Tag Archives: CFS

A Cyclone on the Horizon

Long-time readers and people who actually know me will be aware that I’ve been going through a relapse into – and recovery from – chronic fatigue syndrome. Obviously this has affected many things, although this blog hasn’t really been one of them. At my physiotherapist’s behest, and as part of my own ramshackle attempts at pacing and graded exercise therapy, I started cycling back in May. I got myself a road bike and gradually built up the distance and time I was riding for, taking care never to push myself too far, but always notching it up to the next level if it was comfortable.

Well, now I’m at the point where I’m riding over 100 km per week, happily climbing hills (seriously, it’s my favourite bit – it helps being short and relatively light) and genuinely feeling like I don’t have CFS any more. Well, only when I’m cycling. Weird, I know, but walking still feels like the slog it has been for the last two years; standing still is oddly exhausting; even just thinking is a struggle at times… but when I’m spinning along at 90 rpm, everything’s just fine and dandy.

Because the cycling’s been going so swimmingly, I thought I’d enter a sportive – if you haven’t come across the term, it’s like a fun run for cycling (i.e. not a race), but still officially timed and with mechanical support and feed stations along the route. It’s a little something to aim towards. Given where I live, the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge seemed like a good option, but with route options of 34, 64, 90 and 106 miles, which should a recovering CFS-sufferer go for? Hmmm. Yes, the 106-mile one. Definitely. That’d be sensible.

So I’ve signed up. Yes, it looks like lunacy at first glance, but given that I’ve gone from 0 to 65 miles per week in six months, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that I could get to well over 100 miles per week over the next seven months, which should set me up for the Cyclone. Of course, that means the slog of winter training, but I’ve got the British Cycling training plans on my side. As long as my body can keep up, I’ll be out on the road.

See you there.

It’s All About ME, ME, ME

It’s been quiet on here for the last few weeks. It’s not like I haven’t been gaming (Navajo Wars, a solo run of France ’40Rampage with the kids, plenty of iPad gaming, playtesting Tony Boydell’s new solitaire card game Lux Aeterna, not to mention ongoing play-by-email games of Red Winter and France ’40 using VASSAL, and Cruel Necessity is set up and ready to go on the table behind me right now); it’s just that I haven’t had the mental capacity for much beyond that. My little game design project: dormant. Learning new wargame systems (OCS, Panzer Grenadier and GBoH, I’m looking at you): dormant. Even reading Sandman has stalled a bit. I’d previously ploughed through a volume in a day or two; now I’m lucky to read a single chapter in a day.

France '40: that's one almighty Belgian clusterhump.

France ’40: that’s one almighty Belgian clusterhump.

All suspicions were confirmed by a specialist on Monday: I am indeed suffering the return of chronic fatigue syndrome (aka ME, which isn’t a name I use but it’s one most people have heard of). Interestingly, he believes it never actually went away after my previous episode aged 16; rather, I subconsciously adapted my lifestyle to suit what I was capable of, leading me to believe I was fully functional when in fact the underlying problem was still… um… underlying. It wasn’t until I attempted teacher training that I was consistently pushed beyond what I could manage – thus the relapse.

But with the diagnosis confirmation comes referral to various therapy teams and a slew of ideas on how to manage this condition. That means I should be able to better manage my energy (both physical and mental) and make conscious decisions about where I’m going to direct it. With better management comes greater capacity, or so the thinking goes, and the specialist hopes to have me back to a reasonable level of function by the end of the year. So, although I may be quiet-ish for a while longer, I hope to get back on my various horses in good time. Onwards and upwards from here!