July has been a month of two halves. My blip at the end of June continued for 3-4 weeks. Any blip is scary as there is no way of telling if recovery will come quickly or not or even whether it’s the start of another progressive downward spiral. At least this month I finished on a high so it feels like a positive month! On my 1-10 grading scale, I started the month on 3.8 but finished on 5.7 with a mid month peak of 6.9
Looking at my results I’m surprised how low July’s mean monthly scores are. I currently feel much better than my average of 5.27 but it’s a good reminder how fragile the recovery process is and not to get carried away. I’m also aware that it it makes a difference where in the month my peaks and troughs fall.
What was new in July?
I started taking antihistamine & Manuka honey ( at recommendation of my combination therapist)
I focussed purely on strength work and avoided all temptation of any aerobic work. This comprised of prescribed physio exercises and pilates at home. I even ventured to an ESP exercise class. It was fantastic to put on my kit, pick up my mat and walk!
Making that first step into a familiar exercise class was scarier than I expected. My head was full of excitement but tinged with concern. Was I being foolish to try? Was it too much too soon? Would I pay the consequences? One of the troubles with ME is whatever you do or don’t do, the consequences can feel like your own fault!
I was aware how confusing it must look to people that know I have ME. Passers by that saw me in my kit would understandably question if there was really anything wrong with me at all! It’s the nature of the invisible illness but I’ve long since stopped worrying about what others must think of me! None the less, I was aware that I must be sending out confusing images.
Less than a year ago I would do the ESP class as a mere cool down from an energetic Zumba class. Despite it being only half an hour, a lot of the exercises were beyond me and if I’m honest, it was humiliating not to be able to give it my all! ( I’ve been advised to only work at 30% of my potential) I wore my ME ‘Running on empty T-shirt’ to almost justify why I was so weak and limited in what I could do, but it still felt good to be doing something, to be in good company & sense the improvement. I’m experienced enough in Pilates to take exercises back a level and to be in control of my limitations without needing to sit out.
Thankfully I had no ill effects afterwards and I intended to go back. However, with my renewed energy came renewed vigour pottering in the garden. I therefore decided not to overdo things too quickly and so just kept the exercises going at home but I do hope to pick it up more next month and if I still have no ill effects, maybe a walk or two or even a Fit Steps class.
I’ve learnt my lesson from last month and I’ve been forcing myself to rest for longer than I feel I need to and I’m pleased to be reasonably stable for the last couple of weeks. I’ve also managed to keep my Gluten, sugar, stimulant -free, low GI diet going throughout this process. I would love to be able to sign off in September saying that I’ve managed a Zumba class with no ill effects. It’s a big ask but I’m still holding onto the dream…!
I’m questioning the benefit of continuing this style of blog so I plan to cross the finish line of ‘My Road to Fitness’ in September. This will mark the year anniversary since the start of my relapse and give me more time to blog on other issues close to my heart.