Springing Forward

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I had completed a course of steroids, right before spraining my ankle. I was beginning to worry that maybe I had torn something in my foot because I was continuing to have quite a bit of pain in the ankle / top of the foot area. I spent eight days toddling around with the boot on before I could stand to walk wearing a normal shoe. After a few days of applying some hot packs (rather than just the ice I had been doing before) I started improving quite a bit. It has now been three weeks since the injury, and I think I’m finally approaching a healed state. For the past four or five days I have been able to walk normally, without limping, and for more than a short period of time without pain setting in. There’s still some slight discomfort and occasional tightness in the area of the injury, but I’m just being gentle with it and giving it time. Turns out, when you’re approaching forty things heal a bit slower than they did in your teens and twenties.

Expecting lots of plums from these beautiful trees this year.

As for the steroids, I am cautiously optimistic that they may have done the trick to shut off – or at least tamper down – the inflammatory state I’d been living in for the past year. We had a busy Easter Sunday, with lots of (socially distanced, masked and vaccinated) family interaction. A month ago, a day like that would have completely wiped me out, leaving me in a state of exhaustion that would take two days to recover from. Last night, while I cleaned up in the kitchen after getting the kids to bed, I realized I felt tired but it was normal tired. A normal response to a busy day. Today, I’m a touch tired from the busy weekend of work and holiday shenanigans, but I’m getting chores done and not feeling like I have to succumb to a bone-deep exhaustion there is no escape from. In other words, I feel normal. I don’t feel like I did all those things in addition to constantly fighting against my own body. For the past year, I’ve been in a permanent state of that feeling when you’re coming down sick: the snot, fever and congestion haven’t quite set in yet but you’re exhausted and a bit achy and feel like you have no reserves left. That feeling is your body ramping up a massive immune response to an enemy invader and it’s what I’ve been feeling every day for a year. Except in my case, it has been my body attacking itself, long after the invader is gone.

Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers, because they’re often one of the first blooms of spring.

My blood pressure hasn’t really changed after the steroids – it’s still elevated – and I still get runs of tachycardia even when at rest. I’m hopeful that being able to increase my physical activity level will help with those, as well as my cholesterol levels.

These tulips are the most beautiful coral color and I just love seeing them every year. But what has been eating their leaves?!

I hope this feeling lasts. I hope it truly is the beginning of a return to health. It has been so long since I have felt this way, as if I could just get through my day without it being a herculean effort. I even did some yoga this morning! The first time in months. Spring is a time of renewal and reawakening, of coming back to life after a long dormancy. I find it fitting that, as I watch all the flowers open up and the trees and bushes change from brown sticks to green and leafy, I feel like I am experiencing the same thing. I’m coming back to life after a year of feeling half-dead, certainly dormant. I missed the spring last year, as it is a short-lived season here and I was essentially bed-bound for a month. I’m so excited to get outside and experience it this year. I want to garden and go for walks and take rides on my new bike. I’m trying to be smart about easing into a higher level of activity so I don’t re-injure my ankle/foot or set myself back in my long-hauler recovery. I’m starting slow and hoping to work myself up to a level of fitness better than where I was pre-COVID. Cross your fingers for me, send healing, energetic thoughts and energy this way. It’s spring and I’m alive again!

My happy, vibrant forsythia!

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