How do you know when you've lost something really important? Perhaps only when you suddenly and unexpectedly find it again. And guess what? My mojo has suddenly and rather unexpectedly (for me) returned, and I'm not at all sure why. But I'm back and you know, I can really shake em down! (To quote The Contours from Do you love me)
Let me tell you the whole, sorry tale. Sadly I still can't dance, but yesterday, I felt 'normal' for the first time since some time in February 2018. Back then, we were in the middle of our campaign for the 2018 council elections. I can't remember the exact date, I didn't record it. I'd been out for a heavy night with some friends and woke up with a stinking hangover. I did what I always do, I went to the gym. Since 2011, when I was diagnose with Prostate cancer, I'd been going regularly to the gym. Two or three times a week, I'd row 10km, and would go hell for leather, doing this in around 37 minutes. The previous year, I'd hurt my knee and couldn't row. On this day, as part of my recovery, I decided to do 2km at full pelt, for the first time since my knee had recovered. I got to about1.2 km and suddenly got an absolutely blinding pain in my head and nearly fell off the machine. I immediately went and sat down. My head didn't feel right. I felt fuzzy. I went and sat in the Jacuzzi for a while and felt better but my head did not feel right.
I then did something very stupid. I was terrified of letting down Richard and Donna who were my co-candidates. We'd put loads of work in. I knew I should go and get it checked out, but suspected that this may interfere with our campaign. I stupidly thought that our campaign was more important than my health. My only mitigation was that I wasn't thinking entirely straight. So I told no one. But everything seemed ten times as hard. I found that I had a degree of short term memory loss, not severe, but I'd walk into a room and couldn't remember why I'd gone in, or start to look at my phone and forget what I was supposed to be looking at.
I vowed that when the campaign was over, I'd get it checked out. By May, when the campaign finished, I felt a bit better, not normal, but far less fuzzy. I thought no more of it and decided that it was best ignored. I'd avoided all sport apart from football. In August, I decided to start exericising again. I was very cautious, but had no further strange experiences. After a couple of weeks, I decided to start to build up my regime. As I started to move into the peak heart rate zone, I started to feel weird and as if I was going to have the same experience. So I thought it was sensible to stop. AT this, I decided to see a specialist. I was convinced that there was something seriously wrong. I had a brain scan and a consultation with a top guy. Hey said there was no evidence of anything unusual. He advised me to avoid pushing myself too hard and come back if anything changes.
Throughout 2019, had no further problems. I avoided the gym, but played football and did a lot of dog walking. I was still bothered by the fact I felt a bit fuzzy. I also found myself not really feeling like doing anything. When I saw friends, I felt fairly detatched from the conversation. People would say things and by the time I'd thought of a riposte, things would have moved on. I am a bit deaf, so this was part of the problem, but I definitely had lost my sharpness. I found writing blogs more of a chore. I simply wasn't enjoying the process and I couldn't do the detail as I used to. I simply couldn't concentrate on the documents too long, especially long and boring ones. I found I was dreading band rehearsals (although enjoying them when I got there). It didn't get worse, but I generally felt far more negative than at any time since I was 13. I very much kept all of this to myself.
At the end of 2019, we went away with friends for New Year. I was dreading it. I simply didn't want to be with a large group of people. To make matters worse, I started to feel ill. I had a temperature. I ached. I thought I may be getting lung cancer, as I had severe chest pains. I vowed that if the chest pains lasted more than 2 weeks, I'd go to see the doctor. Even more strangely, when our new years curry arrived, it tasted disgusting. Much to my irritation, all of my friends said it was lovely. I couldn't beleive that people who liked a beer and a curry could eat such slop and enjoy it. Every night I'd awake in a pool of sweat. I was completely lacking in energy. Whilst the worst of it passed by the time we returned, I felt totally wiped out until the start of March. I still did all of the things I needed to do, but it was all hard work. If I had those symptoms now, I may well have a covid test. As it is I am just one of the millions who think I've had it.
As March wore on and the weather improved, I started feeling OK again physically. But I still wasn't feeling right. As the year wore on, I found myself troubled by the fact that I simply didn't feel like doing anything. If I had to do something, I did it but with little enthusiasm. By September, we were at the height of the lifting of the lockdown. I still found myself lacking in energy. We took a couple of trips away. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed these, I also felt demotivated towards doing anything. With the onset of winter and new restrictions, I thought my mood may worsen.
However, much to my surprise, it didn't. There wasn't much to look forward to over Xmas and New year, but I found myself feeling more positive about it. As the news of the huge spike in Covid became clearer, I started taking multi vitamins, as I'd read that people with a vitamin D deficiency suffer worse symptoms. Christmas and New Year in our household is normally a boozy affair and this year was no different. As I wear a Fitbit, one interesting aspect is how much better my resting heart rate has been in the second half of the year. Clearly something has changed? Bear in mind we were locked down from March to June.
I should mention here my drinking habits. Last year I vowed to only drink on a maximum of 4 days a week. I'd stuck to this, apart from our holidays and managed this over Xmas. I also vowed to not drink for the first 14 days of January. I do feel that this has 'worked for me'.
As my head cleared after the New Year, I noticed something strange. Walking back from the studio after my shift yesterday in the sunshine, I noticed a very odd thing. For the first time since February 2018, I had no mental fogginess at all and felt absolutely great. My back and my knees still hurt, but I felt positive and focussed. We had a new TV delivered yesterday, as our old one packed up. Setting it up was no chore, neither was taking the old one to the dump. Nor was cooking the Sunday dinner (roast duck). My mood was further improved by a superb performance by Manchester City against Chelsea. Another thing that was clear. Things that have been a constant irritation for a goodly time do not bother me. Whilst walking the dogs, my knees hurt like hell, but I simply ignored it. Even seeing Boris talking nonsense on the box didn't spark the stream of invective that it might have done.
Waking up this morning, I noted that the improvement had persisted. I had a look at the Multi vitamins my wife had bought. I'd not even bothered checking, but along with vitamin C and D, it also contained vitamin B12. This intrigued me. For years my mother had regular B12 injections, as she was deficient following her brush with cancer. When she had these, I'd notice an almost immediate and very noticeable improvement in her congnitive functions (especially after her stroke). I discussed this with her doctors several times (for some reason they would always try and persuade her not to have the injections). They totally dismissed it. But here I am, for the first time in nearly two years feeling normal. In short I've got my Mojo back. I am not medically qualified to give advice, but it is very noticeable. Is it to do with the B12 supplement? I don’t know, but if it works for me I will stick with it
I told the whole story, so you can assess for yourself whether there is something else that I've missed. I suppose it is ironic that I've got my Mojo back when there is nothing to do, but hey ho. We were menat to go to the USA in September with friends. That didn't happen for obvious reasons, but I have found myself hoping that maybe we can do it in the Autumn, and seeing whether there are any gigs we can slip in en route. I've simply not been thinking like that. I genuinely feel that this will be a better year when we get over this blip.So keep safe and stick with it, for all our sakes.