Stop Waiting To Feel Better

How an Immune deficient Patient went from the couch to the finish line.

Lessons I learned along the way.

Lesson 1: Stop waiting for that “Perfect Day” to start.
Most days I have to make the hard choice to exercise. At first I did not know how hard it would be, how much my body would hurt or how long I could keep exercising. What I did know is that I had to do something to feel better. I knew I had a 99% chance that I would feel the same the next day unless I did something today to help my tomorrow.

So, how did I start?

Desperation

I felt so miserable that I was willing to feel worse in the hope of feeling better. It was easy to spend a lot of feeling sorry for myself and hoping that someone would “get it” and do something big that fixes everything for me. My Immune Deficiency was making all the choices for me. However, I decided that if my body could make me feel so miserable, then I could inflict some additional physical misery on it. I finally got desperate enough to start making my own choices. I accepted my new reality, life with limits, and created a new opportunity for change.

The Simple Goal

My goal was to finish a Sprint . Swim 750 meters, bike 12 miles and run 3.1 miles. The best part about this goal was that all I had to do was get across the finish line. Backstroke, breast stroke or doggie paddle the swim. Coast on the bike. Walk the run. Just finishing made it doable. I had a chance for success because I set a simple achievable goal that was not based on performance or rigid criteria. If I had said, “I will walk for 20 minutes a day” I would have set an unattainable goal. There are many days that I can’t walk for 20 minutes. However, a goal that allows for flexibility worked.

Motivation

I was motivated by the simplest driving force: to be better for my daughter. She needed a Dad that did more than work and then crash. I had to find a way to be there for her within the limits that my life now possessed. The emotion was strong enough to compel me to get up and move. I had to myself no choice and no way out.

The Positive

It was key to find a positive voice in the middle of all this desperation. For me that was the time I could now spend with my wife and daughter exercising. Family walks, bike rides and swims. I began to look forward to these times. Over time they became my motivation as I continued on in Triathlon.

Tips:

1. Get desperate and say “I have to”.
2. Define your new reality.
3. Find someone that will say “Yes you can!”
4. Be flexible, don’t fight how bad you feel.
5. Get excited about the journey ahead.

To this day, I must will myself to exercise.  I know that if others felt the way I do, then they would be taking a day off from . Unfortunately for me, I cannot wait for my body to feel good. I must train because it is my better and ultimately that is my competitive edge. I must #.

About The Author

David Brumley

David Brumley is an immunodeficient triathlete diagnosed with CVID, Common Variable Immune Deficiency, in 2008. Through the sport of triathlon he will inspire, equip and encourage you to find your better in life. Professionally he works independently in the field of marketing and design. David is married and has one beautiful daughter along with a dog, cat and two guinea pigs.

Comments

  • By Jessica King - on Reply

    Coincidentally, I stumbled across your webpage on Facebook last night right after I completed my first workout in over one year. I have always been an avid athlete and enjoyed physical activities, so this past year has been crippling for me in many ways. I suffered 7 years through my teenage & early adult years with an autoimmune disorder which required heavy doses of steroids & chemotherapy. I had a few years of relief when it entered into remission but just a few years ago, I found myself constantly getting sick with infections. In February 2013 I finally had surgery to remove my tonsils and then April 2013 was sinus surgery – all in hopes of alleviating my infections! Unfortunately, I never recovered from the surgeries and my doctor was stumped with what he thought was a nasty post-op infection. It finally took an infectious disease doctor & immunologist to diagnose me with CVID this past August 2013. I started monthly IVIG treatments in October 2013 but after just one round, I had to increase the frequency to every three weeks. For the last few months I have thrown myself one wicked pity party and I found myself growing more and more depressed… missing the life I had for those few years of health. Everyday I mourned another day lost to sickness and grew weary thinking of ‘how long will it be until I can run again? Play softball? Kickball? Horseback ride? How long until I feel up to going out and socializing with friends? How long until CVID no longer controls my every day?’ I had an IVIG treatment this past Thursday and slept the entire weekend, ‘resting up’ for better days. Something inside of me snapped late on Sunday night. Out of the blue I said to myself, “Something must change. Make the change. Just do it. Stop waiting to get better. Make yourself better however you can.” After working Monday, I came home and changed clothes and headed straight to the gym. One hour later, I jogged my first 2 miles in over a year and completed some basic core strengthening exercises. I felt emotionally and mentally ecstatic and incredible. And surprisingly, not too sore today. I just got back from my second workout. My goal? To spend two weeks horseback riding through an European country as I did just three years ago. I will be better. I have stopped waiting to be better. I am so thankful to have found your webpage when I did – it will be my inspiration and motivation!

    • David BrumleyBy David Brumley - on Reply

      Inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. I would love to hear how it goes over the next few weeks as you move towards your goals. I am starting to collect and share story’s like yours to provide some encouragement. Would you be open to me share your story?

  • By Marianna Kositsin - on Reply

    David hi,
    I left you a message on Facebook that contains my story. As I’m an “ageing disgracefully ballerina” :) in my mid fifties,CVID plus Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis,my goal is somewhat different. I look forward to your answer & will need my partner’s help to cut & paste my story here, or feel free to do so.
    Many thanks for your inspiration & focus on our particular set of challenges living with Immune Defence challenges.” Common” & “Deficient” are not in my vocabulary.
    My warmest & most sincere thanks,
    Marianna

    • David BrumleyBy David Brumley - on Reply

      I’d be happy to see what we can come up with. First off, it looks like your on the right track. The initial hurdles tend to be motivation and fear. It truly is a challenging balance and unfortunately our fear of increased risk or sickness immobilizes our will to try. On the other hand it is real. Tonight I’m pondering the thin red line. Two days of training with my body not responding right. Still on antibiotics and my neb, trying to kick a chest infection that started a week and a half ago. So, yes, well timed question. I’m a thinker, so let me sort through my head and come up with some ideas for you. It is easy to say, “go do this or that,” but our rare body’s require a better strategic approach that gives us the best opportunity to make a consistent lifestyle change.

  • By Renee - on Reply

    David,
    Your story brought me to tears! My 10-year-old daughter has CVID and it is a constant struggle just to live a “normal” life. I don’t want her to be overly sheltered, but everytime there is an illness in the area, I go into instant protective mode knowing that she will inevitably catch whatever is going around (multiple times). We keep her in sports to try to boost her health, but she ends up missing a good quarter of the events due to illness. It’s tough for team members to understand. The other parents think we are “babying” her or making excuses. She “looks so normal!”
    We live in Houston, and ironically, I am from Louisville and heard about your story from a relative in Kentucky. I would love to connect with you! I’d love for my daughter to have a mentor who could truly relate to what she is struggling with. If not you, perhaps someone you know who also deals with this in their life. Thank you, sir, for your inspiration!

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