Sunday, October 28, 2018

End of Yet Another False Recovery

A week long trip to Oregon. the ordeal of 15 mile ride circling the river. 3 mile hike to Nevada Fall in Yosemite. 4 days of sudden wakefulness.  I sure enjoyed while it lasted. Now another false recovery has come to an apparent end along with the summer.

I rode to the Yacht Club to test out the theory that 2x100m run that preceded the last ride was responsible for the CFS flareup the last time. I wallowed in a post-exertional flare-up for 3 days afterwards even without the preceding run this time. So, the 2x100m run may not be the real culprit.  Rather, it could be that the novelty of bike riding has dissipated, and the summer of false recovery is now over. And to think that I might be able to dabble into skiing this winter, LOL.

Getting knocked out of commission for a day after an exercise is bad enough. Paying for one day of freedom with 3 days in jail is just not a viable trade at all. I'll have to go back to being a good boy for now and stick to walking to the café like I used to in the spring. I may be able to ride to another café 2 miles away too. But I don't need to take chance with long rides or runs. There just isn't a need enough to risk bad flareups.

The false recovery will come back. Maybe in November, like it did briefly in 2016. Or maybe in the next summer. I have a feeling that they will get more frequent and longer, eventually leading to the real recovery. I'll just need to lay low when it is gone and abide my time till it comes back.

Saturday, October 20, 2018


The wife had a business in SF on Thursday and I had to chauffer.  I didn't mind; October is always a good month to visit SF. Fog-less and warm enough for a t-shirt, it certainly was a good day in SF.

Her business in Pacific Height and then our lunch in Laurel Height taken care of, we left the car in Castro as usual and she went to see her friends. I got off F tram at Powell and went for a meandering walk all over SOMA, my old neighborhood during my years of constantly wallowing in CFS stupor.  I probably logged good 2 miles when I got to the Ferry building. I rested on the upper deck of the ferry terminal for 30 minutes munching on Acme bread and Pepsi. I could've taken Muni back to Castro then. Instead, I walked on. I walked till 2nd Street and was resting in Starbucks there when I got the text from my wife that she was coming back. So I hopped on F that just happened to be there and came back to Castro.

That's what freedom looks like.

The day ended with 14,000 steps. Between lying on couch and napping in bed, I was pretty much useless yesterday, though in the evening I managed to walk to a store for lotto tickets for $1 billion prize and then drive around looking for cheap breakfast cereals. It was a post-exercise fatigue, not a struggle or sickness. A happy fatigue.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Speed, Still the Killer

I struggled for another 2 days with CFS flareup. On Tuesday, I didn't step out of the house at all. Wednesday, I managed to crawl out for a walk -- I had to, being cooped up for more than a day with CFS flareup always makes me feel effing bad.

2-Day Crash. 5 or below in the second to the last column means bad day

It's possible that the bike ride caused the crash. It was the second time on the same route and the novelty effect has faded. But I'm pretty sure that the effect of 2x200m run that weakened me for 4 days and the bike ride on the top of it that did me in. I'll test it by repeating the same bike ride next week.

Back in 2009-2010, 2 sets of 8 curls with 12.5 lbs dumbbell were enough to make me sick. Someone on the Phoenix Rising site suggested to cut it down to 4 reps and that worked like a magic. Then in 2011, I noticed that walking the same distance just a bit faster made me sick. That's when I started pacing with a metronome and I've been limiting my walking speed to 90/sec. I learned since then that it's the sustained speed/intensity that keels me over, time and time again.

Reducing 2x100m to 2x20m may fix the problem. But I don't need to run; for now I'm content with slow walk/ride for a distance. I just need enjoy my freedom that such walk/ride brings. I'll give the run another try eventually, maybe in the winter when it is too wet to walk or ride.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wakefulness Not Replicated

Yesterday, I was still a bit tired from the 2x100m run 2 days before. But I wanted to replicate the wakefulness after the morning ride, so I swallowed another Bronkaid and traced the same route to Miller Park and then to Sacramento Yacht Club.

Miller Park
I could feel my legs being substantially stronger than the last time. I was able to easily get up from the seat to pedal across one intersection. And the whole trip, despite a bit more fatigued at the beginning, was easier than the last time. I didn't crap out all afternoon afterward either; a bed rest of 30 minutes, and I was sitting up. It may be the result of 2x100m run.

The 3 days of wakefulness, however, was not replicated. I slept 9 hours last night and I still wasn't as awake as I was the first time. Then fatigue rolled in this afternoon and I spent most of the afternoon lying down.

It could be that the novelty effect disappeared on the second ride. Or it could be that I was on Bronkaid for 2 days in a row, and therefore less ephedrine kick. Or it could've be the solar sunspot. There could be millions of reasons. At the end though, it's likely that the wakefulness just happened for no reason at all, just like in 2016, and therefore cannot be replicated. After all, why did I decide to go for a morning ride out of the blue on that day? Probably because I was amped up already.

