Friday, April 15, 2016

Don't Let Your Disease Define You!

I have a friend, who fifteen years ago at the age of 67 found out he had MS. Now many of us faced with a life changing disease such as Multiple Sclerosis would let this disease rule our lives. But not my friend1 He decided that he would not let MS define him. He didn't want to be known as the guy with MS. So he decided to find out everything he could on the disease and the things he could do to counter act the physical toll MS would take on his body.

Today fifteen years later he's in terrific shape for a man in his eighties. He swims 1 mile everyday and lifts weights in the gym. He has a vert upbeat attitude and volunteers on several comitees. Sure he walks with a cane and will use a wheel chair when he needs to walk a distance, but the wheel chair is a manual one, not electric.

So what is the take away from my friend's experience? It's simple really his attitude and determination not to let this crippling disease define him and/o rlimit him has enabled him to live a long and active life.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Failed Back Surgery!

Did you know that some statistics say that the percentage of failed back surgery is as high as 74%! Wow that means of the some 500,000 disc surgeries a years nearly 350,000 continue to have back pain! So what is a person to do? Well there are options!

Unfortunately many people rely on surgery in the hopes of curing their back pain and forget about alternative options that require life style changes. Here are some suggestions based on my experience.

1. Rest
2. Lose weight
3. Exercise

It constantly amazes me how people avoid making these changes in the lives, but how quickly they agreed to surgery. Let me make this Very Clear. Surgery should never be your first and/or only option! For a free report go to my sidebar.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CURING BACK PAIN WITHOUT SURGERY

Is it possible to cure back pain without surgery? While I'm no doctor, I am someone who has lived with back pain had surgery and has lived the last eight years relatively pain free. I can tell you that surgery alone is not the answer. Surgery can fix the problem of a ruptured disc. But only by changing your life style can you truly cure back pain.

Think of it this way. You have back pain and after an MRI and discussion with your doctor decide on surgery. After the operation the surgeon tells you he "fixed" the problem and mechanically you're fine. Bur are you? Did you know there's even a medical term called "Failed Back Surgery Syndrome"?
For many people the pain they experienced before surgery is still there. What went wrong?

The short answer is nothing! The surgeon did his/her job, but the back with all it's nerves, muscles, tendons and spinal column is a very complex area of the body. Too many people expect the surgery to cure the back pain and then they can go back living their normal lives. Many time the causes of the back pain and their lifestyle only leads to more problems.

The real way to cure back pain whether you have surgery or not is to make positive changes in your life. Two of the most critical are:

1. Lose weight! I know a person who had back surgery about the same time I had mine and who has lived with back pain ever since. It's gotten so bad that he can barely walk. He gone to all kinds of specialists, endured all kinds of test and procedures and still the pain persists. However the one thing he could do which in my opinion would make all the difference is lose the spare tire around his gut! This extra 20 or 30 pounds puts enormous strain on his back. But whenever I mention the fact he gets mad and tells me to mine my own business! I should add this person has diabetes and high blood pressure. Again losing the weight would make a huge difference in his health.

2. Exercise: There are specific exercises that will straighten your back from simple walking to the Cure the Back Pain program which has helped me.

None of this is rock science. Rely on surgery to cure your pain and ignoring the reasons that caused the pain is foolish. Why live in pain if the cure is readily available? 

Friday, March 18, 2016

8 Basic Qigong Movements

Hey found this on youtube. Jake Mace demonstrates eight basic Qigong movements. He says there great for beginners, but the movements while basic will give you a terrific workout. I've been doin Qigong for years and found these exercises gave me a real workout. If you haven't done Qigong or are out of shape I would only do 3 reps of each movement and not bend fully or squat as far down as he does.

Anyways here's the link. https://youtu.be/3HMLtN7BOlY

Thursday, March 17, 2016

IRISH TOUGH!

The Irish have a reputation as being a tough, hardnose, stubborn people. They also are known for their humor, laughter, poets and writers and yes drinking. Saint Patrick's Day is a great time to celebrate all that's great about the Irish and their many contributions to the world.

Of course having a lot of Irish blood flowing through my veins I can not help but celebrate the Irish. Did you know that the Irish were one of the few people were never completely defeated by the Vikings, Romans or English? Of course in more recent times the terrible fighting between in Northern Ireland highlighted the deep divisions and resentment towards English rule. Thankfully things have settled down and the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland have enjoyed the many benefits of peace.

Famous Irish writers and poets have helped shape western literature. James Joyce, Bram Stroker, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw to name a few. Peter O'Toole,Liam Neeson, and Colin Farrell. And who can't forget such great songs like "When Irish Eyes are Shining", or Danny Boy.

So today everyone gets to be Irish. Put on a little green and may the "Luck of the Irish be with You!

Friday, March 11, 2016

REST DAY!

