I came home from my 36 mile charity ride, feeling proud, triumphant, and almost jubilant.
But, I know my body, and I’m learning how CRPS works within it. I knew it was coming:
As soon as I got back to my parents’ house, I ate. And then I took medication and vitamins. And then I showered the ride away. Then I went to sleep. I woke up. Ate dinner. Took more medication. Went back to bed. My leg felt shaky. It hurt.
I knew a flare was bubbling.
I am trying to do everything within my power to keep that flare at bay.
My next sympathetic block isn’t until December 1st. I can’t have a flare-up set-back before then. I have to figure out how to incorporate activities and an active lifestyle into my life with CRPS. The ride I did yesterday is the next phase in this learning process. Especially since my ultimate goal is to get back to century rides.
Organized rides take a lot more stamina and energy than simply the amount of mileage they cover. I had forgotten this. Or, maybe I simply never realized it before because I was never physically or energetically limited in my previous events. I never had to measure anticipation, nervousness, joy, relief, or pride in terms of energy depletion. They were simply emotions that existed and and passed. I only ever felt the physical toll of doing an endurance event.
Before CRPS, that is.
I woke up this morning expecting my quadriceps and calves to be sore. I expected my glutes to be sore. I expected my back and arms to be sore. But, my muscles aren’t sore. At all. (I told you I was prepared!)
Instead, I woke up with my brain cloudy. It’s hard to remember my thoughts. My right leg is feeling very CRPS-y. Deep, bone crushing pain. Superficial burning, crackling, shiny skin. Daggers driving into the joints when I move it. It is turning colors and going cold. Fuck. Still, I’m not going to officially call it a flare.
I tried to go back to my “normal” daily schedule. I ate breakfast, drank some coffee, drank twice as much water as coffee. I went to the pool.
The weather today is crappy. Cloudy, humid, not hot enough to be hot, not cold enough to be cold. It’s the kind of day that would affect my leg anyway. My limp, worse than usual.
I hobbled over to an empty lane.
I put my left foot in. COLD. Shit. Ok. I’ll just sit here with only my left leg in the water for a while. I moved my left leg around. It was cold, but ok. Maybe just a short, easy swim.
I put my right foot in. Slowly. Very Slowly. It felt as if I was easing my leg into molten lava. I kid you not. It’s a weird and incredibly painful feeling. The water was cold, and like, the density of… you know… *water*. My left leg and my brain were on the same page about these things. But my right leg, burning, being crushed by the pressure, was convinced I was immersing it into lava.
A year ago, I would have forced my right leg to get on the same page as my left leg and my brain. The same page as reality. But a year ago, I’d had about 13 fewer flares under my belt. And now, my goal is to try to figure out how to push myself physically and recover before I go full-flare.
I pulled my legs out of the water. A swim wasn’t going to happen today. And I have to be ok with that. I can’t call myself names (lazy, unmotivated). I can’t tell myself that I’m just making an excuse for not wanting to swim.
It’s true that I didn’t want to swim. I rarely want to swim. I do it because it is good for me. The reason why I didn’t swim was because my right leg was being crushed and incinerated by molten lava (aka 77 degree chlorinated pool water). In order to continue trying to intercept the flare, I had to listen to my leg this morning. I left the YMCA. I went home, ate, took my medicine, and went back to bed.
I’ll try to swim again tomorrow.
It is frustrating, beyond frustrating, to have my life’s activities dictated by the lower half of my right leg. But, if I want to continue to slowly chisel my way out of this CRPS prison to engage in activities that temporarily allow me to feel a little bit like my pre-CRPS self, I have to be willing to crawl back into my cage. I have to deal with the aftermath.