Throughout this journey of dealing with MS and being fit, I have to try to decipher what is a side effect of a chronic disease versus what is just a normal side effect of working out. The hardest part knowing when it is necessary to slow down, especially training amongst a group of strong peers that train with arms in slings, fractured tibias, sick, and the list goes on! Sensei Billings creates an amazing environment that as long as you show up, he will help you work around any limitations and still train hard. Which is why we are all comfortable showing up when the rest of the world thinks we are crazy.
With MS one of the biggest obstacles is dealing with extreme fatigue. For me I have always been great at living on borrowed energy and then I just crash for a day and start over, however when MS fatigue hits it is not that easy. Last year this was my first clue that I easily ignored because… ah it’s just my hectic life and I just need to figure out how to restructure my schedule to keep going. Going into the tournament this was my biggest fear because it is the one thing I can’t ignore. I still have to attend to my other life responsibilities including being a highly functional leader.
I have read some other people describe their MS fatigue and I can relate similarly to it. The reason why it is a concern is because it becomes crippling. I can sleep for 12 hours a night for an entire week and still feel like a walking zombie. I lose some cognitive function having trouble focusing and becoming forgetful, which becomes frustrating for me because my memory is my one my greatest life strengths.
The last few weeks I have been feeling a little sluggish and trying to chalk it up to my body adjusting to working out extra hours. I have been averaging about 9 hours of sleep a night so giving myself sufficient rest. Last week I really started to feel like I couldn’t ignore it, no matter how much I slept I still just wanted to sleep more. Yesterday for the first time in 7 months I completely forgot to do my injection for my MS medication in the morning, even forgetting to take it out of the fridge on Sunday night. These are details I never forget, so it has become a true reality. In the end I had to sacrifice my grappling training to get home earlier otherwise I would have been off schedule for the next two weeks.
As the summer progresses and it gets hotter this will become more intense. I will need to find the right balance of still getting to enjoy my favorite season, keeping to my routine, and managing this side effect without more medications.

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