I was doing so well last spring and early summer, easily in the best shape I'd ever been in. I had an exercise tolerance test last March and was in a pulmonary rehab program to maximize my abilities. My lungs will unfortunately never get any better, but I can strengthen my muscles and improve my endurance, which will give me greater functional ability, allow me to exercise well and in turn help to keep my lungs as healthy as possible. I felt great- strong, vibrant and healthy. Then with the trip to Ireland, no vest or bipap due to our converter not working properly and everything sort of slipped away from me.
After many fits and starts, some IV antibiotics in January, followed by the setback of the most recent cold, I'm finally getting some endurance back. The downhill slide is quite depressing; the not knowing how long it will last and when, exactly, it will stop. The lack of control, lack of energy and lack of ability to do anything about it. You can only wait and once things have leveled off, again begin the long process of rehabbing. Starting again at square one can be so daunting and quite frankly discouraging. But once a bit of progress is being made there is a boost and it becomes easier -actually enjoyable- to exercise.
When I'm not feeling well and attempt to exercise (as the docs and PTs tell me I need to do- easy for them to say!) I feel worn out and exhausted afterwards, even when not exercising to my full capacity. So depressing. But when things are on the upswing, after about 15 minutes of exercise, I get the proverbial endorphin rush: suddenly it becomes easier. It feels like weights have been removed from my ankles and my chest releases. Breathing is smoother and less of an effort. It almost feels like I could break into a jog, or maybe even fly. Gotta love those endorphins!
I know that it's important to enjoy all parts of life, both the good and the bad. To the extent I can, I do try to. But it's so much easier to love this part, when exercise is easy and a pleasure; when it feels good; and when I can see some progress from day to day. And especially when I have enough energy to enjoy my day. Results, at last.