A key to health is consistency.

Consistency in diet.  Consistency in exercise.  Consistency in sleep.  Consistency in self-care.  I could go on…..

A few months ago, I had a new patient come in.  He had Googled “sports doctor” and wound up at Burlington Sports & Spine Clinic.  He was in his late 40s, worked long hours at an office job, and had a downtown Toronto commute.  He spent nearly twelve hours per day sitting at a desk, in a car, or on the GO train.  He was a high school athlete, played University intramurals, and participated in adult sports leagues through his late twenties and early thirties, but he’d put the brakes on his activity levels over the last fifteen years, as the demands of children, work, and life began to build.

Let’s take a minute to think about what his body is capable of these days.  Is it reasonable to think that after fifteen years of sitting twelve hours per day, eating take-out lunches, and making no attempt to build strength or mobility, that his body might start to break down?  Is it reasonable to think that his healing rates might be lower?  That his heart’s efficiency has decreased?  That the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in his body have become accustomed to lack of movement?  I think so.

But he didn’t.

You see, he’d run a 5K the day prior; it was a fundraiser event that he participated in with his work colleagues, and when he came to see me, he could barely walk due to knee pain.

I explained to him what’s involved in an overuse injury.  We talked about tissue tolerance, what happens when physical demands exceed the body’s capacity, and how he’d simply done too much, too soon.  I drew diagrams, I used analogies, and I’d like to think I’ve become quite good throughout my career at explaining injuries to patients.

His response: “I know this is bad, but I’ll pay you extra if you can fix this today.  I don’t want to have to come back.”

Ahhhhh, the quick fix.  Fifteen years of neglecting his body and he wants to be “fixed” in half an hour.  Here’s the reality: I can very likely get you feeling better, faster.  But I can’t undo what you do the other 23.5 hours of the day, for years on end.

Here comes the cliche:

If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.



CLE, JT, and Sarah.

Ahhhhh, I feel so content.

I had a weekend with JT, and more importantly, a weekend with Sarah.  Let me explain.Justin-Timberlake-Event-2019-79c4b5dcf7

If you’ve been reading this blog over the last five years, then you’ve heard of my Sarah.  Sarah has been by my side since we were 12 years old, and although she hasn’t been physically by my side since 2002, when I moved to Toronto and she moved to Washington, DC, she’s still one of the most important people in my life.  She’s been with me through teenage angst and young adult insecurities, through many moves and graduations, through marriage and babies, through houses and careers and chaos and life.  She sent my two-year-old daughter a glasses-wearing teddy bear after her amblyopia diagnosis, and that act alone pretty much sums her up: she is generous and kind and thoughtful and giving.  She is the sister I never had.

But adultingadulting is hard and life happens; logistics simply kick in and dictate the fact that we don’t see each other as much as we’d like.  In fact, other than a quick two-hour visit over Christmas in 2016, I haven’t seen her since I spent a weekend in Washington, meeting her son Harris two years ago.  But, a few months ago, we found a great excuse to see each other: Justin Timberlake.

Cleveland is a four-hour drive for me and a one-hour flight for her, and it just so happened that JT’s March 31st concert fell on Easter weekend.  I texted her on a whim, suggesting the idea, and her yes response came back within a few minutes.  We bought concert tickets on an Amex pre-sale, booked a hotel on points, and began to plot our 24-hours together.  It all came together really quickly and really easily, but perhaps I should’ve expected that, since

it’s just so easy to be with her.

We walked, we talked, we laughed, we danced, we sang, and we cherished.  I left Cleveland late Sunday morning, only 22 hours after I arrived, and made it home in time to host 16 people for Easter Sunday dinner.  And so as I sit and write this out, only a day and a half after it happened, I realize that this stage of life is like.  Life is hauling it to Cleveland to capture moments, then hauling it back to capture more.  Life is Easter egg hunts and concert hangovers, sometimes on the same day.  Life is teamwork from my husband and cooperation from my kids, life is a potluck holiday meal, life is podcasts and gas station snacks and no lineup at the border.  Life is full, and life is good.