The Unexpected Incident in the Street

Back in November, at the very beginning, I was running and feeling pretty great. In fact, while I was out running with Charlie, like we had been doing three times a week with walk days in between, I was thinking just how good I felt. It had been raining earlier that morning and I was actually excited to be out in the inclement weather even though during this short 3 mile run around my neighborhood it didn’t rain a drop!

I have not been running more than 3 miles per run. I want to run more, but have been tentative because of my history with Plantar Fasciitis. Let me repeat that: HISTORY! I am optimistic that it won’t come back as it has been over 9 months since my PRP injection which is the longest run to date that I’ve been pain free.

But… on this one particular overcast, wet morning in my highs of running euphoria, an unexpected incident occurred. I am not even sure exactly how it happened, but next thing I know while my head was chanting how great I feel… I was quickly tumbling to the pavement. On a downhill slope on the left side of a street, there I was smack on the hard cement. I lost the grip on the leash and thankfully Charlie heard me shriek her name (she runs out in front of me—the sled dog that she is) and she came back! I wasn’t sure she would as Huskies are known to be runners. A lady at the humane society had told me when I was looking for a rescue this:

What do you call a husky off leash?

Gone.

As if that didn’t freak me out about ever letting the leash go? Yikes! But Charlie is a good girl and she came right to me and it was comforting to know she was concerned that I had fallen. My other good blessing was that a neighbor was out in his front yard and he heard me squeal and came to my aid. Because, seriously, I don’t know how I would have gotten up without his assistance! It felt like I had broken my foot. I limped, with his help, over to his house and we put Charlie in his car and I sat at the edge of his car seat. I took a moment and assessed my injuries. Thankfully during the nosedive I had defaulted to the ice skater in me, knowing how to fall on hard surfaces. I managed to just hit my forearm which was covered in an arm warmer so I only had a mild abrasion. No other marks. My face saved, thankfully.

While I was taking inventory the man offered to drive me home, but my runner’s mind told me to just wait a tad and I’d be able to run home. LOL and WTF? Have I not learned a dang thing?? Needless to say, adrenaline had kicked in so I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly. Additionally, I didn’t know this guy and although I appreciate a good samaritan, there is so much ugliness out there, I don’t trust anyone and didn’t feel comfortable having him know where I live, let alone getting into his car. How sad it is really, but did you see No Country for Old Men? Because scary shit happens.

 

street
The site of the incident (and said truck!) I’m guessing that I tripped over that uneven pavement, but I don’t remember at all how I tumbled to the ground.

About 10 minutes had passed and I felt like I could bare weight on my left foot, the same foot that had the PF incidentally, so I thanked him and told him I was good to go. I gingerly walked down the hill as if I was just fine and turned onto the next street out of sight. Then, [stupidly] I actually tried to “run” but that was quickly nipped, the pain so intense, and it brought me back to limping. Of course at this very moment Charlie took a poop, so now not only was I limping the remaining  ¾’s of a mile to home, but I was also carrying a weighty bag of poop! Suddenly the ride was seeming like the better idea!
**Let me just note here: I always pick up my pooch’s poop. I hate that so many people don’t pick up after their dog. It’s really irresponsible and reprehensible as a pet owner to not and it drives me bonkers how much poop litters our streets and neighborhoods.
PEOPLE PICK UP YOUR DOG’S POOP OR STAY HOME!

Back at home, I sat down, pulled off my shoe and sock and saw my ankle. It was swollen the size of a baseball. I started to cry. Because. Just because.

Then I got some ice and iced it. I also got a ankle compression sleeve and wore that for a week. It was black and blue the second day. I saw the doctor a week later and she said it was sprained and had me get a lace up ankle bootie and I wore that religiously. She said I could walk on it. I had taken a week and a half off. When the bootie arrived I went out for a walk the next day-if you own a husky you know that walks are not to be missed OR ELSE!! My ankle still hurt a little, but I had to keep moving. And walking wasn’t too difficult.

