Today I woke up and felt a rush of energy as I realized it was the first day of summer. This is the longest day of the year and I have only been waiting for 9 months for this day to come. I do love autumn as well so maybe 6 months is more like it but either way it is here. My body enjoys the heat and humidity and I often tell people that my 3 favorite H’s are hazy, hot and humid. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them but the reality is that our bodies and lungs like a little moisture in the air and my body in particular craves this weather and needs this warmth. I can start to back off my Raynaud’s medications in the summer as my body is able to have more warmth and I spend more time outside getting vitamin D, as well as I just spend more time in the fresh air living life.
I rode in the Tour de Cure on June 11th and although it was 92 degrees I was ready to ride. Tour de Cure is a ride for diabetes and even though I do not have diabetes, Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease. My thought is that any research done towards autoimmune disease is a win for the whole autoimmune community. The heavy hitters are Diabetes, Crones, Celiac, and MS. As they come up with new equipment, medication and science based research for these autoimmune diseases they are likely to come up with some for other diseases. I don’t know how much if any time, research, money and attention is given to MCTD but benefits are reaped when they can figure out what causes this disease.
Back to the ride, yes it was 92 degrees but we were riding along the ocean and the breeze was amazing. I rode the 50K and at the end of this 50K I was ready to climb off that bike. How does a body dealing with MCTD hold up under those circumstances? Let me start by saying I wear full biking gloves with a lot of padding in my palms. I try to really relax my breathing and my mind before the ride although I did feel a little anxious at the start. 700 riders all take off together and for the first part I’m navigating other riders and drivers, but at the 7mile mark there is a rest stop and I keep going while everyone stops for a rest. This allows me time on the road with nature, quiet and myself to find my rhythm. I’m not strong rider so the stronger ones leave the rest stop and catch up to me and maybe even pass depending on how strong they are, but I keep my pace. I try and shake out my hands as often as I can and keep breathing steady. At mile marker 26 my feet were completely dead, couldn’t feel them at all and needed to give them a break so on the next down hill I lifted off the seat and sat back behind the seat right in myhips and glutes, this allowed me lift my feet off my sneaker and give my toe pad a rest. After that I was ready to go again, but my hands have almost no feeling left shifting gears becomes a challenge. At the mile 32.3 or 50K there is a steep uphill to finish and I dropped my chain shifting to hard on the gears but I completely lost all working function of my hands. I had crossed the fnish line and my chipped registered I was back from the ride and my husband came right down, helped me off my bike and walked it for me. I had finished the ride with pride and was eager to eat a huge lunch. A ride like that takes me 2 hours and 20minutes or an average of 14mph. No records, but it is a ride not a race and I do it because I can.
There may come a time in my life when I am not able to do what I want when I want and if it comes I will deal with but right now even though I haven’t been feeling all that good since March I’m still able to dig deep and do what I need, what I want and do it when I want. I did a lot of yoga after to stretch out and felt great the next day. It did however take me 5 full days to get back on the bike but for those 5 days I was doing what I love which is walking and yoga. I literally could and do walk every day and do my yoga when I can and still teach. I would say all in all I’m doing well and waiting to see what this summer brings for fun, joy, and even good challenges.