September 23, 2011
Jenny's Notebook - An Autumn Gift
On September 11 our nation also remembered our losses of 10 years ago, in New York and Pennsylvania and Washington, DC. If we are stronger today, it is due to the sacrifices of those who left us on that day—and all those who have promoted peace and justice around the world ever since. You remain in our thoughts.
Autumn happens to be my favorite time of the year—could that be because I have a birthday coming up in October? A lady never reveals her age, but since I still often feel (not to say act!) like a child, that’s probably the reason I love the fall so much.
Now, every year I treat myself to something special on my birthday—sometimes the opera to celebrate my inner diva; other times the Washington International Horse Show to celebrate my inner cowgirl. Last year I traveled down to Austin so my mom and I could celebrate our birthdays together (call it a guilt trip!).
But this year’s gift is the best one of all, because it represents a celebration of my entire self. It’s the gift of fitness! That’s right—I am recommitting to my own health. How’s that for a present?! Although I am doing well with my lupus, the passing years take with them bone strength and range of motion and good balance, and I must fight back.
But I’m not waiting until October: Last night after work I headed for the gym where I spent 30 minutes huffing and puffing on the elliptical training machine, wondering if I was really up for the rigors of cross-country skiing.
Without a doubt the key is to listen to your favorite rowdy music while you toil! After the work-out I stretched and then weighed myself, and back at the Hobbit Hole (my beneath-the-stairs dwelling) I recorded my waist and hips measurements. (O, the horror!) Diet has to be adjusted too (get away, you sugary snacks!); more on that next time.
Here I must confess that, contrary to my usual advice, I did not first talk with my physician about beginning an exercise program that puts demands on joints, muscles, and a rather inactive cardiovascular system. This Was Wrong. Say it after me!
However, as part of my Healthy Recommitment, I made an appointment with a new primary care provider for a complete physical, and to make sure I am up for these fitness efforts. I can’t recall ever having a complete physical. When you have lupus, sometimes it feels like all you ever do is go to doctor appointments, but they’re always specialists. It’s a good idea to also have the Big Picture. Then I’m going to go get that DXA bone mass test thingy. I’ve been putting it off for no particular reason. And third on the list is a flu shot. Now, I hate needles, really hate them, but I don’t care to risk a lupus flare, right?
Lifting weights is on tonight’s agenda. Wish me luck!
On another note: September is National Pain Awareness Month. The American Pain Foundation Action Network is asking people to join the “If I Lived in a World with Less Pain, I Could...” campaign to raise awareness, Find out more at painfoundation.org/. Also, Rest Ministries is sponsoring National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Their Web site at http://invisibleillnessweek.com/ features a number of opportunities to participate.
May your autumn be pain-free, full of activities you enjoy, and spent in the company of loved ones who make you laugh.
I remain your faithful, fitness-seeking correspondent,