I know I haven't been writing blogs too often recently but rest assured I have been training!
I just wanted to write a brief blog on some challenges I've been faced with recently. I hope that reading this you might feel a little more empowered, a little more inspired, and maybe a little more motivated.
I recently attended the UCL in London to see the EDS specialist (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) and the letter came through afterwards with a few surprises.
Firstly, there's an indication from their investigations that I might have a condition my sister shares, along with the delightful superpower that is EDS, which we had suspected recently in training. It's called POTS, or Postural Othostatic Tachychardia - it's an autoimmune issue whereby when you stand the blood pools in your legs, away from your main organs and brain. Some people black out completely, and there's loads of other bits to it. The only real bit I am concerned with is that when I am lifting and it's hot/humid, I am almost blacking out between lifts. It's no fun going for a snatch when you're light-headed. Until I can see the cardiologist, I have developed 4 techniques for keeping me conscious!:
- Open the door and windows in the training room and nab the coolest platform
- Drink rehydrating sachets
- Drink a lot of water
- Take off my top and train in my sports bra (haha)
The other bit of news the letter had was a bit of a relief and again, suspected but not really believed: my thyroid has slowed again and so I am back on meds for life (although it's really just replacing a hormone). This explains weight gain I've had that was depressing and upsetting me :)
There's a silver lining to everything (the thyroid means free prescriptions for life too; the POTS means the men get to train with my abs) and the EDS clinic said whatever I do don't stop weightlifting
You have no idea how much I've fought - fought the people I love, the Dr's I've seen, friends, family, coaches - to convince them that weightlifting is good for my body. That EDS isn't a death sentence. That it doesn't mean you should wrap me in cotton wool. I meet beautiful souls with EDS all the time and there's something I recognise in all of their faces - fear. They're afraid of their own bodies - they're afraid of what they think they can't do. I don't want them to be scared, I want them to be empowered. And the greatest thing that has happened to me was something that came from all this - my sister has started to own her body again and build up strength and power and I hear it in her voice. She doesn't sound scared anymore. This isn't just hopeful thinking - the EDS specialist said the muscle in my body is HOLDING IT TOGETHER. The muscles around my knee caps, which are alarmingly hypermobile, hold the caps in place. They can't move. The muscle under the arches of my feet are pulling the arch back up. The muscle in my back is PUSHING MY SPINE BACK INTO PLACE (sciliosis).
Don't get me wrong - I am lucky. I don't get much pain most EDSers suffer. But what all sportspeople will tell you is pain is their constant companion. Welcome to sport, EDS. You've met your match.
Don't let anything stop you. Not even your fears.
Head up; Bar up