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David's Experience: Running with post-stroke Fatigue

David is a stroke survivor and participant in Experiencing Fatigue.

He explains how fitness and physical exhaustion have little to do with his of post-stroke fatigue.

Last year I ran a half marathon, it was tough and at the end I was tired. The atmosphere was fantastic with the crowds cheering and shouting encouragement I felt great. I slept well that night

A few days later I was in the office, several people had arrived for a meeting and everybody was talking over each other. Someone else was asking me questions about a job we had planned and two phones were ringing. Within minutes I was feeling tired, really tired. I have post stroke fatigue, I have no way to filter the conversations in the room, I hear every word people are saying. My eyes fleet between each area in the room, I’m overwhelmed and soon I’m completely exhausted, so tired that I’m getting scared thinking about how on earth I’ll manage to get to the train station to go home. So tired that I’m unable to function at all. So tired that I feel sick.

It can be difficult to understand how physical tiredness and neurological fatigue are not the same thing, but they are so completely different.

Since my stroke I’ve seen lots of doctors, lots of neurologists and I’ve told them about my fatigue. They’ve asked me a few questions about my lifestyle, do I smoke, do I drink, do I sleep ok. Then the question about am I active, do I exercise. As soon as I tell them about my running, that I can do 5-10k several times a week, that’s it finished, sometimes they even laugh. There seems to be so little understanding in the medical world about neurological fatigue, about how it can be a thing in its own right and not just lumped in with physical tiredness.

I’ve learnt a few techniques to try to cope, but it’s debilitating, it rules your life, it takes over.

Time to get my running shoes on, I need to improve my 5k time.


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