Saturday, July 3, 2010

Marathon Post #1

Well hello blog, it has been a little while. I've been a little pre-occupied this past week - you know with PMS, the sister in town, crazy health issues etc. etc. -- but I've been dying to log on and write about it all because well let's face it - I am just no good at holding things in and I get this crazy, wonderful sense of relief in sharing - I can't help it, I must have been born with a gene for bubbling over.

Uhhh, can we start with icky health issues please? Because, well I have a lot that I need to get off my chest there. I apologize in advance if what I'm about to share is TMI, if you're at all squeamish about health issues, you may want to navigate away from this page now.

It all started the Sunday before the last. I was in the shower soaping up and I noticed a big lump on the side of my neck. I thought it was a little weird, but didn't think too much of it immediately and just carried on with life - you know like going for an hour run that evening and then waking up at 6 am the next morning for another hour run (not really so normal, eh...more to come on this later). On Monday morning after my run, I noticed this funny looking rash on my neck, but again didn't think much of it. My sister, who I was so excited to see was arriving that night and I figured whatever the rash was it would just clear up the next day and I also figured the lump on my neck would go down the next day.

So, the sister arrives, Monday passes, Tuesday passes, Wednesday passes and well the rash is still there and the gland in my neck is still sticking out so I started to get a little concerned---okay maybe more than a little concerned (I'm blaming extra PMS horomones for making me even extra edgy). Come Thursday, I had a complete melt down, yep, sure did, I admit it. The details of this would probably make you even more queasy then all this talk about rashes and lumpy necks - so I'll sum it up by saying that the melt down consisted of a very teary and frustrated phone conversation with loverboy (who is a complete saint might I add) and another teary, frustrated phone call with Kaiser and another teary, frustrated conversation with my sister.

I was stressed because for some reason I got in my head that I needed to go to Urgent Care that night and it was getting late and well Urgent Care was closed so the only other option was ER - which would have required a 2 hour plus wait. After a couple deep breaths, I realized, hey, I'm not dying - I can wait until tomorrow to see a doctor, which my goodness was such a simple realization but for some reason in my mental state sure wasn't easy to come to. My word it's amazing how cloudy the brain gets when you are frustrated - thank goodness for finally remembering to take a few deep breaths.

So yay, I had a dr. appt. scheduled for the next day, which brings me to the next chapter here. My scarring dr. appt. (yes, I am being extra dramatic here - it's my blog, I'm allowed). Again, this might be TMI but here I go. The doctor took a look at my rash and said she wanted the dermatologist to come in and take a look - so about 5 minutes later, in walked this man who must have been about 70 years old (I wonder if he could even really see my rash - sorry, can you tell I'm not a fan of this guy) - I knew he was crazy off the bat because he was wearing bright red plaid pants and took one look at me as I smiled and said hello, told me I had a pretty smile and then proceeded to ask if I was related to a doctor at Stanford after he saw my last name and said that he was one of the meanest doctors around and hated women - great comfort story doc, thanks. You sure know how to set people at ease. He took one look at my neck and said, "You have herpes and your boyfriend probably gave it to you." WHAT?!!?? "Yes and now you are a carrier for life and it's nothing to be concerned about, but it'll just be a goddamn nuisance." Thanks a lot for handling the diagnosis so sensitively guy.

Needless to say, I was completely unnerved. The doc sent me to the lab for blood tests to get confirmation that this was in fact what was causing my rash and sends me home for the weekend with a bottle of pills and a big, huge, stormy gray cloud hanging over my head -- telling me she will let me know what the test results say sometime next week. What? I have to wait a whole 2, 3, 4 or 5 days before I know for sure what's wrong with me and if I'm ever going to be able to kiss my boyfriend again without worrying.

Literally, I was depressed for the better half of the weekend, trying to deal with a lot of uncertainty.

Monday evening while I was at dinner with my sister, I got an email from Kaiser. Here is what it basically said,

"Your tests came back negative. The medicine you have will also take care of Shingles."

To be honest, I had kind of suspected that my rash was Shingles. I have a good friend from home who has had Shingles and I had called her earlier in the week to talk about it - and my symptoms sounded very similar.

Call me crazy, but I was relieved - Shingles is more or less a one time thing which is caused by the same virus that causes Chicken pox which lays dormant in the body and can be reactivated by a weakened immune system or stress.

I'm on medicine for it right now and things are healing up, although I am still lower energy than usual and suspect that might last for a little while.

