This week was the start of phase two of the MS Warrior Programme. I was feeling excited to test myself with the new workouts, especially with the upper body and balance exercises. Although, I was feeling a little apprehensive about the leg workout. With everything that has been going on lately with the renovations, kids being ill which in turn makes me ill and the weather change, my legs have been struggling. I always try to be as high spirited as possible but at the same time being realistic, so come on Dom let’s see what you’ve got!!
Day 43 – Monday 19th November 2018
Monday was the first day of rebuilding the kitchen. If you read my last blog (if you haven’t, go read it now) you will know the nightmares I had with this project last week. It was also the start of phase 2 and I received my first email from Dom with my new workout. This workout was all about the chest, triceps and shoulders. I really enjoyed this workout. I pushed myself and got a good sweat on, that’s how you know it’s a good session. The reason why I like these types of exercises is because in the upper body is where I am seeing the biggest difference as my arms are feeling stronger. Feeling this difference and the switch of exercises has helped keep me motivated.
My stress levels were starting to calm today. The kitchen fitter had cracked on and got so much built. Seeing the kitchen finally coming together was the boost I needed. After a long day and a workout, I still had more painting to do to ensure the kitchen would be looking as sexy as possible when finished. At the end of the day I had pain in every part of my body. My legs were hurting the most; from the knees down it was like hot needles were being poked into the soles of my feet and my calves were on fire.
Day 44 – Tuesday 20th November 2018
Tuesday’s email from Dom was perfect for me. It explained why doing a shorter or modified session is better than no session. If you have been following my journey (thank you for the support) you will know in phase 1 I had skipped a few leg day sessions and played catch up on a few weeks. I woke up and felt physically broken. The tiredness and stress from the last few weeks were really catching up to me. Feeling this broken physically has had a knock-on effect on me mentally. Being so busy and with so much more yet to do, feeling this bad is so tough. To add to it I am trying to live the MS Warrior Programme the best I can. So Tuesday was a hard day for the limbs and the mind.
I decided to take Dom’s advice and did a shortened version of the day’s workout. Tuesday focused on the core and a little on the legs. I was pleased I did something, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little frustrated. To add insult to injury, after finishing my blog notes for the day, I had more painting to do. Kill me, Kill me NOW!!!!!
Day 45 – Wednesday 21st November 2018
The middle of the week. I woke up feeling a little better than the previous day; well my state of mind was better at least. I crawled out of bed and took Brooke-Haze to school. With Laura being off it was just me and Brooke-Haze in the car. I need to get a camera installed in my car because this little bundle of joy is truly magical. I have taught her how to use the cars entertainment system to find her very own music playlist I made her on my phone. She picked some good songs. Her cheeky personality mixed with her crazy car dancing was just the kind of medicine I needed. I was full on belly laughing at something she said (probably something I’d taught her that I shouldn’t have) and I felt recharged. I feel so lucky to have these little creatures to pick me up whenever I am feeling the strain of life with MS.
As seems to be the norm lately, I arrived home to kitchen problems. The new sink had a huge crack in it and I was told it was going to take about a week to get a new one. I was feeling like Bruce Banner; my eyes were glowing green, my shirt ripping, my jeans bursting at the seams. After a few telephone calls we finally got it resolved. The company would collect it personally and deliver it to me next day as a token of goodwill. No no my friends at Palmers of Lincoln, that is what is called customer service. With all the issues you have caused it is the LEAST you can do.
Wednesday was bicep day with a new workout. Just like Monday, it was more intense, I felt the burn and it felt good. The only problem with home workouts is finding a quiet place with enough space to do them in. I am currently living upstairs in my house with Ember in the daytime to keep her out of the way of the builders. So, conditions are tight and having a nosy Ember walking around whilst I am swinging dumbbells isn’t exactly practical. I also have to admit my diet has gone out the window, not fully, but I am definitely not where I was. I didn’t have a bad diet before, but it has been a lot better since Dom’s advice and some advice from you lovely sexy warriors (again, thank you for your help and support). I have put this change down to exhaustion, procrastination and not having a kitchen. My upper body though is feeling stronger, more defined and I am really pleased to say I have had to get heavier weights to continue pushing myself with these workouts. I am feeling a broken but proud warrior today.
Day 46 – Thursday 22nd November 2018
Thursday I woke up tired (standard) and got the girls up. My auntie came over in the morning, which is helpful because it usually means I do not need to disturb Ember, however because of the builders coming this was not the case. I then took Brooke-Haze to school. When I got back home, I did my new balance workout. This one, like the others was more intense but it is still a low stress workout. Because I still felt I had more in the tank I did some more of the workout and also the rest of Monday’s core workout. I had the motivation of the gains in my upper body plus some annoyances running through my veins and made the most of it. Afterwards, I was a hot (not in a good way hot), sweaty mess.
We had a full house today of fitters, plumbers (new sink been delivered no crack), electricians, apprentices, a toddler, an older lady and a sexy warrior (yours truly). I was pleased with the progress but even more pleased when they had left.
Day 47 – Friday 23rd November 2018
After dropping the girls off at nursery, I got a text from my wife saying I had left the car window open all night. My tiredness; scrap that; my exhaustion is affecting me badly now. I left the BMW window open, I left my garage unlocked (and locked it from the electrician thinking I was unlocking it), the soles of my feet are agony, my legs are on fire and my body just wants to be suspended in air floating because any pressure anywhere is painful.
