I did some thinking the last few days about the people I know that have recovered from illness. In a previous post, I touched upon the issue of testosterone in men and the role it plays in pace of recovery. I wonder if this also plays a role in the things we should do to achieve recovery. Erik largely used exercise to get where he is today. Lisa did not but is no less functional. Exercise was a large part of Mike Dessin’s recovery. First anaerobic, and then aerobic to the tune of playing pickup basketball 2 hours a day. Sergio made his first big leap on LDN and becoming a gym rat. You could see from his before/after pictures how much of a commitment he made to resistance training. Now he is in medical school, living in a dorm, studying medical textbooks at the tune of 10 hours a day. A female friend of mine that recovered from ME (a similar presentation as Mike’s including scary weight loss) and is working a full-time job in the finance industry now, never exercised much as part of her recovery. She simply felt better after stem cells.
This isn’t meant as some sort of official survey, but just jogging some examples in my head. In any case, I think there is something to be said for the hormonal strengths and weakness between men and women being something that should be part of one’s recovery. For example, women have more hormonal surges (especially during pregnancy) that tend to have a dampening effect on inflammation to the point they often go into remission; ironically they also suffer from more autoimmune illnesses. On the other hand, I’ve heard from ampligen patients that Peterson typically gives half the normal dosage of ampligen to women, whereas many men remain on the normal dosage. Whether this is due to men demanding the higher dosage or women have an easier time lowering inflammation, I’m not sure.
After thinking about this and also thinking back to 2006, when I was still going to the gym 3 days a week (I would totally crash after each session for a day, but then I’d drag myself back again the day after — I was able to sustain this for a few months before my body totally gave out). By this time, however, my aerobic abilities had pretty much deteriorated completely. I could do weight training in moderation without crashing; I seemed to never be able to swim, bike, or run without crashing.
Earlier this year when I moved to a house in the desert (and my mental stamina was picking up), I picked up strength training for the first time in 2 years. I stopped after 1 week because I was crashing and also getting weaker by the day and knew it wasn’t sustainable. 2 days ago, I tried it again. I started with bench pressing, which has always been the hardest on my body since I got sick (presumably because of my cardiac issues — ME/CFS physicans often say that chest exercises are the hardest anaerobic exercise for patients). But I figured this would be a good test, so I took a bullet. I felt strong, as if my muscles had not deconditioned, whereas in the house I was trembly and my muscles gave out rapidly. I did 3 full reps of 10 with moderate resistance. That night, the left side of my chest was really sore (again, the heart of the matter), but I got not PEM whatsoever. The next day I went hiking, and the day after that, I still had no PEM and my chest soreness was abated so I really pushed it:
I did an intense 30-minute, max-out workout for the first time since 2006. I did biceps, back, plus abs, all with max resistance. (I also did all of this during the middle of the day, right under the sun with no shade. A few months ago, I couldn’t sit under the sun for 20 minutes without feeling terrible.) I slept like a baby and I’m not sore at all today, which I don’t understand at all, frankly. It seems like the left chest is the exception here.
So it would seem that although my oxygen metabolism is still impaired (after 4-mile hikes, my legs are literally screaming with lactic acid and I have trouble sleeping at night because of it, whereas after 3-mile hikes I still have the soreness but not enough to have sleeping issues), my anaerobic metabolism is operating on all cylinders here.
My plan is to alternate hiking days with and weight-lifting days since I think they release toxins from different areas of the body. What I’m really hoping to do is to combine each with FIR sauna because I’m still have a tough time sweating, but I need to free up some capital first.
In the meantime, if anyone has any theories on how oxygen metabolism would eventually restore, I would be really interested to hear them!