Back X-rays

back-pain-xray

We went to the doctor’s office today for our regular appointment and I mentioned that the Robaxin that he gave me for my back pain wasn’t helping at all.  That is a muscle relaxer and I don’t think the problem is in my muscles.  I told him that I had an MRI a few years ago and they found out that I had Degenerative Disc Disease in my lower spine and since then the pain has gone up to the middle of my spine.  In fact, if you look at the image above, the red area is actually where my pain is.  The top of the red area is the worst.

He poked my back and of course I wasn’t in pain at all because I was sitting in the waiting room and in the exam room.  I told him that the pain is usually when I am standing or walking for more than 5 minutes.  I described the pain by motioning my hand as if I were repeatedly stabbing someone in the spine.  I’ve never been stabbed repeatedly so I don’t know exactly how that feels, but I do know that my back hurts a lot, so I can just imagine that is what it feels like.

We went to Truxton Radiology and I had many x-rays taken.  The x-ray technician told me it would be up to 4 days, but I told her that I won’t see the doctor for 4 more weeks so no rush.  Besides, I’ve been dealing with this pain for many years, so another 4 days isn’t going to hurt me.

My pain first began in 2000 when I would bend over to pick something up and my back would literally lock up.  I would be stuck in the bent over position because I could not straighten my back.  After grabbing something to keep from falling and almost screaming from the pain, I would stand there for a minute until it unlocked and I was able to stand up slowly.  That happened in front of my aunt and uncle in Palmdale in 2004 or 2005, I forget when exactly.  I had pain in the lower part of my spine, but it was nothing compared to what it is like today.

Just before I went to get my x-ray I saw this humungous fish in a very large fish tank by the back door.  My first thought was holy cow that’s a big fish.  As I left, I took my phone out to take a picture, but first I reached my finger to the tank as if I were petting him, or the tank, and he rammed the glass while trying to chomp my fingers off as if they were inside the glass.  Holy crap that was an aggressive fish lol.  I pulled my hand away and he was looking straight at me.  He wouldn’t look at anything else, so to get him to turn so I could take the picture I had to put my right hand out to my side so he would turn his body.  Here are 2 pictures of the fish below.  You can see my reflection in the glass so you can use that as a scale.

big fish

big fish 2

Anyway, now I am finally getting my back pain taken care of.  The doctor said that the x-rays will determine whether I will need another MRI, but in the meantime he is going to call Truxton Radiology where I had the original MRI for those results.  I don’t know what they can do, but at least they will see where the problem is and possibly give me a brace or maybe injections for the pain.  I’ve seen the commercials for that exercise machine where you are upside down which helps to replenish your discs, so perhaps I will get something that is equivalent that is more affordable.  Who knows for sure.  I will keep this blog updated on that.

Plateau

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I had hit a plateau or that I thought I might have hit a plateau, well, today was weigh in day and it confirmed that I indeed have hit a plateau.

Last week I weighed in at 197.0 lbs, but the very next day I weighed in at 196.6 lbs.  I’m not exactly sure why I weighed in, perhaps the app suggested that I weigh in again, who knows, but today I am 197 again.

That’s okay because I have come this far and this is my first plateau since January, so I think I’m doing pretty good considering I have lost 66 lbs in just 24 weeks.  I’m totally fine with the plateau.

I love my body now, before I couldn’t stand looking in the mirror.  I couldn’t stand looking down and seeing a fat belly.  I couldn’t stand how fat my face was and how fat my neck was.  The chin was just so horrible.  But I couldn’t be happier with my body and my neck and my chin lol.  I just feel so happy now.

My partner suggested that we go on a walk this morning and so we did.  It wasn’t a very long walk and I was in a lot of pain.  I touched my back where the pain was because I wanted to rub it, but it was completely numb.  I mean, I could feel the pain, more like agony, but my skin and muscles were numb.  That seems to be what happens when I have back pain.

When we came home I immediately had him put a Salonpas patch on my back and knowing that it usually takes half an hour to activate, I put ice on it so that it’s like an icy hot thing lol.

So back to the plateau.  I don’t know why I am in a plateau.  I have been eating the same exact way this week that I have been eating in the last 24 weeks and I have been eating under 1400 calories per day.  I have also been going for walks more in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last 24 weeks, which is probably why I have hit a plateau because I’m probably gaining muscle, and we all know that muscle weighs more than fat.

Although this week I was eating popcorn with oil but no salt and no butter, and I was eating those Lean Gourmet meals which have a lot of sodium in them, so perhaps that might be adding to the problem.  I am out of the popcorn and I will try to eat the Smart Ones instead of the Lean Gourmet to see if that will help.

I hope next Saturday I will have some progress.  No matter what happens, I will continue eating healthy and entering all of my food into the Noom app.

Getting Better

At first I was apprehensive about posting this because if you say you think you are getting better then you are basically jinxing yourself and it comes back at full speed ahead.  But I just have a feeling that my shoulder is starting to get better.  It’s not better but it feels like it is getting better.