Fast forward to today. It’s been about 11 and a half weeks since the incident in the street and even though I am still walking, I am not pain free. In fact at the end of 2017, I went in to get an X-ray because I was still in so much pain. The X-ray’s showed no broken bones. Then 2 weeks later I saw a foot specialist and showed him how I am completely unable to move my foot into a pointing position. Just zero mobility there. This is 10 weeks out from the injury date!

 

no pointing
I’m equally pointing both feet here… wah!

He told me to wear a different ankle brace, which he gave me, that offered compression and stability, which the lace up had only offered stability. He said that the compression should help with the inflammation that I was still exhibiting. He gave me some exercises to do multiple times a day, which I will just say have been difficult to do even one time a day because of the pain, and told me if there is no improvement in 3 weeks time I will have to get an MRI to see what is going on. I have another week and a half, but so far, the mobility has been minimal, if at all, in terms of progress. At least he told me I could walk Charlie 3-4 miles a day as long as it’s on flat ground. I already knew, from trying, that hills were just too painful and if not for Charlie pulling me up them I would have not navigated them at all.

So for now, walks it is and that is better than nothing.

Charlie walking
Run or walk, Charlie doesn’t care—just as long as we go!

I think about running while I’m walking, which is good, because I am determined to run again. People often tell me to stop running but I am not going to listen. Non-runners just don’t understand I am am not going to take the time to explain. It’s just not going to happen. There are tons of runners out there with worse hardships than plantar fasciitis and sprained ankles working hard and running miles and miles. I find inspiration in them. So, no… not going to stop even if it’s only 3 miles a day. It’s my sanctuary and I still see more miles ahead of me.

This is the first time I’ve sprained an ankle.
How have you dealt with a sprained ankle from running?

Has the pain lasted this long?

I’d love to hear from you!!

 

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Rungirl Gets Revamped!

It’s been months since I’ve written anything here, but I am striving to be more present writing instead of wasting time on things like facebook! :-O)

I’ve changed the title header on my blog page [which may change again if I find a better title] because I don’t ramble so much about running anymore as my running regimen has changed. (My URL will remain the same.) These days I have a new partner on the streets and she must be introduced.

Meet Charlie.

Charlie is a purebred Siberian Husky. And she is a GIRL! (even though she appears to be a male and likes to pee like one, lifting her leg). She came to us via online adoption from her previous parents who couldn’t take her because of an emergency move in which they couldn’t keep her. She was 2-1/2 yrs old then. We couldn’t have scored any better in adopting a dog. I highly recommend it. This photo of her was  taken the day we brought her home. She can certainly have a formidable and fierce look about her. I will admit, I was a tad nervous about her initially. Even though she came from a nice young couple, you never know what you are getting yourself into. Luckily, for us, she is a wonderful companion and I laugh now at how I felt a bit intimidated by her.

IMG_2077
Wolf… I mean woof!

One thing about huskies, if you didn’t know, is that they are very high energy beasts. They are very smart and if they don’t get regular exercise to burn that energy, they will get into all sorts of mischief. I’ll save those stories for another time maybe.

I had been getting back into running the early last fall, with her. She needs to get exercised at least once, if not twice, a day. Initially, because I had done that PRP shot just before we got her (in fact, I was still in my walking boot when we got her), I was just walking her and very nervous about my foot. But after a few months, we are running!

YAY!!! [Cue the marching band!]

We hadn’t been running that far and usually our runs include walk breaks, this also gives Charlie a chance to “smell the roses” if you will. We tend to run just about 3 miles now. Still with walk breaks. As I type that I question why I am taking these breaks, but maybe this illustration will clue you in.

sled dogs meme

You see, Charlie is fast out the gate. I often wonder what my neighbors think when they see her leading dragging me down the street. We are running at such a quick gait, that I have had to stop and walk before I even hit a mile. It’s truly a thing of beauty running behind her though, she runs so effortlessly, but I can’t fully keep up at her initial speed and it’s only towards the 2 mile mark that she slows down and runs more at my comfortable pace. Then I enjoy the run with her more. Unfortunately by this time, I’ve already blown a fair amount of my energy in that first mile, so the remainder has been a push. It is starting to get better though and I am happy about that.