Still, it's quite possible that the outcome was different on the second ride because I'm still under the weather from the 2x100m run 2 days before. Even though that did not make me sick, I should give the morning ride another try when I'm rested and see if that makes any difference.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Interval Training

Yesterday was as good a day as any for the interval exercise I've been meaning to try as I improve. I finally got unwired and took a nap for 2 hours in the afternoon. Then it was too late for a walk or ride, so I decided to give 2x100m run a try.

It's something I tried in 2011. Back then I still believed that I might be able to exercise my way out of CFS. So I'd go out to the school behind the apartment building I was staying at in Korea and try 4x100m. I reduced it to 2x100m when that made me sick. It still made me sick, and I gave up on it after a few tries.

This time, I'm up and moving about the day after. But a wave of incredible fatigue and ache completely paralyzed me around 9PM last night, several hours after the run. It must've been the neutrophil storm whipped up to remove the cellular debris from the run. I managed to get up at 11PM and take shower before going to bed for good.

Getting knocked out for a few hours may not be the end of the world. But the after-effect may last several days, as sustained speed/intensity usually do -- it may reduce the exertion tolerance even if I don't get sick and therefore limit my ability. I'll have to see next a few days. For now, not getting sick the day after the run is yet another indicator that I have improved.

Saturday, October 13, 2018


What was supposed to be a quick 3 mile morning ride turned into a 9 mile one. Instead of heading north to Tower Bridge, I turned south and rode on. Miller Park would've been 3 mile ride; but I couldn't resist the temptation to explore beyond. That's usually what happens when I take a new route. And ephedrine in the Bronkaid pill I swallowed before leaving probably made me even more daring.

After that, I was spent. But I was still wired and managed to clean the bathroom in the evening. Then insomnia stuck. You'd think 9 mile ride  ought to make a CFS patient sick for days.  I used to get sick just from cleaning the bathroom alone. The ride should've at least put me to sleep for good 8 hours. Instead, I couldn't fall asleep till 3AM. I tossed and turned and got up at 9AM. This is just like 2016 when all of sudden I was able to walk more without crashing and couldn't sleep, only worse. (I mean, better).

Next day I was still wired. I was awake enough to get the laundry done and then walk 2km. And then, another insomnia.  (The coffee I had in the afternoon may have something to do with it this time.) I slept less than 5 hours and I'm still wired this morning. I'll have to go for a long afternoon walk or another ordeal to get some sleep tonight.

I never was a good sleeper before. I remember lying awake in the middle of the night and tracing the hexagon patterns on the ceiling paper. I was no more than 6 then. And I suffered from insomnia all throughout my working life. The silver lining of getting sick with CFS was that it cured my insomnia and I was able to sleep full 8 hours like a baby. Now that is going away.

This could well be yet another false recovery. But it's happening more and more often and it will stick someday, I'm pretty sure. Then I'll have to struggle with insomnia all over again. It's truly a rock and a hard place.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Reminder

That life-sucking heaviness. The feverishness without fever. The semi-delirium. They all came back yesterday in force. The dishes piled up and there was nothing I could do about it. I struggled to boil pasta for dinner. I was back in 2010.

And the memories came back. I remember standing in line in the post office on Sutter Street in 2010. (I no longer remember why I was there, perhaps I was shipping my photo albums to somebody because I was leaving for Korea.) The fatigue was so overwhelming, I couldn't care less what people thought and wanted to drop right there and lie down on the floor. Or, on the subway in Korea desperately wishing that someone would get up so that I could sit. When we were back, I would send my wife to scout for the bus stop because I couldn't walk another block. It's a wonder how I survived that delirium for so long.

There was nothing unusual I did the day before. I walked a few blocks, ran some errands and ended up logging 7000 steps. In the evening, I revved up for no reason, enough to go out to the grocery store at 10PM to pick up milk and pie. It's something I wouldn't do normally; timidity and melancholy to go with fatigue set in by then even on a good day. A lot of people was out for the start of the weekend. A reminder of things I missed out for the past 10 years.

I took 17000 steps climbing Mist Trail in Yosemite less than a month ago and I survived it without getting sick -- I only paid with some post-exertional struggle. No reason for the 7000 steps to cause such heavy crash. It probably was the result of the surge in the evening before. It's something that I've seen several times before, that I've been calling "post-high crash". It's as if the CFS switch gets turned off in the evening for whatever reason and then snap back on the next morning with full force.

Luckily, the sickness lasted only one day. And that was a good thing in more than one way. When I'm well, I forget what it really was like; I only remember that I struggled. So the occasional reminders of what it was like is a good thing. That let you stay compassionate to severely ill patients who have to struggle with the CFS delirium day in and day out.