Thursday night I felt like I was starting to have some sort panic attack. I was unsure why as everyone was asleep and nothing bad was happening. I wasn’t watching anything scary or dramatic. I was safe, in a good place but yet my mind felt uneasy and my chest felt a little constricted. I felt trapped and I just wanted to put my headphones on to drown out my thoughts and run outside. I texted my brother Mark for a bit, I tried watching light-hearted shows and I tried reading. Nothing was shifting this feeling of unease. I remained calm, did controlled deep breaths and listened to my iPod Classic. I have the skills and techniques now to keep them from spiralling out of control.
On reflection, I have been under a lot of stress lately. I have been feeling isolated in the house, had many problems to sort and lots of night-time painting. It is now almost finished, and I think all these feelings of anxiousness, stress and anger all came rushing out. I also think I suffer from something like “Survivors Guilt.” Let me try to explain. I come from humble beginnings; I grew up without certain luxuries and standards. I am now grateful for those times; some of those times are happiest times of my life. I’m all grown up and have a family of my own and it brings me some much-needed peace knowing they will grow up in a nice home. But at times my brain will ask “what have you done to deserve all this?” They say ask a terrible question, get a terrible answer. My brain has no choice but to answer “nothing.” This causes conflict inside of me. I start over analysing myself and my life. For example, “maybe it is because I haven’t earned money? Maybe it is because I have low self-esteem? Maybe it is because people, especially my family see me as a joke and irresponsible?” They are all in some way true. I did not earn the money that paid for the kitchen, yes, my self-esteem could be higher at times and for years I had been the more irresponsible member of my family. But if I take a second and look at it from a different perspective, I did not earn the money because the money used was inherited and we would rather have the person who it came from (my mother in law) than a kitchen in a heartbeat. Yes, my self-esteem could be higher but it is in a much better place than it was ten years ago. I was irresponsible; everyone who has had a life has been irresponsible at some point, what matters is I am not now. I am a respectable, responsible father and the important people in my family know this and have seen me evolve into this role. It is all about how we perceive situations and ourselves. Taking a step back and allowing ourselves the time to view a situation or thought from a different angle will benefit us. I have a few people in my life that help keep me grounded, focused and centre me. The main one of course is my Nan. So today I picked up the phone and spoke to her for well over an hour. We spoke about life, religion, the war, the family, the future and the wonderful smell of bacon cooking. My Nan is ninety two years old and I am truly lucky to have this woman in my life. I cannot express the amount of love and respect I have for my Nan.
I did not do the workout sent to me; instead the workout I did was on my mind and my mental state. Keeping your mind strong is the most important exercise you can do. I also did my balance exercises and incorporated some of the new ones from the phase two workout so these count (I asked Dom if it did and he said yes… I have proof).
Day 48 – Saturday 24th November 2018
Saturday was a good day. It was a rest day from the programme which I needed. I did think about doing the leg day I missed but I physically knew it would destroy me and right now I do not have the time or luxury of being incapacitated for a couple of days. I did however do my usual stretches and balance exercises.
I had the pleasure of watching both girls having fun at their ballet class. I went over to see my Nan for a few hours and I got to sit, relax and talk properly with my Nan. I know I spoke to her on Friday, but I rarely get much sitting down time at Nans when I am there. After Nans we treated the two little hungry hippos to McDonalds for tea. On the way home, we took a detour to go look at the finest Christmas lights Lincoln had to offer. They had the light up reindeers which they had last year. Last year Ember was able to walk under the big one without having to duck down, this year ducking down was a must. Three weeks to the day and this little bundle of joy will be turning three. Watching her grow and develop is a privilege and I am so proud. It makes me both happy and sad. It is a reminder to not wish time away. Every minute, every hour, it is all ticking by too quickly. Time is something you never get back, so don’t waste it, cherish it and instead of searching for a happier ending (which does not exist); live in the moment right now. You will feel liberated of the pressures of life and feel a new sense of freedom.
Day 49 – Sunday 25th November 2018
Sunday was a stay at home day and a stretch day for the MS Warrior programme. Stretching feels so good, especially when my legs are suffering with intense pain. I stretch every morning, throughout the day (like whilst I am waiting for the kettle to boil) and most definitely before bedtime. The girls played really nicely, which is even more evidence that I am a lucky father. The closeness Brooke-Haze and Ember have, I feel is a testament to the love they are raised with (I am biased but doesn’t mean it isn’t true).
Before tea I took Brooke-Haze on a bike ride. I love going on walks as a family around our village, but the one on one time is important, especially with Brooke-Haze. Ember gets lots of time with me and Laura in comparison. It is nice to keep the bond up. Brooke-Haze enjoyed it and did some good pedalling. We stopped off at the little park near our house and there were three teenagers hanging out there. I have conflicting issues with noisy, disruptive youths. One half of me says “that was you once” because I was a noisy disruptive teenager. The other half says “get the f**k out of my child’s park” because I want my daughter to enjoy herself without feeling nervous. But Brooke-Haze being her happy go lucky self was not bothered. She ran about, completed the assault course, and went on the little climbing frame (where the kids were hanging out) and used her manners and said, “excuse me please” and all three of them left. I love Brooke-Haze’s confidence and happy view of the world.
My day ended seeing my little nephew Freddie walking with his walker which was lovely to see.
This week has been a week that has reminded me what is truly important in life and reminded me how far I have evolved from the person I once was. It has also taught me to make sure I am always doing what I can exercise wise. There is no excuse big enough to not do anything at all. If you are feel fatigued, chronic pain or other symptoms then slow your exercises down, don’t do as many reps, or simplify them. Do whatever it is you need to do to ensure you still do something and keep your body moving.