It’s 4:45 a.m. and the alarm is sounding.
What comes to mind when you read that sentence?
Maybe something like sleep, dark, too early, nighttime, must be a siren coming from outside … did I mention “early”? For me, this alarm signals the time to get up. Time to get my day started. When that alarm goes off, I hop out of bed quickly to turn it off before it wakes my husband or puppy. As quietly as I can, I go about gathering my clothes, water bottles, shoes, heart rate monitor, and a quick snack.
Very sleepily, I head downstairs to my home gym. Over the next hour, I spend time dedicated to my health, both mental and physical. My exercise routines vary by day. Some days are dedicated to heavy lifting, some are lighter lifting, and then there are the cardio days. (My personal favorite is cardio and lifting combined.) Most days, I finish my workout with a ride on my bike trainer.
No matter how tired I am when awakening at such an early time, I always leave this hour so energized. Endorphins released during exercise help to give me energy and a sense of well-being and to relieve stress.
But it hasn’t always been this way. Back in 2002 when I was first married, my husband and I decided to run to the end of our street to get some ice cream for a nice summer treat. The problem was that I was unable to run to the end of the street. I had to stop before reaching my goal because I was so out of breath and my legs were burning from being out of shape.
So what changed? What happened between those junior high school days of barely finishing the mile in PE and the early married days of not making it to the end of the road, and these days of disciplined waking early for working out? I have now run 13.1 miles, a 10K, and many 5Ks, and completed two triathlons and a 70-mile bike ride. I know I will never be the fastest or the best, but progress is progress, no matter how slow or how long it takes me to reach my goals!
‘Do all you can’
I started slowly but have gradually made progress. I started to notice that the release of endorphins is real and kept me coming back for more. But not only that, I also noticed that I started to sweat before even starting treatment. What? This might not seem like a big deal to many, but God designed our bodies to sweat as a cooling mechanism. When this doesn’t happen, overheating is likely. Now, I still don’t sweat like a “normal” person would, but I love feeling and seeing my body do what it is supposed to do.
Generally speaking, I think this topic isn’t covered a lot when it comes to Fabry. As I contemplate why this is, I understand that many with Fabry disease are unable to participate in strenuous exercise. I would argue that strenuous exercise is not always necessary. There are so many forms of exercise that are beneficial: walking, swimming, light weights, and riding a bike, to name a few.
I have talked before about the life expectancy of Fabry patients. In that column, I talked about how God has our days numbered. My brother, Andrew, who also is a Fabry patient, has a quote that sums up one of the major reasons I make exercise one of my priorities. He says: “Do all you can. Leave the results with God.”
Why is that 4:45 a.m. alarm so important to me? Because I am able to move and push my body beyond what I once thought I was capable of. Because it is part of doing all I can for the health of my body. Because I will do all I can, but I will leave the results with God.
Note: Fabry Disease 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 Fabry Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Fabry disease.