doing all the exercises times three in one setting, three times a week. I have done that twice now. It takes a little over an hour as I learn the routines and rotations. I spent a long time on Sunday building my checklist so I would remember to get everything in and hold myself accountable. It is a tiring workout and has left me stiff but not too sore, and I can cut back at first if I develop sore muscles. 

After I finished my PT today I rested a bit and then I went for a walk, getting 1.25 miles, the same as I was doing a few weeks ago before lots of other things got in my way and kept me from exercise walking. 

Not everything is fixed. My doctors and PT therapist remind me that my right knee and left hip are also deteriorating. I don't mention the issue with my neck. I just respond that I will take at least a whole year off before considering any more surgery. Two in six months was more than enough.  I am fortunate that neither causes me much pain. I just don't move well. 

My PT therapist pushes me but then sympathizes. "You were not lucky with your joints." Yeah, right.

I tell you all of this so you will know what's going on with me and understand references I made to difficulties I might have. But in so many other ways I am very fortunate.. I still count my blessings.

While I am sad about my limitations, it is now time to face facts and reconcile with my new reality. I will be learning to live with new expectations.

But I will keep moving. The photos on this post are from my garden, which I will still work in and walk around in and find peace in and share with others, for as long as I can, just like my mother did.


  1. You inspire such admiration for hanging in there and pursuing your activities. I love to look at all the beautiful things you show us. Keep on. You energize the rest of us. I can't even dream about 1.25 miles. Sometimes, for me, I just like to sit and gaze at my garden, listen to the birds, watch the clouds in the sky, doing nothing to some people but very for others.

  2. I am sorry that you are going through this but I still applaud your determination to keep moving. I am going to do garden work for a friend who has similar arthritis and very painful joints but she just won't do her PT exercises -- physical health and some major family stresses over the past couple of years have left her quite depressed. It breaks my heart. She has done so much for others always but has not been in the habit of taking care of herself. Her gardens are a fraction of what yours are like but I want to weed and tidy so she can enjoy looking at them again. And of course with condo living I do miss working in flower beds so it's not all altruism on my part.

  3. Your flowers are beautiful! One day at a time, do what you can do! I am so sorry you have the dreaded arthritis....It comes with age...but of course that doesn't make you feel better.

  4. I'm sorry you are having these physical problems and limitations. I can totally relate - the past couple of years have me struggling also. But, like you, I refuse to quit while I can still move. It's amazing to me that so many people just won't do the physical therapy. Hang in there - your gardens are beautiful and the way you continue to keep them is inspiring to all of us.

  5. You've gone through a lot in the last year. What does one do? If you don't take any treatment you will have POORER QUALITY OF LIFE . IF YOU GO THROUGH THE TREATMENT , AT LEAST YOU ARE GIVING YOURSELF A CHANCE FOR BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE.

  6. Facing facts and living with new expectations isn't easy but hopefully is possible. Best of luck!

  7. I hear you, Linda. I worried about the two surgeries you would endure, being afraid you wouldn't recover as much as you hoped. I applaud you deciding to wait at least a year before any more surgeries. I am going to attempt a hard hike today and hope I do okay.

  8. When I was more capable I would push myself to do exercises to the max. Then I got to the point where I had "excuses" to skip a day or hated what I "had" to do. Finally decided to do the minimum that I could sustain - Monday, Wednesday, Friday I do not let myself skip and I have been able to keep to it. When I don't do this I feel the negative effects very soon so there is impetus to keep to the schedule. I also take a meditation walk - about a mile that takes about an hour in an area I enjoy plus I have made many friends along the way - that is my mental therapy and I do it 6 days a week. I won't drop any of that until I die. For me finding a minimum I could maintain was the key. After all being able to walk at all is the real goal. You have plenty of company in this struggle!

  9. Kudos Linda on how you have met these set backs with such determination. So happy you are utilizing PT for that is the key to keeping moving. Keep up the good if hard work. You are an inspiration.

  10. My Dad, who lived to 98, always said that getting old ain't for sissies. Your tenacity in doing what you can to ensure your mobility while recognizing there is a limit, is testament to your strength and spirit. As Patti has said, you truly are an inspiration.

  11. You certainly are in inspiration to someone like me who wants to throw in the towel too often. We have to learn our limitations but also push ourselves so we know where those limitations are. Thanks! Your garden is certainly restorative.

  12. as they say old age ain't for sissies but it comes to all of us and we just need to make the best of it!

  13. I admire your attitude very much. It seems like aging is a constant process of letting go, accepting our limitations and adapting. I do get tired of it as I don't always have your positivity.

  14. You inspire me. Hang in there!

  15. I definitely KNOW you're not a quitter, Linda. You are amazingly resilient through all your difficulties. I'm sorry though for the loss of mobility and pain you have to endure. Please continue to take good care of yourself and let Tom help. And by the way, your flowers are absolutely gorgeous!!!

  16. Unlucky with your joints? Interesting concept, but you are such a trouper you will overcome.

    I recently met with a doctor for a root canal. He talked me out of rushing into it because the pain could go away without having to go through the grueling process. He was very talkative that day and told me about a 90 year old patient of his that still drove and was in good health and no arthritis. She attributed it to gin soaked golden raisins. 9 every day. We kind of laughed about that but then it got me thinking. What would be the harm of eating 9 gin soaked golden raisins every day?

    I started a small batch and having my daughter take them because her knees are beginning to hurt when she does squats - and she is too young to hobble through life. She just started taking them with skepticism but thinks it might be working. I decided to just eat about 3 golden raisin (not soaked in gin yet) because the fingers on my left hand would be stiff and sore in the morning. It is still too early to tell but they really aren't as stiff and sore nowadays.

    I enjoy your posts and photos. Please keep on keeping on!

  17. Good to know I'm not the only one! I'm glad you decided to take a year off.

  18. issues regarding aging keep on growing as we get old my friend

    it is hard to understand in the beginning but time make us learn gradually that we have to earn with new expectations and this is bitter truth to swallow indeed!
    your blog and sharing is so honest and inspirational !

    photos from your divine garden made my day !
    thank you so much!
    health ,peace and happiness to you!


I would love to read your comments. Since I link most posts to Facebook, you may comment there if you do not have an account. I have eliminated Anonymous comments due to spammers.