Sunday, September 11, 2011

Body In Motion

So, for the first time in a decade, I can exercise. It's kind of a big deal.
I've had this crappy illness for the past ten years, and exercise only made it worse. I got sick at 19 during my first year of college. Right when everyone else was just beginning their lives, mine suddenly ground to a halt. Working out would put me in bed for a week. Then there was the infamous year (2003, I think?) when it got so bad I couldn't walk at all. I had to use a wheelchair.

Yes, my hair is the same color as the sign, I think that's actually why we stopped to snap the picture ;)

But being in a wheelchair? Seriously. Not. Awesome. Dang, even that picture pains me to look at! And it got worse afterwards. After I birthed my beautiful son, I was bed-bound for six months. That was also just as bad as you might imagine.

But this past summer, I started a med that randomly helps the CFS. I'd tried everything and then some for years before this and given up on finding relief. Then of course, when I'm not looking, I randomly stumble on something that helps. Then I cut out gluten as well, and all the sudden I'm fucking superwoman, i.e., I can take 20-30 minute walks every day with no repercussions. And be on my feet at say the grocery store or somewhere else for an hour too. In the same day.

This is a completely insane development for me. I still can't push it too far. I still have to stop and head home from my walks when I start getting dizzy and light-headed. I still get low-grade fevers every few days. There was a day last week when I pushed it even though I knew I shouldn't and was totally stumbling and had to stop and sit on the sidewalk several times before finally making my way slowly home. But then, I rested just ONE day and was back out walking the next. And I was fine!

I've been at it for a month now, with the exercise walking (and four months since I started having more energy with the new med). The CFS isn't cured. But damn if the boundary lines on my life aren't so much larger now!!!

I walk down the walking/jogging/biking path that goes by the river each evening, breathing in the air on the sun-dappled path and I feel... young. I'm out there with all the other healthy people doing their healthy-people things. I feel my own legs pumping solidly under me, the smooth bounce of every step, all of my muscles taut under my skin. It's quite alien, and it's absolutely fucking wonderful.

Also, if you're intrested, read about fellow CFS sufferer and bestselling author Laura Hillenbrand (she wrote Seabiscuit and the recently released Unbroken) talk about life with CFS.


  1. Looks like you've always had wicked hair colours. I'm glad to hear you are better and hope the sky isn't even the limit from here on out :-)

  2. Oh my goodness, Heather, this makes me so happy to hear! I can't even imagine what you've gone through, and for so long. Hopefully things will continue to improve!

  3. Heather, I had no idea you'd been/ were sick. So happy to hear things are looking up. I will never again push gluten-filled bread and flaming cheese on you.

  4. Thanks everyone! I'm so glad about this development in my life, so glad to be able to share it, and absolutely, I'm hoping things will continue to improve :) And Anne, I still dream about bread and cheese, I think I may just have to hunt down that strange-sounding entity, 'gluten-free bread'!