I never wanted to be lazy. It was certainly ingrained in me growing up that laziness was one of the worst character flaws. I remember as a teenager never wanting to be called lazy, even though I felt it at times. I think sometimes I have taken that fear to a whole new level. I don’t sit still well, I hate being bored, I love exercise and stuff like meditation, well that’s torture. Yet at he same time, I didnt learn when to rest. I would only stop when I got sick. A rather unhealthy way to be in todays day and time.
I think thats why I started to get into more endurance type sports. It was the happy medium between the two. You worked hard but had to rest to make sure you could get up and do it again the next day. I didn’t feel guilty resting, it had a purpose. I felt accomplished after a hard training regime and could rest with satisfaction. It was like I had found my happy place.
So when Lyme started to take over my body and I had no idea, it was making my worst fears become true. At first I could tell myself that training is just becoming a lot so I need more rest. Then training started to suffer. I couldn’t go as far, I had to take more breaks, bad training day,s skipped training days, to finally calling to be picked up…not in my nature. I still managed to find reasons why it happened and tried again the next day. The race happened, it wasn’t fast, but I did finish the half ironman. I was sure a good recovery would bring me around. It didn’t.
I spent months trying to softly move back into a fitness regime. I would get sick, chest pains, fainting spells, breathing problems and the list goes on. All little things on their own I would try to work through. But there was something every day. No amount of rest made me recover. I never had a good day, where I felt like exercising or things would just go well. You know you have bad days in training, it happens to everyone, but now every training day is a bad day. You keep a lot of the details to yourself because you are disgusted by the fact that you cannot motivate yourself to work through this low period. You know its mental, so get over it, push through and move on. But it never happens.
I started sleeping more, even in a parked car. I rushed out of bed when someone came home. To get a household job done I would do a few minutes, rest, do a few more minutes, then rest…pathetic in my mind. The smallest job took hours, but no one would have to know. I would go for a walk and call it a run. I begged myself to just do 10 minutes a day and I would ask no more. I couldn’t walk outside anymore because I was afraid I would go too far and not be able to walk back. And then finally, a 10 minute walk on a treadmill became too much. How embarrassing. I had finally let fitness fail so badly, I couldn’t accomplish the one simple thing that I swear everyone can do despite their abilities.
I said to doctors, I swam 2km, biked, 97km and ran 21km in less than 7 hours, two years ago. Now, I am lucky if I can make 5 minutes slowly walking on the treadmill (and some days I can’t do that). When the response is, “we can’t find anything, you are very healthy”, there is only one possibility…you’re lazy. Doctors didn’t say that last part to me, I said it enough. Lazy to me meant, you are not strong willed, determined, motivated and able.
Three years before I had talked myself through 300 km of rough trails with 40 pounds on my back, camping, by myself, with raw, infected feet. Two years before, I talked my self through a 121 km race with a lot of health issues already active. And now I cannot make myself go an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill just so I can keep my promise to myself. I said all I knew to say, every motivational trick in the book, mind or matter you know…And I couldn’t do it. I was lazy.
One of my very worst fears, realized. I was lazy.
Looking back now, it seems ridiculous that was my conclusion. I knew better. My advise would have been different to anyone else. But Lyme is such a silent battle that slowly you tear away at your rationale thinking. Reason by reason, excuse by excuse is taken away by test results that show how healthy you are. So eventually, rationale thinking is a waste of time, its wrong every time. So all you are left with are your worst fears. You’re lazy.
The blessing in this illness, that saved me, is eventually it becomes more physical, so you are unable to stand in the morning. You use the walls to support your walking until things become limber enough to work on their own. I lost ability to control items held on my left side. Some start to use a cane and others have to resort to a wheelchair. I am very lucky that I got just bad enough to convince me there was something more. A part of me was relieved to find out it was Chronic Lyme because it meant I wasn’t lazy.
But 3 years of constant thoughts are hard to erase. You move slowing in recovery, things take longer, you have trouble focussing and its all just harder. It reminds me of my dad in his last month before Cancer took him away. Every day he focussed on what small things he could accomplish. It was just in his nature. He told me even in his weakest days, that if he can just get a few things done, he felt the day had purpose. I feel much the same way, yet I am lucky to know the end is in sight, things are getting better with time and I will recover. So until then, I will do what I can do to heal, in his honour, knowing that I AM NOT LAZY!