What Goes Up Must Come Down – The Rollercoaster of Recovery

A month ago I wrote a post about the amazing progress I was making. I had been more active and was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I even started planning and thinking about how I could start my own veterinary house call practice and get back to “normal” life. And then reality struck back.  Josh was out of town for several days, and during that time (despite my husband telling me not to overdo it while he was gone, and me assuring him that I was fine, and that I could totally handle all the things I had scheduled), I completely overdid it and have spent the last 3 weeks crawling out of that hole. Yes honey, you were right and I should have listened.

For some perspective on what “overdoing it” means in my world, here is and example of what I was doing on those 3 days he was gone.

5:15am wake up. 6:15am go for my run. 8am Come home and eat breakfast. 9am Walk the dog. 10am work on spring yard clean up. 11:30 have lunch with grandma. 3pm visit with a friend (at my house). 5pm Make Dinner, then spend the evening listening to an audiobook, in bed by 9pm.

Yep. That is it. Three days of a super crazy hectic schedule – as in what a normal person might do on a relaxing day off – and I was fried. Granted I did follow-up this three days with attempting to ride my bike for 10 minutes…which went poorly and you can read about it in my last post.  But all of that left me paying the price for three weeks, and I haven’t been up for doing much until now.

Kili isn’t allowed on the furniture, but he is allowed on my lap, and he makes an excellent snuggle buddy when I’m feeling lousy.

As a side note – for those that have been following the blog, I have written about the music in my head. It had been getting quite consistent in the mornings, and then after that little stretch of overdoing it, somebody took the batteries out of my radio. Just like that it was gone. For two weeks there was nothing. The scientific part of my brain thinks that is fascinating. Of course, it would probably be more fascinating if it was happening to someone else. Over the last week I finally had some little melodies here and there, sort of like a radio that you couldn’t quite tune to the station. There were brief snippets of music, but I didn’t know what they were. Yesterday there was an actual song. Ironically, it was “Try” by Pink –You gotta get up and try, try, try.

I’ve read an interesting blog post last week titled “Trust the Struggle”, and while it is about training, I can definitely relate. It was posted by Skratch Labs, a company that makes hydration and nutrition products for athletes.

“…everyday, I watched him do something incredible. He put his trust in the struggle…It’s the leap of faith that when you push past the edge of failure, that the edge will eventually move – that the struggle is the only way to create a new line in the sand – a better line.”

Maybe it would be less frustrating to just accept where I am and not continually try to do more, but that isn’t an option. So I will continue to struggle, and fail, and go back to feeling terrible for a week or two (or three), but it is the only way to inch that edge forward. There are times I think the rollercoaster is the hardest part of recovery. When there is a stretch of better days, there is a little bubble of hope that starts to build, and then *POP* it all comes crashing back down. Every time it happens I’m surprised, depressed, and angry all over again.

Savor the suffer. Enjoying some sunrise hill repeats with URT.

Perhaps the rollercoaster would be easier if I focused on the fact the lows aren’t as low as they used to be. If I think back to earlier in my recovery, there has been a lot of progress. I remember being curled up on the couch arguing with Josh about why we couldn’t just unplug the refrigerator. It was making a horrible loud buzzing noise. I thought my head was going to explode, and I was crying, and I didn’t care if every last thing in there was ruined, I wanted it off. Now I’m back to not even being able to hear the refrigerator at all. Josh sent me a blog post from Brainline this morning – 5 Reasons Why Suffering a Concussions Was The Most Difficult Experience Of My Life. If you only read one post about TBI, read that post. One of the statements was far too relatable,

…it would be a win if I didn’t cry that day.”

Not only have I gone a whole day, but I’m pretty sure it has now been a couple of months since my last random crying spell, so that is definitely a win. Overall, I find myself trying more. While I often don’t feel well after spending too long shopping, I’m no longer afraid of going to the store.  This week I even went to a concert! It was a vocal band with no instruments, at a very small venue.  I wore my heavy-duty earplugs, but other than having to close and cover my eyes when the disco ball started spinning, it wasn’t completely terrible. I should say that the band was great, it was my experience that wasn’t terrible.  A few months ago I wouldn’t have even considered going.

Don’t I look like I’m enjoying the show? Count on Josh to have a camera ready to capture all my best moments.

So while I may occasionally push too hard and come crashing down, I will try to remember just how far I have come on this crazy ride. At least my training is consistently improving, and my symptoms are still much better during and after a run. My spring schedule has been switched up a bit, you can check out my race schedule here. I’m still heading to Moab next weekend for Behind The Rocks 50k. Unfortunately Julie’s schedule is too crazy for me to head up to Washington for a visit, so the Spokane River Run 50k is off the calendar. But I am planning a trip to run the Grand Canyon – Rim to Rim to Rim at the beginning of April. I’m trying not to think about the actual driving part of that trip. I suppose I’ll feel terrible, but hopefully once we start running/hiking I’ll come around…otherwise I’ll just roll to the bottom and wait there for the crows.

p.s. I got back on the bike today, just for 3 minutes this time. Baby steps.




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