3/18/11 Am I supposed to be getting better?

Someone asked me yesterday how I was doing.  All things considered, I was doing ok, so my reply was "Average, which is a lot better than it's been all week."

I got up this morning to go swimming, the sixth time in the past 2 weeks (Mon, Wed, Fri each week), and it was like someone lit a firecracker inside me during the night.  I was in a state of disbelief at how many thing could be hurting or not working right.  I'll run down the list:

1) Temple vein pain was a 6-7 out of 10
2) Heart was out of rhythm.  I don't think it was A-fib, but it just wasn't normal
3) Both shoulders were tight
4) Ribs on the left side were in agony
5) Breathing a little tough
6) Legs were really weak

Otherwise, I was fine.  In fairness to the blog, my shoulders and ribs hurt mostly because I had a few falls on the motorcycle last weekend.  Not big falls like you'd see on supercross on TV, but tipovers on a tough terrain change that I lost my momentum on and had no legs to catch the fall.

So, instead of jumping into the pool and beginning the warm up, I struggled down the ladder and eased in, then worked my way into whatever stroke I could manage.  I warmed up in about 5 minutes, and then tried to do the workout as best I could.  I normally (I hope normally anyway....and that this isn't the new norm) swim in the 4th lane which is the fastest of the novice and intermediate swimmers.  The other 4 or 5 lanes are for the fish and sea otters in our group.  This week I have been swimming in the first and second lane because I am so beat up.  My times have gone from a 1:30 average interval for a 100 yard set to over 2:00, so I'm going slower than slow.  At this rate, I might be on track to set a world record for going the slowest and actually calling it forward motion, but that's another story.

When it was over at 7:00, I got over to the ladder and did my best to haul out onto the deck.  I felt a bit like a Sea Lion hauling out on the beach, and as I sat down on the bench to dry off and dress, I watched as the fish and sea otters leaped out of the pool into their clothes in a single motion.  I thought about how just a year and a half ago I was doing that and thought about how doggone weak I've become.  I took my 10-15 minutes to dry off and dress as everyone else flitted off to work, and I hobbled to my car to drink the hot tea I had prepared earlier this morning.

Once seated in my car, I caught my breath somewhat and headed home.  I guess I'm in denial, disbelief, or whatever you want to call it.  I just can't believe how incredibly difficult the basic functions of life have become these past few weeks.  More importantly, I can't even imagine what might be ahead.  Some days I feel like I am on the verge of recovery and soon this whole nightmare will be behind me, and some days I feel like I have one foot on the grave and the other on the proverbial banana peel.

I look at photos and videos of when I used to play baseball, or look at my old baseball cards, and it seems so real yet so unreal.  I know that was me, but I can't imagine how I ever did it.  I can't remember how to run, jog, or even walk normally for any length of time.  It's just so bizarre.  I feel young, I think I can do something, but when I get up to go do it, it's like the prison guard comes by and chops my legs off for insubordination.  And then makes me have to go to the bathroom without giving me a cup.

I have grounded myself from flying, and haven't flown since November or December last year when I was feeling awesome after the CCSVI surgery.  My medical expires March 31, and I have an appointment down at the Mayo Clinic in April to get the bi-annual MRI's and annual meeting with Dr. Wingerchuck.  The past few years I was excited to go to the appointment because I was doing so well, but this year I am fearing some kind of disciplinary sermon might be forthcoming because CCSVI isn't something a hardcore neurologist seems to believe in yet.  I guess time will tell on how that goes.

I want to get back to doing things like this
I also need to get the Doppler done to check my blood flow in the jugular veins.  I am a little nervous on this too....if the veins are shut down again I have more hospital time ahead of me but would help explain the lack of real improvement.  But if they are all clear I have to somehow figure out what is next.  Do I get a break on this at some point?  Is there a chance I'll have all open veins, get off the blood thinners and start to recover?  I hope so, and so long as I know there is a chance, that's how I'll proceed.

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