The above paragraphs were written back in September. Running became better and better. Up until November. Stay tuned.

Balancing Act

This past week has been a test of my will and strength. I had never experienced using crutches before and have always thought, in my simple mind, it can’t be that hard/bad. Boy was I mistaken.

I should add that I went snowboarding last weekend prior to my PRP procedure and in a “skilled” move, looking to take a rest break, I sat back in the snow and bruised my tailbone. Ouch! Not only did that ruin the rest of my ski trip-because I couldn’t risk falling again, but as anyone who has done this knows, sitting hurts and it takes weeks for it to heal. Now add crutches and only balancing on one foot. Yay me! 😊 

So this is how my week has been. It’s bad enough to have you foot totally immobilized and unusable, but having to sit and roll on your tailbone to facilitate getting pants on over said boot, bending to tie shoe on the good foot, sitting on hard tile in bathroom trying to pull plastic boot cover on so you can shower…. ouch, ouch, ouch. You get it. No fun. The tailbone hurts way more than my foot, which doesn’t hurt at all. That’s the most important thing.

In fact, every part of my body hurts except my booted leg and foot. Hobbling around in crutches for the entire week has been quite the workout! The first couple of days I could barely get around without breaking a sweat! Nothing like a swift reminder of just how OUT OF SHAPE one is!! My right leg has had to balance and hop, perform single leg squats and pretty much bare all my body weight, which has accumulated since I haven’t run like I once did. It took about 3 days for my body and mind to adjust to this new way of getting around.

I have found it very interesting how our minds and body adapt to our circumstances. Survival instincts kick in. Or at least our capacity to invent. Ingenuity. How will I get from point A to point B with the things I need to carry when I have no extra set of arms? (use a handled bag) It really made me feel how fortunate I am that this is only temporary. How so many other people in the world are faced with certain disabilities and adversities and overcome them. We find a way to move on with our limitations. We don’t just give up. 

I’ve learned to manage my way, figuring out that I can do quite a lot of things left to my own devices. When my boyfriend is gone at work all day I have no choice but to get up and help myself. I am grateful and fortunate that our bathroom shower has a seated area (which I hadn’t given thought to before) so I can sit to wash my hair/shave my leg, etc. That the tub edge is wide enough to sit in so I could dry my hair. The kitchen is set up well too. The island is just close enough to the back counter that I could pass a plate or glass back and forth and slide it along to where I would need to, so I could feed myself (somewhat). In fact, our house is fairly handicap accessible. It’s one level and the only hiccups were entering the garage because it has a step down and getting into the shower-slippery and a step up and over. That scared me the most, but I figured it out and managed not to fall. I was mostly limited by the balancing on one leg. An out of shape leg that got tired fairly quickly. 

One night I was adventurous (or determined) and committed to cooking dinner. I had my boyfriend get the dry necessities down from the pantry shelves and place next to the stove that morning.

When it came time, I gathered the remaining items from the refrigerator and since I couldn’t carry all of them, I threw them to my workstation I was setting up so I didn’t have to go back and forth. This is what it looked like:


With all the pieces in place, I dragged one of the tall kitchen chairs over (thankful for slippery wood floors) gingerly sat down (remember my tailbone) and set to create my famous minestrone soup. Yes, beer IS part of the recipe. And yes, I ended up having to get a second one out because I drank the first while chopping up my ingredients. I’m human. And it tastes so good.

The soup turned out great and I know my boyfriend was thrilled he didn’t have to come home from work and try to figure out dinner, which is NOT his forte! That’s my department.

