I sit on the patio of the residence and feel like all is right in the world and I laugh. How quickly we forget because a few short hours ago I went though hell. It is amazing what a patio chair, sunshine and amazing messages from people at home can do to help a person.
I started the day with a medical smoothie, which I will tell you more about another day. It looks gross and its green but they say it has punch...anything to get those bastards.
I started at the gym. I was met by a trainer and a doctor, who is the epitome of what a fitness trainer doctor would look like - pretty sure he's in a movie somewhere., or maybe a cartoon. He is full of scientific information and I want to eat it all up, but as he knows I am only retaining bits, so he promises to repeat himself over the next few weeks. So I have lots to share about that too...in time.
Of course I am not able to do much in the gym and that is a very humbling experience. Okay its downright embarrassing, but Elanda the trainer knows how I feel and is very skilled at what she does. She has the ability to say the right thing at the right time. And well, she seems to know she can push me a little too lol. But the interesting thing I found out today was my inability to bring my heart rate down. At rest it is quite good, it rises normally, but after a short 20 second bike sprint, it doesn't recover as it should.
The understanding of what my heart rate was doing was very confirming for me. For months and months now, I wondered what was wrong with my motivation and determination. If there is anything you learn in triathlon or other sporting events, is how to push through those times your body wants to quit. And for a while I wondered how I could lose that ability. And when I couldn't make it to 10 minutes walking on a treadmill, you decide it has to be a mental breakdown. Who can't walk 10 minutes. When your heart rate pumps high and stays there you start to utilize all your other energy resources and as you keep doing that to your system, you deplete those resources, so over time there is literally nothing left...nothing to even help you walk. So much of this learning is constant pieces reminding me this wasn't in my mind, and that feels good.
But its certainly is depressing in one sense because it reveals I have a long way to go. Whats awesome about this is that I don't have to wait till I'm better to start working on it. It is one piece that is going to help me get better and thats always what I thought fitness should do. Ironically the New York Dr. told me that athletes hold off the disease for so long because the exercise keeps building your immune system and the raise in body temp kills the bacteria. But what was even cooler to me was that every time I did a 20 second burst they then pumped me with 100% oxygen. Not only does the oxygen kill the lyme bacterias as it will cancer cells, but the exercise makes your body receive the oxygen much more effectively and help it target all those bastards. Much like cancer, Lyme is anaerobic which means it lives without oxygen. Funny, he mentioned how it replicates the benefits of working out outside...we may have talked a lot about that. Elanda said she knew I was passionate about that, she couldn't get my heart rate down at all after that conversation. So much of what they do here builds on many my beliefs and that is comforting.
I started Hyperthermy treatments today. That's where they put you in a space suit that fills with hot water on a electromagnet bed and try to raise your body temp high enough that it most effectively kills off the bacteria. They pump you with oxygen the whole time too. They raised my temp to 102.8 and am told with the electromagnetic part it replicates the effects of 114+ degrees F. They thought that was great and I seemed to handle it really well for the first time. Once again feeling like I got the upper hand with the bastards, they let me know they were in charge. It wasn't very long into the next treatment that I was dizzy and faint and battled to avoid throwing up. My smug attitude quickly faded...I may not win all the battles but I am going to win the war.
The people in the clinic are incredible. They say that they have a tough time with the part of their job where they spend 3 intensive weeks helping people regain their life and then they may never see them again. I can see that. I think they see you at your worst and your best, they see you hopeful and down right discouraged. They are the kind of people you feel comfortable to go through that around. And I can't say I feel that way easily. So that says a lot about them. I told them today, some of the things people in my community have done to help me along the way and to get to Utah and they could not believe it. They think I am incredibly blessed and I have to agree.
On a final note: the head doctor, Dr Earl, commented on how impressed he was with all the tests my family doctor (before she went on leave) did for me. They need a lot of those tests done for baseline and he said rarely does he get patients in that were taken as seriously. She was always very good to me and I certainly felt the void when she had to take time off. I remember her one time saying to me, " I think you sometimes poo poo your symptoms". She was right and would often take them more seriously than me. But I think thats how Lyme gets you. Individually none of the symptoms are horrible all on their own. Its when they start to add up and progress that it becomes overwhelming and quite literally crippling. But if you assess each issue independently, there can often be an explanation. That I believe is how the bastards stay under the wire. I hope that means that more awareness will get people more help in a shorter amount of time. I can only hope.