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Lyme Disease Won't Stop Me From Training for the NK5K!

Walk with me as I train for the NK5K with the Couch to 5K training through the West Bay YMCA.

At around 9 a.m. Saturday, I checked my phone and saw my daily email from the NK Patch.  There it was, #4 – my challenge, from Editor Samantha Turner herself: “I'm still looking for people to join me in training for the NK5K with the YMCA's 'Couch to 5K' program. I'm looking for a few more people to  

Run a 5K, blog about it? Really? Hmmm…I may have something to share. I clicked for more information.  

Like Samantha I am not much of a runner. Tried awhile back, I think it was the summer of 1983.

Seriously, I have always worked out and as of May 2011 was in pretty good shape. I was working out a few times a week; yoga, strength training, aerobics.  I dropped 17 lbs and 2 sizes. But something weird started to happen during that summer.  I was so tired, my body ached, it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning.  I had muscle weakness, pain in my quads, night sweats, leg cramps, weird skin sensations, and the list goes on.  But the symptoms would come and go and were probably from fatigue, job, stress, traveling, age, working out too much, not working out enough…right? 

Fast forward to November 2011 when I couldn’t balance in yoga class and my hands lost strength. I started dropping things then my finger swelled up.  Lyme Disease – late stage.  I am blessed to have been diagnosed immediately.  The treatment is antibiotics and supplements – plenty of them for a long, long time.   My husband, son and friends rallied around me but the fatigue made the winter long and lonely.  Most of my energy went to work; what was left put some sort of supper on the table.  My weekends were spent catching up around the house, errands and napping. A lot of napping.  No energy for time out with friends, my Bible study group or even a date with my husband.  Working out was out of the question.  

So why, 8 months later am I even considering running a 5K?  A couple of months ago, I felt my energy increasing.  I stopped needing a nap every Saturday and Sunday.  I actually was looking forward to going to the gym.  So I started back slowly, barely breaking a sweat.  My Holy Grail was that someday I would do a 5K.  Maybe in late fall or early winter.  Maybe next spring. But in 48 days? 

I’m neither a medical expert nor a Lyme expert. I only know what I read and what I am experiencing.  I know that staying active, and not giving up has accelerated my progress.  It is very easy to get dragged down by depression with any life-changing condition.  I won’t go there; it’s too hard to come back up.  I’ve had incredible support from my family and friends.  I know that prayer has had a huge affect as well.  It is only by God’s grace that not only do I get up in the morning and put in a full day’s work, but I also have the energy to even want to do this, let alone accomplish it. 

I was listening to my I-Pod while working out today and heard a song by Nicole C. Mullen – “When I Call on Jesus”.

I'm so very ordinary

Nothing special on my own

I have never walked on water

I have never calmed a storm

Sometimes I'm hiding away form the madness around me

Like a child who's afraid of the dark

But when I call on Jesus

All things are possible

I can mount on wings like eagles and soar

When I call on Jesus

Mountains are gonna fall

'Cause He'll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call

I knew that this blog had to be about sharing my journey, giving glory to God who walks by my side every step of the way, and giving back to other Lyme patients. I want to be a source of encouragement and also to get encouragement from others.  Today I went to the YMCA, signed up for the and hit the cardio equipment.  I pushed myself harder than I have in a long time and today completed 2.75 miles.  Broke a pretty decent sweat too.  It’s a lot different from pounding the pavement but it’s a start.  I can’t wait for next Saturday.

It is now 5:30 pm and I’m a little tired. But that’s ok.  The doubt is starting.  The race is in 48 days; the 50 – 59 age group.  Really? Seriously!?  But this blog has to be about the highs and lows. I will probably have setbacks.  I never know how I will react to my next round of meds.  How will I feel if I can’t do this?  I’ll walk the 1 mile, how’s that?  But like Samantha, I am putting it out there.  I’m telling everyone that I’m going to try.  So this blog will hold me accountable and as Samantha said “If I get lazy, then you all can call me out on it. Savvy?”  I’m challenging you to join us as well.  I’m 53 with Lyme Disease…no excuses. 

I hope you’ll follow my progress, share some tips and run alongside me on September 8. 

Maria Cassaday, North Kingstown


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Maria Cassaday July 22, 2012 at 04:53 PM
P.S. Just heard that my college roommate Kathy is coming down from Massachusetts to run with me! She did the Couch to 5K program at her local Y in May and has been running ever since! Guess I better register.
Kathy Twyman Low July 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Yep, holding you accountable!!! You'll love it! Great story and inspiration Maria. My chiropractor had a similar story and was diagnosed late stage. Vibrant guy, karate black belt, always harping on his patients not to make excuses and start doing something to improve their health. Lyme disease knocked him on his butt. Couldn't work for 6 months and when he did come back, I was almost apologetic for coming in. Doing his normal adjustments was obviously a huge challenge for him. But he too has slowly battled back and is on his way to being back to almost normal. Like you, it's the attitude of "I'm not going to let this thing beat me" that's made all the difference. On to September!!
Glenna July 22, 2012 at 07:35 PM
You Go Girl! You can do it1
kathleen July 22, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Yeah Maria! With the LORD, ALL things are possible!! Let me know when you are heading to the Y and perhaps we can work up a sweat on the tread mill side-by-side! Blessings!
Maria Cassaday July 23, 2012 at 12:05 AM
I'll be there tomorrow night after work!
Amy Levesque July 23, 2012 at 06:27 PM
This is great Maria! As someone who dealt with the on going symptoms of Lyme's Disease for the past 2 years, and the on-again-off-again treatments of antibiotics I know how it can make you feel like you'll never get our of bed, let alone run a 5K! I'm so glad to see you doing well and good luck with the training and the race. I can't wait to read more about your progress!
Maria Cassaday July 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I'm overwhelmed by all of the support! It keeps me moving.
Colleen Jenkins July 27, 2012 at 02:16 PM
My dear friend Maria "Louis" :-) We've supported each other through triumph and tragedy since 1976 and I will be there to support you in overcoming this great challenge. You are 53 and Fabulous and can achieve anything you decide to! Take it one day, one step, one mile at a time and you will cross that Finish Line girfriend. Love you! Colleen
Melanie Barlow July 28, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Great news Maria! Hope that you meet Him in every step of the journey! Hoping that you can come back to study on thurs. nights! : )
Janelle T. Lovett August 09, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Guess your doing great, Maria. Your amazing and I'm so proud to know you. I am cheering from South Carolina.


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