I have watched A LOT of TV this past week. I’ve been reading a bit too. It’s been restful, trying at times, as well as filled with tons of time for contemplation. I am grateful for all I have in this life and the ability to adjust to micro changes, temporary inability and self discovery. When faced with challenges it’s good to know that I can figure out how to make things work with limits. It has been a good lesson in not surrendering to defeat. It’s been nice to have help for sure but it’s also been nice to realize I can do things on my own as well. 

I’m hoping today is my last day on the crutches. I’ll be speaking with my doctor later and seeing how the foot feels. I’ve babied it all week and with that the hope is I will be able to bare weight on it and start my new job (I’m very excited) tomorrow with only the walking boot. I’m additionally thankful that my new boss already knows and is cool with it. 👍🏻

Abracadabra ⭐️⭐️⭐️ plantar fasciitis be gone!

Oh it’s been so long since I’ve written here, but I’m hoping that is going to change starting now. 

I peeked at my Facebook today (my New Years resolution is to stay off FB and check in once a month, which so far I have accomplished). But I peeked today, looking only at my “memories” which, I might add,  I haven’t liked being reminded over the past year of how many miles I used to run. Those posts have become a sad, distant memory for me. Today’s memory was just poetic- I was reminded that I had a cortisone injection 3 years ago today in my left foot for plantar fasciitis. I think that was the second of a total of three injections over the past 5 plus years for said injury. 

As I write this, I’m laying supine on my bed, my wrapped and booted left foot propped up on a super thick pillow, cat tucked in for a nap. A giant sigh escapes my body. 


Two days ago I had a procedure -a PRP injection – done on my foot. After 5 plus years of on and off chronic plantar fasciitis I decided to try something that will hopefully (and let’s all say a positive prayer for me right now) and finally end this injury. 

I researched, about a year and a half ago when I had my last flare up, shock wave therapy and found a doctor who is local (SF Bay Area) who does that procedure and does house calls, but at the time didn’t pursue him because insurance doesn’t cover the procedure and I didn’t want to spend the money when I was already paying for health insurance. I went to my regular podiatrist and that is when I received my third cortisone shot and was back in my walking boot. That worked as far as no heel pain and I only ran very short distances, 3-5 miles, closer to the 3 mile range and with walk breaks. I was terrified my PF would return if I did anything more. 

Last year I managed to run three 5K’s (2 of which I placed 1st and 2nd) and one 10K trail run (Angwin to Anguish), in the rain, where I was squeaked out of 3rd and got 4th. The 3rd place lady bamboozled me- but I won’t go there. It’s a great race btw, very scenic and hilly. 

 

The last 5K was a Turkey Chase here in Napa Valley. The whole family participated.


That was the last time I ran, and since then I’ve been mostly walking on my treadmill. After work, I’d jump on my treadmill and binge watch Netflix getting in about 20 miles of walking in a week. 

I could feel a tinge of pain in my heel coming on, but ignored it until about a month ago. The pain was coming back and I couldn’t really continue walking like I was. 

Enter depression. On top of having to put down my sweet golden retriever of 15-1/2 years in mid January, something that still makes me sad,  the pain was back and I was feeling hopeless. I would sit and think, why? Why when I finally found something that made me super happy, that made me feel like a superhero, that inspired me to push myself and encourage others, that made me feel like my life had purpose, why was this taken from me? Yes, I was feeling very sorry for myself. 

I was interested in the shock wave therapy again and decided to see if I could get that done. I called my podiatrist and asked if I could do it. Typical doctors office response “we haven’t seen you in 15 months, so you need to come in first and have the doctor exam you.” Yes, so he can tell me the same thing and charge me more. This doctor too, advised me to stop running. This is just not an option. 

Enter Doc On The Run. I emailed him all that I have been through with the laundry list of therapies I’ve done to rid myself of PF. Nothing has permanently gotten it to go away. 

