Saturday, 11 February 2006

because you can't and you won't and you don't stop

I went for my usual Saturday morning run earlier - a 35-ish minute meander alongside the river Trent - and it was really hard work. This isn't especially unusual: I have never felt like a particularly natural runner, and it's a very rare day indeed when I can come home from a run and can categorically say that I felt good all the way around. Running is the kind of exercise that I enjoy having done; not the kind of thing I actual enjoy doing.

Anyway. Today it was hard work.

This comes at the end of a week where almost every bit of exercise that I attempted felt really difficult. I went for a swim on Monday to try to work the stiffness of a week's skiing out of my muscles and I dragged my weary body through 50 long lengths. On Tuesday I was back at the gym and struggled my way through 35 long minutes on the treadmill. I gave myself a day off on Wednesday, but on Thursday I played 90 minutes of football. The football was terrible: I felt as though I barely had any energy, and over the course of the game, I completely lost sensation in my arms from the shoulder down. It was a cold night, certainly, but I was wearing a thermal base layer, a beanie and a pair of gloves, so I should have been warm enough. It was a little bit depressing.

And so to today's run. I started out okay, but I quickly started to feel the usual weakness in my left shoulder, which turned into a tingling that spread slowly down my arm and into my hands. Then my right arm began to tingle, then my thighs began to feel slightly numb, and then I lost sensation in my right foot. I made it home okay in about 43 minutes (although part of the reason for the longer-than-usual time is the detour I was forced to take due to part of the riverbank being closed). According to my heart rate monitor I burned off 684 calories, but somehow I feel a lot more worn down than that.

I first noticed the tingling in my hands some time towards the end of June last year, and since then I have had a number of neurological consultations and a set of extensive MRI scans. That's more than six months, and basically nothing has changed. I know that I have some sort of inflammation on my cervical spinal cord, and that this inflammation has damaged my nerves - hence the tingling. That's about as much as medical science can manage. It might get better. It might not. It might turn out to be a one-off. It might be the first symptom of something else (most likely Multiple Sclerosis). There is no benefit to be made in rushing into a definitive diagnosis, because there is no treatment, and apparently I won't do myself any harm by carrying on with my exercise programme, although I might find that things become harder to do than they were before. And so I wait, and I try not to let these new physical limits get in the way of me carrying on doing the things that I enjoy.

Self pity isn't really my thing, and I feel like I should apologise for unloading this stuff here. It's just been a bad week, is all. I'm sure things will be better next week.

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I've got 10 fridge pictures so far - are there any more for any more? In case you've had your head in a hole, what I need you to do is to take a picture of the inside of your fridge and send it to me at the email address in my profile. I will then send them all to Yoko for a bit of expert analysis, and then I will put them all up here and we can play the game of trying to work out which fridge belongs to which blogger.

If you were half thinking that you might like to play, then get your camera out and send me the picture in the next couple of days --- Bargs, Foxy, Spin, Flash, Graham, Alecya, Ka (and the rest).... do you fancy playing?

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