Monday, June 17, 2013

I Heart Summer

Next to Christmas, summer has always been my favorite time of year. Because I am a teacher, I do not have the opportunity to work during the summer. (Just to clarify, no teacher gets paid for summers off. We all get paid only for the hours in our contract and some are lucky to get extra time for special projects, but no vacation is paid.) I use this time to reflect on my teaching as a high school IT teacher, and to teach summer fitness classes and help others find their fitness groove. I also try to kill my husband. Well that's his definition of I get us out playing on the water, kayaking, biking to nearby and not-so-nearby cities, and all sorts of fun things.

This morning, my first official day of summer break, I felt really down. I thought back to last year. I remember still struggling so much with fatigue and brain pain, I had to cancel almost all of my fitness classes. It was really a hard thing to do because I felt I was letting people down. I didn't cancel the running group because I had a group of people who volunteered to assistant coach with me. We arranged it and I felt great that I could still do that, but very sad about the rest of it. Sadly most of the people who volunteered to help were unable to; some for very good reasons (like having new twins is HARD!) and some for unexplained reasons. Some just floated out of my life with no explanation. I still wonder what happened; what I said or did. That was very very hurtful and it still stings quite a bit because it isn't like I wasn't thankful, or was inconsiderate, or was faking it. Maybe they did think I was milking it.

I suppose that happens with most people who deal with chronic pain. There is always going to be those who think you're over-reacting. What are you gonna do?

I was sure that if I took last summer off I would return to work as a teacher rejuvenated and that would be the end of my healing.

I'm so afraid that it was the end of my healing, but that wasn't what I meant when I defined "the end of my healing". I thought I'd be completely better and the headaches would be gone, my energy would be back, my brain wouldn't reboot, and I'd be my old self again.

Since last summer I have seen improvement in my fatigue level. It isn't a problem any more, although I still need more hours of sleep per night. That's not a huge deal. What I have seen no improvement in is the brain pain. That's why I say I fear that was the end of my healing.

This morning I got out for a run early enough to take my older dog (he really is affected by the heat) and Flik my little Bo-Chi (Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix). Flik is a BEAST when it comes to running. He has the terrier musculature so he's a great little runner. He's run up to 13 miles with me. Wiley has done up to 20, but he's starting to peter out around five now. Makes me sad. Anyhow, got out with them while it was still cool. I could feel the headache racheting up, so I didn't put it off. Unfortunately my plan to run five miles was dropped to three. My head hurt, I was dizzy, (common when my head is bad), and I had to stop early.

That's when I cried a little. I had a little pity party because I'm not who I was two summers ago. I hate that. I hate that I can't just hop out of bed, teach a bootcamp class, run a few more miles, then go for a 30 mile bike ride. (This is my definition of about as perfect a summer day as can be, provided my honey is with me.) I know I'll still be able to do all of those things, just probably not all at once.

So what can I look forward to this summer? I am teaching five bootcamp classes a week. Three will be at 6 a.m. and two at 5:30 pm. I think that's going to be just fine, and I do have backup for evening class. I will be teaching a stroller class at 9 a.m. two mornings a week. It'll be a low impact class, so I think I'll  be okay. I also have running classes on the weekend. I'm VERY thankful that I will be doing all of this, and I think I'll be okay. I know some days will be hard but I think I can power through, I just wish I didn't have to power through. I just look forward to the day when I don't even THINK about pain.

Headache today: about a level six.

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