Monday, 30 January 2017

My bike ride, and why....

Been for a bike ride this morning.
I thought I should make the effort to get myself moving again.
All my working life I have been sat down,
and being a writer and browser of the internet I still sit down for many an hour.
This has made my legs unhappy with me.
I have disregarded this unhappiness though,
and just carried on with what I am doing.
For years I have had a health condition, or thought I had, but again disregarded.
ME, (not MS), Chronic Fatigue, Adrenal Failure, all these names have been assigned to this condition, with the medical people not knowing what causes it, some even disregarding the symptoms as imagination.
There is no cure.
Anyway, in the back of my mind early on in my adult life, I thought that I had something wrong,
but carried on nevertheless with my hectic and chaotic life.
Years passed, the symptoms persisted, getting stronger but I still ignored them as my life continued to bounce along.
2008, and France arrived.
June 2016, and down I went.
Together with the ME/Chronic Fatigue, Adrenal Failure condition, I had also gathered to myself the condition of Fibromyalgia.
So what happened was this:
If you are me, when life is difficult and hectic, you fight on, that is what you do.
You do not give up, you keep on striving to overcome whatever difficulty is in front of you,
and you do not turn around and go in the opposite direction,
never will you do that.
Whatever challenge is set you by the Universe, then you do your best to conquer it.
And if you are me, you would look back and marvel at the amount of life learning you have absorbed as a result of rising up to meet these challenges.
You feel the growth of self, of the fullness of self, of those long years behind which were full of things happening, some good, some not so good, but nevertheless done well.
The cost, though, it is the cost that brought me low last year, because if you were me you would have been too busy, and not had the time, to have listened to what was happening to the body.
Then finally your body gives up on you, and says 'Enough!'.
What happened for me was that I was consumed with a heavy tiredness of which there seemed to end, coupled with the chronic muscular stiffness of Fibromyalgia, which had me taking half an hour to get out of bed because nothing would work, then moving about at the pace of a sloth.
So I slept for hours and hours, and worried, because I thought that this was the end, that I was on the downward path, because at that time I did not actually know what was wrong with me.
I just knew I was sick.
And if you were me, you would refuse to run to the doctor, but instead would find out what was actually wrong and get it sorted out yourself, which is what I did.
 God bless the Internet, because I embarked on hours of research, listing first all the symptoms I had, and then seeing if they fitted known illnesses. They did. It was scary. I now had names to put to the condition I had, and reality bit deep. As I say, this was a scary time.
But hey ho, if you were me you would refuse to give in, you learn to accept what is wrong with you, then you find ways to help yourself get better, but knowing in  your heart that it is going to take many months before you can say that you are well again, and trying to stay patient when the dark days happen, which they will, when you feel like you have taken a dozen steps backwards, that this is 'it' for the rest of your days, that life is not really worth all this effort. But you get up the next day and fight on. Perhaps it will be a better day, perhaps it won't, but you give it a try anyway, that is what you do if you are me.
I am not going into the exact physical symptoms, nor how I put myself back together again, but I have gradually improved. What is a bother, though, is that this period of ill health has left me with less physical strength than I used to have, and I need to get some of that back. I don't suppose that I shall ever be as fit as I was ten years ago, but I need to be fitter than what I am otherwise I shall not be able to live the self sufficiency life I want to live, which requires all sort of physical effort.
If you were me, you would need a target to head towards, and the Market Garden Project has arrived at just the right time. Not for me the slowness of retirement, of watching the days dwindle away, and of allowing the illness to settle over me like a blanket, oh no, not at all.
So, two bits of me need helping legs, and my upper arms and shoulders.
On Burns Night (25th Jan) we were invited to play for our supper at a friend's party, which needed me to start playing the accordion again if we were to respond to her request. I did, and we played. This has given me a thirst for playing the accordion again. I have trouble even lifting if off the floor at the moment. Not to worry, I can just about manage to do so, and the movement of the bellows in and out will stretch out my upper arms and shoulders. I would be satisfied if I could lift my left arm higher than the tope of my head. The right arm is happier.
As for my legs.....
I have got my exercise bike from out of its corner,
and have started pedalling.
100 light pedals
100 light pedals with upper arm stretches
100 pedals on the next level up.
Once a day, in the morning.
OK, so I have to do something gentle for half an hour afterwards, such as play exercises on the piano, or knit, or sew, but I definitely find myself moving better.
And here is the view I see as I cycle:

...out in to the courtyard, which is waiting to be made in to the first stage of the Market Garden Project.

... and here are my legs, waiting to be helped in to better physical shape.
I have another matching pair of socks somewhere,
probably snitched away by Blue, our sock and knicker stealer.
So if you were me, what you do now?
I would say 'thankyou' for reading this blog,
that if you have anything wrong with you healthwise, then you can always improved that condition if you want to, but that you need to have something to focus on to stop your head from moaning to you about how unwell you feel, this I know from experience.
And I did get to walk with the dogs round our Side Field last night,
which is the first time I have walked so far for months.
Bye for now,


local alien said...

Wow what an inspiration you are!! Your story tells us what a courageous and stubborn? woman you are. Hell, you can do anything girl. Shake your fist at those nasties and keep living!!

DUTA said...

