writer, warrior, whack-a-doodle

Better Days

Better Days

October 21, 2013
Posted in: Dogs, Lyme Disease | Reading Time: 3 minutes


"Princess, why is Mom so darn whiny and slow? She's got a total handicap with those big wheels. Geesh."
"Big boy, your guess is as good as mine. She looks totally healthy and fine to me."

Lyme Disease is nothing if not deceptive and a complete mind-f*ck.

This photo was taken a few weeks ago on a ride with Mr. Wild Dingo. I had one of my better days and was feeling pretty good, and I still had to push my bike up this climb. A climb I've never had to walk before. "Feeling good" has a whole different definition to me these days. So I repeated the ride a week later and again, and I felt pretty good again, even after the ride.

But Lyme giveth and Lyme taketh away. Because I tried the ride again last week and it sent me into a deficit for a full week. Exactly as my doctor predicted.

"You'll be feeling good one day, and will over-do it," she said.

"No I won't, I know better," I said. She only smiled. Whatever, smarty pants.

So many people with Lyme respond so differently. Some are even bedridden and immobile. Though I was headed toward immobility before I started treatment, there's no easy answer to why I am luckier than most and can still walk, hike and ride at some level. I used to ride a hell-of-a-lot before Lyme hit me and now I barely can handle 10 miles per week---a mere 6% of my prior weekly mileage---which offers some insight into why I can still be active even on a small level compared to other Lyme patients.

I actually could care less if I ever rode again because I actually prefer to hike and walk my dogs. Ironically, hiking and walking cause me so much more pain than riding a bike. A few days per week on my bike gives my joints a huge rest from inflammation caused by long walks. And it gets Juno into a trotting pace for her therapy needs, so it's a double benefit.

Hell or high water the dogs need to get exercised, no matter how I feel. So I go, by bike or by foot. Some days we go long distance and other days, a short 30 minutes if I'm feeling particularly bad. Early on when I first started treatment, it would take me 3 hours to get out of bed, and I'd still show up to the trail, grinning and bearing the nausea in my stomach and joint pain all over my body.  I just hate the idea of my dogs wasting their lives away. Afterwards, I'd spend the rest of the day on the sofa or in bed.

The truth is, there is no way in hell I would do any of this if I did not have the dogs. And yet, it's a good thing I do have them because exercise is encouraged for people with Lyme Disease. Aerobic exercise, or any exercise that sends you into the hole, is not. So it looks like we'll table this kind of riding for a while. We'll be relegated to the easy fire roads and pedestrian bike paths with these two.  Which is fine by me. It's all going to lead to better days.

Look out bike path squirrels who tease and tempt us! The cracker and the criminal have wheels and will pounce!

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4 comments on “Better Days”

  1. Dogs are absolutely wonderful trainers/physical therapists, because they are demanding task-masters that will not take 'not today, I feel like crap' for an answer. And I say let the cracker and the criminal loose on all rodents in their path. I'm not feeling the love for rodents at the moment. (Or ever. But especially today.) Just remember that passionate dedication to short term goals when riding (which means fire roads are Just Fine).

    -Dr. Liz, who is really not feeling the love toward rodents

  2. Dogs help me in exactly the same way as they help you. They need you to take them for exercise, and that means that you keep moving daily too. It can be tough some days... but, in the long run, I bet it's really good that you keep exercising however much your body can handle. I've also found exactly the same thing about biking vs. hiking. Hiking causes me lots of pain, and biking does not. I'm so glad that you can bike with your two pups!

    Hang in there. You have lots of us pulling for you!

  3. I'm 5 weeks out from major surgery. Everyone keeps telling me how great I look. I give all the credit to my dogs. From the minute I got home from the hospital, they made sure I went outside and walked. Every. Single. Day. Some days more, some days less. But they got me up and moving and that is so important, even if it wasn't the activity level we were all used to. The therapy malinut made it clear that his well-being was carefully entwined with my well-being You have my positive thoughts and prayers for your ongoing battle.

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