I’ve been using a cold pack until my rear left shoulder was totally numb then I would immediately put the heat pack on it and it would melt my muscle and the heat felt so good.  I would just do this all day long, giving my back a rest for an hour or so here and there.

I’ve been noticing that the pain has been going down my arm a bit more and more everyday.  At first it was at my shoulder but then creeping down my arm, it would go into my bicep muscle then it was going down to my elbow in my muscles and now it’s getting lower, I don’t know what it’s called between the elbow and the hands but it’s in there now in the middle.

Maybe, hopefully it will just keep going down until it’s at the tips of my fingers until they just leave out my fingers.  Maybe I might see sparklers and confetti shoot out of my finger tips letting me know it’s over.

For now I want and see.  By the time my references come I will be fine again and back on my bike again lol.  Well let’s hope that I will be back to my routine again soon.

Muscles Used To Riding

Since I started riding the bike in the early morning before the sun comes up to escape the heat, I’ve noticed that my muscles are already used to riding the bike so I don’t have to ride every other day to rest my muscles.  I can ride everyday if I want to.  In fact, I rode for 3 days in a row.  Well, mainly that was to burn off some burgers and fries I ate lol.

But, I have no problem riding the bike anymore at all.  It’s like my muscles are back to the way they were when I was a kid, that’s how used to riding I am now.

I seem to recall last year when I started riding my bike again, when I first found out about the bike trail after summer was over from one of those city park summer guides, in the back it has a map of the bike trail.  So I got the bike out of moth balls, filled the tires, actually I had to buy a new tube for the front tire because it had a hole in it that I couldn’t repair with the new tire repair kit I had bought lol.  Anyway, I started riding and my legs were so not used to it and I would get down to H and 3rd and my legs were already tired and it was just 1 block away from my house lol.

So I would ride all the way to California and H and I was like screw this, I’m going back home and that whole trip was 1 mile lol.  Then when I got home my legs were so stiff from riding that 1 mile that I could barely even walk in the back door.  I had to sit and rest and I had to massage my thighs because they were just in so much pain from that pitiful ride lol.

I think I was riding like that for a week before I was finally able to go maybe 3 miles then went up to 4 then 5 which altogether took about a month before I was even able to get on the bike trail.

By the time I was finally riding the bike trail I could only go so far before I had to turn around and go back but eventually I was able to do 11 miles per day which was a little over an hour.

Now, I can do that 11 miles in just 55 minutes so I have to step up my ride and go further and go 16 miles just to make up my time which is about 1 hour and 16 minutes.  But that 16 miles to me now is no biggy.

Early Morning Bike Ride

Well, I did it.  I set the alarm clock for 4am and of course had to push the snooze and when it went off again in 10 minutes I decided ok, I need to do this, I need to wake up and get ready.  So I got up, went and got a bowl of raisin bran cereal.  I read my emails which weren’t that many since the last time I read them last night lol.

I like to eat then wait 30 minutes to go, so 4:45am came and I left the house and it was pitch black outside.  Thank goodness for bike lights.  Although I didn’t realize until I got there that the back light wasn’t working at all.  It wasn’t until the sun came out that I realized that it was because the wire snapped off.  UGH!  It’s easily repairable.

What I especially liked about riding that early is that there are absolutely no cars.  0 cars.  Well, there were a couple but none that I had to worry about.  Of course being that early I had to stop and push the walk button because certain lights just won’t turn green unless the sensors detect a car sitting there and they don’t detect bicycles.

While I was on the bike trail that early in the morning before the sun came up there were no other riders which isn’t odd for me not to see anyone because in the daytime there are barely any other riders.  So it really didn’t make much of a difference.  But when the sun did start coming up I did start to see a couple of riders.

Even coming home with the sun up at 6am there still weren’t any cars.  I finally got home at 6:22am so I was gone about an hour and half but my total time was 1 hour 5 min.  Hey, I have to take a break during my ride lol.

Now that my muscles are getting used to riding I’m gonna experiment with going out again tomorrow and then the day after that.  I want to go out every day, not just every other day.  I want to get as much exercise in as I can because the weight is coming off.  So, we will see tomorrow if I go out or not hehe.

R&R

Today I decided not to go bike riding because I wanted to give my legs a chance to rest since I’ve been going such a long distance.  Tomorrow I will be going out again.  I’m just not sure if it’s worth riding 17 miles a day while I’m still in this stage of still getting used to riding a bike at all.  I mean it’s only been a month and even though I’ve seen 8lbs of weight loss so far I’m not seeing very much weight loss even with 17 and 18 mile days.  It’s nice to go a long distance to really step it up and everything but I just don’t see the results.

Now I realize that by me saying that I’m saying that I’m giving up on going such a long distance and I don’t want to say that but at the same time I think I can just do the 11 miles and get away with it for now.  I want to burn calories but not at the expense of causing myself pain and possible injury to my muscles.  I’m probably going to notice no weight loss at all this week and that’s possibly because I’m building too much muscle in my legs causing me to gain muscle weight so I don’t see the fat weight disappearing.