My daily motto is listen to your body, 'know thy body'. While we couldn't do that when we were young for obvious reasons, now when we're in the so-called third age, we MUST do it. It is our body that signals that something is wrong with it and tells us we have to mobilize all our energy to help it.

Generally, what can help in any illness is a change in nutrition: for example, no gluten, no yeast, no dairy products etc... One will quite soon find out what promotes his health and what does the opposite.

Wish you success in making the necessary changes, and hope you'll feel much better.

Mama Pea said...

Words inadequately express what you've been through and your very admirable efforts to get better and better and better. GOOD FOR YOU! I don't know who said it, but I've always remembered the quote: When you stop living, you start dying. Good thing the "living" can be so wonderful, huh?

Vera said...

LOCAL ALIEN, I am stubborn with myself, that is true, so I shall keep pedalling that bike!

DUTA, thankyou for your advice.

MAMA PEA, it is true that 'when you stop living you start dying', and I do believe that you have to keep going right until you breath your last!

Jean said...

Getting the right balance between pushing yourself and taking it easy is the tricky thing.
My SIL has CFS and her health has improved enormously since she retired and moved to a place where she was less stressed and had some help. Stress was the major factor and that's a very personal thing.

Vera said...

JEAN, it was stress laid down in childhood that started the condition off, and then it got overlaid with more stress as the years went by, the CFS and the severe pain of the related fibromyalgia kept building but I thought that was 'normal' But I have recognised that now, and am getting back on the road to recovery. Glad to hear that your SIL is also improving.

John Gray said...

Looking at your legs we could be twins x

Cro Magnon said...

It seems to be the case, that one should do almost exactly the opposite of what our bodies tell us to do, in order to beat an illness (or post-op'). I have two friends who both had hip replacement op's. One followed the advice of walking for several hours each day, and even though it was quite painful she soon regained her former self. The other found the pain too much and didn't do her walking, and is now almost immobile.

The answer is to battle through, and exercise; which sounds like exactly what you're doing. I wish you well.

Vera said...

JOHN, aw bless!

CRO MAGNON, thank you. .... and very good advice.

Ally said...

Try to get a copy of Gut Reaction. It's available on Amazon. Changing what and how I eat has turned my life around. Agree totally with Duta's comments. Keep up the good work and take care x

Vera said...

ALLY, my diet has already been changed....this happened when we became almost self sufficient with food. This change in lifestyle has definitely helped me to keep my health better than what it would have been had we been living our old style in t he UK!

Denise said...

I do hope you recover your 'self', Vera - and I am sure you will with great effectiveness! As they say, you can't keep a good woman down! If I can help in any way, please let me know. Xx

Vera said...

DENISE, thanks, ..... I shall soldier on in the manner of all erstwhile writer type people!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Exercise is so helpful for so many health conditions. Good for you for taking that first step. It's hard to do when you feel lousy but even just ten minutes can help.

Vera said...

LISA, today was not a 'good' day healthwise, but I still did my 300 repetitions on my bike, and felt very virtuous for having done so!

northsider dave said...

Good on you for walking and riding your bike Vera. I go for a nine or ten mile walk once a week just to keep fit and my back pain goes away.

Vera said...

NORTHSIDER DAVE, I managed the 300 revs on bike plus a walk round the field yesterday, but I think that ten miles would be stretching me just a bit too far!

Kerry said...

Love the odd socks:) You're doing the right thing, taking it slow and building up. You'll be doing the Tour de France in no time x

Vera said...

KERRY, how many revs on my exercise bike do I have to do before I can enter for the Tour de France? Just asking for reference sake!

Kerry said...

Good question but I don't know the answer, but did I find out it took Chris Froome about 85 hours to complete the Tour de France. Perhaps you could do it by time :)

Vera said...

KERRY...... so if my 300 revs take about ten minutes then I could do the Tour de France in 510 hours! However, I am on the lightest revs at the moment, so therefore am not covering very much distance in one sitting, not taking into account hills and things. So, to be quite honest, I think that the Tour de France would take me the 510 hours many times over. Not to worry, I can make a start!

Kerry said...

Good plan, even Chris Froome had to start somewhere :) Good luck with your cycling, I'm trying to get fitter too x

Vera said...

KERRY, but you ski! Crikey, that sounds much more energetic than sitting on an exercise bike for ten minutes!

Rhodesia said...

I also need to get fitter after my fall in Spain 2 years back, i lost interest in cycling and started walking but then my back decided to play up! When we get back from the fab holiday we are now having things have to change. Well done Vera you have given me the inspiration to get my act together. Take care Diane.

Vera said...

DIANE, It is very easy to lose fitness after a bout of ill health, and it does take a lot of effort to get fit again but is worth it in the end. We gave our bikes away, and I shall probably not do a long distance walk again, but these activities have been replaced by other activities, not so strenuous but equally demanding in their own way! Glad I have given you some have given me enough in the past!

Old School said...

Nice socks! I have several pairs just like that. Also, my GF has FM, and finds guaifenesin helpful. We buy it by the pound and put it in capsules, and she takes several a day. Helps with blood circulation, myofascial pain, etc. Oh, and drink lots of water.
Best to you, Su

Vera said...

SU, thanks for the info about guaifenesin....I shall have a look on the internet to find out more information. As for drinking water, I probably don't drink enough but I am trying to remedy that.