I'm pretty sure I've mentioned somewhere in this blog that approaching fifty makes me feel like an American car with 100,001 miles on it; things are starting to go just a wee bit wrong, becoming marginally less reliable, slightly less predictable.
The most disturbing of these changes rests somewhere deep within my metabolism. While it's been decades since I willingly displayed my stomach on a beach, I've always been able to knock off some pounds with exercise when I wanted to. And even when I didn't want to exercise formally, I've stayed pretty active.
Appearances can be so very deceiving, and if you saw me walking down the street you might think I was the queen of lazy (especially if you couldn't see my legs). I love the look on a new doc's face when, expecting to deliver a standard lecture on cholesterol and blood sugar and the error of my ways, she sees my lab results and then, just to be sure, double checks my blood pressure. "Still 108/60?" I inquire. "Yep," she admits. Another good one? When a massage therapist, expecting to plunge his or her hands into peanut butter or jelly, encounters instead the muscles in my legs. "So what do you do to work out?" I hear, kind of, as I drift off to a half-sleep.
But my body? She's a traitorous bitch. My new best friend, menopause, apparently has 15 surly cousins....the pounds that have snuck in since March. Yes, you heard me, SINCE MARCH. They're stealthy, well-distributed, not really enough to move me up a size, just enough to make me feel cumbersome and lumpy.
The summer in Texas may be a contributing factor. I missed the walking and hiking and biking availble in Oregon. About all the outdoor exercise I'm willing to do around here from June until mid-September is uncork a bottle of wine.
I am fiercely anti-scale, so I only met these slatternly additions today at my doctor's office. Why was I there? The title says it all.
I am pissed, royally pissed, at those pounds. I refuse to believe that I cannot sweat them off. I will not take estrogen to make it easier. I will do it the old fashioned way, and I will even give up cheese. So I joined the YMCA near Small Child's school. And I did not start slowly. Nope, not me. I visualized every one of those pounds as a frumpy Sarah Palin in elastic-waist pants (this made easier by the fact that the only cable news show available in the room was FOX) and went after them like an Alaskan shooting wolves from a plane. After ten days, nothing had changed.
Except my left ankle.
I was going to ignore it. After all, I thought, what could I have possibly done to injure it? I'm no athlete. I wasn't even running. Maybe the double cardio sessions were a bit much, but given the circumstances that was probably what it was going to take to see results so I might as well suck it up. I settled with a couple of days off. After the second one, things weren't any better. Just the opposite.
So, Wednesday night, I casually mentioned the pain in the back of my ankle to The Man. He didn't look up from his book (Who does when his wife complains about something? And I should probably mention that he is an ex-jock from the "tape an aspirin to it" school of athletic training), but muttered, "Is it swollen?" I said I couldn't tell and asked him to take a look.
"That looks nasty. You need to see Our Doctor tomorrow."
That's when I actually looked at the Achilles tendon areas of both ankles and noticed that the left one had an obvious bulge. I rolled my eyes, said I'd think about it, and tugged on a compression sleeve the next morning. No improvement whatsoever.
So today I gave in.
Diagnosis: tendonitis. Pretty bad (I think that's a technical term). The good news is that it isn't partially ruptured...yet. I'm banned from the treadmill and consigned to the bike, which Our Doctor adores but which I despise with every fiber of my being. I begged for the eliptical and she relented as long as it didn't get any worse. I get to bop about town in lace-up shoes (fashionista!) with a gooshy heel cup. I left with a month's worth of Celebrex samples. If it doesn't improve with TLC, I'm off for an MRI and PT.
So, for all of you with odometers in the lower ranges...enjoy your young, reliable bodies while you can.
And don't forget to stretch.