Doc On The Run isn’t your ordinary podiatrist. He’s an award winning foot surgeon who is himself an athlete, runner, cyclist, ironman. Who better to consult with than someone who can relate and is an expert in the field? I’d been on his email podcast list since I researched him a year and a half ago and because I am in between jobs this week, wanted to take advantage of this time off to fix my foot once and for all! Unlike my old podiatrist who couldn’t move quickly, Dr. Segler was on it. He called me right away and we talked about my options.  We set up a formal consultation for the next day (this was last Thursday before my week off) and he told me all the options I could choose from and recommended the PRP injection as my best treatment. Taking advantage of having this week to recover he arranged for the procedure to happen on Monday giving me the entire week to rest my foot before starting my new job. 

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Dr. Segler and his services. He is available 24/7 to answer questions. He responds within hours of any emails. He calls on the Weeknd. HE MAKES HOUSE CALLS! 

Doc On The Run check him out for yourself! He works worldwide.


The big day: Dr. Segler worked some magic to expedite getting the equipment and drove up to my home in Napa to perform the PRP injection. He was very professional and took the time to go over everything and answer all the questions I had. He set up a sterile area in my living room where I would be getting my injection. 

First he drew blood from my arm. I told him I bruise easy with blood draws and he said then I would probably have a bruise. But my bruise is very small and almost unoticeable which is great since I expected it to be huge. It’s not. Then he placed my blood in a centrifuge, where it spins my blood for 15 minutes. This separates my blood into 3 sections. The middle section holds the platelet rich plasma which is what will be injected back into my foot to promote healing. 


You can see my foot is all prepped. While my blood was spinning he injected my foot with lidocane, a numbing agent. This was the most painful part. I think I kicked him during one of the injections. Sorry doc. 

Now that my foot was numb and the PRP ready he quickly injected my foot on the spots he had marked on my foot prior. I didn’t feel a thing and afterwards he showed me the rather large needle. Yikes! I kept my eyes closed for all the injections as I was already nervous about it all. I kinda wished I had watched the plasma injections. When I had dared to open my eyes he was already done.

He then wrapped my foot and leg in a wet cast and a couple other layers of gauze or dry cast material. Not sure of the technicalities of it all. He finished it off with a sock.


And lastly, the full length walking boot.

I was given a folder of written instructions and a pain script, he made sure I was comfortable and had my TV remote. ☺️Number 1 instruction: stay off my foot for 48 hours, best… stay in bed. And so here I am. I have crutches if I need to get up, and am to use for the rest of the week. Followed by a week or two in the walking boot. I’m not thrilled to be in the boot for my new job, but at least I won’t be on the crutches and frankly, the more I can stay off my foot the better it will heal and I’m 100% behind that! 

Can I say, walking on crutches sucks! My armpits hurt!! 

Dr. Segler was here for about an hour and a  half. My foot was pretty numb afterwards and that lasted for a few hours. He called me before I went to bed to check on me. How many doctors do that? Um… none! The only pain I felt was during the night. The top of my foot was super achy. I called him at 5:30 am after being up every two hours. He told me to remove the top layer of coverings on my foot. That helped. Last night I still had some pain on the top of my foot. I don’t know why things have to hurt during the night. I think it hurts because my foot is in a flexed position and when I’m sleeping it doesn’t get much circulation. One thing I haven’t felt, heel pain. The only pain I feel is from hobbling around in crutches. All those muscles hurt and make me not want to get up. I guess that will keep me off my feet! Did I mention my armpits HURT! 

So the doc will check in again this week and I will take off the bandages maybe Friday while he is on the phone with me remotely. At that point I will just be in the walking boot for a week, maybe two, hopefully not three. It will just depend on how my body is healing. This has been chronic for so many years, it could take time. I’m hoping not so much time. 

