Friday, April 25, 2014

From blob-y to jog-y: an update on my health

When I last visited Washington, over Christmas, I became a sweatpant-wearing, fudge-eating blob. I slept for 13-14 hours every night and spent virtually every day lying in front of the fire staring into its crackling flames. I stayed with my folks for a month, and during that time went out with friends in the area twice. My body didn't want me to do much, and since she and I are tight I gots tah listen to her.

But this week. This week my visit to Washington has been wildly, radically different. I've slept 7-8 hours every night (this small thing feels like a giant miracle) and I've gone out with friends almost every day since I've been here. And the running. Oh, the running. My body continues to let me run, without relapsing afterward. Not only has she let me run while I've been here, but she's let me run in the pouring down rain, with no illness-related repercussions.

When I first moved to California I missed Washington weather. But then I became a big ol' Orange County wimp and complained every time the weather dipped below 70. Except when it rained. I'd never complain about that. Because when it rained I'd lace up my running shoes and splash through the streets till my clothes were soaked and my hair clung to my neck in wet clumps. Running in the rain is one of my favorite things.

It's also the best therapy I've ever known. For most of my life, whenever my gut churned with emotion, I'd run until all that thrashing, white water emotion turned to sweat and seeped out every pore. I'd push and I'd pound, and after a few miles of long, quick strides, I was emptied. My soul felt scoured of all its stress. And when the sky dumped rain? It gave me a clean body to match my scoured soul. Everything felt fresh and awake and zinging with life.

After I got sick 3.5 years ago, I couldn't be wet for long because my body couldn't maintain its temperature. Wet hair or clothes made me shake with chills. So not only was running not an option, but standing in the rain for long wasn't either.

But yesterday I braved the rain. I've been feeling so good the last several weeks that I figured I should test the ol' body to see what she could do. And boy did she deliver. And boy did the skies also deliver. They dumped buckets and buckets of warm, spring rain. Halfway into my run, the light morning sprinkle turned into a deluge, and then the deluge turned into hail, and then my mouth turned up into a big old smile.

I've been smiling ever since.

And I've been wide-eyed with wonder at my body's ability to recover from my socializing and exercising this spring. You may remember the post I wrote a year ago to celebrate my progressing health. After years of functioning at about 10-30% of my "normal," I'd finally progressed to about 70-80% of normal and felt fantastic. But a few weeks after posting my celebratory blog, I had a relapse that threw me in bed for five weeks. Since then, my life has been a cycle of feeling okay (functioning at 60-80% of normal) and relapsing (functioning at 10-20% of normal). I've not been able to celebrate signs of health this year without the realization that imminent relapse is likely.

And yet here I am, over four weeks into a regular running regime, and rather than regress into relapse, I feel stronger each day. The health I feel this spring is wildly, wonderfully more vibrant than anything I've experienced in years. And my run in the rain yesterday is proof — my absolute favorite spring gift from a very good God. Today, I just wanted to share it with you.

Rainy, hail-y, running bliss

Happy, spring-y Friday, my friends!


© by scj


  1. I'm curious, how long ago was it that you had your tonsils removed? I have heard many success stories about people who were constantly sick, and then, once their tonsils were removed, they experienced relief from those pesky colds, ear infections, etc... When my nephew was a wee little lad, he was constantly battling ear infections. Finally, after years of cyclical ear infections and abundant antibiotics, the doctor recommend removing his tonsils. It made a huge difference! Gone were the ear infections, and his appetite appeared. So, I'm just curious if you are one of "those" people?? :o) Oh, and I am so glad to hear about your running! I totally relate with how it can stabilize those anxious emotions, oh yes, indeedy! ~Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I had them removed a year and a half ago. They were infected with the EBV virus for two years without reprieve, so my body was always fighting an intense infection in my tonsils, in addition to trying to repair the internal damage the virus caused in my organs and glands. Getting my tonsils removed allowed my body to redirect some of its energy from fighting that infection to repairing internal damage. I actually wasn't one of those who was always getting pesky ear infections and tonsillitis. It was just that gnarly EBV that changed everything... I have heard a number of success stories that sound similar to the ones you've heard, though!

      Running is one of life's greatest gifts, I think. I can't wait to run in heaven. :)


    2. Oops, should clarify that EBV stands for "Epstein Barr Virus." It's a pretty common virus, but I am, unfortunately, in the 1% who doesn't recover from it after years of trying to. This spring makes me hopeful that I will, though. :)

    3. Put on your special shoes and "Run, Sarah, Run!" :o)