In my absence, I have asked one of my clients, Vickie Gratton to write a blog about her journey to living a healthy active life. These are her unedited words.
To read more about Vickie's journey, see also:
One Woman's Journey to a Healthy Active Life and
Vickie's Journey Back to Health Part 2.
Guest Blogger: Vickie Gratton, Galena, IL
Hi, my name is Vickie Gratton and I am a client of Kathy Kent/365fitt.
While I have been on a healing journey with Kathy for over a year now, we were faced with a challenge, when in November 2013, I scheduled to have spinal fusions on levels L4-5 and L5-S1 to place a bone graft where severe osteoarthritis had formed and to stabilize spinal instability which was causing nerve pain into my buttocks and down my legs. It also contributed to my having to stop walking because of the burning and pain called claudication. My quality of life, while good in many ways, was sorely lacking in my ability to lead a Healthy Active Lifestyle, hereafter referred to as HAL. Add to that recuperating from knee surgery in September for medial and lateral meniscus tears, I was trying hard to hold myself above water, yet Kathy and I were working out two days per week in the pool which was an activity I could perform with minimal discomfort. That proved to be a saving grace.
Our time together then became more focused on preparing me for surgery on three levels: body, mind and spirit.
|This article came out AFTER Kathy gave me my pre surgery guidelines!|
We spent time discussing healthy eating and she reinforced my healthy choices and encouraged me to stay on plan with “gentle chiding” with facts which reinforced me to do so. We talked in terms of “healthy and unhealthy” choices versus “good and bad.” We amped up my workouts focusing on strong arms, quads and most important a strong core. The pelvic tilt not only provided relief from my back discomfort but formed a stronger foundation for healing from the surgery. My physical therapy at Midwest Medical Center (in Galena, IL) also focused on that core. My mantra became “The more core the better.” While it was several weeks post op before I could restart the core exercises I was allowed back in the water for gentle aqua therapy six weeks following the surgery. What a happy day that was. Nutrition, quad and core strengthening helped me prepare my body and remain priorities as I recover today. I listen closely to my body as I am only five months post op. My surgeon Dr. Michael Chapman said and I quote, “Spinal fusion is a BIG DEAL and recovery can be slow and agonizing and it can take up to a year or more for total recovery.” I have also been able to decrease some of my pre-surgery medications which is also a very healthy thing for my body. Today, Kathy and I took a 3 mile walk in Galena today. I was having a rough go of it so Kathy made sure we made stops, stretched etc. and we did it! That is one of the greatest things about having a trainer/coach. They always ensure you do not injure yourself and are there to make modifications if needed. Kathy does the same thing for me in her Pilates Class every Wednesday 9 am at Midwest Medical Center. I have to share with you that during my first class I was guardedly going through the movements and it felt almost surreal – great but surreal for my body was responding to the movements with pure JOY, ability and agility. I thought to myself (as I smiled) “Who’s body is this?” It was MINE and I smiled my way through the rest of the class.
MIND AND SPIRIT
I have a series of CD’s which are meditations and affirmations for those facing surgery. I listened to them daily and that helped tremendously. Deep breathing and focusing on seeing myself walking with little to no pain, traveling (which I did in April to Florida with girlfriends), playing with our grandchildren and just leading a more HAL. Music and my faith and spirituality are also a large part of my life. I had some serious complications post-op which made my immediate recovery more challenging but I found myself grounded and sometimes “hanging on” during those often “dark nights of the soul.” The love of family and friends and the nourishing food they brought to help heal me on all levels will never be forgotten. To say I am a blessed person is, well an understatement.
Today during our walk Kathy presented me with a 30 day challenge. This challenge, which I call a covenant, is this: For 30 days I will not consume sugar, flour or processed foods of any kind. My meals will consist of simple ingredients primarily beans, nuts, legumes, quinoa etc., lean chicken and fish, hummus lots of vegetables (organic when possible) healthy oils and fruits. I will record my food and exercise on fitday.com which I like because it shows me the amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates in the food I’ve consumed for the day. It is a great tool to keep my on track that way. I can make modifications to keep me in my healthy zone. What will keep me focusind during this challenge, if I'm tempted to stray is the "fist bump" between Kathy and myself which sealed my commitment to the covenant between us. (Plus now, I'm accountable to all of You!)
· I will continue to walk, work out at Midwest Medical Center to strengthen my body to prepare for WHAT WALK/RUNS ARE WE DOING THIS FALL. I will also try to ride a bike again when KK returns from her trip. LIFE IS GREAT WITH 365 fitt. VG