Thursday, October 22, 2009

A little (okay, a lot!) about me and why I'm here...

Hi everyone and welcome! :) So happy you're here! If you're new to my blog, you can first read my profile to get a quick background on why I'm here. :) I hope this will be of encouragement and inspiration to any of you who may be/have been in a similar situation whether you deal with chronic pain or are in a weight-loss battle. You are not alone!

So, let me give you a little background. Let's go back to the year 2000. I was 25 years old. I worked a full-time retail job. For those of you who have worked retail, you know that it's an all-day-standing-on-your-feet kind of job. I've worked retail basically since I was 18 aside from a job or two (home health-care billing and I worked in a call center for which I sold computer systems.) Sooo, standing on my feet began to take a toll from all those years (as well as gaining weight I'm sure). I began to go to a podiatrist because I was having severe foot pain, especially when I'd get out of bed in the morning, if I was sitting for a while and would get up and when I'd stand all day, I'd find myself wanting to sit so badly. I was then diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis.

Since 2000, I've done everything imaginable. I have a 3 page document that I've worked up to take to any new specialists/doctors/therapists that I may see which lists (from 2000 to present) every medication I've taken, special foot boots to sleep in, various injections in my toes, ankle, heel etc., several rounds of physical therapy, ESWT (electro-shock wave therapy), specialists I've seen (orthopedic surgeon, cardiologist, neurologist, sports medicine specialist, rheumatologist), compression socks I've worn, shoes I've tried (New Balance come HIGHLY recommended for this condition and I definitely stand by that. The higher the number on the shoe, the better for your foot. Zappos is a GREAT place to find these and they carry WIDE!), icing/de-icing methods, x-rays, MRI's, various diagnoses, EMG tests, blood work, pain clinic appointments and on and on. I finally had surgery in 2005 which did correct my Plantar Fasciitis condition but since my surgery 4years ago, I've had more chronic pain which has lead to being diagnosed with Inter-Digital Neuroma/Neuropathy. This is again, chronic pain but nerve pain in the top/bottom padding of my foot, between my toes as well as having Pitting Edema. Again, 4 years of trying this, that and the other with no relief.

Now, there is much more to be said...but, I'll move on to how this effected my life. As you can imagine, having severe, chronic foot pain certainly limits life's activities. It's caused me to miss many, many shopping trips with my mom (we used to be shop-til-we-drop shoppers!), outings with my sister and my nephews, various events with my cousins who visit from out of town, baseball games that I couldn't deal with sitting that long or walking from parking to the stadium, driving too far without being able to get my foot up, beach walks on vacation (I ADORE the beach but walking on it was murder, so I'd sit in my chair patiently waiting for hubby to come back to see what kind of shells he found. I'd watch him walk until I couldn't see him anymore. Now mind you, just so you know and so you don't think he'd be up and running and leaving me behind, my hubby is THE BEST and I would always tell him "no, you go ahead honey." I never want him to miss out on something just because I couldn't do it and there were many times throughout the years that he would stay with me because he's sweet like that), carrying the laundry/vacuum up and down the stairs became too difficult (hubby has done this for me for several years now), sitting with my feet tucked under me was very painful, I couldn't squat down because the pressure on my forefoot was just too unbearable, walking on uneven grass was excruciating, wearing anything other than my tennis shoes was nearly impossible I could continue this paragraph for another hour, but I won't. I think that's enough. You get it. It wasn't much of a life, really. Sleeping became the only form of relief.

Pain was my middle name. It was my life it seemed. Everything I did was excruciating and sleeping all the time is NOT healthy for anyone's emotional, physical or spiritual well-being. I had gained a lot of my weight starting at the age of 19 after I moved out and into my own place but since 2000, it of course became progressively worse because it was so extremely difficult to do any kind of exercising on my feet...treadmill, elliptical, walking (I could barely go 3 or 4 blocks), name it. Unbearable. Soooo, I did nothing. Well. I did something. I ate. There, I said it. From the time I was 19, food was my comfort. That's 15 years. 15 years.

Let's fast forward to July of this summer. Hubby is involved with a local rehabilitation center and has been for a few years. He had told me that they do a variety of neurological treatments, that they had a therapy pool for clients etc. We had talked about going in to talk with the center to see if they thought any of their services could help my neuropathy and if I'd qualify to be a client. One day when hubby was off work, we went there and talked with the lady he knew. I told her of my condition and within 1 day, I had an appointment set up with the aquatic department and within 3 days, I had my first appointment. I went in to be evaluated and was in the pool that very day. I was given an aquatic routine that would not only help my neuropathy but also get me doing some cardio so that I could lose some of my weight (this was of course one of my concerns that I voiced when I went in for my evaluation). That first day is when my life changed. I can remember driving home and feeling that there may be some hope for me.

That same week, I decided that if I was going to be in the pool, exercising and working on my foot that NOW was the time to also change the way I ate. For good. It honestly just hit me square in the face. I had to do it. This was the time. No excuses. No "dieting" (I've never believed in dieting anyway), no starting on Monday, no starting at the beginning of the month, after the holidays...none of it. I wasn't going to do it anymore and so I started to completely change the way I ate. I changed the way I grocery shopped. I changed the way I thought of food. I changed...for good.

I was so sick of my life at this point. Well, I had been sick of my life for some time. For years. And years. It really didn't seem like living at all. I existed. I felt like I lived in this huge shell and couldn't get out. Thinking of it this very minute floods my mind with emotions but I'm instantly reminded that it's different now. It's changing. I'm changing. I'm getting to know the real me...finally, at 34 years old.

