Can activity actually worsen long term recovery?

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 1:44 am

      Ever since I started back to work I have declined in fuction. I have more pain and I have increasing trouble meeting my responsibilities at home. I know everybody here preaches rest but is this cause we feel better or is it actually improving healing. Last week I had 4 days off work to take a resert coarse for advanced life support(sit all day) and to go to Nashville(sit in car all day). For the first time in 2 months I quit hurting and my gait normalized. Now back at work and worsening again. I only work 5 hours a day(1/2 normal) and my partners will force me to go to whole days(100% overhead) 7/23/07. Even now(at 50 % overhead reduction) I have not worked enough to meet my overhead-that means no paycheck. Until last month I have been writing them a check out of savings for the overhead I couldn’t meet. Only a fool pays someone to work. But, If I quit I will loose a large practice with a large future return of income. But am I decreasing my chance of recovery(nerve regeneration) if I push and con’t to work(and even work more)? In order to work now I have had to completely eliminated all other activity (ie no walking/shopping/housework/kid playing). I am willing to suffer short term(for my career) as long as it doesn’t affect my future outcome. Am I harming myself? Any with same experience? I made an apt with my neuro to ask him his opinion but couldn’t get in until after the above date. Dr. Shawn

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 2:03 am

      Ever since I was diagnosed I have continued to push myself.

      Soon after my GBS was no longer acute I began exercising with Nautilus equipment.

      I continued my landscape photography, which required that I hike over either rough, rocky, sandy, hilly or muddy terrain.

      At times I have felt exhausted, but that is usually followed by some noticeable improvement.

      I’m quite happy with my progress…..and perhaps nothing I did or didn’t do would have made any difference, but it is what it is…..

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 4:21 am

      Shawn, exertion does not effect long term recovery but if you over do it the next few days will remind you. DocDavid

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 9:07 am

      hi shawn,

      any exertion you do that you do not recover from in 12 to 18 hours hinders recovery. i personally was a hard headed person & refused to believe it. as a result i suffered 9 setbacks during my first 26 months of recovery, 4 of them major. the worse took me 6 months to get back where i was. all of this included suffering as well as ability. after i gave in & started to rest big time, my recovery pattern remarkedly improved. even now, 8 years next month, i do not over do & still improve albeit slowly.

      listen to your body. it will tell you what it wants. you know the answer to your post w/o needing us to reply. what you do abt it is your choice. take care. be well.

      gene gbs 8-99
      in numbers there is strength

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 11:01 am

      Dr shawn-

      I am in same boat as you. I work full time, just bought a house and moved in and have 2 kids and I am not well the last at least 2 weeks. and then before that i was lightheaded. Seeing new neuro on 7/19, I cant wait. residuals so bad that if I lift the laundry the next day I feel like I worked out for an hour the day before. I am jello feeling in the limbs and fatigued. I think I am going to need to hire a cleaning lady, and I really cant afford it, but I cant afford to lose my health, either. I am taking a last minute trip to myrtle beach next week, so I can recover better.

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 11:53 am

      Dr Shawn, are you using a wheelchair at work? any and all energy saving techniques should be used. less walking means more energy for other things. Take care.

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 1:12 pm

      Dear Dr. Shawn:

      I had to return to work within two and a half weeks after onset of GBS. I run a family owned business and I have technical skills that no one else in the company possesses. If I didn’t return to work quickly, the company would have gone bankrupt and several families would be hurt.

      I learned through trail and error that there are ways to get more work done while not pushing yourself to exhaustion or to cause residual problems. These strategies work for me, but I have no idea of what will work for you. I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution. So here are some things I do:

      Schedule stressful or diifficult tasks on Monday or Tuesday and earlier in the day rather than later. Make sure you have the most energy for the most draining work.

      It is better to take a full day off (usually a Monday or Friday) than to put in five hours a day for a full week. This works only after the initial phases of recovery.