For more information about PRP click this link.  PRP
Keep your fingers crossed for me, say a prayer, send me good positive vibes. I need to get better. I need to run again. I need to be my best self. I need to be me! Whole and healthy. 

Thank you!! I will keep you posted.

Happy New Year!

2015 was filled with a lot of changes and very little running and therefore very little blogging.

I have 2 resolutions:

  • make 2016 a comeback year for me and running
  • drink more water (I’m very bad about it)

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Make everyday a good one that includes something that makes you happy!

happy-new-year-2016-download-3d-wallpapers-2

What are your resolutions?

Running Is Uncomfortable

The past year has been a difficult one for me. My running has taken a back seat to my life. In my last post, which is just two weeks shy of one year ago! I talked about a heart issue I had. There were so many times I wanted to post about the procedure, the recovery, but I just couldn’t do it. Time ticked forward, I had a multitude of things going on in my life, mainly, moving. I had to pack up a house of twenty years of history. Twenty years of kids stuff never thrown out. A garage sale came first and that was a ton of work. Then there was the various donations. Getting rid of all those memories was hard on me. A ton of tears were shed.

That was last November. I was hardly running. I think I did one, yes one, 6 mile run between my heart procedure and now. And now I still haven’t run more that 3.2 miles in one continuous motion since last fall. On top of all that, I was in physical therapy for the chronic Plantar Fasciitis I have been plagued with for over two years. It seemed to work. I wasn’t running though, so of course it didn’t hurt anymore. I won’t tell you how my heel feels right now. It’s not good news.

I moved last December and was set to go back to school, to culinary school, at the Culinary Institute of America. That is another story for my other blog butterandsugaryum. I still need to write that one too. I have a lot of writing to catch up on. Needless to say, school wasn’t working out for me either. Running was not happening at all because of the incredible school work load, (I had no idea how much homework there was going to be in culinary school) and that was affecting my well being — no balance. Hey, at least I gave it a shot. It was hard work.

So here I am today… trying to be really excited about running again. About nine months ago I signed up for a 10K in Calistoga, CA for April 19th. I figured I would have the time to train while in school. Ha! After I left the school I was finally able to go for a run. It was awful. My fitness was gone, I had gained um… more pounds than I care to tell you, but I weighed what I did before I started running 7 years ago. Yes, I was at a culinary school for 2 months… with 2 meals provided a day, lunch having a dessert table that rivals that of any casino buffet! And I was studying the baking and pastry arts… with my sweet tooth and no exercise happening, I was doomed. Without the running, the weight crept right back to the miserable old days.

But after school ended for me, I still couldn’t get motivated to train. It’s really hard to run with all those extra pounds and honestly, that probably doesn’t contribute to the real reason which is… my mind still wonders if my heart can handle the running. I won’t get lengthy with this post talking about the procedure I did a year ago. I will maybe write about that later. But it had become a mental block of sorts.

What I want to say is, running is uncomfortable.

That’s what was streaming through my mind almost immediately today when I got back on the running horse (it’s been almost 3 weeks since the last real run, the Napa Valley 10K in Calistoga, CA — 10K turned 5K). And I told myself, that is ok. It’s supposed to be, right now. I can’t expect to run like I used to. It is hard. It’s demanding, tiring, laborious. Running is tough work. Which is why you don’t see everyone out there doing it. It takes a certain discipline. A certain mentality that makes you get your ass up and out the door and says, I’m gonna do this! I had lost that enthusiasm. It’s still a little lost. I’m hoping that by writing this, by admitting my lack of desire for a sport I once so truly loved, that it will push me to get it on. That and signing up for another 5K.

The Calistoga 10K… that turned into a 5K since I hadn’t trained running farther that 3 miles with walk breaks. Walk breaks!! Me!

