That swimmer loves to swim, to race. She sometimes even wins a race, but not often. She usually finishes well, but it always seems like the other swimmers around are better for the race while she's done in at the end. Paying very careful attention to her lifestyle, she wonders why its so difficult to establish a comfortable routine. She tires slowly and recovers more slowly, exhaustion lingering as the others party on the beach in the evenings.
One day, she wants to race badly, but her energy level has reached new depths as her pain soars. Usually, she'd just muddle through the painful fatigue, but it's unrelenting this time. Everything she loves has become an annoyance at best. Even opening her eyes in the morning seems a chore and promises glaring light, jarring noises and an ocean that threatens to drown her if she just dips in a toe. This day, she cries out for help.
A lifeguard runs to her saying, "Hey! What are you doing? You can't swim like this."
She says, "Its been harder and harder to compete lately, but I really don't know why."
"Well, we usually don't dictate what kind of swim suit people can wear here at the beach. But, I just gotta tell you, that chain mail will get you nowhere. You might even drown swimming in that stuff."
"Oh, this? Well, I can't seem to get it off. I figured it was okay as long as I could still get my head above water. But, lately, every time I get out of the water, it takes everything just to walk on the wet sand back to my towel. I just can't do it anymore."
He helps her across the wet sand, "Come on. Let's get you someplace where you can get out of this monstrosity and find something appropriate."
So, its not a perfect analogy. Chain mail would definitely be a choice, and a stupid one at that. As a matter of fact, I just took on, not off, a bit of metal mesh. Also, I am well aware - this is for all you psychoanalysts out there - that life is not a competition. It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Play the hand your dealt. I could go on, but why?
My Chiari malformation was conferred at birth, and I had to go through brain surgery to attempt getting rid of it. Did the surgery even work? I'm still walking through the wet sand rather slowly. I can't even swim again yet. The best we can say at the end of week two is: So far, so good.