      A day off means a day off. You can not work full time, then come home and work full time again. The gutters may not get cleaned out and weeds may grow in the garden, but you need to set priorities, and rest is a priority.

      Schedule rest. You will know when you are going to be tired. Keep a rigid schedule that allows you time to lay down and take a nap. Schedule blocks of time that allow you to do nothing, especially later in the week.

      Practice energy management. Make an energy budget. Balance rest versus activities. If you need to, write down your energy budget to begin with. Eventually, it will be second nature to you. Writing it down allows you the opportunity to view what is happening to your body and mind from a detached position and allows a more honest appraisal of what is going on.

      Avoid activities which bring little benefit and cost a lot of energy. For example, over-stimulation seems to sap my energy pretty quickly. Going to a shopping mall, which is designed to over-stimulate, or attending a birthday party at a video arcade may be activities which are not worth the cost.

      So, these are some things that work for me. I doesn’t really matter if they are practical or beneficial to you. I guess the point I am trying to make is that you can do this. Find strategies that work for you. Be proactive in coming up with a way to work without harming yourself.

      Good luck!


    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 3:10 pm

      I want to thank everybody for their help. I already feel better. Doc David- big relief. I was actually getting really worried. It helps to know I’m not decreasing my chance of recovery. Ken thanks for the hope. I think I will try to start slowly walking again. Gene- I will admit I tried to ride a horse 3 weeks ago. I actually did well for 15 minutes then got off and couldn’t walk well (ataxic/foot drag) for 2 weeks. Was so not worth it! Your 18 hour rule is very valid. Some things set you way back. Cara- I have a housekeeper. She is wonderful and so worth the money. I really couldn’t work and do heavy housework also. Go for it. Hire by your friends referral. Cheryl- I also thought about a electric scooter but my work is too fast paced for this to be practical. Plus the cost. I did for awhile use the Wal Mart one-really helped. Lee- I totally agree with you. I have an allotment of leg function and I conserve/pace myself all day(ie deliberate laziness). It is very anoying to be always conscious of this but totally necessary. Really good ideas.
      Everybody is so encouraging and it helps to know your are not alone in the struggle. Dr. Shawn

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 6:05 pm

      Dr. Shawn,

      I can so relate to your dilema. I know what kind of commitment it took for you to get to the point where you are now, and how hard you are working to keep things together with your practice.

      I don’t have any solutions for the problems you face, but just wanted to give you a little encouragment to keep up the fight. You are actually doing well at this point in your recovery to do what you are doing, but I know it’s hard to feel that right now.

      Hang in there, and know that I am cheering for you.


    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2007 at 8:42 pm

      Dr. Shawn,
      I am so glad you brought this up. I have to return to teaching or take another year off. I have decided that if I can get a doctor to sign this simple form, then the school district will hold a position for me next year and cover my benefits. I am of the opinion that walking too soon is bad. It does not make sense to me that putting pressure on the body while it is repairing is a good idea. I crawled on the floor for about four months and took it slowly when I could stand. I found that when I stood for any length of time my feet swelled and my healing regressed. I read about everyone getting PT. I got none. I wondered if when it came time to stand, I wouldn’t be able to. But I could. My muscles did not atrophy. I could only stand for a few seconds at the start but at least my legs held me up. I think doing it this way saved my muscles from damage. I do not take any pain medication like many of the other GBSers.
      I have considered what working would do to my health and I do not want to find out. I do not want to take the chance of hurting my body any further. I do not want to take a chance that it will return in any way. I may go stir crazy living in this little town with no friends, but I am going to give my body the rest that it needs.