This was my first 5K ever. I always felt like 3 miles was never much of a challenge — that was before. Now I see different. I was going to be happy to complete that 3.2 miles regardless of how I did it, run, walk, crawl. Then at the race, some old muscle memory kicked in and I ran the whole way. That’s the cool thing about a race, that adrenaline. I didn’t try to be a hero, just did a comfortable pace. Wait, running isn’t comfortable. I did just say that. So, I ran a relatively slow pace. And, to my surprise, I ended up 3rd in my age group, 45-49, just two weeks shy of my birthday. Not bad for this underachiever.

ribbon

I even got a ribbon. My first race award ever. I have a new attitude about 5K races.

As far as this uncomfortable feeling. I think I will be feeling that for the next few months, maybe forever. I’m hoping to find another 5K race for June, July, August, etc, and now that I’ve just moved up into the next age bracket, 50+, maybe I have a chance to ribbon again. Who knows? For now, I’m going to just keep moving forward until 3 miles is comfortable and I make a new goal to be uncomfortable again (perhaps a 10k?)

WPW Syndrome

I’m laying on a table with multiple wires hooked up to me while a new doctor is taking an EKG reading. He says rather excitedly, “this is the kind of rhythm I tell my students to look for and they can never find. If they were here right now, I’d have them come over and look.”

These were not comforting words to hear just prior to taking a treadmill stress test. He said I had an abnormal rhythm which I already knew from two previous doctor visits. I went ahead and did the test, he and my cardiologist of one month both said I was very fit. They didn’t say much else. I went home with an appointment to see my cardiologists colleague, Dr. D, a specialist in ablation, the following week as well as an appointment to get an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of my heart.

The last time I posted on here was back in March. I had just received a cortisone shot for my plantar fasciitis and was starting back up running. I was excited to be able to run again. Until I started running. Man, it was hard. Harder than I can remember. It took me forever it seemed to build back up to running 4 miles. And honestly, I think in the last 3 months, I ran 4 solid miles maybe once without having to take a walking break. I thought this was really odd, but chalked it up to the fact that I hadn’t had any real physical activity for 4 months. When I was running, I’d think to myself… ‘I cant believe I ran my fastest half marathon just six months ago. I can’t even imagine running that far anymore.’

I haven’t felt like posting because, there was nothing exciting about my running. In fact, it wasn’t so fun and I thought maybe I didn’t want to run anymore. Although my mind still wanted to, my body didn’t.

On top of not feeling right running, I was also experiencing chest pain daily. I also thought, great, now I have heartburn again. I had this happen to me 5 years ago and at that time, I had an endoscopy performed and although they didn’t find anything, they told me I had acid reflux. So, I was really careful with my diet after that. When I went to the doctor a few months ago for the “heartburn”, I was also given a resting EKG and that is when they first noted an irregular rhythm. At first, they said it was nothing, but a week later I was told to go to a cardiologist. Okay, kinda scary.

The cardiologist performed the same test, with the same finding. It only takes about a minute. So what I have, is ALWAYS going on. He told me there was a pause in my PR interval. I didn’t really know what that meant. He said to do a stress test where they test you hooked up to the EKG while walking to running on a treadmill for about 20 minutes that gradually got harder. A few days after my visit with him he called me and also recommended I do an echocardiogram. I was starting to get a little nervous. But he told me I could still run, just nothing crazy and to keep taking my walking breaks. Listen to my body. So I didn’t think too much about it.

When I had my visit with his colleague, Dr. D… She was rather serious in what she was explaining to me. Very matter of fact. She pulled out an illustration of a heart and starting drawing on it. I didn’t fully understand what she was really trying to tell me, but basically she said I had an extra electrical pathway in my heart that if left untreated, I risk passing out or worse, dying (Holy F!) and recommended I do this procedure; an electrophysiology study and ablation. This is where they go in with cameras through your groin and see where the extra pathway(s) are. Doing the procedure doesn’t really bother me. I mean, I am a bit scared thinking that they will be inside my heart, the organ that keeps me alive. No, what really scared me was her telling me not to do anything physical. No running. Stationary bike may be ok, and I could walk WITH A FRIEND. I took that as no walking alone. Don’t do any boot camps. Um… yeah, now I’m scared!