Today is my rest day! I started a more intense QiGong workout yesterday and I feel the effects of it today. I usually take a day or two of rest between workouts. No, I don't spend the day lying on the couch eating chips and drinking coke.

My day of rest includes eating right, drinking lots of fluids, gentle stretching, working on a hobby and going for a walk.

My body and I will enjoy our rest day/days and be ready to hit the gym tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

MUSCLE FATIGUE? TRY QI QUONG

Muscle fatigue can be a workout killer. As much as you want to workout you also want to avoid the pain and fatigue tat can result. Is there an alternative besides doing nothing? Well in fact there is. It's called Qi Quong or Chi Quong.

Qi Quong is an ancient form of martial art originating in China thousands of years ago. Qi Quong means life energy, combining slow moving movements, meditation and deep rhythmic breathing. It is a form of moving mediation and is consider a form of balancing qi, which is considered life energy.

I discovered Qi Qoung many years ago when I was recovering from back surgery and have used it off and on ever since. Whether it's the deep breathing or slow movements or the balancing of my Qi I always feeling better after doing a fifteen minute session.

If you suffer from muscle fatigue Qi Quong is a great way to heal and recover your energy. I practice Qi Quong between workouts. I also take a break every six weeks or so and just practice my Qi Quong movements. As I get older I find that Qi Quong is especially helpful in healing my body and mind. There are many sources of information on the internet especially "You Tube". Also as the popularity of Qi Quong grows more and more health clubs offer Qi Quong classes.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

MUSCLE FATIGUE: AN EXERCISE KILLER

Muscle fatigue can be an exercise killer. Not only can it breakup your exercise routine, but it can be a real road block to improving your physical fitness. After all it you suffer for days after a workout what's the point of exercising at all?

I mean it's expected that your be a little sore after a tough workout, but your body should adjust and certainly after starting a new routine you should expect improvement if a few days. years ago after a workout I always felt pumped and the next day usually felt pretty good. Sure I was a little sore, but it was a good feeling. Now after a workout I feel like somebody beat me with a rubber hose!

So what are the alternatives? Turn into a couch potato? Or find a cure and/or modify my exercise routine? For me the answer is obvious. Find a cure! You can join me on this journey and together we can beat this muscle fatigue!





Friday, March 4, 2016

BUILDING MUSCLE: THE IMPORTANCE OF REST

So here you are finally starting a workout program or you've been working out pumping iron, body weight exercises, etc and want to push yourself to the next level. What's your plan? Go to the gym and impress everyone with how much weight you can bench press? Or do push ups to exhaustion?
How about doing split routines?

Probably like most guys you haven't thought much about rest. But you should. Because it's during periods of rest between workouts that your body repairs and rebuilds muscle. Too much time spent in the gym grunting and groaning as you try to do one more rep will do more harm than skipping a day and veggie out!

Especially as you get older, it's important to rest 2 or even 3 days between workout sessions. As I mentioned in my last blog I'm becoming increasingly aware of my body limits and the need for less intense workouts and plenty of rest. It's been 3 days since my last workout and I'm just beginning to feel better: less pain & fatigue.

I tend to be pretty stubborn and figured if I just push myself a little more eventually my body will adapt. I come from the generation that believed no pain no gain and pain is weakness leaving the body. Now that might be true when I was 18 or 20, but at 69+ it's become very clear that pain is not my friend and rest is really my best buddy.

So what do I plan to do? Very simple less intensive workouts and plenty of rest. Along with a diet with lots of veggies and lean protein. I'll expand on this plan in the future and report on my progress. For now I get some rest..

Thursday, March 3, 2016

POST WORKOUT MUSCLE FATIGUE

I've been working out since I was a teenager. Power lifting, body building, body weight exercises you name it at one time I did it. My dreams of being the next "Arnold" faded many years ago. I now no longer pump iron, preferring body weight exercises and exercise cables over steel plates and bars.

For about 6-9 months I have been experiencing severe muscle soreness and fatigue one, two or more days after a workout. At first I thought it was just my old body needing more rest especially after an intense workout. I would wait for the soreness and fatigue to go away before another set of workouts.

But despite days of rest and changing my routines the soreness and fatigue always came back, sometime to the point of barely functioning the next day. I meet to my doctor and he ran a series of test: blood work, MRI CAT Scan, etc and I've seen a Endocrinologist. They have ruled out chronic fatigue, plaque build up in my arteries and all test have come back negative.

The good news I in great shape. The bad news is there seems to be no medical reason for the fatigue. Is it all in my head? Let me backup and say that the soreness and fatigue worsen after my radical Prostatectomy. My Urologist said I would improve and that my Testostarone  levels were fine.

Now I know I'm pushing 70 and should be thankful to be alive and in pretty good shape. But that's not me. I know guys who are older and who workout as hard or harder than me and bounce back/recover from their workouts no problem.

