DISABILITIES

HOMEPAGE www.danieljvance.com


by Daniel J. Vance


You can't help but root for 60-year-old Sharon, an Internet reader of this weekly column, who continues fighting to improve her health despite her personal history.

She has had a lifelong weight control problem that likely contributed to her developing type 2 diabetes, and the last few years especially her being overweight has been aggravating a badly arthritic left knee.

With diabetes relatively under control with regular insulin shots, her arthritic knee has been her biggest challenge. It almost always hurts. “Nobody realizes that a step from the curb onto the street can seem like an insurmountable challenge to someone like me,” said Sharon in a telephone interview. “I'm scared to death sometimes because I'm afraid of falling.”

Recently, she moved to a new home without stairs. Although still able to navigate the three steps inside her old home, she knew it simply “was a matter of time” before she couldn't. She also has a lot of difficulty getting in and out of cars, and rising from a chair.

When young, she remembers a doctor saying she likely had a thyroid condition causing her persistent weight gain. About ten years ago she had gastric bypass surgery to limit her food intake and quickly lost 90 pounds. But over the years she slowly gained back every pound and a doctor recommended against her having the operation a second time due to her age.

She said, “I've always been heavy and have had to make allowances for it. I notice it most while flying airplanes when I have to ask for a different seat belt because of my weight. Some seat belts you have to pull all the way out and they're still not big enough.”

To fix her arthritic knee, an orthopedic surgeon strongly suggested she first lose a good deal of weight before having a total knee replacement. So now she is trying with all her might, for the umpteenth time, and to start has shed 20 pounds.

“I joined a weight loss clinic,” she said. “In the past I've tried all kinds of weight loss, about everything in the book. This is the first time there has ever been any light at the end of the tunnel because I never feel hungry.”

Let's root for her to lose that extra weight, receive her knee replacement, and return to work full-time.

For more, see danieljvance.com or www.diabetes.org [This column made possible by a grant from Blue Valley Sod, www.bluevalleysod.com]