Now that I'm back from 'vacation', I've been getting back into my exercise routine. There is a 60km bike ride in September that I've been looking into which means that I need to get my butt in gear.
I went for a short ride yesterday when there was a quick break between the sprinkling and found it much harder than a week ago. The hills were hillier and the descents were less relaxing. This morning's ride went about the same way. My plan was a 20km loop but I ended up only doing a 8km one due to my increased panting and gasping for air. I'm still happy about 8km, it's better than 0, but I'm a bit frustrated that I was finding it so hard to breathe.
I don't think the struggle was due to de-conditioning as much as the oppressive humidity that has hit the area. While my body was tired, the limiting factor was very much my struggle to breathe. It felt like the air was pressing down onto my lungs while I fought to pedal my way through the cloud of clammy, thick, unmoving air. It was not enjoyable.
I now start to mentally spiral a bit whenever I find it hard to breathe, even if it's because I've decided that it's a good idea to bike up a giant hill in miserable weather. My thought process goes from 'wow, it's weird that I'm short of
breath after that small hill' to 'I wonder why I'm tired' to a full out
panic of "MY LUNGS ARE FAILING!!!'
No, it's not rational. The brain rarely panics in a rational manner. I know that no one breaths well in high humidity. And that most people get short of breath while biking up hills. I also need to keep reminding myself that I'll still get short of breath quicker than regular people as I still only have 62% of my expected lung capacity and that while I am much stronger, my body is still strengthening. I just need to silence that part of me that feels as though I should be invincible by now. After all, it's been a whole 8 months since I had my organs replaced.
I don't think the lungs failing panic will ever really go away. It seems as though my pre-transplant panic about what would happen if I didn't get a transplant and the entire transplant process has been swapped with fear of infections and rejection. It pops up whenever I have a coughing fit (yes, I still get those occasionally), or when I cough once around my family (as they panic and ask me why I'm coughing), or when I find it hard to breathe, even if it's caused by weather or hills or both.
While I'm pretty sure my struggle biking the last few days are mostly weather related, I am happy that I have pft testing on Thursday just to double check everything.