I’ve often felt like I’m just along for the ride when it comes to sarcoidosis. I’d wake up wondering what it would let me do. But a change I made in late February has given me a new outlook.
It happened by accident. Maybe you read my glorious account of tackling “heart attack snow” that month? Well, there’s a part two to the story that ain’t so pretty.
Mother Nature broke me. It only took a few more snowfalls, after triumphantly digging out that day, for it to happen. If you wonder what broken looks like, it’s a pajama-clad woman sitting inside for six days straight hoping the snow melts.
When I finally emerged to shovel those still-existent mounds, I decided to undertake a new challenge: a daily walk outdoors.
I tend to go a bit overboard in my endeavors. You may remember me preparing weeks ahead for daylight saving time, which paid off, by the way. So, I decided to go big again.
Regular cardio activity is key to managing my postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Drenched in sweat and lightheaded as I shoveled, I was already paying the price for my impromptu hibernation.
So, the next day, I pulled on my snow boots and headed out. I never anticipated that two months later, I’d still be sticking to the routine, and that doing so would impact me in so many ways.
Carving a new path
From the start, I took a no-pressure approach. It wasn’t important to me how many steps I achieved. What mattered was that I journeyed out once a day, and didn’t let the weather or my health deter me.
I initially put in a better effort on the warmer days, but after about a week, it didn’t matter. If it was snowing, raining, or cold, I dressed for it and carried on for the same length of time because the exercise felt good. Before long, I was easily hitting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.
Along the way, my self-doubt disappeared. I stopped wondering if I would be able to exercise, and instead focused on when I would exercise each day. That fitness mentality spilled over and resulted in other positive changes.
Healthy habits roll in
My already vegetarian diet became even healthier. I focused on foods that would not only fuel my excursions, but also fight inflammation to reduce aches.
With each passing week, junk food had less appeal, as did the couch potato lifestyle. Sitting around bingeing television and spending too much time off my feet was undoing my work, in my eyes. So, I became more active at home, too.
I’d love to tell you that I’m symptom-free now, but I’m not. I still have no control over what sarcoidosis throws at me. The difference now is that I feel more empowered. Each time I slip on sneakers and hit the streets, it is my way of telling this disease that it will not hold me back.
Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.
- Incentive to move: West Virginia’s new state motto could be, “We’ll pay you to move here.” According to CBS News, remote and self-employed workers can snag $12,000 for relocating there, under a new initiative. The state is also throwing in a year of free outdoor activities.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.