Tag Archives: arthritis

Sissies

Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” ― Bette Davis

The housecleaning diet was imposed after Christmas and maybe some improvement was occurring, but oh that sour dough and homemade bagels from the Farmers Market, the mug of hot cocoa on a snowy day, maybe with a dash of Chambord, the local cheese and pizza, pasta…  It was difficult and sliding occurred, joints complained along with an increase of another symptom.

As the joints hurt, my mind wanders to my baby brother, 6 1/2 years my junior.  As a kid, he used to run into a room, launch into the air and skid across the carpet or floor on his knees.  Bet they pain him now.  Then as an adult, he had a slip on ice that resulted in neck surgery.  As we age, the old injuries, separated shoulder skiing, broken wrist roller blading with daughter return to haunt now with discomfort and stiffness.

The gluten must go.  The dairy is easier with alternative milk products for coffee (the current favorite is unsweetened Toasted Coconut/Almond milk), but oh the cheese, sob.  Hot cocoa can be made Mexican style with water, but it still has the sugar, not as much as commercial or even homemeade mixes, if you use real Mexican chocolate disks and grate them yourself, but still probably too much.  I have eliminated other sugar such as jam, honey, and sweets once the Christmas chocolate was gone.

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Perhaps the elimination process would be easier if only a category is eliminated at a time.  Peanuts were easy, just use Almond butter, eat whole almonds instead.  Peanuts are a huge trigger.  Wheat is next, a real tough one, but something must be done and it seems to be a major trigger as well.  Ibuprofen daily isn’t the solution.  Some of the damage is done and can’t be undone, but perhaps further damage can be slowed and some of the discomfort reduced.  Mountaingdad will never go for this type of cure, so I go it alone.  Lunch out is going to be a bear.

The snow is gone.  Now we wait for this weekend and the next round of winter liquid or solid as the case may be.

Cleaning House, not a resolution

I have arthritis and as I age, I find more and more areas it is affecting.  I know that it is going to happen regardless of what I do, that repetitive actions (spinning, knitting, gardening) help it along, but I’m not going to stop doing those things.  I also know that injuries can contribute, but I can’t go back and undo the 39 year old shoulder separation, nor the 17 year old wrist break, the torture my knees took when I though running was the only exercise.  So I decided instead to clean house.  Not just the log home in which we live, already cleaned that this week, but my internal house.

I am not one to go flying off to try this cleanse, that herbal “cure,” or some magic elixir. Generally, I eat well, local when possible, homegrown is best.  This is why I garden and raise chickens.  I know what goes into my soil, I know what my chickens eat and how they are housed.  I buy local pasture raised beef and pork when I eat that, but we are bad about eating lunch out, and I am bad about buying bread and pasta from the Farmers Market that is not whole grain, though I don’t eat a lot of either of them.

I have been particularly bad the past couple of weeks with lots of white potatoes, a few dark chocolate candy bars that were in my stocking, cream cheese and hot pepper jelly (it has been delicious Whit) on crackers that are not whole grain, the white flour buns at fast food, hot cocoa with Chambord and whipped cream at night.  I haven’t gained any weight but I have gained enough inflammation to have joints that hurt, a couple that are swelling and it is time to clean up my house.

A bit of Dr. Google and I see that refined grains, sugar, alcohol, dairy, processed meat, grain fed meat are all major contributors.  I knew that, I didn’t really have to look it up, but sometimes doing so is the kick in the right direction.  I can eat a salad or soup instead of a sandwich, I can give up the cream cheese and hot pepper jelly (I enjoyed it for a week), I can stop with the hot cocoa and reduce the amount of white potatoes and pasta that I eat, but breakfast becomes a problem.  The half a bagel or English muffin have to go.  As I am genetically predisposed to high cholesterol and can’t/won’t take statins because of the way they make me feel and the current research, eating eggs each morning is out, even if my girls are free range and eat a healthy varied diet.  I’m not a fan of smoothies that don’t have yogurt and reducing dairy plus no local fruit in season, make that not a good option.  My other breakfast choice is long cook oatmeal.  With walnuts and flax seed, that is a good option, but it is boring every day.  When berries are in season, that is a boost to the anti-inflammatory foods and an improvement on the oatmeal, but not in the middle of winter unless I want berries that have traveled father than I ever will and cost a premium. We never went berry picking this past summer as I wasn’t making jam this year, so there isn’t a stockpile in the freezer.

