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My Illness, Recovery and Fitness: How I got back on my feet... quite literally.

This is a very long pending post. Actually, I have been ill for such a long time and have been debilitated  that I do not even want to recall that traumatic period. I enjoy walking; and even in my hectic schedule, I would just walk up to places if I have a little time. It makes me feel good, fresh and fit. But, last year, the weather in Calcutta was extreme.
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Photo courtesy: Sharmistha Guha Choudhury
How it started:

In April and May, it was dry heat and the temperature soared around 42 degree Celsius. I already have acute rhinitis which gives me much trouble. Added to that, I had to frequently go to the University right around 1 o'clock in the noon. The commutation in that area is a big problem. So, I had to walk down for about a Kilometre in that heat and not to mention walk back again. 

Then it started:
  Every night, I would have fever which would recede in the day time leaving me weak. Then I started running high temperature which no amount of medicine would bring down. My mother would pour water on my temples so that it reduces the temperature and prevents things from getting worse. Then I started having red eyes. It looked like allergic conjunctivitis. Then came UTI and a bunch of other
infections. Even when I was taking anti-biotics, I got those. Until, doctors realized something else was going on.

On taking a lot of tests, it was found that my immunity was a wreck. I started taking immuno-modulators when one morning, I could not stand up because I had horrible knee-pain. Then the joint-pains started. I could barely stand up. If I had to go to the toilet, I would have to grab the wall or ask someone to support me. My legs would just give way. It was extremely difficult time for me, as you understand. I lived a very active life which I enjoyed, only to be completely indisposed. Now I got so weak that even sitting on my bed would make my head swim.

I was finally taken to rheumatologist who asked me to take another series of tests and my! expensive ones! Finally , he concluded that the illness had caused Vitamin D deficiency which had lowered the immunity and because the immunity was lowered and I was constantly suffering, it was lowering my Vitamin D in the body. It was a vicious cycle. I was surprised because I do go out a lot in the sun. But, the doctor said, that it was that vicious cycle which was the culprit.

Besides, because of the nature of my real life job, I have to stoop a lot. It gave me horrible back pains. The added joint-pains were not helping me either. The doctor suggested that I immediately correct my posture which should help a lot.

By now, almost 7 months were over.

After three months more, the pain was reduced. But, the lack of movement has caused me to gain a lot of weight. I have gained almost 7 kilos! The weakness did not allow me to walk either because my legs would give way. My joints still felt tender and aching and my knees would make clicking noise.  At around March, I felt much better even though I was bloated.

How I got back to my feet?

By now, I was tired of being debilitated. Since, pain is mostly reduced, I needed to get myself back. Walking or running was still not the option since my joints were still swollen. I wanted some kind of low-impact activity. There is a swimming pool right next to my house. I mean, I can even see the pool from my parents' window. I joined swimming class. I was always afraid of water and never knew how to swim. So, it was a big leap for me. But, I was desperate. My fiancé was very encouraging ans he kind of pushed me to go. I needed that nudge.

I remember, the first day, when I was learning to kick, the trainer held my ankle to show the right way. I just shrieked because my ankles hurt like anything!

But, within a week of starting off, the joint pains were mostly gone and my knees were less wobbly. I learned to swim free-style on my third day I think and now I can do several laps, back-strokes, etc. Oh,  my bloating is also mostly gone. I have not checked, but I think I have shed some of the extra weight. But, I am not pressing it too hard because, the quicker you lose weight, the quicker you gain it back. Besides, I cannot/would not go crash dieting and damaging my health again.

As for diet, as you figured, I am not big into it. But, I now avoid too much of sweets, cakes ( my favourites), eating out, etc. But, I have not shunned those either. Everything is there in my life, but in moderation. I also try to take at least a glass of milk and an egg every day. It IS essential.

I try to go swimming for forty minutes at least five days a week. I am taking a sachet of Vitamin D every month and , now I am strong enough to walk about a Kilometre and half without discomfort. Since, I have not much time, apart from swimming, I don't get to do long walks. But, I still do if I have the time.

And how do I feel mentally? In those miserable days, my fiancé was a huge support. Whenever he would be back in the city, he would actually take me out and hold me to help me walk, always reassuring that everything was going to be alright. Even in the beginning, when I was too weak to walk, he would take me out and patiently make me walk a few steps and rest and then start over again.

Ever since I started swimming and getting fit, I feel like I have got my life back! Now I feel more thankful for everything and dread going back to where I was.

Final word: Do take a glass of milk and an egg every day and DO exercise. You don't have to do what you don't like. Find the kind of activity you enjoy. Like, I never enjoyed yoga even though, as a kid, I was made to do. I hated it and was immensely bored. But, I enjoyed walking and now, swimming! And I actually look forward to my swimming class!0

I still need to lose a lot of weight. I have not tried running. but, once my swimming session ends, I might start.  I am not aiming to get 'skinny', that's not my body. But, I do aim at getting 'fit'.

But one thing I have realized, exercise is helping my both psychologically and physically. On days I don't swim or walk, I feel lethargic and dislike that feeling. So, at least one good habit is now a part of my life.

What about you? How do you stay fit? What do you do to stay fit?