It’s Wednesday. I had a great visit with my neurologist this morning. It was nice to be able to tell her about all of the positive changes I’ve been making and my lack of MS symptoms. However, I did bring up my concerns with brain fog. A friend shared a really great article the other day about this, and it very eloquently listed what people with chronic illness experience. Sadly, it’s not just limited to people with MS. I am walking great, I have no fatigue, no pain (unless you count the occasional headache), and I’m overall feeling really fantastic. However, every day, throughout the days, I have issues with short term memory loss and cognitive function. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up the stairs and forgotten why I was there. I will often use a wrong word or name when talking with people, and not realize it. Sometimes even, I’ll forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence. And friends and family will encourage me that this is just a normal part of aging and that they experience it too. Which is nice, and appreciated for sure, but I really don’t believe that they experience this phenomenon with the frequency I do. So I told my neurologist about this and she said it may or not be MS, but there are ways to check, starting with testing my blood to see if some of my levels are out of whack. If that’s the case, I suppose it’s a simple fix with supplements. If not, there is always the option of memory testing and exercises. I had no idea that sort of thing existed, so it gave me some hope that this is a problem that has been addressed by the medical community, and I’m not coming in with some sort of weird cognitive mystery.
In other news, I slacked on laundry for one measly day and it magically piled up and threatened to take over my bedroom. I folded (and put away!) five loads of laundry today and now I would love to nap but I need to stay awake so I can answer questions for my grocery shopper, and then be up when she delivers my groceries. I LOVE grocery delivery, people. Love it.
So I think I’m going to make a glass of sweet tea and read a book or do some crocheting while I wait.
I just have to say, when you hit 10,000 steps before noon? Feels pretty darn good. But also, I am still going strong with Crossfit and have proof it’s working. Now, I must keep in mind I had started running regularly a little over a month ago, so that could have helped jumpstart this process and possibly why I’ve noticed results so quickly. I don’t expect most people to see results after only 3 weeks of strength training. I’ve been running a couple miles a few times a week on days I don’t have Crossfit, so that all helps too. But here’s the good news: I’ve shaved almost two minutes off my mile pace. I don’t know how you’re supposed to phrase that, but it means I was running 14 minutes miles, and now I can run 12 minute miles. Of course the longer I run, that goes down some as my body fatigues, but it’s definitely an improvement.
The other great result is that I’ve lost 5 pounds! I wasn’t even expecting that. I’m not heavy by any means, but I had gained enough over the past year that my favorite jeans were not fitting anymore. So I’m happy to be heading in the direction of fitting into those jeans again.
Those are my quantifiable results. Two minutes, 5 pounds. What I can’t quantify – and probably the most exciting of all – is how good I feel. How NOT fatigued I am. How I am moving around without struggle. Daily chores have been reduced to more of a mental challenge than a physical one. And yes, I’m tired by the end of the day. But tired is different from fatigue. Tired has a good reason. This daily exercise is no joke, and when I sleep, I sleep hard. But it’s all so worth it.
Okay, I used to make fun of the Crossfit people because I felt they were a bit fanatic and really, nobody likes to hear about other people doing healthy, impressive things like lifting heavy weights and stuff, when you’re just sitting at home watching Netflix most days. And when I say nobody, of course I mean me.
Now I don’t know if I’m becoming one of “those” people, but I’m certainly enjoying the results I am seeing from Crossfit. Already!! I’ve only been to four sessions so far but already my body is responding well. My last run on Monday was incredibly smooth and strong, which was pretty encouraging for me. I can tell my body is changing for the better.
Also, I just feel overall stronger. My legs especially are feeling almost as if they can be relied upon. Like, I can really count on these legs to not only hold me up, but move me around the house with ease. With EASE! I feel like this is a ridiculous thing to be pointing out, because it’s probably such a normal thing for most people. Right? I mean, do you ever stop to think about how your legs get you from point A to point B? Well, I think about it daily. I never take it for granted, because there is always the memory of when they couldn’t, and the looming fear that someday they will fail me again. And I think about how hard it is to move them on days I’m fatigued. So when it occurs to me that I’m moving around the house as easily as I have been, it’s extremely apparent that I’m not expending nearly as much energy as I used to. I’m thinking, “this is how walking should be! Easy! You say you’re gonna go and then you just go!”