I know it looks a little bare around here but everything is in the beginning stages. I have a few things in my sidebar started and will continue to add other goodies. And yes...I posted my actual weight over there. I still can't believe I did but it is what it is...or was. At the end of each month, I'll post how many pounds I've lost and what my current weight is.

I have progress photos to share with you as well as details of how I'm losing my weight, how I hold myself accountable etc. More to come!


Marjorie said...

My dear, dear friend. I had no idea! I knew you had problems with your foot but did not realize how bad it was. *Hugs* You know how PROUD I am of you Nicole. I've bookmarked this blog. I can't wait to share your progress with you...

Anonymous said...

Nicole, yay for you! Isn't life wonderful and aren't you so glad you and Dad are together in this journey?!
I have known something of your pain, I have had plantar fascitis and have found a remedy but I do have to be careful and I am reading with interest what you are finding out! I hope to hear more of your discoveries! perhaps you can continue to tag those ones so I can find them easily.
I am with you on this journey, we all have excuses etc etc, sometimes we have to find a reason.
A friend of my hubby has a motto
"Excuses and success rarely exist at the same time. Don’t let excuses be your failure." I am trying to be challenged by this.

YOU to me are a SUCCESS and I love being YOUR friend and being INSPIRED by YOU!

Love the blog!

Anonymous said...

oops - Shell from Oz wrote the above comment!

Celeste B. said...

Thanks for sharing the entire story Nicole. I am so happy for you. Congrats on your weigth loss and I'm looking forward to following your progress.

Carolyn Lontin said...

((hugs)) you should be super proud of yourself for making this life-style change! Thanks for sharing your story, I look forward to sharing your journey with you.

Maryfrances said...

Nicole, Your story is amazing and the journey ahead will be one of great reflection and joy. I am so happy and proud of you for doing this. I love that you say you need to change your life...and not just for today...for LIFE. You have the right attitude and I am looking forward to reading more about your journey as you move forward.

Beth said...

its a great start for a blog Nicole! It makes me so happy to read how this center finally found something to help you with your foot pain. I'm still so proud for you - great job on all of it!!!

CoreyW said...

I never knew how bad your foot was either - I knew of the surgery and that there were "complications" but really, I had no clue!

this is so awesome that you're sharing this - you're an inspiration to me and so many others. I can't wait to read more and learn from you so that I can lose the rest of my weight, too!

congrats to you on YOUR journey!

Rachel said...

Good luck Nicole! I am excited for you!

pattiwest said...

I'm so proud of you, Nicole. {{{hugs}}}

Janice Guazzo said...

WOW Nicole, I am so happy you did this. You will be an inspiration to many people I am sure! I was actually just reading up on the condition Plantar Fasciitis. I swear I have it. And yes, sleeping is all I want to do. My husband this morning didn't understand why I was "up" but still lying in bed. I didn't want to feel the pain when my feet hit the floor. Thank you for sharing your life...I love the real Nicole! And once again you are ROCKING that weight jealous. You may inspire me to do doing something now...I may go to the dr. and see if I could get a diagnosis and perhaps do the aqua therapy too...our gym has it in conjunction with the hospital.

Patrizzia said...

Oh Nicole... I had NO idea the extent of your feet problems... I am so sorry you had to deal with that for so so long.

What a wonderful blog to start. I can't wait to see all you add. You are a great inspiration to all. Rock on BFF. I wish you continued success and I can't wait to see your pics August of 2010.

Adora Concepcion said...

(((hugs))))nicole, you are an inspiration. I am so happy for you.
your good spirit did not give me a clue of your sufferings. I am happy that you found cure and help for it, I am excited for you and the future! You are a SUCCESS!!

Our unknown future..... is always secure in the hands of all-knowing God.

Thanks you for sharing!

Krystin said...

WOW!!! Nicole, you are so wonderful...what an inspiration you are.
I am rooting for you, girl. I know you can do it and I am excited to watch your journey (and as soon as this baby is born, I will join you in losing...and maybe even now start eating healthier so I don't pack on too much to lose after baby
Oh, yeah, IT'S A BOY!!!
William Reagan Kahle (but we're calling him Liam) and I'm due Feb. 19/10.
Anyways, YAH, Nicole. You are awesome and I know you will accomplish your weight loss goal. You already look amazing in your profile pic :)

Nicole Stark said...

So glad you are sharing and documenting this all! You look amazing girl and I'm here to cheer you on to this life style change. Keep up the good work:)

Anonymous said...

To say I'm tearing up would be an understatement.... to say I'm bawling would be the honest truth!! So much of me was in everything you said and wrote!!! So much of what I think, I feel, and I desire to say. Words CANNOT describe how moved emotionally, physically, and spiritually by this blog!!!! I am so INCREDIBLY proud of your Nicole!!!! I know EVERYONE one tells you that and I'm sure you love hearing it but I honestly can not find the words to tell you enough how awesomely proud and sublimely happy for you!! Life is what we make it and you are making yours worth living (actually living not just excisting)!!! You are an inspiration to me and to anyone else who reads this. Few ppl are brave enough to take the journey of self rediscovery but girl, enjoy the ride!!!! I love you so very much and am with you all the way! Let's discover together. Lord bless and ALL MY LOVE AND HUGS AND MILLIONS OF KISSES!!! You skinny minnie!!!! Ruthie