Saturday, 27 August 2016

A difficult time

This is a difficult post to make as it describes a very difficult few days.  I decided that I would run a parkrun.  It was less than a month since my stroke.  Physically I was feeling okay and thought that running would be a good step forward.  I had checked out with my GP if it was okay to run and he agreed as long as I didn't push myself too hard and stopped if I needed to.  I had arranged for someone from parkrun to be my guide both for eyesight purposes and also to slow me down to a easy pace.  We agreed that 35 minutes for 5k would be about right.

The run itself was great and I completed it in just over 34 minutes.  It was my slowest ever parkrun but it was my biggest accomplishment.  When I came into the finish area all my parkrun friends were waiting to cheer me in.  I was on cloud nine as I was back running and there were people who cared enough to wait to cheer me in.  I felt okay, a bit tired, but no ill effects at all.  I think Stephanie was relieved that I was okay and I had lots of positive comments and people saying I was brave.  I didn't feel brave as it was a simple thing to do.  In retrospect I understand why people thought that, as the last time I had run I had a stroke.

I have described this as a difficult post and so far all I have described is very positive.  The difficulty comes with the reaction to the run.  I was fine the rest of the day although I did feel quite tired.  It started to be difficult in the evening when I had a feeling of overwhelming tiredness.  I went to bed early but the fatigue got worse and worse.  It got to such a stage that I could not have cared if I woke up the next morning.  I almost expected to die that night.  It is not that I wanted to, it was just that I couldn't care.  It's a strange thing to describe having fatigue that great that you have more or less given up.  I was not unhappy or sad so it was not something relating to depression.  I would not anyone to think that I wanted to die but the feeling of fatigue was so great that it seemed inevitable that I would not wake up.

The next morning I woke up and although I was feeling a bit better I still couldn't do much because of the fatigue.  I didn't tell anyone about the previous night as there didn't seem much point as I was still alive.  The next evening the same thing happened and the fatigue got worse and worse.  This cycle repeated for three nights. I gradually felt better during the day but the nights were a real struggle.  

I really understand what it is like to have fatigue.  No disrespect to anyone who says they have fatigue but until you get to a point where you genuinely don't care whether you live or die then you don't truly understand what it's like.  I have struggled with fatigue from my diabetes but this fatigue was on a level greater than I can adequately  explain. 

I made the decision that it would be a long time before I would run a parkrun again.  I wanted to be involved as parkrun is an important part of my life.  I decided that I would volunteer as this would keep me involved but not risk getting that fatigued again.  

There have been lots of inspirational quotes that I have seen posted on the Internet.  After this experience one of the quotes I saw was the one below and has become the name of the blog.

I am determined to come through this experience so even though things may not be easy I am determined to come out of the experience a stronger person.  The battles that each of us face day by day determine the person we become.  I don't want to be known as a stroke victim I want to be defined as a stroke survivor.  Getting stronger in my inner self is the key to becoming a stronger person.  My stroke’s job is to push me backwards, on bad days the stroke is winning on good days the opposite is true and I become stronger.  At the moment the stroke is in charge and I am on the losing side, as time goes by I am confident that the better days will outweigh the bad days.  When this happens I will be winning.

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