So, Crossfit. I guess we are going to be friends after all.
I have issues with memory loss. I can’t say for sure if it’s a result of aging or if I can blame it on the MS. It’s spazzy enough that I would be inclined to credit MS for it. It’s both long-term and short-term memory loss. Gaping holes that I just can’t seem to access.
It is a minor nuisance, but my husband and kids have gotten so used to it we just laugh it off and move on with our lives. However, I’m doing this work for the church now, and it’s a whole new group of people who have yet to experience my memory loss issues. And I’m feeling a lot self-conscious as I interact with them. They ask me questions and I tell them I’ll get the answer for them but then I forget the question. Or, like today, I forgot where the question had been posed. Was it strictly verbal? Was it in a board meeting and I wrote it down? I have that inner nagging that tells me there was a question that needed answering but that was sort of the extent of it. Well, I did remember the overall subject so I sent an email to answer the question I guessed had been asked. And then after hitting send I found the email with the original request. And I felt ridiculous, because I didn’t exactly answer their question. Like, you’re aiming for the bullseye and you’re just a few inches off.
Okay, that’s not really what I wanted to blog about today. I should save that discussion for my therapist.
OOH, my therapist! Did I mention I’m going to therapy? For the depression, and I tell you it’s really helping. I leave every session feeling positive and encouraged and like everyone should go to therapy because it’s just so *useful*. I’m learning about the lies I tell myself and it’s fascinating, really. Okay, that’s all. More tomorrow, peeps. Enjoy the sunshine.
Last Friday my son and I ran a 5k in our town. It’s our 3rd year in a row running this race and we love it! It’s kind of a small town thing, so you end up seeing a lot of familiar faces. I love this race. The picture on the left is us right before we started. I don’t have one of us post-race, but I can assure you we were both smiling. He had so much fun running he went and joined the other kids in the 1 mile run. That second picture is a picture a woman from our church took and I just love it. If I ever need a reminder of why I’m doing all this running, that picture says it all. Pure pride and joy on my face right there.
I wore my new DeafBlind running vest and it really did make me feel more confident and safe. Although it kept riding up because I’m apparently too small for it, so I need to get that figured out for future races. My dear friend Staci joined me for the race and she decided she was going to stay right by my side for the entire thing, so that was a huge comfort as well. I’m kind of a loner when it comes to running and I get hyper-focused, and I think she is similar in that way so it was nice for her to be there. We were both running alone, together!
I got a slow start training for this race because of my sprained ankle, so it didn’t go as well as races in the past have. I had a lot of problem with bodily functions, and with my left foot dragging. Around the 2nd mile I had a really sharp pain in my right shoulder and I tried to stop and walk to let it rest, but I wasn’t able to keep my foot from dragging and I kept losing my balance, so I just had to push through the pain jogging until it went away about halfway through the last mile. It’s strange and interesting to me that I have better balance running than I do walking.
I still really want to run a 10k in the fall, and I know that MS fatigue is going to be my biggest obstacle to overcome if I am ever going to be able to accomplish that. When my body gets fatigued, the nerves go haywire and it’s not good. So I’m looking into strength training (i.e. Crossfit) so that I can run for longer without my body getting so fatigued.
Overall I’m still feeling really great physically. My mental state is improving as well. I suppose you could say this year’s theme is recovery and strength. And FUN. Oh, I have so much more to share but I hate to lump it all into one post so we’ll cap this here and move on to the next subject very soon!
What shall we talk about today, friends?
Baseball season has begun for my son and husband (he is a coach for the team). Their first tournament was last weekend and the girls didn’t go because it was ridiculous cold and windy and we are wimps about that. So we stayed home and my daughter watched YouTube for 38 hours while I played around in the kitchen making delicious vegan food.
Dance is in full swing for my daughter as they prepare for their recital in June. I received an information packet about all that is required for the recital and OH EM GEE am I overwhelmed! There is a dress rehearsal and requirements for hair and makeup and this is so out of my comfort zone. I was never in dance and I don’t wear makeup (much). I don’t own eyeliner or lipstick, so how am I gonna know how to put it on my daughter?? I don’t know, but I definitely plan to enlist some help on this one.
