It’s 10:40 in the morning and I’ve just finished my run. Along the way, I made a few observations. The first was that it is, in fact, a gorgeous day. The second was that it is approximately 70 degrees outside already, and slated to be 81 later. This is the warmest day we’ve had so far this year. The third: at 10 in the morning, it is already too hot for me to be running.
For those of you who don’t know, MS can be triggered by many different things, most of them environmental or mental-health related. In my case, my special brand of MS has a huge issue with warm weather. Warm weather on its own is fine, but if I go and try to do something like, say, running or Budo for more than a few minutes when the temperature is this warm, I’ll surely toss myself into relapse.
What’s a relapse? For me, it usually means a solid 2 weeks of barely being able to walk (if at all), not being able to hold a cup or a pen or be able to type, and possible lack of bladder control. When I relapse, someone else has to wash my hair and style it, bathe and shave me. Because I can’t even stand up in the shower to do these things myself, and I can’t hold myself up in the bathtub. I certainly can’t work. It’s pretty lame, although it gives me a chance to catch up on my favorite TV series (I’ve seen all of the CSIs this way, and a lot of Law and Order: SVU).
I had to wear the cooling vest in Japan, and that got me through the more strenuous workouts (things like throwing or being thrown). I didn’t think about the weather change here, and when I came back from Japan, I let the vest dry out because I expected a few more weeks of ‘cool’ here in the north.
I’m going to blame it on my being totally scattered in the past two weeks, but I had already seen the weather report for the coming week and knew all about the warm weekend we had coming. But for some reason, I didn’t reactivate my cooling vest. I guess I just wasn’t thinking about it. I’ve been distracted, to say the least.
So last night, I tried to go to Budo. That was a majorly stupid idea. The going part wasn’t stupid, but the trying to train part certainly was. After 30 minutes, I was already sitting out and feeling totally sick and tired. I’ve been fine all week, so I’m blaming this 100% on the MS and the weather.
Some people might tell me to try to ‘push through it’. While that works for people who DON’T have a disease that is triggered by high internal body heat, it is absolutely THE LAST THING I should do. In fact, that exact action is what threw me into my last two relapses in 2009, which came back-to-back due to my impatience. What I need to do when this happens is drink a ton of water, stand in front of a fan and maybe drench myself, in order to regulate my body temperature. It’s thoroughly frustrating when people think they can ‘motivate me’ (as if I need any more motivation, I’ve already been awake for five fucking hours on Saturday, and not because I set an alarm) and get me back on the mat.
News flash: I’m not down with peer pressure, and I’m also not down with people who don’t understand my disease trying to tell me what I should be doing. No matter what you’re trying to tell me to do, I’m going to tell you ‘no’. Not because I’m a stubborn bitch, but because I know my body and what it means when it feels this way better than you ever will.
Back to today. I kind of knew going into the run that it might already be too warm, but I wanted to try it. The nice thing about running is that I can stop if it gets too warm. I guess that’s the nice thing about anything, actually. But whatever. So I made it through my run, but it’s been decided. I reactivated the vest last night after the failed Budo class. It’s going in the fridge after it dries, and I’ll wear it to run the next time. If it’s still not enough, then next time it will go into the freezer, which ought to do the trick, but I’m saving that move for a last resort (or July/August weather).
All of this still feels so ridiculously backwards when I think about the person I USED to be, who WOULD (and could) push through everything, no matter what. I still tell most people to push, but only if they CAN. I personally don’t push because I know what it will get me. I’m not competitive, and in all honesty, I’m happy to still be able to fucking walk. So no, I won’t be pushing through something for the next hour or even the next 10 minutes, because it will make my next four weeks really difficult.
We should all do what we can.
We should compete with ourselves, and no one else.
We should listen to our bodies and know when to push, and know when to take a break.
I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. I’ve proven myself to myself.
If you’re not impressed, that’s your problem.