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No sympathy, please.

zombeav2011-03-01 23:14:18 +0000 #1
Hello Everyone,

I am glad to have found this forum and this will be my first post.

I am an active woman like all of you, and this year will mark the BIG 4-0 for me. I nearly cringe to say it, but I'll get over it.

What has been happening to me lately is crazy. Just downright depressing. In fact, I AM depressed. I have participated in many triathlons, also seperate cycling and running events. But that seems like a dream to me now. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the fall. I had some troubling symptoms, but I always just felt that it was related to my extremely active lifestyle. In addition, I was completing my Master of Occupational Therapy degree, which I felt may have been contributing to my fatigue. But then the pain became worse (7/10 most days), and the fatigue was seriously screwing up my life. Then shortly following the dx of RA came the depression. Like a big black blanket covering up my goal oriented personality and snuffing out my hopes to pursue the rest of my dreams. To make matters worse, I have gained about 20-30 lbs, where I had previously enjoyed being trim with an athletic build. I am tall about 5'10 (and shrinking), so carrying extra weight puts me in the "big" category.

I sit here and shake my head and sigh, as I struggle to find a solution that fits in with my life. I hired a trainer two weeks ago, and that is going well. I need someone to push me when I can't push myself. I am still doing my work-outs 5-6 times a week, but it is a mental struggle nearly every time. The pain and fatigue don't seem worth it sometimes. I am a therapist, and I use my mind and body to work everyday, and it's exhausting on it's own sometimes (most times).

My questions are:

How the heck am I going to ride the storm out?

How will I be able to do the Tri's and rides I do every year if I can't match my intensity of prior years?

Is this all there is?????

If anyone has experienced these feelings or has gone through a similar situation, anything that you can share with me will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Z~


shootingstar2011-03-01 23:21:06 +0000 #2
Quote:

Originally Posted by zombeav

I sit here and shake my head and sigh, as I struggle to find a solution that fits in with my life. I hired a trainer two weeks ago, and that is going well. I need someone to push me when I can't push myself. I am still doing my work-outs 5-6 times a week, but it is a mental struggle nearly every time. The pain and fatigue don't seem worth it sometimes. I am a therapist, and I use my mind and body to work everyday, and it's exhausting on it's own sometimes (most times).

My questions are:

How the heck am I going to ride the storm out?

How will I be able to do the Tri's and rides I do every year if I can't match my intensity of prior years?

Is this all there is?????

If anyone has experienced these feelings or has gone through a similar situation, anything that you can share with me will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Z~

Congrats. for hanging there to finish your studies.

Instead of cycling for competing against yourself, rethink what cycling TRULY is a gift to enjoy..for life.

And cycle accordingly without much expectation of yourself except to enjoy yourself. Since you seem goal oriented having an odometer on bike later might be good.

But not right now. You need to reignite love of cycling again. Forget about competing even against yourself.

Rethink perhaps going on touring ride or very long ride in summer or fall. Gets you to ride more often, prepare but with a much more pleasant, less competitive goal. I mean aiming for at least a 100 kms. day ride..or similar. Riding with pannier weight ..is another form of fitness. Don't always think of tris, races, etc.

I'm actually still trying to get used to the city where I moved a few months ago. Seems like where I live and the traffic speed (too many one way fast streets downtown) is such that I tend to think more /plan more about cycling ..instead of spontaneously jumping onto the bike.

I just have to learn more about the routes in this city.

By the way, this freakin' city has some reversing traffic lanes a certain times downtown.

Stupid. Unheard of in Toronto and Vancouver where I lived. So my hang-ups are slightly different.
Veronica2011-03-02 00:02:42 +0000 #3
Being very goal oriented and competitive myself I can understand how it will be hard to not do compete at the same level as you have in the past. It sucks.

I'd like to think that if I were in your shoes I would decide that this year I'd be setting new benchmarks. I no longer have a winning poker hand, but I'm still in the game kind of thing. It doesn't change that it sucks. I've been working on a new mantra - Strive to improve, but be content.

Take care of yourself.

Veronica
salsabike2011-03-02 00:22:53 +0000 #4
I have been through something very similar. The world's briefest summary: was a dancer, got fibromyalgia, gained medication-related weight, found cycling, lost some but not all of the weight, then diagnosed in addition with mild RA (which has stayed mild. Still trying to get off the rest of that weight).

