Foggy has just got back to Foggy HQ; he had such a lovely time with Jools and co in Osaka, Japan that he is a little sad to to be home. If you would like to see the photos of his trip please take a look at:
(You can take a look even if you haven’t got a Facebook account)
Foggy has asked me to write a blog about why I am a lazy slug and don’t exercise, or at most venture out for a 30 minute dog walk a couple of times a week. So here goes….
This is a blog topic that I have been wary of writing. I do not want it to come across as moaning or overly negative. I appreciate that in every area of public life there are people who don’t exercise for one reason or another. Choice, health or circumstances. This blog is purely about why I, as an M.E. sufferer, cannot exercise as much as my body/brain is craving to do.
When you get diagnosed with M.E. your personality and ambition doesn’t vanish into thin air; this can lead to deep frustration. It has been a life ambition of mine to run the London Marathon but I know it is a dream that will never be realised. This isn’t me being defeatist; the training alone would wipe me out and I do not want to take the risk that it will worsen my symptoms. That is my own personal choice. When I first started the Foggy campaign so many non sufferers asked why I didn’t just do a physical challenge ‘like everyone else’….. Clearly these people had no clue about the limitations enforced by M.E.
Since being diagnosed in 2007 I have had periods of time when my energy levels have balanced out and the M.E. hasn’t had a massive impact on my life (cognitive issues persisted throughout). Call these periods remission if it is easier to understand. In these rare periods I became active again. I used to go to the gym 4 times a week; there is nothing better than the endorphin rush that you get post workout. I had to give up regular exercise because of surgery on my leg and by the time I was healed the M.E. had come back with a vengeance. Dragging myself into work each day was enough of an energy leech! The next period of remission happened a couple of years later and I chose to take up low impact swimming sessions as my leg muscles were still healing post surgery. My energy levels are always best first thing in the morning. 3 mornings a week, starting at 7am, I was in my local pool doing lane swimming for half an hour before hot footing it into work. Again, the endorphin rush felt amazing and I became hooked. Then, another setback, more surgery so the exercising stopped. That was 18 months ago and my energy levels are still not good enough to even contemplate physical exercise. My job is physical and so I do a fair amount of moving around and being active without planning to, but this of course means I have no energy left by the time I finish work.
I’ll admit, I am jealous of anyone who exercises and keeps themselves fit and active. I admire those people who are able to do tough ultimate challenges and keep running/swimming/cycling for hours, if not days, at a time. I have a constant desire to sign up to a gym again and get back into shape (my thighs would certainly thank me for it!) but I know, at the present time that would be stupid, I can’t even take Patch for a 30 minute walk without having to rest when I get home. I force myself to go for these walks because I believe in getting regular fresh air and keeping as active as you are able to be. In the past 5 years I have had many months stuck indoors recovering from various operations and during those times I was desperate for the freedom to be active again.
When I have a particularly bad day and am laying on my bed not able to feel my arms and legs, I think back to those days of activity and get upset. I miss the endorphin rush. There was a sense of satisfaction knowing that I was taking care of my body and trying to keep myself as healthy as possible. It was almost like I was telling M.E. it couldn’t rule my life. I see TV programmes about people with disabilities beating the odds, overcoming immense pain and doing physical challenges. Unfortunately, M.E. doesn’t work like that. You can’t just use mind over matter and push yourself to the limit. Some sufferers find their limit is putting one foot in front of the other. M.E. affects every system in the body starting with the brain….if your brain says “absolutely no way” to exercise then you are a bit stuck!!
I hate this time of year; everyone I know is trying to shift some weight ready for holidays, re-starting their running schedule now the sun is back out again or trying to lose those extra Christmas pounds and are off to the gym 3-5 times a week (like I used to). One day I’ll be back in a gym, wiping the sweat off the handrail and doing 30 minutes on the cross trainer…I have no idea when that day will come but….I CAN’T WAIT!!!