      GBS Spring 1986 and Fall 2006

    • Anonymous
      July 7, 2007 at 2:40 pm

      Suzanne – thank you for the encouragement! Carloyn – I totally agree with your decision. I would have definitly waited to go back to work if I could have. I actually have signed a form like that for a teacher to lay off a year. It is a great service that some schools offer. If you are ready before the next year is out you can even sub or tutor to get your foot in the water.
      I don’t take pain meds either although there are times I have been tempted. I do almost ok with tylenol(takes some of the edge off). I have at times taken Niquil to knock myself out when it is really bad at night when I have overdone. When I don’t work I do fine. Pain is our bodies signal that we need to rest. I have thought about Lyrica or Neurontin but I’m leary of the sedation(I’m very sensitive to drozyness). I have to be on my game all the time at work and I have to keep up with the kids. I really feel for those on our forum that suffer so much more than myself. I agree best for us is rest. Dr. Shawn

    • Anonymous
      July 7, 2007 at 3:13 pm

      Just testing to see if my picture upload worked. Dr. Shawn

    • Anonymous
      July 7, 2007 at 3:16 pm

      trying again. I’m terrible at this computer stuff. Shawn

    • Anonymous
      July 7, 2007 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Doc Shawn: I really feel for you and your situation. I am a Jungian Analyst and had a private practice, was an adjunct professor at a graduate school, was a writer (four books and twice as many articles) and boom one day it was all gone. I decided to form my practice around my physical needs and so am working half time and have given up all my teaching and writing. I recommend the books of Arnold Mindell in all of which he discusses how to learn to listen to our bodies and let them help us decide what is right. I don’t know your situation but your body does not sound happy-I wonder if withdrawing from your current practice and creating your own around your needs is feasible. I took a big cut in money and am older than you so it was easier for me, but I recommend listening to your body and creating a life that gives it what it needs. As for recovery, we all know that means different things to different people and can be a very long process no matter what we do. I wish you the best. Jeff

    • Anonymous
      July 7, 2007 at 4:22 pm

      Dear Dr. Shawn:

      “Deliberate Laziness” sounds unnecessarily harsh. I prefer to use the term “strategic utilization of precious recources’. It almost sounds noble that way. I should go to work for the Pentagon.


    • Anonymous
      July 9, 2007 at 12:55 am

      LOL Hey honestly Im more tired than usual. I do what I can and soemtimes the bottom just drops out. Other times I recognize that I feel like Im pushing it. Hang in there

    • Anonymous
      July 9, 2007 at 5:45 pm

      Dr. Shawn,
      I am thinking of you and your family. Don’t have any real helpful advice or anything, just hope you work something out that allows you to find a balance. It must be so hard. I am pulling for you!

    • Anonymous
      July 10, 2007 at 12:22 am

      Jeff- I don’t know what a Jungian analyst is but I do understand loosing a career. I’m hanging on(hoping a recovery comes in time to keep my practice). I’m so sorry that you had to give all that up but it sounds like you have formed a modified career. If I could figure out how to do this I would. I am actually one of the 3 owners and the others pay rent to me. I could sell out but since the other 3 in my practice haven’t bought in I doubt they would be willing to buy now. I’m pretty stuck unless I’m willing to just give it away. Mr. Rogers – Good description. The bottom drops out alot for me. Worse later in the work week.
      Elaine- How is Lydia? Did you get that 2nd opinion? I have been wondering how your family was doing.
      Lee – My new theme is “stratigic utilization of precious resources”. Love it. You must be an optimist. It has been very humbling to have to accept help from family and friends. I will try to put a new positive take on this and accept, not fight, my limitations.

      Going out of town to Little Rock, AR for the Ark Academy of Family Practice meeting and Med education so my responses may be delayed. Good news – I will get to sit all day. A good utilization of resources! Dr. Shawn

    • Anonymous
      July 10, 2007 at 9:21 pm

      Good luck Dr. Shawn and have a safe trip.


    • Anonymous
      July 14, 2007 at 10:48 am

      I find if I over exert myself then I do get set backs. My advice is to take it nice and easy and let your body tell you how much you can do. I am kinda at a plateau now as far as exercise. Little walks and some sit ups. I would like to work my way up and I think it’s still possible but I just take baby steps. Afraid of the over doing it symptoms. Good luck! Roxie xoxoxo