May! Finally warm weather. The best thing about May is riding my bike. It was 50 km the first week and 60 km the next . Weekdays I’ve been exploring my new home, Guelph, after work and running errands on bike. That’s what’s up. It feels great.
Not so much “up” is my left knee. It doesn’t feel great.
I met with the knee surgeon again. Total knee replacement still looks far away. At least I hope so. See 9 Things No One Ever tells You About Getting a Knee Replacement for details. We’re still seeing how things go with the goo injections and the brace.
I’m wearing the brace for walking. I’m doing physio still. And I’m riding my bike. That’s all good.
The surgeon and his team are busy telling me that all the activity I’ve done isn’t responsible for my knee osteoarthritis. They do also tell me never to even say the word “running” again. Fine. See Sam struggles not to run, ever!
But they do say I’d be in less pain if I lost weight. More seriously they say that losing weight would help me put off total knee replacement. That’s big.
Now they used to also say that knee patients should lose weight first, before the surgery. See Researchers Find Weight Loss Not Necessary for Joint Surgery
But if you think you must lose those extra pounds before a knee or hip replacement, think again, as researchers with UMass Medical School found long-term relief from joint replacement surgery was almost the same in obese and non-obese patients.
“The conventional wisdom is that the lower your body weight, the lower your body mass index, the better you will do in joint replacements, and there has been an increasing push to say that if you are obese you should not have joint replacement – either knee or hip replacement,” Dr. David C. Ayers, chairman of orthopedics and chairman and professor of orthopedics and physical rehabilitation at UMass Medical School, said Thursday.Dr. Ayers is the co-author of a study reporting the findings published last month in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
“What this study shows is that people who are overweight and are obese get the same type of pain relief and improved function that non-obese patients do,” he said.
Surprise! Fat people are people. Fat bodies are bodies. And knee pain hurts a lot no matter what your size.
The old wisdom sounds just like, “You’re fat so must pay the price! Suffer! No knee replacement for you!” Doctors can be jerks.
But in my case we’re not talking about weight loss before surgery. The issue is weight loss to put off the necessity of joint replacement. Total knee replacement is worth avoiding. Right now knee replacements last 20 years max. So if all goes well, I might need a second one. It’s big painful surgery with a very lengthy recovery time. I don’t want to do it twice.
See here. Point 1: “For many, weight loss is a basic but crucial way to help avoid knee surgery. Shedding just 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half. And should you need arthritis knee surgery later, you’ll decrease your risk of complications and reduce strain on your knees, which will make your rehabilitation go more smoothly.”
So, what to do?
I’m reading a lot about knee pain and weight. No surprise there!
But I’m also researching weight loss for medical reasons. Maybe like me you thought that weight loss is hard but once you’re told you need to lose weight for medical reasons, you just do it.
I’m here to tell you the sad news that it’s not so simple. Your body doesn’t care what your motivation is. It’s not like it ignores the diets for beauty’s sake and pays attention to the diets for urgent health reasons.
I think when I was younger I even thought it would be good to have a medical reason to lose weight because then you’d be serious about it and just do it. I could be a feminist and be skinny because I was dieting for health reasons. Bah.
Now I have very good reasons, I’m being serious about it, and I’m still struggling.
Tracy and I were chatting today about whether it ever makes sense to talk about weight and weight loss on the blog. It’s not something we talk about much. It’s a blog about fitness not weight and shape and we’re very keen to distinguish these things. In this case though weight loss isn’t a goal that I want to result from my fitness efforts. Weight loss may be necessary to keep me active.
We’re all about staying fit and strong in midlife and beyond. That’s the overarching message of our book. But given my knee and the state it’s in, staying active may mean losing weight. I’m trying. I won’t post much about my successes and failures. I know that’s too much for those of you with histories of disordered eating. Even though I’m one of the larger bloggers here, that’s not me. I like food and my relationship with it. But I also feel the need to be honest on the blog about what’s up with me fitness wise.
Have you had or contemplated having knee replacement? Have you struggled with medical reasons to lose weight? Tell me your story
Also, hello May, I’m tentatively making plans. There are plans afoot for bike/boat holidays, for canoe/camping trips, for long bike rides. I love the summer and I’m going to enjoy it.