I have to mention that lately I am obsessed with this vegan cashew “mozzarella”. It is so easy to make and super duper yummy. I add it to everything I can think of, but my favorite use for it is grilled cheese sammiches! My husband will tell you I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches, and I won’t deny his assessment. I make a lot of them, and I’m always really sad that I can’t eat them, because YUM. But now, with this cheese? I’m in sandwich heaven! I also bought little mini pizza crusts and sauce so I can make my own little veggie pizzas at home. With cheese! So that’s what’s on the menu for today and my tummy is growling just telling you about it.
I’ve been running, sporadically. I have a 5k I’m running with my son Friday night so I had to be sure I’m prepared for it. I don’t think I’ll beat prior years’ times, but I’ll be happy if I can finish in under 40 minutes. I ran a full 3 miles today and dang, why is that 3rd mile so much harder than the first two? But I didn’t fall. My left foot was dropping a little, but not nearly as bad as it’s done in the past. I did have nerve pain in my feet but thankfully I didn’t notice it until I was finished with the run.
I always have some anxiety at these races because strangers don’t know that I’m disabled. So if people are trying to get my attention by yelling or waving, it’s not gonna work. I’ve been bumped around during races because people assume I can see to get out of their way, or hear them coming to move aside. So I bought a reflective running vest that says “Deaf Blind”. It’s really bright and in big block letters so there’s no way I won’t be noticed. I feel a little weird about wearing it at the race but I have to convince myself that it WILL make me feel safer, and that’s all that matters. Maybe I’ll even run a little faster, knowing that I’m safer. I guess we’ll see.
Anyhoo, I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting but I’ll leave it here for now. I’m gonna go make me some vegan pizza! 🙂
Still fighting back that depression. I’m better though. I’m not sleeping excessively. I take naps when I need them, but I think about it first when the urge comes. Does my body need rest or am I just trying to escape a dark feeling? If I determine I’m just wanting to sleep to escape, I go the other way. I pick from my list of “pick-me-ups” and go from there. Drink water. Have a snack. Get dressed. Wash my face. Text my mom. These things help to serve as a way to sort of reset and redirect. And it’s working. Every day I’m standing a little taller and am feeling a bit lighter.
My brother and sister and I went out a week or so ago to celebrate my birthday. It’s a tradition we used to have, where we all met for the other’s birthday. The birthday guest picks the restaurant, the other two pay the bill. We had let the tradition slide for many years but we recently decided to pick it up again. We went out for drinks after dinner and talked for hours. It was wonderful. The three of us share a pretty special bond because our parents divorced when we were very young. Through all the changes that situation involved, the three of us were the constant. We always had each other. And I am so thankful that’s still true.
While out for drinks with my siblings we talked about running. They are both avid runners, having run 5ks to marathons, ultra-marathons, Ragnars, you name it. And I admire them both, and look to them for encouragement and inspiration. I want to be a runner. I don’t love running the way they do, but I love the satisfaction that comes at the end of a good run. I love that I am able to run. I find it worth doing. I say all that, but I had not been running regularly since I sprained my ankle just after Christmas. My ankle is fine now, so I don’t know what I have been waiting for. However, today I managed to get myself on the treadmill. I walked/jogged for 40 minutes. My body hated it, of course, having had a solid three months to loaf around. But I continued moving until I reached my goal time. See, I want to work up my endurance so that I can run a 10k race this fall with my brother and sister. I am not sure if my body will let me do it, but I’m gonna put it to the test anyway. I’m going to keep working up my endurance as far as I can go. Let my body tell me I can’t do it. When I think about actually running a 10k I don’t really feel up to the challenge, but I’m taking it in steps. After all, there was a time not long ago when I thought I would never run, period. Today I moved for 40 minutes. By next week maybe I will be able to do 50, and maybe next month I’ll be able to run for 90. We shall see.
I do expect and hope that getting back to regular exercise will help finish off this depression once and for all. I know it should help my pants to fit a little better, and how can that not make me happy, right??