You learn to adjust your expectations, wants, needs, and activities according to the cycles these syndromes present to you. And actually, life's like this for many people for a wide variety of reasons. That doesn't make it fun, but learning to surf the rhythms of the ups and downs is a really useful coping skill to acquire, since we're all gonna need that skill at some point.

I think the best advice I have is, consider yourself in this for the long haul. You are going to have good periods and tough periods, but neither last, which is good to know. It won't be this bad forever. And other doors open (e.g., from ballet to triathlon). Keep an eye out for the other doors and consider taking some of them, since there's some pretty fun stuff in there that you probably hadn't noticed before.

Do a little research online to find others who have been through this. Believe me, they're out there--I looked too (google "runners with RA", etc.). Take a look at this blog:

tribeyondlimits.blogspot.com/

I don't agree with everything she says, but she's a good example of what I mean about rolling with the ups and downs.

I hope this is a little helpful. It won't always feel this bad. It truly won't.
smittykitty2011-03-02 01:00:56 +0000 #5
I'm sorry you're having a tough time right now. I wish I had some advice, but unfortunately I do not. I do know you have found a wonderful group of very supportful women here at TE. I know you will find lots of good advice and even more support!!! Hang in there and again, Welcome!
Aggie_Ama2011-03-02 00:18:48 +0000 #6
When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness (Essential Tremor) I took it hard. It took my then passion of bowling and made it nearly impossible. Then I swallowed that it was going to be a part of my life and became my own advocate. I took it as a challenge which ignited my competitive side. I wanted to know so much, find the best doctor and fight for me. Work against the challenge of RA. There are so many new treatments, if you aren't aware yet maybe you can learn about them.

You may not be the level you were but don't get discouraged, just grow and try to enjoy the training. Every day you can get moving you are winning one battle many people with RA won't fight. Someone told me at the line for one of my races "the only *** you have to kick is your own". So just try to beat what you feel you can do now, not what you did. Good luck in your journey, it is a change but judging by the links salsa posted it isn't one people can't overcome.
Crankin2011-03-02 00:25:37 +0000 #7
My story is similar to Salsa's. While I was never a racer nor did I ever compete in anything, I was getting to be a pretty good cyclist when i was dx with fibromyalgia. Although no one is really sure this is what I have, I have something and I have had to readjust my expectations. My goal is to keep riding (and x country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking, yoga) until I drop dead, but sometimes it is at a less intense level. But, I still work out 5-7 days a week.

I really recommend learning about mindfulness to help with your symptoms. The things that helped me were a 10 week mindfulness course, meditating, acupuncture, and counseling. All of those things helped me deal with different expectations when I had to.

PM me, if you want.
KnottedYet2011-03-02 01:58:06 +0000 #8
"No sympathy, please."

Fine, I can give you "no sympathy."

Pull your head out of your b*tt. Forty? Big F-ing Deal. Most of us are older than you. Don't put US down as you so enthusiastically chop yourself down in a bid for the sympathy you say you don't want.

Pull your head out of your b*tt. RA? Big Whoop. There are folks with other gawd-awful immune system disorders here. Whine if you want to, but acknowledge the fact that you want to whine, need to whine, and want some hugs. We give them out freely.

Pull your head out of your b*tt. Gained weight? Big fat heiney, let's have a pity party. I've gained 55 pounds in the last 3 years. I was a size 10, now I'm a size 20 or 22. Stress, stress, stress. Tough sh*t. You are responsible for your own weight. Accept what you weigh, or change it.

Pull your head out of your b*tt. Triathlons? Big huge tearful stupid loss. They are still out there, go do them. Who gives a rip if you are in the top or in the a$$ end of the pack? I don't. Why should you? The joy is from DOING the thing, not from kicking someone else's tuchus. Afraid of all the young things in the lower age category, then do something like the Danskin or the Trek and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Look at all the cancer survivors in those first waves, and get a sense of perspective.

Pull your head out of your b*tt. OT? Come on... the "other therapy." You're not gonna let some PT read you the riot act, are you? Stand up, be proud of your career change and your new degree! If you don't like it, do something else. But don't complain in some back-handed way about how hard OT is. Yes, healthcare can be massively draining. Say so! Ask for help if you need it, but be sure you want the job enough to love it and fight for it and ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT!!!!! Seriously, we all need help... change your title to "Sympathy, please." Honesty is the best policy.

Pull your head out of your b*tt. "Is this all there is?" Yup, this is IT, honey. Make the most of it. That's all anyone can do.

-Knott, who has evil PT powers and is not afraid to use them.

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