The first month was only 8lbs and normally I would be upset by that because 7lbs isn’t a lot to lose in a month, that’s 2lbs a week but at this point I’m just happy to not be in the 240’s anymore.  Being in the mid 230’s makes me feel that if I can get there then I can get to 220’s and so on but it takes time, a lot of time.  I need to stop worrying about the scale and stop thinking about it too much.

Tonight I decided that since I was weighing myself as 238 which is more than last weeks weigh in by 1 calorie that I would start eating salads for dinner, just to give me smaller calories for that meal of the day.  Breakfast I’ve been eating toast and a yoplait, lunch a peanut butter and jam sandwich or a ham sandwich.  Actually I’ve been eating 2 sandwiches but I’m going to limit myself to just 1 from now on and as soon as I get more yoplait’s on friday I’m going to limit my breakfast to just a yoplait.  I love coffee but I’m going to try to limit that too.  Darrin bought me this whole big thing of creamer so it’s going to be difficult to not be able to enjoy it.  I’m thinking for now coffee every other day.  I have been drinking a lot of water though so that helps big time.  Not the sparkling bottled water with flavor that Darrin has been buying from Albertson’s but just plain filtered water.

Well, I’m blogging this just before bed, I’ve taken my ambien already so I’m gonna go do the litter box then get in the shower and go to bed.

High Seat

When I came back from my ride the day before yesterday I raised my seat up a lot but I guess not enough because today I rode my bike and I was still in pain when I got home and I noticed that my leg was still bending as I was riding.  Your leg is supposed to extend fully when it gets all the way down.  If your seat is too low it can cause an injury to your back and/or legs.

Well, when I lowered my seat I lowered it all the way then I realized how to raise the handlebars but I never raised the seat again.  Big mistake.

So anyway, this morning I thought it was high enough but it wasn’t and I came home from my ride in a little bit of pain in my legs.  Not as much as before but I raised it even higher and got on it and it was perfect.  My legs straighten completely.  Hopefully tomorrow I can keep going past California Ave instead of turning right.

My goal is to get my muscles strong enough to where I can ride the bike for long periods of time but having my seat so low was counter productive to my progress.  The longer I am able to ride the more calories I will burn and then I can just go back on with my life.  When I was a kid, teen and young adult (in my 20’s) I was very active.  Either running from bullies (junior high) or riding my bike to and from school, to and from work, to and from Hollywood via North Hollywood, to and from Simi valley via Canoga Park.  Point is I was active and active means skinny.  I never gained an ounce.  I could eat and eat and eat and believe me, I was a hungry guy and I never gained any weight.  So, hopefully, I can keep my eating habits but exercise it all off with the bike.

I also wanted to add that I am so excited to have my Dell DJ back.  I went too long without it and I’m so excited that I got that battery for $10 + $7 shipping.  I nearly bought the same battery from another retailer for $25 and another was selling the same thing for $50.  I almost gave up until I went on eBay.

Longer, Harder and Uncut

Ok.

I thought the ride would get harder because when you push yourself to go that extra block you use more energy to get there.  Well, when I got to Eye st. I decided to just keep going to Chester and I made it so then I was able to turn right and go back to 3rd.  It was actually easier coming home on Chester than it was going to California on H.  Maybe because I knew I was coming home.

Hmmmm, let’s see, what is uncut…  Well, this blog is, there are no commercials.  So there 😛

By the way, going from Eye to H to California to Chester to 3rd then back to Eye was only 1.6 miles and I’ve been going 1.5 miles turning on Eye instead of going to Chester while on California.  I know, 0.1 mile is not a lot and 2 min extra is not a lot but I started out with 15 min for 2 days then got to 17 min.  Who knows, tomorrow I might do 17 min again or I might do 20 min and 1.7 miles.  The point is that I’m getting my legs used to the work.  The first day my legs were in agony, I could barely move.  Of course today when I came home I could barely walk, I looked like i was an old man using a walker again lol.  But that’s what it takes to get the muscles back into shape.  A little pain at the beginning so I can go the distance with no pain at all.  That’s why they say “no pain, no gain”.

I remember as a teenager riding my bike to school in the morning and not being the least bit tired from the bike ride, then riding home, putting my McDonald’s uniform on and going back out the door on my bike to work.  When I got there I had no pain in my legs because I was so used to riding a bike that my legs were never in any pain from it.  I think because I was so thin back then helped my case because I have 100lbs more than I did 22 years ago.

Also when I was 22-23 years old and I rode my bike from North Hollywood all the way to Hollywood and I did that several times a week too and it would take maybe an hour but it didn’t matter, I was never in any pain.  And I never had a water bottle with me because it wasn’t that hard that I needed water.  Although now that I think about it I probably could have used a water bottle lol.  But that trip was uphill and downhill and curvy.

Oh and when I was 19 and I lived in Canoga Park I used to ride my bike once in a while on the Santa Susanna Pass going to Simi Valley to visit my Aunt Betty at Ralph’s.  That never even phased me.  Although I was a bit winded, I needed water lol.  But I got through it no problem and the ride home was a breeze because it was uphill the entire way there so it was downhill the entire way home.