I do know that some foods must go or certainly be seriously moderated.  Some foods that I love need to become a part of my daily diet and hopefully, this winter won’t be too uncomfortable as the cold and damp become the norm for the next few months.  I see curry, ginger, cinnamon in my future.  Plenty of dark greens and veggies, fewer starches, less cheese (especially the softer ones), a break from the sugar monster, more dishes with my homegrown canned and frozen tomatoes.  A cleaner house.

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Not for the Faint of Heart

My Dad is a spry 90+ year old.  He still does most of their cooking, helps with housework, does some of his own yard work and delivers “Meals on Wheels” to folks decades younger than he.  He walks daily, hasn’t smoked since the first Surgeon General’s warning in 1964 and is much healthier than would be suspected for one his age.  His side of the family tend to exceed the average age rule, his grandmother living to 94, his mother to 88, his brother into his 80s.

This makes me young, right?  After all, I am a senior citizen, eligible for Social Security and Medicare, but still young.  Sometimes I feel like I can still climb mountains, have learned to ride a horse in the past couple of years, garden, drive a tractor and mow acres of land.  But this winter is making me feel not so young.  As a late 20 something, I separated a shoulder skiing.  As a mid 50 something, I broke a wrist roller blading with my daughter.  The shoulder was before they sent you to a specialist and physical therapy for such injuries.  The wrist was not cast correctly and has a 17º healed displacement.  Unfortunately, they aren’t the same arm and both are aggravating me this winter.  The wrist has encouraged arthritic deterioration of my wrist bones.  This was causing me pain and after a couple of steroid shots I agreed to surgery to remove the most damaged wrist bone at the base of my thumb.  This has caused the muscles to atrophy, reducing the strength of my hand and sadly only temporarily provided any relief.  The pain affects my radial nerve so I also have pain in my elbow and my shoulder.  Not wanting to take NSAIDs regularly, I have tried capsaicin cream, OTC herbal supplements that supposedly reduce inflammation, Tart Cherry juice and just about any other alternative.  I haven’t tried acupuncture, nor have I been willing to return to the orthopedist, though I wonder if there is anything else he could do other than more steroid shots which I also want to avoid.  To add insult to injury, it has also intensified trigger finger in my ring finger on that hand.

I’m not ready to accept aging, I’m still too young.

Fiber Arts and Needles

Knitters and spinners are picky about their equipment.  They find what they like and are ardent supporters of their favorites.  Sometimes it takes a while to settle into what “works” best for them.

I am no exception.  When I was just picking up knitting again, I would buy inexpensive needles in the size I needed for the project at hand.  As I got to be a better knitter, I learned that better needles lasted longer and were smoother to use, but I have never been a fan of metal needles, they make my hands hurt and have an off odor.  I also have learned that I prefer the shorter 3-4 inch length tips to the longer 5-6 inch one again as they don’t seem to aggravate my arthritis in my hands as much.  One of the products that has come out in more recent years are needles with interchangeable tips so that you need fewer needles and can change the cord to suit the project.  I loved interchangeable tips until my hand strength lessened due to age and the aforementioned arthritis and I could no longer tighten the connectors enough to even knit through a single row on a sweater without them coming partially or fully unscrewed.  Reluctantly, I advertised and sold my interchangeable sets on the social network for lovers of needle crafts, Ravelry.  I have thought about this problem more and more in the past year and have wondered why the designers of this style needle don’t use reverse threaded connectors, so that as you knit, you automatically tighten rather than loosen the connection.

The problem has sent me off in search of non metal, 3-4″ fixed circular needles in a size small enough to make a hat and long enough to knit a sweater or do the magic loop technique to close up the top of a hat.  The funds from selling my beloved interchangeables will just cover the needles in the most common sizes I use in two lengths, so now instead of having one compact case of tips and cables, I will have a basket full of needles.

The hand issues have also forced me to seek crochet hooks with larger shafts or the Clover brand that has the butterscotch colored flattened plastic handle with a thumb pad.

I have never gotten adept at using double pointed needles and have told my daughter that I would teach her to use them, but I feel like I’m playing pick up sticks with them.

It is all our different opinions that keep the companies in business.  Now I’m off to find an Etsy shop that sells a circular needle case that isn’t notebook sized to store my fixed circulars in once they come.  And to work on my sweater with the craft store metal needle with long tips until my new ones come..

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The pattern is Estelle, the yarn Quince and Co. Lark in Delft.  At least I can still knit.