Me and Dzangel

Me and Dzangel
RMC 5K 2007

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Crossing my fingers and pondering

It's been a couple months so apparently it's time for an update. Whether you want one or not! I've been putting this off until I had some solid information. I do enough babbling without a topic.
I've been done with my latest course of medication for babesia for approximately one month. I definitely feel better. I've got some energy back. I don't ache quite as much. I suppose you could say I'm hopefully optimistic. I didn't have another blood draw to confirm this so I am just going on my gut feelings. My primary care physician felt another blood test wasn't warranted due to my feeling better. I'm good with that since I was beginning to feel like a human pincushion. If I start feeling "bleh" again, I'll get poked.
On to other issues. Man, getting older really isn't what I imagined.
I went back to the doctor to finally, hopefully get my back/hip issues resolved. After exhausting all other options I finally had an MRI a couple weeks ago. That test lead to an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. I got lucky again. The doctor I saw is a runner. It helps having a physician who can appreciate and understand my concerns and questions.
After a few more x-rays it appears my I have a pretty nice case of arthritis and wear and tear of my hips. Hmmm..... I wonder how this could occur? So now I'm on an NSAID for a month, to see if that will help. I've headed back to the gym to work on some strength and conditioning. That is my own prescription. It can't hurt, right? Surgery to reshape my hip bones was discussed but I really don't like the sound of that. I'm leaning towards a more diverse training plan. And listening to my body more closely. Maybe even-GASP- taking a rest day here and there. But don't count me out just yet. I have some grand plans for 2016. I'll be turning the big 55. That means a new age group and new goals. But, I will be smarter and wiser. That comes with age, right?
I'm remaining optimistic. Yeah, I know. If you really know me you know how funny that statement is. But it's true. One way or another I am going to figure out a plan and come back as strong, or stronger that ever. Just watch and see. Again, if you really know me, it's going to take a lot more that this to keep me down!
Thanks for reading and following along. It is much appreciated!
Medical disclaimer (does that sound legal and official?). Not my hip x-ray. But that is what a normal hip should look like.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hindsight is 20/20. But will I learn?

It's been a couple weeks since my last post and I've been thinking. Scary, I know!
Not to sound like I'm whining but it was a rough week. To say I was tired last week is a huge understatement. No energy, listless and just generally out of sorts. The runs and ride I did were lackluster at best. I just never felt "good". That's the only way I can describe it. Nothing I could really put my finger on. But the time spent on the trails and road gave me plenty of time to think.
What really got me thinking was feeling like I was constantly sucking air. I felt like I could never take a good deep breath. Like someone was giving me the worlds tightest bear hug. I started to wonder how long this damn bug has been giving me fits. I remember telling Tammy that after a few WORS races back in 2012. I had races where my legs would feel good but I just couldn't catch my breath. I just chalked that up to not enough/too much/the wrong kind of training. Now looking back I wonder if maybe it wasn't my training but my parasitic pals.
That's how the athlete's mind works. I know I'm not an elite athlete, but I try damn hard. And when I have a bad day it must be something in my training regimen. And I'll bet any athlete worth his weight in sweaty workout gear will admit to the same thing, at least some of the time. It never occurred to me to see my friendly GP. Just train harder. Or - gasp!!!- take a rest day! Would an earlier visit have nipped this in the bud? Who knows.
Now a disclaimer. I know it's not a good idea to self diagnose using the tubes of the interweb but I prefer to call it research. Apparently my little shortness of breath can be a symptom of babesia. I like the term some of the web pages use. Air hunger. That's just what it feels like. Like I want to take a big deep breath but I can't quite fill my lungs. It feels like that next deep satisfying breath is right around the corner but it never arrives. I don't always feel like this. The feeling comes and goes. Sometimes it seems to be more in the back of my mind and it doesn't really bother me. Other days, or weeks, I feel like I'm trying to breathe through a straw.
I guess the gist of this post is don't hesitate to see your friendly physician when you don't quite feel right. People who know me well are going to laugh very hard at that last statement! The least that will happen is he/she will laugh and say "train a little harder"! Or they might dig a little deeper and find a little something and treat it before it becomes a big something.
I'll end this by saying I'm keeping a positive attitude even if it may not seem that way. I know I'm lucky to be able to get out and run or ride or whatever I may choose on any given day. I'll take the good days and enjoy them. The not so good days will come and go. And I really believe I'll beat this. Three more weeks, give or take on this dose of meds and then I will know for sure.
Just a few links if you're inclined to know more.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cautiously, but not overly optimistic

Ding ding! Round three!
Here I go again. It seems my babesia just won't give up. This time it's six weeks of the yummy yellow metallic tasting Atovaquone and Azithromyicin. It's been just over a week since I started, or should that be restarted the medications. And I feel better. At least I think I do. I've got a little more energy, although it's hard to tell on 11-7 shift. The joint/hip/abdominal pain is not as bad. Tolerable would be an apt description. I can manage that but I don't like thinking that way. I'd rather it was gone altogether.
 I suppose that's how I've been thinking lately. What am I willing to accept? How much pain will I put up with? I really don't like where that leads. Although it may not seem to be the case I've cut back on my running and cycling. And I really don't like where that leads. I'm not happy when I have to sit back and spectate. I prefer to participate. For better or worse, it's one way I define who I am. As I'm getting older I might have lost a step or two and I may not have quite the endurance I once had but I can accept that. We all lose a little as we age. It's knowing I should be able to pick it up, push the pace or go the extra mile and just can't that's been driving me bonkers. 
But I'm not going to give in and let this get the best of me. So I'm slower. More time to enjoy the scenery. I can't go as far. I guess I need to find newer routes to explore. I will just cross my fingers, swallow my medicine and hope I kick those nasty bugs this time. Hopefully by the beginning of November I'll have good news.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Back to square one!?

