Home » Life with MS » Marathons, trampolines and grief cycling

Marathons, trampolines and grief cycling

10014633_10153952393770384_587693281_nMr C ran his second half marathon today (after swearing never to do another) and is talking about running a full one soon. He is bouncy, energetic and full of evangelical zeal about the physical and psychological benefits of this pastime which is entirely alien to me. Not that I haven’t been a bit spritely myself of late. In the dark post-Christmas days I spent protracted hours in the library sitting on my backside and fuelling the revision with popcorn, Twirls and the occasional pasty. I then emerged, blinking, into the February light ready to be a little more active (not least to try and shed the half stone I put on that month.) I trawled around London covering miles with the littlies, I have been out on my bike a couple of times and I even managed a decent time in my last orienteering effort (pushed on by my team mates – my littlest siblings who are as equally drawn to the comfort of a sofa as I am.) I am currently on my elective and working shifts which means I can do the school run some days and I am even getting home, to the top of my hill, without hyperventilating from the effort.

So yay me. Not quite the government’s recommended amount of weekly exercise, but as they have recently alienated me by telling me to give up sugar, my only remaining vice, I am choosing to pretend that walking up and down the stairs to return Moshi Monsters to the rightful home should make up the rest. Anyway, we bought a trampoline yesterday (ostensibly for the upcoming 9th birthday of my eldest, but maybe I could have a little bounce every day…)

Just one spanner in the works – since the trip to London my legs have been playing me up a little. It started with a painless stiffening which slowed me down and gave me a bit of a limp but it has progressed over the last week to stiffness, pain and weakness. I wake up unable to do more than shuffle. If I keep going it gets better but then starts to become really uncomfortable, so I sit down and then it seizes up again. It’s a picture that I’m sure is familiar to anyone who has injured a muscle but it is affecting my arms and legs and I have to admit to being a bit miserable about it.

So it’s time to add another drug, and a drug that takes me further away from the prospect of pretending this might all just go away. I hate taking medicines. I have tried a lot over the past couple of year and hated most of them. Amitryptilline kept me in bed; gabapentin made my entire arm go numb; amantadine gave me horrible dreams about family tragedy. But Copaxone is marvellous stuff so maybe it is worth adding another. Maybe baclofen will be the thing that pushes me out of denial permanently. Because I don’t seem to be doing this grief cycle thing by the book. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross might not recognise the faffing around I have been doing:

Denial – yep. I still spend a fair amount of most days here. Whatever the statistics say about those who are able to work full-time five years after diagnosis, I am (almost) fully convinced that my body will be able to cope with junior doctor hours no problem. And my colleagues and patients will find my occasional word-finding difficulties endearing rather than weird.

Anger – can’t really be bothered with this. I get angry about injustice and inequality and people on Question Time and people who post those Facebook statuses that pretend that everything was great in the ’70s. Otherwise I just like life. My legs might be going haywire but I still have books and Dr Pepper and lovely people and Googlebox in my life.

Bargaining – “please let me get through my exams without a relapse and I promise I will start taking those big Vitamin D tablets that make me nauseous.” I did take one this week.

Depression – I don’t think I feel this. My only experience of depression myself was after the birth of my son and I haven’t felt like that since. I feel the usual monthly miserableness and the occasional jolt of self-pity but, frankly, I live a pretty charmed life. My adult life has been one of happiness, opportunity, love and comfort. So far, even this stupid disease has touched me only lightly.

Acceptance – so maybe I do occasionally reach this end point in the cycle. It was acceptance that made me finally agree to inject myself every day and that decision has proved to be a wise one. And it is acceptance that has led me start taking this new drug. I want my legs to work. I want to be able to keep up with the nearly 9 year old on her bike. I “want” to be able to crouch on the floor to watch the reenactment of the hybrid film “the Return of the Jedi Moshi.” I want to bounce on that new trampoline.

But I don’t ever want to run a marathon.


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