10/31/11 Getting Better, but.....?

Big Bear Lake in Southern California hosts one of the great Oktoberfests every year, and this past weekend was time for us to get together with our friends from San Luis Obispo and enjoy the annual pagan ritual.  Last year was a real bummer for me.  I felt so alone in a sea of people dancing, partying, drinking and generally enjoying themselves while I stood outside, heart out of rhythm, legs the worst they've ever been, and generally not enjoying myself.

What a difference from a year ago.  Last year we went to Big Bear a couple of weeks before my first CCSVI and I was miserable as I felt my legs slowly drifting into the black hole, but shortly afterward I began to feel some real hope as a result of that procedure.  I had about 6-8 weeks of relief from the first CCSVI, and it became the beginning of this one year (to date) journey of the open vein.  Come January, my left jugular had clotted and my symptoms began to return, and thus 2011 became a year of trying to get the clotting under control.  9 procedures including a vein reconstruction later, my progress is beginning to feel like I'm heading in the right direction again.

But it's not without its challenges.  As part of our Big Bear ritual, we bring the motorcycles and ride the hundreds of miles of fire roads and other trails around the area.  It's downright beautiful around Big Bear. 6-7000 feet, above the smog of LA, seldom rains, and smells like pine about everywhere you go.  Saturday we rode about 50 miles, and Sunday we got about 55 in.  On Sunday, we were running a little late, so we tried to find a shortcut over the mountain.  After a reasonably good climb on nice terrain, it suddenly got rocky and narrow, with ruts and potholes everywhere.

I can't stand up on the bike for any length of time, and I also can't really stand in the athletic position required to navigate the slop.  I thus have to sit and try to make my way up the rocky hillside as best I can and my eyes jiggle as it becomes more and more difficult to keep the momentum.  Obviously, this is where most of my low speed falls take place, and my riding partners have to come and rescue me.

I made it up a fair distance, then lost control and slid down into a big rut, then got the bike stuck.  I didn't fall, but I was hopelessly stuck on some boulders down in a giant rut the height of the bike.  My buddy came back to find me and he got the bike out as I took every piece of energy I had to try and crawl out of the rut.  A normal person would just climb out and walk up with the bike, but with all the progress I've made, this situation is definitely where the intense weakness and loss of motor strength shows up.

Strangely, this time I wasn't so mad about it.  I usually get quite upset when I can't walk out of somewhere, but on this day, I just crawled out of the hole, got back onto the bike and did my best to navigate down the hill back to the better terrain.

We got home late last night and I popped up this morning to go swimming.  So I guess it's fair to say I am getting better, but........I still have a ways to go before I'd call this fixed.

Sure had a nice time though.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

How are you doing? I hope well! I pop in now and again to check on you, but I haven't seen anything for a bit. I hope that is a good sign!