Saturday, March 4, 2017

Pushing a Sofa Uphill

We pushed through a strange mosaic of snow. You never quite knew what you would get. Sticky as melted butter, an icy crust, or fluffiness. It all depended on the sun: where it had been, where it could reach. It was hard to get a good ski going with this inconsistency. That was March skiing for you.

As I skied, a familiar feeling crept over me. I was redlining, on a ski that should be somewhat easy. "You should go ahead," I snarled, stepping aside. When this happens, akin to pushing a sofa uphill, I am inclined to blame a lack of physical fitness or sheer laziness. I get mad and try harder. But this time I paused. I remembered what some friends are going through lately and it has made me think. Though I try to deny it, I do have an incurable, lifetime auto immune disease. 

Why am I writing about hypothyrodism on an outdoor blog? Because we all have our challenges. I tend to discount mine, and truthfully I'm lucky. I haven't had to change my medication in ten years. I breezily tell people it's no big deal. Most of the time I feel pretty good. But, puffing along in the wake of a speedy skier, I had to admit that it has affected my adventures.

There's that feeling that my eyes are just going to close on their own. The endless calorie counting no matter how much exercise I get. The times when my mind knows it can still do a seven minute mile, but my body says differently. Never waking up feeling refreshed. And days when the sofa is pretty hard to push. I realized that I've ignored all these because I didn't want to admit weakness. Better to ski harder, hike faster. Better to get mad.

But you can't ski mad. It just doesn't work. After awhile you just feel ridiculous. That's the benefit of being outdoors. There's really very little that mountains and snow can't fix, at least in terms of mood. I can tell when I haven't gotten enough, and that's been especially true lately. The changeable nature of March around here means that you stare anxiously at the sky. The forecast calls for 80% rain! But it's sunny? Do you dare go for it? You can try, like I did the other day, and discover to your joy that the park trails have been stomped down enough to run. Or you can drive up to the cross country ski parking area only to find a mean ice crust.

 So while I have an incurable autoimmune disease, and it can affect what I do, I'll just keep pushing that sofa. Some days it's not even a recliner, and others it feels like a full-on sectional. Fortunately, I am usually able to push through it and find some other plane where it's easy. I intend to keep doing that.

20 comments:

  1. Living with a autoimmune disease myself...I can have empathy. It's the unknown for me what it will bring day to day or even throughout the day that tends to keep me on the couch, rather than pushing it. I guess I tend to push far lighter objects. And I'm not out hiking or skiing but daily am fighting an invisible MonSter.

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    1. I hesitated to even write this knowing so many are worse off than I am. In the scheme of things hypo is not that bad, at least for me. I feel for those with severe chronic illness or pain.

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    1. ushing through is sometimes the only thing a person with an autoimmune disease can do. We don't look sick on the outside, but our body is sometimes screaming on the inside. Some of the same things I love are what wreak havoc on my body. I wear my Lupus butterfly alot during the summer, because I can't not hike and camp when the sun shining. I've been pushing the full-secaional here a lot these days. While decorating my cake this week in class I complained that my hand hurt. I hate to pull my Lupus card out. Often I bite my tongue, and deal. But I thought if she knew it was cramping and the reasons behind on behind the cramping, maybe she could help me find way to squeeze the bag that my hand might be able to handle. She said "I have Lupus too,19 years here. How long for you? What meds do you take? Can you handle sun? My best cake class yet because I spoke up. I did have to quit my handmade card stamping class, because my hands shake too bad to do fine detailed work on the cards. We need an autoimmune hiking day this summer, we can add in Maddie with her newly reconstructed back too.

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    2. Yes, nobody around you would know, you do great. Sorry to hear about your stamping class. I know you loved it. :(

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  3. I'm even more in awe that you do such strenuous outdoor activities! It's not easy battling a chronic condition. My son suffers from crohns, another auto immune disease, and it's been a long tough road for him.

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    1. Oh crohns is awful. I'm lucky that medication works pretty well for me. As long as I don't forget to take it, I usually do pretty well.

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  4. I had no idea. Like Linda, totally in awe of all your exploits. A positive attitude is half the battle.

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    1. I agree. I decided it was worth writing about a personal thing so other people know they aren't alone. Plus I wonder, I know so many people now with auto immune diseases. What is going on with the environment?

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  5. I did not know, either, that this was a lifelong condition and that medication was involved. You do a remarkable job at "pushing the sofa." Be kind to yourself on the days that it's too hard.

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    1. It's actually fairly common especially for women as they get older, but a lot don't get diagnosed and think the symptoms are just from aging. It can actually be serious if untreated.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your experience. It's good to hear from active women who deal with thyroid issues. Hypo is likely the way I'm headed, since most people with Graves end up killing their thyroid. Thanks for the encouraging outlook!

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    1. You've been on a long road and I'm glad you are getting some answers! I know you'll be able to figure it out since you've done amazing things even while having Graves.

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  7. I admire you even more! Thank you for sharing this with us. I sometimes wonder where people get their motivation, what inspires them and where their inner strength comes from. I like how you manage to find a way to live your passion no matter what! You motivate me!

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    1. Thanks! I am in awe of people who have worse crosses to bear. In the scheme of things I do very well. I'm not about to give up the outdoors. It just frustrates me that I can't feel better sometimes, but at least I'm out there.

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  8. Whether it's outwardly visible or not, all of us are pushing our own sofa uphill. Some suffer from autoimmune issues, some mental health, etc. I'm often unable to open bottles and jars myself, so it's not unusual for me to ask a stranger for help opening bottles at the end of a race or if I'm in line at the grocery store. My asthma flares a lot on windy days. My allergies force me to nap more days than I care to admit.

    Acceptance of and working through our limitations doesn't make us less of a person or athlete, in my opinion, it makes us a stronger one. :)

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    1. I wish I could be as accepting. For me I expect and want to be as strong and fast as I once was, and it's hard to not be. I know this is totally unrealistic and silly, but I can't seem to help it. I'm still pretty strong and fast, though, not going to let my thyroid stop that.

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  9. Wow Mary, I had no idea, especially given all you accomplish and the life you lead! Given Justin's situation, it is always encouraging to seeing others who push through. I keep telling him, where there is a will, there is a way.

    Keep on keeping on!

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    1. I thought about him when I was writing this and the challenges he faces.

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  10. That snow on these mountains is giving an amazing view.
    luton airport meet and greet

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