Again, still in shock I asked if there was medication I could take instead and she said no. I said, do I really need to do this? She told me, “look, as your doctor I’m telling you that if you don’t, you risk passing out, or… people die from this.” Ok, still in shock here. I said ok. I got it. Do this or you could have a heart attack. I went to work and was pretty much in a haze the remainder of the day. I made a lot of mistakes that day. Two days later I did the echocardiogram. A woman sitting next to me in the waiting room said, you look to young to be here. Ah… yes, I feel like that when I look in the mirror. But I just turned 49 the beginning of May. ((sigh))

I also found out that day the official diagnosis. I had forgotten to ask. I have Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. This is a congenital heart condition. It means that you were born with an extra electrical pathway in your heart. That means that when the main pathway we all should be using to regulate beats between the upper and lower chambers of the heart says not to send the blood to the lower chamber, my heart says screw you… I’m using my own super highway to get there. That is when problems arise, like the above mentioned passing out or worse. That’s my description of it anyhow.

Dr. D asked me a bit about my family history. I told her I have and uncle and his mom (my grandma) who both died of heart attacks. They are on my moms side of the family. I later found out that my grandma’s sister has a pacemaker. So heart issues are in the family. Dr. D also asked me if I had ever passed out before or felt like I was going to. I did once when I was in my early twenties. I always thought it was because I was on medication that lowered my blood pressure. Still think that’s why. But i also remembered this and it’s actually funny in a way. I said… geez, when I was married, I used to say all the time, “I don’t feel well. I feel like passing out” to the point where my now ex said, “well then pass out already!” I know, not very compassionate. I asked him the other day if he remembered me saying that, that I felt like passing out and his response was… “OMG… ALL THE TIME!” At least I wasn’t imagining it. I also told the doctor that there have been a few times when I’ve done a longer run, like 10 miles, and when I’m taking a shower after I would feel really bad like I was gonna pass out. I always thought it was just because running is so hard. But now it makes sense to me.

Having something wrong with your heart after you’ve run two marathons in one year, a spartan race and a handful of half’s seems so ludicrous. I mean… me? Seriously? In some ways I still don’t believe it. How can it be? But then I start getting tightness in my chest and I think… okay, maybe. It is still all so surreal. The only time it really resonates is when I think of my running and how hard I was training and how I always still felt out-of-shape. That never seemed right. That and the fact that I was ALWAYS tired. Isn’t running supposed to make you have more energy? There were some days where I had zero energy and just could literally do nothing. So in that sense, this syndrome does make some sense.

For the past week I have worried everyday to not get too stressed and not overdo anything. I’m scared to death that something could happen even though nothing has happen in all my 49 years. It’s crazy to think it could have.

I don’t want to waste any time in getting this thing fixed, so I’ve scheduled the procedure for this Wednesday. The procedure takes about 2 hours of studying the heart. They go in through your groin with cameras and such. Then find the extra pathway and destroy it. Then I am supposed to lay still for 4 hours and lay low a few days. I will be overnight in the hospital. The procedure is pretty routine. And the prognosis is good. This can permanently fix it. I did ask Dr. D what happens if it doesn’t fix it. She threw out that I may have to get a pacemaker. That is the worst case scenario. I don’t think that happens too much. I think the ablation will likely be successful and I will be a brand new woman and ferocious runner. Its funny how when you are told you can’t do something you want to do it all the more.

Right now I’m sporting a groovy paper bracelet for the next day. It’s got all my info on it courtesy of the hospital and the pre-op blood work I did this morning. They did two blood draws, one from the inner elbow and one from the back of my hand, which ouch, was painful. 13 vials of blood. One more day before my procedure. The waiting is the hardest part.

this is an awesome look for work tomorrow.

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