So yes, back to the cause of this crazy thing - a weakened immune system or stress. Well, yes, I admit it - I have been stressed (do I sound like a broken record - just as I have the gene for bubbling over, I also have the gene for being a complete stress ball) and just downright not being as good at expressing gratitude. I was burning the candle at both ends again - I do this to myself about once a year - go until I have a melt down as evidenced by this blog now :). (I'm sure if I went back to a journal about a year ago - I'd be getting ready for a break down or talking about running around ragged and not making any relaxation time for myself.) Between coaching, work travel and then moving in April and traveling across the country again for my grandfather's funeral, starting a new relationship, a new position at work - I just know that I have not given my body a chance to recover from all that - I've just kept on going - waking up at 5 am a few days a week t0 exercise and then filling my evenings with one thing after another and completely convincing myself that I didn't need to just sit down and rest every now and then.

This week has been a wake up call for me in a big way - I know how I work by now and I know that I tend to make myself sick about once a year because I go, go, go and forget to rest- but up until this time around the sick has always manifested itself in a cold aka: familiar sick feelings like fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose etc- not in swollen glands that make me feel like an alien or weird, painful rashes - and to be honest - it kind of scared me. And for better or worse maybe that is actually what I needed to wake me up to realize that lifestyle changes need to be made before I create a more serious end-result for myself.

So I mean it this time, something in my lifestyle needs to change. And let's be real - I know what it is - my obsession with working out. Yes, I admit it, I'm addicted and obsessed with the endorphin rush/ego boost of working out. This is an area of my life where I completely lack balance. My little addiction probably officially started my freshman year of high school - when my passion for basketball officially took off and I started "training" to be the best basketball player I could be. It got a little more intense when I made the decision to play college basketball and it got even a little more intense when I finished my college basketball career and started to seek out new ways to stay in shape. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not as crazy obsessed as say an ultramarathoner may be but I do think that my obsession with a hobby that is "healthy" has actually become a little toxic for me. It's not that I don't enjoy working out, but it has got to a point where I actually get stressed out about being able to fit in a workout and if I can't I get crabby - you know probably how a drug addict feels if they can't get their fix (sorry for the drama again). But in all seriousness - this is not a balanced approach to exercise or life. When planning an activity with friends during the week causes stress because it makes me worry about how I am going to fit my 6 exercise sessions in, it's gone too far. I'm not exactly sure how to begin to change this mind frame - but I know that it needs to change. Any suggestions?

Being so low energy this past week and a half has forced me to go from 60 t0 0 which requires a lot of patience because not working out for a week and a half is something I haven't done since I was probably 13. Even when I was backpacking through Europe, I woke up in the morning to go running.

As I approach the big 28, I know that new life phases - like potentially having kids one day will mean that I need to adopt a more flexible attitude towards work outs. And to be honest, it would be great to work to adopt some life habits that allow me to prevent getting to a point like this. And again, I know what tends to happen with me - I get sick and run down - swear to myself that I am going to take it easier once I am healthy again and start to do that - but eventually get right back into obsession mode and burn myself out.

I am starting to brainstorm some ideas about things that I can do to achieve balance. Here's what I've got so far...

1) Workout 5 days a week instead of 6.
2) I'm banning myself from 5 am workouts
3) Potentially shifting my work hours from 8-5 ish to 9-6ish to perhaps allow for a morning workout with out waking up at the break of dawn and allowing evenings to be free.

Alright I guess I should make an official committment here because goodness knows that if I don't - I'll keep on doing exactly what I'm doing and see you back here in a year with my latest stressy, sob story.

So I'm doing it, I'm committing to only working out 5 days a week instead of 6. I know this may sound a little absurd still - 5 days instead of 6 - big whoop right? But being at the point that I am at right now, it's a pretty big step and a little harder for me to swallow than it might sound.

Crazy as it might sound, I get a little squeamish myself at the thought of taking an extra day off. The good thing is - after a week of not working out, I have realized how much time/energy is freed up for other things that I love to do or even for just vegging out in front of the TV - which is actually kind of fun and super relaxing every now and then. And I won't lie, it's kind of a beautiful thing to wake up on a Saturday morning and to just be completely lazy instead of rushing out the door for a yoga class or a spin class or a run.

I will do my best to remember both of those thoughts when I get tempted to head to the gym on the 6th day :).

Whew - so there's my health story/thoughts - in the mean time there's been a whole lotta other stuff going on, which, I will save for Marathon Post #2.

Hugs to ya blogosphere - thanks for reading.

1 comment:

lefteyedgirl said...

Take care of yourself!! And damn that doc was ALL WRONG and I'm glad that you got the right treatment in the end, but goddamn.... way to screw up, Doc!!

Hmm... ya know that biking to and from work might be a nice built-in workout for you? You don't have to push hard and you get to enjoy the sunshine... Just sayin... It's also such a good way to relieve stress after work on the way home.