My body was wracked with pain. It was particularly bad at night, as rolling over would wake me up. Getting out of bed in the morning and walking across the room was... difficult. The pain would lessen as the day wore on, but it was there in the background. It was the holidays, and I had parties to put on, so I let it go. I hoped it would go away when things settled down. Things settled down, but it didn't.
A round of doctor visits and tests (neurologist, rheumatologist) resulted in some surprising answers. Not that anyone knows what causes MS and, as it turns out, fibromyalgia, but they do know that I have these things. Throw in a severe case of Raynaud's (that turns my toes blue and finger numb) and we have a complete profile of...well, they don't really understand any of it. They can offer me a menu of drugs (side effects in small print) that might help. No thank you. (Yes, Aunt Silvia, I am still taking the Copaxone for the MS, but this other stuff, well- the small print just doesn't work for me). Then, a beacon of light, a gift of hope arrived... from...the internet.
No need to shout at me. I did confirm this all with the doctors. You can read the research yourself, although I warn you, it may give you a headache. It sure gave me one. Or, maybe that was the fibromyalgia, which may, or may not, be a physical and/or psychological condition, but as it turns out, can be effectively treated with...EXERCISE! (Cue the trumpets), oh yeah, that works for me- TIME FOR A HAPPY DANCE!
If you have read this blog you know I was not an athlete for most of my life. Over the past 10 years I have worked hard to become one. Athletic challenges have been the carrot-on-the-stick that keep me moving forward. They have brought me friendships, enjoyment and adventure. They have given me a sense comfort and pleasure being inside my own skin that I never thought was possible.
When I am on the bike, or swimming, or running- any time my body is engaged in movement and action- I feel good. When friends ask how I'm feeling, that's what I tell them- I feel good. Because, honestly, they don't want to hear a rundown of the unpleasant symptoms I deal with, and truthfully, none of that matters- as long as I keep moving- I feel good.
I have a very long way to go to cross the finish line at Lake Placid and have regular moments of doubt (Victor, why can't I just stay home and eat cookies?). Yet, I am buoyed by those I love. I am grounded by making a mark on this world in small, but meaningful ways. I am pulled forward by the challenge and the belief that if I keep moving, I will feel good. I welcome you to cheer me on, because that helps too.