Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Face the Sun

UCI recently posted videos from the UWCT events in South Africa (see below). Watching them gets me psyched for new adventures and challenges ahead.  It also reminds me to take care and be cautious.  Last year, juggling responsibilities and pressures, I let the ball drop on my health.  My body was telling me something was wrong. I listened, although I didn't really like what I heard, and have made some changes that I hope will make it possible for me to continue doing all of the things I love. 

A year ago, I went off my MS medication.  The truth is, I just didn't want to define myself as a person with MS, and sticking myself with a needle each day was a painful reminder.  Sure enough, my symptoms started coming back worse than before.  As I stood waiting to go up on the ramp at the UWCT time trial, I was dizzy.  I knew the feeling would go away once I started riding, but walking up the stairs with my bike was a challenge.  

By the fall, I was regularly waking up in the middle of the night with intense muscle spasms that would seize up my legs in pain.  The dizziness was constant. My left hip and foot were so painful I could not walk without a limp. I had to stop running.  I searched for answers.  I consulted a neurologist, internist, ENT, podiatrist, orthopedist, therapist and nutritionist. I had X-rays, MRIs, shots, and tried a variety of diets, drugs and therapies.  Finally, I went back on Copaxone.  In just a short time, the spasms and dizziness have subsided. The pain is still there, but I'm managing. I learned that while I don't have to define myself by MS, I can’t ignore it either.  

One of the things that keeps me healthy is having athletic goals, which motivate me to continue exercising in spite of pain and other exacerbations.  Back in 2009, Victor and I attempted to ride the inaugural Endless Mountains 1240km (DNF story here).  We made some mistakes, but we learned from them.  This time around, I think we can do it!   We start with base training in South Carolina this week.

On our last day in South Africa, I picked up a sugar packet that had a message printed on the back:  "Turn to face the sun and the shadows will fall behind you." I stuck it in my pocket and keep it on a shelf because I think it’s a really good way to live your life.  Along with a remarkable team of fellow volunteers, I will organize the Golden Apple Tour again.  This year I am excited to race for the Tarmac/Iron Bridge Consulting Elite Team and look forward to riding, training and racing with all my cycling friends.

Writing this blog also helps and motivates me. I love the craft of writing and hope that others can find inspiration and strength reading about my adventures and struggles. In the end, we all hope to be able to tell a good story.  So, as I turn to face the sun, letting the shadows fall behind, I embrace all who care to join me. Let's ride!


gross914 said...

You've been much on my mind; wondering when we'd next read your lovely prose. Think Daylight Savings Time. Take your meds. They don't define you; that make it possible for you to BE you.

kttrue said...

Thank you so much Jane. I hope we can arrange to do some open water swims together this year. Talk to you soon!

flori said...

You are strong Kate. Hang tough - no medicine tells you who you are. xo said...


Healthline just launched a video campaign for MS called "You've Got This" where individuals living with MS can record a short video to give hope and inspiration those recently diagnosed with MS.

You can visit the homepage and check out videos from the campaign here:

We will be donating $10 for every submitted campaign to the National MS Society, so the more exposure the campaign gets the more the videos we'll receive and the more Healthline can donate to MS research, support groups, treatment programs, and more.

We would appreciate if you could help spread the word about this by sharing the You've Got This with friends and followers or include the campaign as a resource on your page:

Please let me know if this is possible and if you have any questions. And, if you know anyone that would be interested in submitting a video, please encourage them to do so.

Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

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