Thursday 5 May 2011

complete the motion if you stumble....

Well, I should have known better.

Not two days ago, I was busy bragging about my iron will and my astonishing exercise regime and the sub 8 minutes/mile pace of my run:

"I was absolutely shattered, but doesn't that just go to show that - for me at least - FEELING fatigued isn't necessarily an indicator of actually BEING tired. I'm not saying it's a simple case of mind over matter, because I'm sure it's not as simple as that, but I nearly didn't go out running at all today because I felt tired and a bit wobbly."

Me and my big mouth.  Blah, blah, blah.... I'm so amazing*.  Etc.
(*in another irony, I've just submitted my first blog post to the MS Society on more or less exactly this subject.... haha!)

I had the day off exercise yesterday, but in spite of that, I woke up today feeling a bit bandy-legged.  As I knew I was due to be playing football later on, I very nearly took one of my Amantadine "pep" pills to give myself a bit of a physical lift.  I've been taking them -- irregularly -- for six months or so, but I haven't yet made up my mind if they actually make any difference or not, and I only really take them if I'm feeling particularly fatigued.  I decided not to take one today, mostly because I don't want to take them just for the sake of it, and because I believe my own mantra that feeling tired doesn't seem to be the same thing as actually being tired.

Except, it seems, sometimes it is.

At football tonight, I had nothing.  I'm not a very talented footballer by any means, but tonight, in addition to my usual lack of ability with the ball, I wasn't even able to run.  For some reason, I find the stop/start, up/down nature of football much harder than the simple, monotonous slog of running or swimming.  Tonight I was absolutely hopeless, even by my standards, and by the time I got in my car to drive home, I was so tired that I could hardly lift my arms above my shoulders, in spite of the fact that I'd barely run hard enough to break a sweat.  Before I got home, weirdly even my head felt tired and somehow sensitive to touch.

I find this very frustrating: I simply do not understand why I can be physically capable of running perhaps as fast over any distance as I ever have, but 48 hours later -- after resting -- I barely have the strength to run from one end of a 5-a-side pitch to the other.  Of course, nobody understands why MS works like this, and if the most eminent neurologists have no idea, then why would I?  Not that knowing that makes it any easier to cope with.

They say that one of the most common outcomes of an MS diagnosis is depression.  I'm still pretty lightly affected overall by my MS and I do my very best to keep a positive outlook towards this condition....but when I feel like I do tonight, I can well understand why some people are overwhelmed by feelings of despair.  I am not there yet, by any means, but there's something terrible about the feeling of helplessness you get in the face of these symptoms and the knowledge that this is a progressive condition with no cure.  It's easy to dwell on that, no matter how hard you try not to.

Still, no point wallowing in self-pity, is there?  I'll pack my running kit as usual to take my boss out for a trot at lunchtime tomorrow, and as long as I have no ill-effects from that, I'm also planning to go for a swim after work.  I know it sounds crazy, but I'll feel much worse if I do nothing.  It may sometimes be difficult to exercise, but it makes me feel better to try.

Go figure.

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