giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Cheetah pawsI've been meaning to write an LJ post for awhile about my overall health, but I've had so many things change along that front that I figured I'd let them settle down first.

First, the issue with my knees. About a year ago, I began feeling pain just below the kneecaps on both knees. I started wearing knee braces to rest the knees, and would try removing them after a few days of being pain free. But this only made the pain come back, and even worse: I would feel sharp stabbing pains in the sides of my knees. That scared me lots, because I had no idea what was wrong with my knees, and I was afraid to do anything that might aggravate them further. So I continued to wear the knee braces just in case I had something degenerative going on.

It took a few trips to the knee doctor, some MRIs, x-rays, and 2 months of physical therapy to finally get to the bottom of things. If you've ever heard a healthcare specialist say, "everything is connected", this is a classic case of that. The pain I felt under my kneecaps turned out to be patellar tendinits. Apparently the space between the bottom of my kneecap and the top of my tibia was a few millimeters too short for someone my size, which meant the tendon was shorter. This in turn predisposed me to things like that. Combine that with hitting the bicycle hard at the gym (more on that shortly), and I set myself up for issues with that tendon. And the stabbing pains in the sides of my knees? Seems I had not been working the supporting muscles on the sides of the knees, and the knee braces caused them to atrophy a little from underuse. So when I tried going off of the knee braces, I gave myself overuse injuries and a little scar tissue. Oops.

On the subject of the supporting muscles in the knees, the physical therapy I had at Zarett Rehab rocked really hard. The people there were very knowledgeable and taught me exercises such as Russian Single-leg Deadlifts to work all of the muscles in the knee, not just the patellar tendons. They also discovered some weakness in the muscles in my hips and lower back, and gave me exercises to do for those muscles as well. This should keep the muscles in my knees and feet from getting overtaxed. After several weeks of physical therapy, they then helped me wean myself off of the braces by way of having me walk longer and longer periods every day without them. At this point, I've been off the knee braces for two weeks, and have been taking walks in the evenings. It's really nice to be able to walk across town again. :-)

I said something earlier about the gym, and have come to the conclusion that gym machines are fairly evil. The problem with them, as I learned first hand, is that many machines only target a single muscle. Let's say you're using a leg extension machine. This will work the quads... and little else. This means that the supporting muscles don't get worked out, and can lead to problems down the road, especially if the quad were to get injured, causing you to limp, and causing more strain to be put on those other muscles. Muscles can start having issues one after another that quickly.

I've quit my membership at the gym, and am going to look into taking up yoga at some point. In the meantime, I'll keep doing my calisthenics 3 times a week, and walk seven days a week. I still have some discomfort in the knees and the tibialis anterior, but since it's a 100% soft tissue injury (e.g., the joints are fine), that will heal with time.

Leopard's pawThe second major issue is my feet. I began feeling this awful burning pain in them at Anthrocon last year. It limited my enjoyment of the con and was quite scary. So after the con I saw my doctor, then my pawdiatrist. Originally, it was pointed out that my feet had high arches, which meant that more load was borne by the ball of the foot and the outside of the feet. The first step to try and treat this was prescription orthotic inserts. But, the pain continued. So I was sent off to physical therapy. Unfortunately, I had an HMO at $OLDJOB, and could not choose which facility I was sent to. So while the people at the rehab facility I went to were really nice, I didn't get the best care I could. (My pawdiatrist used the word "McDonald's to describe them)

Fast forward a few months to December, when I changed jobs, and got a much better health plan. I was then sent off to Zarett for my injuries (yes, physical therapists can treat multiple injuries during the same visit, as I learned) and while it helped with the knees, it did less for the feet. Oddly enough, I discovered just a couple of weeks ago that removing my shoes while seated at my desk makes the pain and discomfort go away. Walking is fine, too. It's only standing and being seated with shoes on that cause me issues.

At this point, I've had X-rays, seen a pawdiatrist, physical therapist, neurologist, and had an ultrasound done. Yet, nobody can really tell me what's going on. The closest the physical therapist could say is that it was very likely a chronic injury spent by walking around with high arches for 30-plus years, but even he wasn't sure what the specific injury was. As he said, "Chronic injuries are frustrating for both the patients and us".

Overall, the pain in the feet is less than what it was last summer, and with things like fractures, arthritis and neuropathy all ruled out, that means I shouldn't have any serious issues going forward with my life.

TL;DR I got old, so I punched old age in the dick.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I took last Friday off for high school classmate Derek's bachelor party last Thursday night. While I emerged from it relatively unscathed and not at all hungover, I cannot say the same for other participants. In other words, a successful bachelor party!

Case in point, here are some photos:

Cammie watches Beavis and Butthead Derek plays Cornholio Cammie

Yes, the dog was watching Beavis and Butthead with us.

Onward to Saturday and the wedding itself. It was the first wedding I was in in some years, and everything went off perfectly. No mistakes, and no drama.

Some pics from the wedding:

Katie's cheetah necklace (not a leopard)

The necklace above was worn by Katie, the wife of one of my fellow groomsmen, apparently for my benefit. And the best part? It was apparently labelled as a "leopard" by the shop selling it. I had to argue with her that no, it was really a cheetah. This whole leopard/cheetah confusion just never ends!

Also, I became Mayor of a church in FourSquare:

I became Mayor of a CHURCH in FourSquare!

Raise your paw if you didn't see THAT coming!

