Thursday, October 11, 2007

Did Anyone Miss Me?

I know it feels like we had another falling out, but really I have just been out of town. Jude's school runs on a "modified calendar", so every nine weeks we get two whole weeks off. This break I decided to take the boys up to my folks' house in PA for a mini-vacation and some extra help. Even with the "I'm a mother/I'm a daughter" relational balancing act, we had a great time. My folks have a large and beautiful property and the boys were able to be outside by themselves with lots of room to run. I also took the boys on their very first train ride! In Titusville, PA there is this amazing train ride you can take on the "OC&T Railroad". It runs through the heart of oil country, and in October it is breathtaking. The train has passenger cars, a mail car, an an open car (which we only discovered after we got off the train, but good to know for next time...), and throughout the ride they give you the history of the oil industry. The boys were beside themselves to finally get to ride on a real train, and I learned that John Wilkes Booth was briefly involved in the oil business prior to his infamous stint as an assassin. If you are ever interested in traveling up that way for a ride, they also have a hotel there made from train cars! I think the next time we head up that way, I am going to try and talk Mark into letting us stay in one. Check it all out online - www.octrr.org. So great!

(Heartfelt plug for PA tourism now over...)

In other Kimmel news, I am starting to feel a little bit better. That is good news and not so good news in different respects. Of course, I am thrilled to be able to do more than shower in a day, and the boys are starting to remember that I have been fun in the past, but the downside is that this may be an indicator that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I started on some meds that usually give some improvement in people with CFS, so this is yet another clue that I may have had CFS all along. Of course, we are still following up with an endocrinologist next week (my husband has been doing the "It's your thyroid" dance so long, his legs are about to fall off), but if that turns up nothing - which so far my thyroid tests have been normal - then we are pretty well at a diagnosis of CFS. Not sure how I feel about this. To be honest, I always kind of thought CFS was what lazy people said they had (ouch...) and I know it can last for years (ouch again...). Of course, considering all the things they have been testing me for (MS, ALS, cancer, heart issues, lung diseases) I am beyond relieved that this is something we can get through. We won't have a final, official diagnosis for awhile (CFS is very hard to diagnose - it is a diagnosis by exclusion and then there are certain criteria you have to meet), but at least we have some idea of what I may have been struggling with.

My dr encouraged me to start s-l-o-w-l-y back into exercising, and I was all over that. I had just taken up running last fall, and running was like a revelation from God! I have never found anything that relieved stress and helped me get re-focused like a good run. I was hoping to train for the St Jude's Half Marathon in Dec, so when I had to stop running from fatigue, it was really tough. When I got the go ahead on Tuesday, I was on fire and headed to the Y first thing Wednesday morning to hit the treadmill. Oh, I wish I had a video of my 19 minutes on the treadmill. Let me try to paint a picture of it for you.

The only treadmill open is, of course, right next to a woman trying to break the sound barrier. I realize I probably won't run as fast as she is (As an aside, you who work out have to admit that you get a bit competitive with the person on the treadmill next to you, right? I mean, that isn't just me...is it?), but I figure I can do a respectable pace. My average pace pre-illness was about an 8 1/2 minute mile, which isn't stellar, but for someone who reached peak speeds only while heading to the Little Debbie display, I'm still pretty proud, so I thought maybe I would start out at a 10, maybe 11 minute mile.

Oh folks, how we deceive ourselves.

Once I reached my peak pace of a 40 minute mile, I began to wonder what people around me were thinking. (This is one of my issues, what can I say?) I figured Mrs. Flash Gordon next to me was running so fast I was but a blur, but the people behind me had to be thinking I was doing some sort of slow motion dramatic re-enactment. I mean, it was pathetic. Quickly I turned on the TV (at our Y they have TVs in every treadmill - how cool is that?!?!) and I found the show A Baby Story on TLC. I thought maybe if people behind me saw me watching that, they might think I was pregnant and suffering from crippling morning sickness. During one of my two breaks -yes, that's right, you heard me - I almost stopped (which no one probably would have noticed...) and turned around to mouth to the folks hoofing it on treadmills behind me "I might have chronic fatigue syndrome!" just to justify taking up time on a treadmill when I could have gotten as much of a work out on, say, the moving sidewalks at the airport. It was just this side of humiliating and just the other side of exhausting.

Looking back, I realize how foolish I was to waste 19 minutes of my life worrying about something so silly as what people thought of my ridiculously slow workout. No, it was nowhere near where I had left off with my running, but for the first time in over four months it was something. It is that whole "glass half full or half empty" thing. No, I don't really want CFS and not be able to be my old self for possibly years, but I am also glad I don't have something that would take me away from my boys permanently. No, I can't run the St Jude's marathon this year, but I did finish 19 minutes on a treadmill when I couldn't get through 8 hours alone with the boys a few months ago. It is all about perspective.

If this turns out to be CFS, I hope I can keep perspective. I can't yet put into words how awful it was to feel like I had dropped almost completely out of my life, but I am a little better now, and I need to celebrate that. I can't expect to keep that sunny outlook every minute of every day, but I hope I at least keep trying through the next few days and weeks and possibly months.

So, that is the update from me. It isn't much, but it is something. See? It is all about perspective. :)

1 comment:

sagreen125 said...

Ann,
exactly, what can be easy and natural for one, can be difficult or even near impossible for another. How amazing our view in life changes. Once whe we thought not getting to go our was awful. But how things change when we can't enjoy our children for the little things.
My prayers are with you and Mark.
Hang on,
stacy