In January I signed up for a 5k walk, the Chocoholic Frolic. 5 kilometers is a little more than three miles, and after pushing myself through all the cancer and surgeries and other events over the past three years, I felt that a little challenge was in order. I signed up, got a friend to join me, and even bought a new pair of walking shoes for the event. I felt very good about the whole thing. Yay me.
The second day of February, my throat hurt. I went to the doctor for a strep test, and walked out with antibiotics and a steroid shot. Usually, the medicine works, and I'm back on my feet again after a couple of days. This time, I started feeling worse, but it wasn't in my throat, it was now in my chest. I used my inhaler often, but I was still having trouble breathing. I also had no appetite, which should have been a huge red flag for me. I dropped ten pounds in two weeks, and not in a good way. No eating meant no energy to do all the things I missed out on while I had cancer.
Larry was very firm: I was not doing the 5k, he insisted. I was sick. He, of course, forgot about the huge amount of stubbornness in my DNA. Nobody can tell me that I can't do something! I was on a mission, to prove that I could do this one thing. It took on mythical significance in my mind. If I didn't do the 5k, that meant that I had given up. That was my perspective
I did the 5k. I woke up that morning, did not have a fever, and felt that I could complete the walk. So I did. I showed up, walked very slowly, and finished. I consider this to be a great accomplishment for me, a generally sedentary soul. Larry said he was proud of me, but he also yelled a little at me for being so stubborn. I didn't argue with him. I felt too horrible.
There were consequences, in the form of bronchitis. I felt as bad as I did when I was on chemo! I ended up with more antibiotics, more steroids. They helped a little. Then came a sinus infection and VERTIGO. Yes, vertigo. I didn't even know that was still a thing. If you've never had vertigo, it's like you spun yourself around and around until you make yourself dizzy, but your brain never returns to normal. I couldn't turn my head without nausea, the bane of my existence. I will do just about anything to avoid throwing up.
My body had had enough. I simply had to rest, whether I wanted to or not. It's no use trying to push yourself when you end up worse off. That sort of defeats the purpose of a challenge, burning yourself out like that. I took a couple of days and just slept. I took the third round of antibiotics and the drug for vertigo and I slept like my life depended on it, which it probably did. I also ate, even if I wasn't hungry. Taking care of myself became a priority this week.
And today, I feel relatively normal. I'm not dizzy, I'm breathing okay, and I'm awake. I think I've learned a lesson--that I don't have to push myself so hard. I can still do the things I did before cancer. I just have to take care of myself differently, and do what my body tells me.