Lupus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition. I was diagnosed with lupus 49 years ago. I have experienced periods when the disease was so active that my life was in danger. I have also experienced periods when the level of disease activity was too low to be measured by today’s standard tests. These periods are referred to as remissions. Even when the results of laboratory tests indicate that I am in remission from lupus, I still experience chronic fatigue, malaise, and pain. I also have a number of chronic pain issues that are not directly related to lupus.
I do not take pain medication. Managing the levels of pain with which I live requires thought. I know and use a number of autogenic techniques. Since being sedentary is not a viable long term option, I must spend some time identifying physical activities that best fit my needs. Much of the pain I experience arises from joints and bones and it does not take a genius to realize that I require exercises that are low impact. The low impact exercises that I enjoy the most take place in water. For decades I limited myself to the 91 degree water of a therapeutic pool. Recently, I discovered that a pool heated to around 85 degrees did not increase my pain. Even more recently, I discovered that I could participate in deep water classes held in a pool with a 79 degree water temperature.
Deep water exercise has many benefits. I like the idea that I am increasing the strength of my muscles, including my heart. Truthfully, however, I do it for the serotonin and the endorphins. There are no better pain medications than those produced by my own body. When deep water classes go well, I reach a point where there is no pain.
However, getting in and out of the pool requires a lot of gear. The wet towels and swimming suits alone can quickly exceed my five pound lift limit. Planning a schedule is required.
Yesterday, while I was experiencing exercise induced euphoria, I saw myself taking exercise classes five days a week. That is not going to happen in December. While I felt fine during and after my deep water aerobic exercise class yesterday, today I can barely get out of bed. This is not a new experience. As far back as I can remember, a day of strenuous activity has needed to be followed by a day of rest and recuperation. Since early adulthood, I have used this day to read and write. Now, I am adding it to my self improvement experiment. Do I need a day of recuperation because I am not well conditioned, not fit, or do I need a day of recuperation because I have a form of the exercise intolerance often experienced by those with lupus and similiar health issues. I think this experiment will help me to develop an answer to this question that applies to me. In the meanwhile, this is a great day for reading.