I turned down the golf-cart ride back to my room. “No, I’ll walk.”
It was a beautiful day in December 2006 and I was feeling good. I had been at Dr. Young‘s clinic in San Diego for many days. Laundry and food were done for me, saving my energy. I had recovered from making the trip and from the detox reaction that had resulted in Dr. Young being up with me most of the night.
I began to walk through the avocado trees to my room. About halfway, I started to think perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to walk it after all. But I still thought I would make it. I was just going to be painfully tired when I got there.
Soon, my door was in sight. But as I walked towards it, the door began to look like it was moving further away from me down a tunnel. Suddenly I couldn’t command my limbs to continue. I couldn’t even quite get my lips to work properly. “Help,” I tried to shout. But I must have been too weak. Nobody heard me. I let my body drop down to a crouch. “Help.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Young was looking for me. Luckily I had spoken to him from one of the office phones before I began my walk and we had planned to meet in my room. He called the office wondering where I was. Eventually he thought he heard something and came outside to inspect.
Dr. Young helped me back to my room and immediately put me on the rebounder. He instructed me to hold on to the bar. Then he put his foot on the bounce mat and began to push down rhythmically, which had the effect of bouncing my body up and down gently. After a short time, my head began to clear. It was as if I’d found a clearing in the forest that had encroached upon my brain. And then the clearing got bigger and bigger.
It didn’t take long before I was doing the gentle bouncing myself and able to talk again. Dr. Young believed that my lymphatic system was so compromised that when I exerted myself by walking a short distance, the toxicity in my system, including in my brain, had built up faster than it could be processed. I understand now that in CFS/FMS, there’s also the issue of not having enough of the molecules the body combusts to make energy. But at that point, I hadn’t been diagnosed yet.
This is the vicious circle of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Exercise helps the body heal but the effort can shut down your system. The way to cut through that, at least for me, has been the rebounder.
When I first got a rebounder in January 2007, I couldn’t do more than five minutes at a time. Still, I had lots of fun with it. I began to use it five minutes twice a day, then ten minutes twice a day. By the end of the year, I was rebounding for twenty minutes at a time.
At some point, I was able to push it to thirty minutes but then I was useless for the rest of the day. Falling back to twenty allowed me to exercise and feel well enough to do something else on the same day.
Thank goodness for the rebounder because with other kinds of exercise, my stamina is still low. I don’t think I could even jump up and down on the ground for more than a minute. (Although I do jump up and down for a few seconds whenever I’m celebrating my latest success!) But there’s something about the bouncy trampoline material that cuts down on the energy required, yet you still get all the benefits of exercising. For me, the biggest benefit of all has been helping my lymphatic system heal and keeping muscle pain and stiffness to a minimum.
Let’s see, what am I in the mood for today? I think I’ll play my Garbage playlist. Then I’ll put on yoga clothes and sneakers, and bounce to the music. One of these days, I’ll make a five minute CFS exercise video. Watch out!