Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!

You'll never guess what I was just doing!  Give up? 

...Helping to shovel snow!  Seriously!  For the first time in many years.  We got about 6 inches of snow last night, and the kids are off school today (6 inches is a lot for here!).

I know it's still too early to tell for sure if the beta-blockers are going to help me, but it's looking really, really good so far!

For several days now, I've been wearing my heart rate monitor and watching the effect of the beta-blockers, and it's been very encouraging.  Just getting dressed this morning (sans medication), my heart rate jumped up over 100.  After breakfast, I took the beta-blockers along with my other medications, then sat on the couch for a while to allow them time to kick in.  As before, within an hour, my resting heart rate fell from the high 90's to the mid-80's and below.

So, I got dressed in my cold weather gear and went outside to help Ken.  I started with clearing some snow off the cars, watching my heart rate carefully, then progressed to actually shoveling a little snow.  Our neighbor had used his snow-blower on the driveway this morning, so there was only a little bit left to clear, along the edges and near the cars.  I know this sounds odd, but I used to love to shovel snow.  In fact, I used to love any kind of exercise.

All told, my heart rate monitor tells me I was out there for a half hour, with an average heart rate of 92, and a maximum heart rate of 102 - very reasonable!  My limit for preventing post-exertional malaise from setting in (i.e. a crash) is 105.  So, we'll find out tomorrow whether that's true, but I also took a little walk yesterday around a local park - just about 10-15 minutes, but a big deal for me lately - and I felt fine this morning.

If this medication is going to allow me to be more active, that's like a dream come true!  Wish me luck...and I'll keep you posted!


  1. Fingers crossed for you!

    Love Leanne

  2. What awesome news!! I'm so happy for you! I miss shoveling as well.

  3. Yay! How fun for you! Kind of? I'm glad the meds seem to be working so far. Fingers crossed!

  4. Good Luck! Of the yard work stuff, I think I miss raking leaves more than shoveling snow. Hope there's no crash tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

  5. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Thanks for the great news! Yes, any kind of exercise is great, especially when you've been cooped up. Good luck avoiding PEM! The heart rate monitor is a very good idea. How did you determine your safe number (105)?


  6. D -

    I used the advice in an article that I posted here a couple of months ago on using heart rate to avoid PEM. I'll repost it later this week, with some more details.


  7. So glad to hear this great news Sue.

  8. Wow. I hope this continues for you! 6 inches of snow! Looks so pretty...we got that again Sunday and Monday. Definitely a snowy winter.

  9. Wow. That is really amazing, Sue. I'm not sure that shoveling snow would be one of my top things to do if I were able, but more power to you!

    I would love to get back out and run. I so miss that. (sigh)

  10. did you feel more energy after you started these or did you already have the energy but were able to function without crashing?

    My heart races longer than normal when I stand, according to the research doctor in the good day bad day study at the Klimas unit and he mentioned that but my personal doc just started with hasn't recommended that med. I see her again next week , so I'm curious. I couldn't shovel dust right now, so have no 'start' energy.

  11. Pris -

    That's a very good question. The thing is that the symptoms and effects of CFS are all mixed together, in a tangle of cause and effect that leaves no system in the body unaffected.

    So, our lack of energy is due to several sources: our mitochindria (the energy producing "engines" in our cells) aren't functioning properly, for one.

    However, OI is also behind almost every single CFS symptom, including lack of energy. Part of why we don't have energy is that our OI is so bad that even basic daily maintenance (moving around the house, preparing a meal, taking a shower) causes a post-exertional crash. If it's bad enough, you're probably not even experiencing the ups and downs anymore to notice the pattern - you're just always in the grip of a crash.

    So, it's a domino effect, and improving OI can have a tremendous effect on all other symptoms, including energy.

    As for me, I'm very up and down. Some days I have some energy but know if I do too much, I'll crash. Other days, I need to lie down all day.

    I also take LOTS of supplements, many of them focused on mitochondrial dysfunction and energy, but with OI so bad, they didn't make much of a difference.

    I'm hoping treating OI will help everything, but I still need to wait and see. I'm a bit crashed today after all that activity yesterday, but that was probably too much, too soon!


  12. Hi Sue,
    Thanks. I take a lot of supplements, too, but don't notice differences in energy. It helps to know that when you started this that you COULD tell a difference in energy. It's worth asking my doctor about. I'm so med intolerant I'm always a bit nervous but it's worth the question.

  13. Honestly, Pris, I'm still trying to figure this out myself!

    I probably shouldn't have even posted about it yet, but I was so excited, and you guys are the people who could understand!!

    I definitely overestimated my energy and stamina yesterday. I will need to take things a little slower, but I am hoping to build up my stamina using both the beta blockers and the heart rate monitor.

    Have I had more energy since starting the beta blockers? That's hard to say. I have felt better because my heart isn't racing. Sometimes it's hard to separate out causes and effects because CFS is just so complex.

    But I'm watching closely and will let you know!