Archives for the month of: June, 2016

Well, dear friends, I did it. Yesterday, I saw a Nurse Practitioner to discuss my recent GI troubles.

Because you all scared me enough to finally do it.

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I explained everything to her. The changes in stools, the bloating, the cramping, the fears that I had about long term damage (I have just enough knowledge about the large intestine to be terrified by what had been happening to me), and she began her exam.

“Deep breaths now, Rachel,” she said as she held a stethoscope to my back.

That was when I realized just how nervous I was. I tried to breathe deeply, only to find the air wouldn’t fill me. I couldn’t push it down into my stomach, couldn’t quite fill my lungs. She was very quiet. Very gentle.

“Are you nervous?”

I tried to laugh, but I nodded. “I’ve watched my husband struggle with Ulcerative Colitis for ten years now. It’s so awful. I’m going to be so pissed if I’m the one who ends up having to use a colostomy bag!”

It was supposed to be funny. But suddenly, sitting naked in that oversized gown on a sheet of paper, it didn’t feel funny at all.

She had me lay down, and she listened to my gut. Immediately, she brightened. “I can tell you right now, with quite a bit of certainty, that you do not have any obstructions or obvious growths in your colon. I can hear all of your gut noises, and they sound great. There’s clearly nothing blocking your system.”

I felt the relief immediately. No obvious signs of cancer. That was one major worry immediately taken off my list. Then, she began pressing on my belly.

“Oooh! Ow!” I physically winced as she pushed just underneath my right rib.

She stopped. “That was tender?”

“Yeah, really tender. What was that?”

“Your stomach,” she thought for awhile. “Here, let me know if any of this hurts.” She began pushing and kneading my left side. My colon made a funny groan from the pressure, and we both chuckled, but there was no pain.

“Anything?”

“Nope. Nothing.”

She helped me sit back up. “Well, here’s what I think,” she looked straight at me and smiled. “You’re very healthy. I want to send you to the lab and get some bloodwork done. I do want to check for anemia, since you’ve been so tired, and I’ll run a bunch of other tests–thyroid, liver, kidneys, inflammation levels–just to be sure. But if I had to guess right now, you know what I think it is?” She looked almost excited at the prospect. “You caught a bug. Perhaps salmonella.”

Salmonella?

She nodded. “If it was diverticulitis, you would have a fever and pain on your side. If it was e. coli, you’d probably be vomiting too. I’m actually very interested to see what your bloodwork reveals, because right now salmonella is my best guess. I’ll call in a prescription for an antibiotic for you. If your bloodwork shows that it’s not a bug, then at least it won’t do you any harm, but if it does, you’ll feel better almost right away.”

I could have cried. I almost did cry. “And running? When do you think I could run again?”

She grinned, “Finish out the ten day cycle of antibiotics, just to see how you respond to them. Then, I’d say you can start right back up!”

Suddenly, I could breathe again. I (very likely) had a bug. It was treatable. I could run again. I wouldn’t feel this way forever. This wasn’t a new normal I had to learn how to adapt to. I was okay. I was going to run that race in November after all!

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I’m still waiting to hear back about my lab tests. But I just took my first day’s antibiotics. I’m taking deep breaths, trying to let my body recover, resting it and feeding it well, and just hoping. Just waiting. Just happy that soon–very, very soon–I could lace up my shoes, take a deep breath,

And run.

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I need help, dear friends.

You see, for the past two months I’ve been.

Well. Huh.

I guess I’ve been sick. But it’s been the strangest kind of illness I’ve ever experienced in my life.

You see, I’ve been experiencing what I’d call “mild diarrhea” every day for almost two months. Not “Sprinting to the Bathroom and Moaning” diarrhea. More like “Can’t Quite Trust that Fart” diarrhea. It’s been uncomfortable.

I’m sore. Raw.

I’ve had cramping and gut pain that at times left me hunched over on the couch, desperately trying to stretch, crunch, bend, or fold in any way that would relieve the pain running down my side.

I’ve been so bloated, even my yoga pants started rolling down the hard ball that had become my stomach.

The constant bathroom breaks mean that I’ve felt dehydrated for an entire season.

And, yet, I haven’t even been able to enjoy the “advantage” of stomach flu-induced weight loss.

I’ve actually put on weight.

And.

I have stopped running.

That’s perhaps the worst of it all.

I’ve gone from running about 20 miles a week while I was training for my half-marathon, to now running . . . well, nothing.

Last week, I managed about 2.5 miles before I had to stop, focus, and penguin-walk the last mile back to my house.

I have called my doctor, and I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist in August. I’ll likely get to (in the words of my husband) “meet the Silver Stallion.” But I’m okay with that. I hate that I have to wait until August, but I’m willing to go through testing and procedures to figure out what is wrong. Or if anything at all is wrong. Because I need to get back to running. I need to.

BUT, the good news is that this week, I’ve started feeling much better.

I’ve had whole days where I don’t have that “Gotta go NOW” feeling.

And my yoga pants are fitting once more.

I’ve even been able to feel hydrated again.

But, though my more obvious symptoms have abated, I now have other problems to contend with: namely exhaustion and motivation.

I’m so, so tired, you guys.

Today, I fell asleep while watching my kids. Twice. Completely on accident. Once after lunch. Once after dinner.

This morning, I woke up with my alarm at 6am. I got up, used the bathroom, and looked at my tired face in the mirror.

The next thing I knew, my daughter was crying in the next room. I rolled over to look at my clock: 7:44am.

I don’t even remember going back to bed.

My husband suspects I’m likely anemic from the last two months of what must have been some serious intestinal inflammation. And I suspect he’s likely right.

And I just don’t know what to do.

I want to run again. In a weird way, I know that I’d improve both physically and mentally if I could just get back into my running, my training. But I’m feeling stymied right now. I have a hard time finding motivation for early morning runs in heat and humidity, even when in perfect health (I’m a Northern Michigan girl. I vastly prefer cold winter mornings to the heavy, cream-of-chicken-soup summer air of Southern Indiana). Now, I’m frightened at the thought of being trapped, two miles away from my home, and suddenly having to dig a hole.

Also, I just don’t know how to get my energy back.

But, more than that, I’m frightened that I’m starting from zero again. That I’m not a runner anymore. That the second I start trying to run again will be the second I realize I never had any business trying it in the first place. That I am and always have been a fraud.

So, please, friends. Motivate me. Inspire me. Help me.

Shower me with advice. With tips. With life hacks. I’ll take them all. (Though if you start spouting off about toxins or essential oils, I reserve the right to privately mock you, even if I publically thank you. You’ve been warned.)

Because from now to August, I can’t just keep dragging along like this. I can’t undo all that I worked for, all the strength and endurance. All the hours. I can’t watch them disappear under a fog of exhaustion. I have a race coming up in November. I refuse to give that up. I have to get past this.

I have to run again.

So, please, help to show me how.