I finished today what I started on Sunday, walking twenty-two laps around our recreation centre’s gym track (5 km approx.) completing my Terry Fox Run for 2022. Last year I walked twenty-one laps in a little over an hour and had energy to spare. This year was different.
Last year, I was going to the gym fairly regularly and I was feeling healthy and good. A bout with Covid in January of this year, knocked me down and I haven’t yet fully recovered. My doctor is sending me for a battery of tests to try to figure out why I am experiencing overwhelming fatigue and some other nagging issues especially after any kind of exercise or physical activity. He’s trying to rule out the “biggies” as he says, so I had a cardiac stress test two weeks ago to see if I have cardiac problems. That, thankfully, was not the issue. On October 3rd, I go for a full body CT scan to rule out the other “biggie” – cancer.
I can’t even let myself think about a third diagnosis, so I would covet your prayers that the CT scan comes back clear.
Still, something is definitely awry with me and the doctor said once the “biggies” are ruled out that it could be “long Covid”. Not much is known about long Covid, but I am showing most of the symptoms that people diagnosed with it have experienced. Numerous studies are now being conducted after the global pandemic, but there is still so much that remains a mystery about the long term effects of contracting Covid. “One study revealed significant impairment of exercise ability for over 24 months after recovery from a SARS (Covid) infection. Another study found that 40% of people infected with SARS developed chronic fatigue symptoms lasting three years post-diagnosis”. Unfortunately, there is not a definitive cure, just treatments to cope with the long lasting symptoms.
So here we are.
I was determined to participate in the Terry Fox Run this year knowing it would be a challenge for me physically. His words, “I’m not a quitter” was my motivation. I hadn’t been to the gym in months, so setting a goal of walking twenty-two laps was probably unrealistic, but I felt I owed it to Terry to try. I headed to the gym Sunday afternoon after church. Donning my newest Terry’s Team t-shirt, I was alone on the track. I was already feeling fatigued, but set off at my own pace and after four laps I was ready to stop. Thinking about Terry running an average of 42 km. a day, for 143 days with his skip-hop style because of his leg prosthetic, I re-focused and forced my legs to move around the track eight more laps – a total of twelve laps. I had pushed my limits, and I felt pathetic.
Yesterday I crashed. Just moving around the house was an effort. It is a symptom of long Covid to “crash” after exertion. It is so frustrating to want to move and not being able to. There is a mental weariness that comes with the physical fatigue. It takes a lot for me to power through. Again, Terry’s words “I’m not a quitter” came to mind. This morning, I prayed for an infusion of energy so I could finish my run.
It took two days, but I did it.
Tomorrow I may “crash” again, but I’m not a quitter. I owe it to Terry, to people who support and encourage me, and to myself to keep running the race put before me everyday.
Scripture encourages me as I face this latest health challenge: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)