Thursday, March 9, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: Kicking a man when he's down

Start date (Dec. 22): 480
Last week: 453
This week: 450
Total lost: 30 lbs.

Last Thursday — a day after I had my Unna boots replaced by another pair (the wounds are healing nicely, by the way) — I felt as though the wrapping on my right foot was a little tight. That was the first sign of a much bigger problem.

Gout.

It was bad enough spending most of the previous three weeks with my feet elevated — and that I now have to take "birdbath" showers because I can't get the Unna boots on both legs wet — my gout had unexpectedly returned after more than a year.

It was strange, since I was doing everything my doctor recommended to lower the uric acid in my blood: take medication, eat low-purine foods, stay away from alcoholic beverages. Stress, however, can elevate uric acids levels and cause an acute attack of gout. That's probably what happened, although I can't say for sure.

Stress? Yes, on top of the everyday stress of work, finances, etc., going through the process of healing the wounds in my legs has been stressful, mainly because I've been limited with my mobility and it's starting to drive me nuts.

When I returned from my shopping trip to Price Chopper in Lake Placid on Friday, my foot was bothering me even more. "I think I overdid it," I told my wife. I still though it was the dressing being wrapped too tight, and I walked around the house using a cane to ease the pressure in my foot.

"Maybe it's your gout," my wife said Saturday morning, as my foot/ankle discomfort had turned into pain.

She was right. I could barely walk on Saturday, putting aside the cane for a pair of crutches. Saturday night was the worst. The foot pain was so bad that I had to cut a few inches off the Unna boot over my foot to ease the pain a little. Still, I couldn't place a blanket on my foot because it hurt so bad. By the evening, I finally found an over-the-counter pill that lessened the swelling and eased the pain. My foot throbbed most of the night, and I couldn't get comfortable. I slept two hours at the most, on and off between 3:30 and 6:30 a.m. Sunday (the Watertown PBS station has some good programming that time of night).

Over the next four days, the gout slowly got better. On Monday, I traded in the crutches for the cane, which I am still using. The pain isn't 100 percent gone yet.

Needless to say, I have not been able to get any exercise since Friday; just walking around the house has been difficult. I feel a little better every day, and I can't wait to start training again for a 5k walking race.

While it's been a difficult week — and I've felt like someone decided to kick me when I was down — at least I was off from work this week, taking a "spring" vacation away from the newspaper business. So, if I was going to choose a time to have a gout attack, I couldn't have picked a better week.

There's always a silver lining, right?

(GET MORE INSPIRATION. The book "Lake Placid Diet: How the Olympic Village Saved My Life" documents the first 18 months of Andy Flynn's weight-loss journey, in which he lost 80 pounds and successfully walked the Lake Placid Half Marathon twice. Purchase the book here.)

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