Reconditioning (starting slowly, and fishing for encouragement)

07 Jun

Ok, diving into this. My initial physical therapy appointment is Monday. I’m reviewing CFS-specific resources, both to inform the PT and to start to track.

My baseline is mediocre-to-fair (for me), between the sprained ankle, the stress of moving, and the ensuing opportunistic infections, including a nagging cough. I’m also wrestling with a new bout of insomnia. I’ve been doing no significant exercise for the last two months with the combination of the above, but still maintaining daily activities, including stairs in the home, chores as tolerated (though I’ve been reprimanded when I pushed beyond that), walking the dog briefly, and light outings.

On CFS/energy scales, my current level is just at the low-end of the “in recovery” zones.

One of the challenges is that hitting the anaerobic threshold, or even spending much time in the aerobic zone, of cardio exercise will frequently result in relapse. So the cardiac rehab I did last year was probably exactly the wrong thing. Some of the recommendations for starting are 3min up / 5min down, repeat. So regular gym-going is also inefficient/possibly harmful.

But the ankle is healing (still splinted), and the other things are coming under control. I’m off of daily caffeine (with intermittent use, because coffee), seldom drink, and never smoke. I do not yet have an HR or activity monitor, and budget is very lean, but I’m looking at options that let you set your own target HR (see previous paragraph).

I’m on moderate doses of B6, B12, and D3, all of which tend to be low and hard to raise in CFS, but haven’t had lab tests on those in some time. It doesn’t help that, at last check, my insurance wouldn’t pay for Vitamin D testing. Though if it’s indicated by CFS, that might help. My diet has been mediocre during the move, but is coming back to where I want it, with more poultry for meats and plenty of produce. My weight and waistline are trending the right direction again.
Advice and (especially) encouragement welcome!


Posted by on June 7, 2014 in Health


8 responses to “Reconditioning (starting slowly, and fishing for encouragement)

  1. Susannah Clary

    June 7, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Kudos to you for doing the research and doing what you need to do to feel better. I know all to well that is no easy task, especially when faced with major life changes and associated stress.

    Is the PT for the ankle? Or CFS? Or both? Either way I hope your PT is familiar enough with CFS to help. Bombard them with research/information if not!

    Be kind and patient with yourself. This is something I’m working on with my own aging-stupidly-early body lately. But the fact is, we’re in our mid-40s and that means slower recovery, slower healing. Which means we have to modify our expectations for our bodies. Frustrating as hell.

    Beyond that, I don’t have much in the way of advice for you. You and I think similarly and you know you’re your own best advocate and that you’re taking steps to reclaim your life from the evil clutches of CFS.

    Hmm… there’s a comic book/graphic novel in there – mild mannered professor by day, fighter of evil by night – his arch-nemesis is the sneaky, slippery foe known only as “CFS”. We need a name for our hero though….

    Keep fighting the fight, my friend. You’ve got this. And you’ve got lots of support from your friends both near and far.

    • nagadikandang

      June 7, 2014 at 9:25 am


      Thank you. I found a wonderful Facebook group specifically devoted to empirically-based safe and effective exercise for people with CFS. This post is actually an adaptation of what I posted there this morning. That’s where I learned quite a lot of this, and yes I will be educating the PT! The therapy is for both the ankle and CFS-friendly reconditioning.

      And thank you on all counts.


  2. kisstheswitch

    June 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    If you have a smart phone, there is a free app that you can use to check your heart rate. It doesn’t run continuously so you’ll have to arrange times to check periodically throughout the day, but its fairly effective and relatively accurate though your mileage may vary. Kudos to you for all your hard work though, I can’t guarantee that i would work as hard as you have in your situation. You’re amazing

    • nagadikandang

      June 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

      kisstheswitch, thank you. The kind I’m looking at needs to be a continuous monitor (meaning a chest strap, most likely) for when I get back to doing any kind of cardio. I found one that’s reasonably affordable and well-reviewed, just don’t have the money now. The key is it lets me set my own “optimal” band.

      But I’ve been reading and rereading the last part of your comment, and smiling. Thank you.

  3. Ferns

    June 7, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    *sends a bunch of encouragement and support*

    I hope you are truly on the upswing and all the work you are doing shows positive results.



    • nagadikandang

      June 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

      Thank you, Ferns! It’s been in fits and starts, but I’m getting there.

  4. Yingtai

    June 8, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    It’s good that you have more info now! And I have no advice to offer, but if a body in motion tends to remain in motion, your current direction of change is a good thing, right?

    (And yes, I should be offline, but I’m going to be coming back gradually from tomorrow onwards after my big deadline, and I’m feeling fatalistic about it.)

    • nagadikandang

      June 9, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Welcome back? And thanks, Yingtai. Yes, momentum matters with things like this.


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