So, between high school classmate Derek, high school classmate Chris, and myself, I'm the only single person left. Chris got married in 2003 with Derek and I in the wedding party, and this time it was Derek's turn to get married with Chris and myself in the wedding party. Naturally, the question is when will it be my turn to get married (legally or otherwise)? I have no idea. It did prompt me to get around to updating my profile to something a little more current. We'll see what comes of it.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
PA Furries chat room

Things have gotten interesting with my feet. Early last week, I figured out a "trigger" that made them hurt: wearing shoes. It seemed that wearing my shoes the entire day apparently put enough pressure on my feet to make them hurt more. So the solution was to remove my shoes while I'm seated at my desk at work. That's not the preferred way to write code, but hopefully this will help my feet start the healing process so I can resume being active again.

In the later part of the week and this past weekend, I noticed that the pain in my feet changed a bit, as did the pain in my knees. This suggests that my orthotic inserts might just be doing their job. I'm 1.5 weeks into my initial 6 week run of them, so we'll see.

Late last week, [ profile] alsaihn and [ profile] turtyl_db swung by one evening. We hung out, chatted, and generally got caught up on things.

Somewhere in there [ profile] desteredra and I got together a few times for food and general hanging out.

Some other actual work I did last week included deploying chat on the Pennsylvania Furries website. It's a web-based chat system that appears in the right sidebar for logged in users (as shown in the screenshot on the right), and seems to be pretty popular with folks on the site. I'm glad I set that up.

And finally, after living in my current apartment for 9 years, I got curtains for my place. Yes, curtains. It's too dark to get good pictures now, but I'll eventually post before/after pictures.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I picked up my orthotic shoe inserts today. This is what they look like:

My orthotic shoe inserts My orthotic shoe inserts

For those of you who have used Spenco Polysorb insoles, that's exactly what the top of them are. They're quite padded. The underside is a carbon mesh, with a rather high arch.

Wearing them feels interesting. To quote my doctor, "it's like there is a hand pushing up on the bottom of each arch".

Getting my muscles adjusted to these will also be interesting. And I don't mean the muscles in my feet, but rather in my legs! Since these orthotics rotate my feet on the Z-axis, this means that one half of the muscles on my leg will pull more than usual, while the other half will push more than usual. I was told to wear them for an hour the first day, then increase the wearing time by an hour each day. He explained to me that if I fail to do this, the pain will send me to the Emergency Room, because wearing them for a full day before my muscles are ready would be like going to the gym for a full day.

The next step is to see my pawdiatrist again in 6 weeks. He said that there's a 98% chance that I will, and I quote, "feel like kissing him on the lips". Yes, he really said that. In the remaining 2%, some imperfection may show up in the orthotics, which means they get sent back to the manufacturer for adjustment.

The manufacturer also offers a "protection plan". For $75, I can be enrolled for 3 years, which will protect my orthotics against damage or theft (LOLWHUT?). I'll probably go for that, just for the damage angle.

What this will do to my knees remains to be seen, but there's a pretty good chance I'll see some improvement there, since my feet will now be aligned properly. If I see substantial improvement, I intend to do some traveling. Possible destinations include New York City, driving west as far as Chicago, visiting Cheetah Pizza (you guys think I'm joking? Click the link!), or flying to Las Vegas.

More news as I get it.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
My feet were feeling fine early on in the week, until I had another flareup on Wednesday afternoon. It peaked on Friday night, forcing me to lay down on the sofa and go horizontal for most of the evening. It was not fun. I visited classmate Derek and his girlfriend (whose wedding I am a Groomsman in come October) on Saturday afternoon/evening, and we got to hang out, I showed him The Triplets of Belleville, and he showed me Chronicles of Riddick. It was a relatively average action movie, and not nearly as good as Pitch Black.

As of this (Sunday) evening, the pain in my foot has calmed down a bit. We'll see if I'm feeling any better tomorrow. Since I didn't hear from the pawdiatrist last week, I'll call tomorrow and see if my orthotics have come in yet.

I got some more bad news early last week. It's distressing enough that I've had a few nightmares over it and has had me feeling generally miserable and agitated. Unfortunately, I can't talk about it yet, because it hasn't yet been resolved. I hope to be able to get it sorted out soon.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I've started reading LJ a little more in the last week or so. As much as I like Twitter and Facebook, I can't help but feel that those services come off as a little shallow, and lack the depth that LJ has. Then again, LJ just isn't as dynamic as the other two services, so I dunno. At any rate, I intend to start reading LJ regularly again.

Real life has also been interesting lately. In addition to missing FCN due to my knees acting up, I was also unable to attend Anime Central due to a relapse. Thinking it might be something other than "merely" a flareup of chondromalcia, I went back to my physician on Monday. Sure enough, he told me that my one ACL feels looser than the other, which is never a good sign. My next step is to get an MRI and confirm the diagnosis. Once that happens, there may be knee surgery in my future, or not. It depands on how loose/torn the ACL is.

On the good side of things, the X-ray that was taken says my knee joints are fine. I'll take soft tissue injuries over arthritis any day. Also, I'm 6 vacation days ahead of where I would have been otherwise.

Earlier tonight, I tweaked my webserver config so that any attempt to visit now gets redirected to the same URL on I've owned for a few years now, and only recently did I decide that as much as I like, I have more and more trouble saying that domain name with a straight face to co-workers and colleagues. Plus, while CnP has a furry connotation, does not. I can pretty much label it as my home on the web, and put up whatever I want to there.

And finally, a picture to caption:

There are more pictures of those two here.

Photo meme

Sep. 21st, 2008 02:36 pm
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Ganked from [ profile] kaarlo.

Take a picture of yourself right now.

Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.

Post that picture with NO editing.

Post these instructions with your picture.

As an aside, all the stuff that made it into the background was interesting and completely unintentional on my part. I count a few plushies, Dolph, and my DI beret.


giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Douglas Muth

April 2012



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