I've tried pre and post workout shakes, meals and supplements but to no avail. On top of the fatigue I have to lie down in the afternoon and usually crawl to bed around nine bone tired. So I'm throwing it out there looking for answers and would appreciate any help I can get.

THANKS!



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

PROSTATE CANCER & WATCHFUL WAITING



Prostate cancer unlike most other cancers is usually a slow growth cancer. Most men over the age of seventy with prostate cancer will probably die of something else. In my case because my PSA had doubled from 4.5 to 9.1 in a year watchful waiting wasn’t an option
.
Because I am a Vietnam Veteran the Veterans Administration assumes I was exposed to Agent Orange. Agent Orange was used in Nam as a defoliant and exposure to it causes a wide range of nasty diseases, prostate cancer being one of them. I will discuss this more in another article.
They are several terms for watchful waiting. It may be called expectant management, observation, and/or active surveillance. So what exactly does watchful waiting mean? Well what it doesn’t mean is to ignore the warning signs of a high PSA. What it does mean is working with your doctor to set up a protocol that includes regular monitoring of your PSA.
Some doctors may prefer to more closely monitor your prostate. While some may describe a less intensive approach. Using a variety of methods such as PSA blood test, digital rectal exams, biopsies and ultrasounds it’s possible to carefully monitor your cancer and take action if there is a change in your test results.
I should point out here that like most men my prostate and the idea of being constantly examined didn’t appeal to me. After all we’re talking about a most intimate part of the male anatomy. This being the case it’s critical to find a doctor who you feel comfortable with and who is willing to answer your questions and concerns and discuss all the options.
With active surveillance or watchful waiting only men whose cancer is growing will be treated. For men with slow growing or less serious cancers this means avoiding the many side effects of aggressive procedures such as surgery. Of course if you go the route of watchful waiting there is the danger that the cancer will spread. If this happens then your treatment options maybe limited and the long term effects significant. We’re talking erectile dysfunction (ED) and leakage.
Older men especially those with other serious health problems such as diabetes and or heart related illnesses watchful is a viable alternative. But for younger men who are in good health and who have twenty or thirty years to live a more aggressive treatment plan is probably the best choice.


Friday, February 19, 2016

GOODBYE PROSTRATE!!!

August 2014 and I'm meeting with my primary doctor for a follow up on my yearly physical. I'm feeling pretty confident because despite being 68 years old I've always maintain my weight, exercised, eat right and take my vitamins. I've never smoked, well at least not since I got out of the Navy some 44 years ago and I only occasional drink.

No worries I told my wife as I walked out the door. But thirty minutes later my world turned upside down. I knew from last year's exam that my PSA level (Prostrate Specific Antigen, which is a protein produced by the prostrate and which elevated levels could indicate prostrate cancer.) was slightly elevated. But having read that there are a number of reasons besides cancer for an elevated PSA and that many times the test can be giving a false reading I wasn't worried.

Now however my PSA had almost doubled! I could feel my heart rate jump and my palms start sweating. The doctor recommended a Urologist and strongly suggested that I make an appointment ASAP! He also said that the Urologist would preform the dreaded prostrate biopsy.

So two weeks later I'm in the Urologist's office. We just finished with an examination of my privates. He had joked earlier about getting to know me real well and if this exam was any indication I think we might get engaged!

We step up a time for the biopsy. I had asked about watchful waiting (More on this in another article.) But he said with my rapid increase in PSA level this wasn't an option. I had talked to a few friends who had under gone a biopsy and had heard all the horror stories about the pain and embarrassment, so I wasn't looking forward to it.

The prostrate biopsy consists of the doctor insert a device up your rectum and then firing twelve needles into your prostrate to extract tissue samples. When I say fired that's exactly want happens! These needles are spring loaded. The doctor counts 1, 2, 3 and bang a needle penetrates thru the wall of the rectum and into the prostrate. Despite being uncomfortable and embarrassing, it wasn't painful.

Three days later I got a call saying the biopsy was positive and to come in an discuss my options. They are only two real options. Radiation in which radioactive seeds are implanted and surgery to remove the prostrate. Both have they advantages and disadvantages. I'll go over the benefits of each in my next article.

After discussing all this with my wife we decided to have the prostrate removed and scheduled the surgery.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

I'm Back!!!!

I'm back! Boy it's been awhile since I post anything on my aching back blues blog and a lot has happened. One of my last blogs was about my PSA levels being 9.1. At the time I asked the question: "What's a Guy to Do?"

Well do put it short & sweet what I did was to have a radical prostatectomy. That was almost a year and half ago back on October 26, 2014. Let's just say it's been a long journey back physically, mentally and spiritually and the journey's not over.

This year I plan to write about the journey and lessons learned.