It appears that it has been a few weeks, so that would mean it's time for me to empty the old cranial cavity. I'll try to keep this short. No promises.
I just finished three glorious weeks of vacation. Nothing special during those weeks. No big trips or fancy getaways. Just three weeks away from the same old same old. Now it's back to the salt mine and shift work.
And it also looks like it's back to the same old same old when it comes to dealing with my little pain in the bloodstream pals. I thought I had my bout with babesiosis beat-finally. The dose of nasty tasting Atovaquone and some antibiotics led to one "all clear" test result while I was still taking them. Fingers crossed. Felt good for a couple weeks. No aches, no pains (okay, not enough to complain about), felt a little pep in my step. Maybe even some endurance sneaking back. One more blood test to make sure I had the evil little bastards licked. And guess what??? THEY'RE STILL THERE!!! I had a bad feeling even before the result came back. I had a few good days, but it seemed like the bad days were winning again. The achy joints came back with a vengeance. I had a few days where it felt like staying awake and alert was all I could do. I'm starting to feel a little bit angry, depressed and confused. Will I ever get rid of this? I'm not sure what the next course of action is, but I'm not very optimistic. I suppose that's the pessimist in me.
But, I'm not going to let it stop me from doing what I enjoy. It may slow me down. It may make some days shorter than I would like. It just isn't going to completely shut me down. So, if you're running, riding or ???? with me over the next little while, cut me a little slack. I don't mean treat me with kid gloves and go too easy. Just give me a chance to catch up once in a while. Give me a minute to get my wind back and regroup. I'll still be out there. I just may be a step or two slower. And ya know, I'm okay with that!
Thanks again for letting my use this forum to put thoughts to (computer) paper. That really helps!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Three weeks to get back some fitness-or at least a start

Finally! Vacation!! Three weeks during which time I will not even think about work. Time to catch up on some projects around the house. Time to try and get some running miles on these tired old legs. I'd at least like to get close to where I was in 2013. Feeling like I could choose to run a race a week out and know I would be ready. Heading out the door for a run and the only deciding factor was how much time did I have before I had to be home again. I know this won't happen in these short three weeks, but I'd sure like to get a foot in the door. Or is that a foot out the door? I know, slow and steady. I'm ready to do this and do it right. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Back again-again

It's been a long time since I've sat down and put fingers to keyboard. I guess I just haven't really had much to say. I've always intended this as a way for me to recap training and racing and there hasn't been much of either for over a year! But, I'm hoping that is going to change. 
My last few posts have concerned my hit and miss training and racing over the last year. Some of that had to due with my health. Fighting a disease, babesiosis,  I've been learning more about but still don't know enough. . I thought I had it beat late last summer. Apparently I didn't. Late fall 2014 and through the winter I just kept feeling.....sub par, slow, lethargic. sore, achy.....I think you get the gist. 
I never even dusted off the cross country skis all winter. My back and hips hurt too much. I passed up the Birkie. Running would have me sore and moving gingerly for days. I moved my spring 50K down to a half marathon. Biking wasn't too bad, but I just didn't have any endurance or energy. 
Tammy got on my case again to go to the doctor and get some answers. I had a couple months before I could get in so I started doing some research and began to wonder. Did I ever really get rid of my little parasitic friends? After having a crazy amount of blood drawn, I patiently waited. And it turns out I was right. I still tested positive for babesia. So, more antibiotics and more of the amazing-glow-in-the- dark-neon-yellow-metallic-tasting medicine. Two weeks worth of pills and liquids. And finally some good news. My blood test two days ago showed no parasites! One more blood test in four weeks and I might believe I've got it beat. 
I do think, or hope, I've got it kicked this time. The fatigue is slowly disappearing. That could take a while. My back pain is almost 100% gone. According to the latest x-rays, there are still some issues, but the lack of pain is amazing. I've got a little more energy. My joints don't ache like they did. I'm starting to believe the nasty critters swimming around in my blood were really causing more havoc than I ever imagined they could. 
So now it's time to slowly get back on track. I just got done with a 12 hour co-ed duo race at Wausau24. Low key, fun and relaxing. But I felt good on the bike. No aches or pains the day after-not counting a few small crashes. I'm adding some running miles to the training. That seems to be the hardest to get back. The miles seem slow and plodding. But I know running fitness will come back in time. 
So, I'm crossing my fingers that I'm heading back to where I was in 2013. That's my goal. Effortless and enjoyable miles. I may not be as fast or get that level of endurance again. I'm fine with that. I just want to feel healthy!
Thanks for letting me ramble. I'll be back-writing, racing and rambling!