Exercise is really the best medicine


It really is the best medicine.

I’ve now been in pain for 10+ days, we are talking 10/10 scale at night; manageable pain 5/10 scale during the day.  Tomorrow, I will have my first ever cortisone shot.  I am scared to death it won’t work, and prevent me from our family Christmas vacation to Cape Town, South Africa and Krueger National Park for Safari.

I’ve been trying to find the silver lining in this dark cloud.  I was in such a good place with my training, especially my swimming.  I was seeing advancements in my stroke, pace and endurance; and for once was getting positive unsolicited compliments from people on deck and in the lane next to me.  But alas, when C5, 6, and 7 decided to rear their ugly boney process into my spinal column and onto a nerve, I was kicked straight out of the pool.

I have had NINE sleepless, restless nights.  I’ve gone from the bed, to the couch, to the chair, to the floor, and even attempted to sleep pressed up against the cold glass of the sliding glass door.  I’ve taken Vicodin (at night); only to get three hours of sleep with insanely vivid, weird, creepy dreams; and then wake at midnight, to then begin the long agonizing wait until 4am when I could “justify” eating breakfast.

But, ironically in all the madness of this pain, I can RIDE my bike. Now, I must preface, I need to ride a trainer.  If I attempted to ride outside, no doubt I would crash because I have lost a great deal of strength in my left arm due to the nerve impingement.  But on the trainer, I lock and load, get aero (and apparently take the pressure off the nerve) and I can ride.  I’m actually putting out wattage numbers I usually see when I am in peak form.  The rides are good, I feel strong and my mind gets out of the cave.  The positive juices flowing when I am riding, have to be helping in the long run, well at least mentally.  On Tuesday, I tried running off the bike even just for 10 minutes, and 10 led to 11 and 11 led to 12, and before I new it I had run 30 minutes. I was slow, but ok.  I concentrated on form, cadence, posture and foot strike.  And because I did this, for 30 minutes, I didn’t focus on the pain.

The MRI on Wednesday, confirmed I needed a cortisone shot.  Everything was so inflamed, but my doc (who is also an athlete) said continue with my exercise.  It’s what my body needs, and if it doesn’t hurt, then it will actually do me good.

Saturday I rode for 2 hours with a 4×15 minute segment that was stellar, HR under control, watts through the roof!  And then yesterday I ran 1:15 and felt really good.  I even said to Jeff maybe I don’t need the shot….but then at midnight, when I was tossing and turning, and walking and pacing around the house, I knew I did.

This morning I stumbled on an article, that Lisa Van Dore posted on Facebook and the timing was perfect.  Exercise is the best medicine.

So, tomorrow I will get my cortisone shot, and keep my fingers crossed that I am hopping on a jet plane on Thursday evening with the family.


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