Even I’m getting impatient. I guess we can get into my self-discipline issues and how I drifted off the track later. For now, you may want to know what the hell is going on and why I felt that I needed to write this up in the first place.
So, if you go back just a few posts, you’ll remember that I had a pretty sedentary lifestyle. I literally took the same roads to work everyday, parked pretty much in the same parking spot, took a elevator up to my office and sat on my ass all day. Sometimes I’d get up for meetings or to do “rounds” amongst my crew (I was a manager with ~15 people working for me). When I was done with work, I’d get back into my car and drive the same route back home and after eating a large dinner, sit back down in my easy chair and watch tv. When I decided it was time for a change of venue I not only made a career change, I kinda made a physical change as well.
I landed a job in center-city Philadelphia working for a major health care company right in the middle to the city. To make the commute more affordable and offset the new city-wage tax, I took the Patco (NJ train) from the outskirts of Camden into Philly. Then I hoofed it for another 8 blocks to my office building. I remember that I started the job right when the mild fall weather hit and I since I barely knew anyone at my new job I spent most days walking at lunch. So add in another 1-2 miles every day. So, if you take in the walk from the car to the station, from the train stop to my office, the walking at lunch and then the same on the way back. It added up to a few miles per day. This would normally be a great thing – finally some exercise! The lazy middle aged dude was on the right track -right? Well it turns out, wrong.
You see, I was too vain to switch out foot gear, so I did all this walking in dress shoes. Adding unnaturally flat foot gear with a sudden increase in walking and it can lead to Achillies Tendonitis. I’ve always been susceptible to shin-splints, but I’ve never had any issues with my ankles. But that Spring I found myself in serious pain. Went to the office nurse (perks of working for a health care co) and she told me that she thought it was tendonitis.. Followed up with a visit to my doctor and sure enough, moderate Achillies tendonitis in both ankles.
The doc gave me all the usually treatments, switch shoes out when I got in (didn’t do it), stretching, ice for swelling, anti-inflamatories, go see a podiatrist…
Ok. Let’s skip all of the middle part of this story, and let’s say that I saw a nice old podiatrist for 3+ years where we tried everything from water therapy (felt awesome) to custom orthotics. And literally, nothing worked. The pain just kept getting worse and I started taking more and more Alleve (to the point where I was taking 1200 mg, 3x day for months at a time- I’m surprised my liver didn’t cut out on me!).
Fast forward almost 4 years later and I’ve moved from the relatively sedate (even with the additional walking which at this point was insanely painful) position at the health care company to a new job in sales which required even more walking (meeting clients, lunches out, etc…). This summer and fall, I was in so much pain that I found myself generally limping with every step, and avoiding walking whenever humanly possible. I had gained 30+ lbs from when I worked at that SIG (~5 years ago), hitting a high of 281. I had been forced to go on blood pressure and cholesterol meds – looking back now, the spiral had begun.
At the same time my family went through a series of family traumas with the death of not only my beloved Aunt but her husband in the same year (I’ll write more about this later, as it is pivotal in my current mindset). Watching both my Aunt and Uncle pass away was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through but it also showed me how much I was being a fool for not taking care of myself and taking the next step (metaphorically speaking).
I knew I needed surgery, but didn’t want to face it. After I felt the pain with their passing, I just couldn’t fathom inflicting that kind of pain on my family and needed to do everything I could to try and pull myself from the spiral I was creeping into. A week after my Uncle passed, I set a appointment with my doctor and after a few minutes of conversation that went something like “Wait!?! You’re talking about the pain in your achilles that you mentioned to me almost 4 years ago? Steve. You need to see a surgeon.”
More to come…