The Boy Scouts and the Marine Corps have both molded me into a man who has never been afraid of hard work. I used to find the point of working too hard and hover dangerously close to that line and only periodically crossing over. Working hard was never good enough, and I would often push it to the extreme always doing a little more. Consistently putting excessive effort into everything that I did and using every ounce of my energy until the job was complete.
However, I now carry a heavy burden called multiple sclerosis that stifles the stride of my progress. At times this awfully alarming affliction can feel like running a marathon while carrying an anvil. This maleficent monster can make necessary movements more challenging than putting an elephant through the eye of a needle. Yet 2.3 million of us brave souls worldwide who are impacted with this torturous tribulation trudge on showing our great strength every day.
I still repeatedly try to push too hard, move too fast and go too far drifting dangerously close to that thin red line. Finding and crossing this line can be devastating and can cause the need for extreme respite. This extended recovery can be as simple as sitting for a few minutes or as significant as being bedridden for several days.
I have done well with my workout routine of three hours a day on three days a week. I had some physical impediments that arrived well over a year ago with very little likelihood of their disappearance. However, I keep moving forward, knowing that my struggles now will help my endurance later. My fitness habits will help me live a longer, healthier, and happier life, causing my MS to flair as little as possible.
When I return home on the day of my workouts, I am weaker, limiting many of my daily duties. My dinner and evening cleanup is impacted significantly, and my evening tasks are discouragingly diminished. However, my strength slowly returns by the next morning, making that the day that I try to get things done.
I have now added a physical therapy session on each of my two free weekdays. This augmentation makes five consecutive days of strenuous activity that causes conflict for all MSers. So far, the first week has been an intensely debilitating life that is beyond comprehension. This level of tiredness makes me fall asleep quickly but creates a wakeup that is too arduous for understanding. Keep in mind that I have always instantly gotten up when my morning alarm sounds, never believing in the snooze button.
So here I sit contemplating my complicated conundrum. I have been swimming seemingly indefatigably three days a week for the past two years. The day after each swim day, I have a full day of needed respite that I must now fill with more physical activity. My new enigma is how I do both events without crossing that MS line of too much. With multiple sclerosis, that line of too much jumps like a caffeinated Chihuahua making it hard to not pass.
Know your body and listen to it, it will forewarn you.