Greetings to all on this forum, and the many of you with whom I have connected happily in the past 12 months.
As I write this, I welcome your hoots of derision, ‘told-you-so’ remarks, and any other helpful comments…
Ok, here goes: I was diagnosed with PMR about 12 months ago after being very fit and active for most of my life so far. I played squash regularly into my early 50’s, am a DIY ‘demon’, and have always pushed my physical limits. This isn’t for showing off’s sake, just for the pleasure of being able to stretch myself physically and mentally. Generally, it’s been a positive thing for me.
Just after my diagnosis and on a ‘high’ with the preds (and in denial?), one day, showing-off to my friends about how fit I really was ‘despite PMR’ (my faulty rationalisation..), I ran-up a short hill at my normal full- tilt as is my defiant character for better or worse.
Result: a strained Achilles tendon which took a month to heal and slowed me down nearly as much as the PMR had done for several weeks prior to going on the preds.
Lesson learned? Well, not exactly. 12 months later, and doing / feeling pretty-well on the process overall with PMR / steroid withdrawal symptoms, today all seemed well with the world (and my body): and today I sprinted about 50 metres in the open-air having totally forgotten about my vulnerability to injury. Ironically, I was trying to help a colleague who had left something behind at a meeting, and wanted to save them some time and inconvenience… but at my own expense.
Result: second-degree Calf muscle strain and in agony, hobbling around for the rest of the day, and almost unable to drive home from the meeting due to the excruciating pain. Prognosis: 3 weeks of resting-up the injured leg, the ignominy of limping around at a snail’s pace (not good for the Action Man image), and feeling a bit daft as a result of my well-intentioned ‘heroics’. Mmm…
The moral of this story? With conditions like PMR, even (or especially?) the ‘fittest’ of us previously still have to be aware of our limitations: even when feeling so much better. As PMRpro mentioned in one of her posts about an experiment with a short, enforced lay-off with army-trained athletes: it takes a long time to regain the same level of fitness as before, if we can at all.
So, take it easy, everyone. Don’t rush the process, even when feeling relatively good. It’s good to give ourselves little ‘challenges’, but remember to take ‘baby steps’ in managing your physical recovery - not great leaps. The process of the Mind that can often drive us to achieve great things in better times can also deceive us when we are ‘one wing down’. And, pacing ourselves mentally, as much as physically, is key to this with PMR especially. I know, from personal and painful experience…
As I rest-up with a very sore leg and a (well-deserved, in my opinion) glass of wine, I’m planning my strategy for negotiating my normal shopping route around Waitrose (or wherever) tomorrow, with some dignity. Maybe I’ll adopt a ‘John Wayne’-style swaggering gait to distract from my temporary disability? Maybe I’ll just pretend that, when I can’t walk easily or quickly, I’m waiting for someone / something? Maybe (if it matters), I’ll just explain to strangers that I’m a bit slow on my feet because, despite looking well, I have a rare and ‘invisible’ illness that slows me down physically and mentally.
It’s amazing how others can empathise with this open-ness and honesty - and how many can relate to the stuff of the human condition and illness in one form or another.
That’s it folks. Keep positive, and keep contributing your thoughts and experiences around PMR and the Journey.. .