Here I am back on this blog after a year-long break from writing here, oh my god.
Last year was HECTIC. Potentially Covid or a non-Covid prevented me from writing here for a while and forced me to put my uni stuff for about two weeks which created a long long catching up period, and this is one of the toughest modules in my degree (S294* you know who you are!) and a very non-responsive tutor to say the least. Then the spring came along with some tension in my home country which ignited an intense antisemitism flare up around the UK which came just in time for exam period so as you can imagine, things were NOT hunky dory.
Summer was mostly fun although it didn't go by without its own challenges as I had an awful reaction to the first dose of the Moderna Covid 19 vaccine which affected my psychomotor skills (which are already not the best as I have hEDS) and yielded a cascade of multisystemic buggery.
The second dose which I took in September was even worse and brought with it much more severe side effects; migraines, brain-fog, heightened pain, generalised muscle weakness and again- psychomotor difficulties.
Due to these persistent side effects and increasing demands at university I had to defer 2 of the 3 modules I intended to take this year, so I'll have to take them at a later stage of my degree, which now seem to be spread out over 5-6 years rather than 3, yikes! No matter, as I'm studying what I love and perfect my academic skills as well as gather more knowledge extracurricularly so as long as I move forward - I'm happy.
The past month is when things finally took a right turn and the side effects of the second dose were finally wearing off. I started regaining strength (more on that in a bit), my focus has improved as well as my sleep and my appetite and of course- mood! I saw the amazing rheumatology consultant which oversees my rehabilitation, Dr John Outhwaite, at the beginning of December and he jotted down a new exercise regime for me, which may seem ridiculous to you non-bendy muggles but for me it was a real challenge:
Walks 5 times a week as follows:
day 1 - 10 mins
day 2 - 10 mins
day 3 - 20 mins
day 4 - 40 mins
day 5 - 10 mins
2 days rest
Sounds easy doesn't it? Well, the first 2 weeks were like climbing mount Everest I'm not even kidding.
I made just slight alterations to this plan so it would also incorporate my physiotherapy/pilates sessions so what I actually did was:
Mon - 10 mins walk + 30 mins pilates
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - 20 mins walk
Thursday - 10 mins walk + 30 mins pilates
Friday - rest
Saturday - 15 mins walk
Sunday - 40 mins walk
I also increased the walking speed and workout intensity with each session with my fabulous physio, Nikki Franklin of Franklin Physiotherapy which specialises with performance physiotherapy, hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) and EDS. Highly recommended!
Once my jab symptoms have improved we started off with some light exercises with no resistance bands. It was tough! Before that, my body was aching from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness, more on this at some point, stay tuned!), migraines and nausea from neck instability and overall misery. Then suddenly it all just got slightly better. Recovery was not as bad and didn't take as long, and everything just started improving as I showed up stronger and stronger to every session.
Cardio started building up, and with some inspiration from professional athletes (which btw most of them are extremely hypermobile and probably fall under the HSD/hEDS umbrella) suffering from serious injuries, recovering and performing at the highest level WHILE suffering from intense pain, I got on the right track to embrace a winning mindset. I thought if they can operate at such intensities while suffering so bad from injuries (AND hypermobility), I can definitely get to the point where I operate in a low intensity 'normal' life!
So why Mr X-Heavy Band?
As I said before, we started off with no resistance band at all.
Two weeks later we started using the blue 'medium' resistance band.
Two weeks later we switched to the red 'heavy' band.
And today, one week later, we moved on to the black X-Heavy resistance band.
It's quite remarkable progress to be honest, and I was not expecting this at all.
I know Nikki for a few years now and I always made some progress followed by a relapse etc, but never had such a big and consistent improvement, so I'm very very hopeful this time it will stick.
I'm gonna end this already very long post by telling you about another great thing that's happened in my life - I started volunteering at the Israeli EDS and HSD organisation as a scientific communicator! Underqualified? Sure! Super excited? Absolutely!
I plan to post here an English version of the articles I write/summarise for them as well so you can read about EDS/HSD if you like.
Coming soon: an article about pain and hEDS, it will be interesting (and dare I say fun!) so do subscribe to get the latest updates from my blog (I don't spam and my current track is one post a year so don't worry about your inbox being bombarded with biopsyched posts! Also, I do apologise in advance if you do hope to get bombarded with biopsyched posts and I don't keep up with your expectations. Also - rude.)
I hope 2022 will be a good year to all of us and may it be a healthy one as well as a happy one!
*Got a distinction in the end 🤓⚡️