April 22, 2011 Ride

Sometimes, serendipity arrives, just when you think you’ve run out of options. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with something called Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. Long story short… my connective tissues are too loose, so my spine is too mobile and refuses to stay in alignment. This means my nerves get pinched, and I end up with a plethora of delightful results from my nervous system being in constant “Oh crap! Sabertooth tigers! Or spinal compression! Whatever, it’s all the same!” mode. I don’t sleep well, my immune system is in hyperdrive (“What? Sabertooth tigers? I’d better produce lots and lots of mucus to combat them!”), my fingers and toes tingle, go numb and sometimes pop out of joint for no reason… and much, much more. It’s like a bonanza of badness.

Since my initial diagnosis, I’ve been bounced around from doctor to doctor. See, while this stuff is easy to diagnose (the diagnostic criteria is quite clear), it’s very difficult to treat and doesn’t earn folks boocoo bucks through drug endorsements. So there are few specialists. Okay, there are fewer than few. In this country, there was exactly… one. Note the “was” in the previous sentence. He had retired to do research into fibromyalgia, which is different but shares some similarities to my problem. Anyway, I’ve sort of been self-medicating for three years, trying to find treatments that work. I haven’t had much success. But then this week, I got a referral to see… the specialist. And I saw him! And it was amazing! He actually knew what I was talking about! I spoke with invisible exclamation points for hours afterward! I’m now his patient, and I must say, all seems much rosier, not the least of which because we’re starting by treating the fact that I don’t sleep. I’m liking this track.

At any rate, after my visit with him, I was able to take a short ride. I only had an hour (do you sense a theme in recent rideblogs?), and I was down at the tail end of the Interurban Trail, so I just set off from there.

Tis rather industrial, this part of the trail. We parked on a side street, and were promptly surrounded. Nearby, a lady driving a FedEx truck stopped to deliver her packages, and to compliment my helmet and then my whole ensemble (not my usual riding wear, to be fair). “You look like you should be riding in Martha’s Vinyard, not in Kent!” she told me. I was suitably flattered.

Here’s a miserable-looking self-portrait. This was my fifty-thousandth attempt to get this to work. I took a great one, riding at the camera, smiling… but the camera didn’t focus on me, because it’s a Piece of Junk. I cursed at it numerous times, then got this shot and gave up.

Farther on, The Raleigh enjoyed a quick game of Horse at the local basketball court. You can’t see The Raleigh’s opponents here because they were so ashamed at being soundly dunked by a bike that they slunk away before we could do our victory lap. Spoil sports.

This section of the Interurban has to be the most decrepit of any portion of any trail I’ve been on, including the lowly Green River Trail.

Across the “street” from this is a fenced-off set of old farm fields, turned to urban meadow. There are two very grandiose old apple trees blooming fruitlessly in the middle of the tall grass. I wondered, looking at them, what the area had looked like when they were planted. But as we all know, when you start to empathize with trees, it’s time to move on.

The Raleigh and I paused at the bridges over the Green River, where the Interurban meets up with the currently-closed tail end of that trail. I’ll be interested to ride that section, once it reopens… in two years. I realize trails aren’t a priority right now, so I won’t say something snarky about that.

Short ride, short rideblog. Happy rideblogger, filled with the possibility of effective treatment at last.

For more info on Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, go to London to the only Hypermobility Clinic in the world. Or, start here. I took a much longer ride, and bought a new camera (!) on Saturday. I’ll be writing that up shortly, including my meeting with the very Irish, and irascible, man at the camera shop. Good stuff! Stay tuned…

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6 Responses to April 22, 2011 Ride

  1. monk says:

    Thanks for sharing about your health issues and the fact that your now seeing “The Specialist”. As a fellow cyclist (and one of your reading fans), I’m with you in hoping you can now get some relief. In viewing the link you posted, it’s nice to know that riding is one of the good things you can do for yourself and that we can look forward to more reports from the trails. :)

  2. raverson says:

    Glad to hear the good news about your treatment.
    And, your Lady in Red self portrait looks fine, but we’d (me) rather see the Madras Kit. Bring back the Madras, Snarky! :)

  3. Amesja says:

    I suffered from nearly 10 years of undiagnosed Lyme Disease so I can sympathize with your health issues. Lyme tends to mimic many, if not all, common diseases since the bacteria eventually gets everywhere in the body and causes problems with every part and function of the human body. I still suffer from joint issues that are somewhat similar to yours as well as flare-ups from degeneration caused by septic arthritis that will never really go away.

    Medical science tends to do well with the common ailments but the odd/rare stuff still tends to avoid detection and the degree of ignorance within the medical community is astounding.

    When does the Raleigh get the new rims? I’m in the middle of putting mine on at the moment. I’m very happy with the performance from doing the front wheel and after I get home from vacation I’ll be finishing up the rear.

  4. rideblog says:

    Thanks, Monk. My friend sent me a link to folks with late stage Parkinson’s doing bike rides. I assume this was to make me feel better :). I see no reason for me stop anytime soon, though I may shake up the stable soon and move to all-uprights, all-the-time. We’ll see…

  5. rideblog says:

    Raverson, you know the Madras is comin’ again soon. You know it is. The cutely coordinated red, black and white deal can’t last. Madras rules!!!!

  6. rideblog says:

    Amesja, I have had a student with Lyme, and it’s nasty business. I hop you’re getting the care you need. It’s not just the ignorant docs who are annoying, and yeah, I’ve met a few of those, it’s the ignorant… everybody. Bosses, coworkers, friends… anyone who doesn’t live with you 24/7. “But you look fine!” Uh huh.

    The Raleigh is in RIGHT NOW getting new rims. I will get it back in two weeks with new rims and lowered gearing. In the meantime, I’m going to put the Panasonic through its paces, and decide if I can continue to ride a non-upright-bicycle. We’ll see…

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