Thursday, July 22, 2010

Illness and Recovery




I am experiencing an illness, something more serious than a cold or a flu. This made me re-think how many people live with chronic pain, illness or disease, and how difficult every day is for them. Or, there are people who are experiencing difficulties with their health that may not be life long, but long term.

Everyone wants to live life pain free, healthful and full of energy. I need to remember that it isn't as easy as I always think it may be.

The last time I experienced anything this severe was in October of 2009, when I was diagnosed with a repetitive shoulder use injury, my Doctor said he thought I may never lift weights again.

Luckily, I am stubborn, I have an extremely high pain threshold, and I refuse to stop, that it takes a lot to slow me down. My shoulder is fine now and my Doctor is impressed.

This most recent event started with an incredibly forceful headache at my competition, on July 10th, the pain just flooded over me in waves and was felt through out my body. A woman there gave me two Excedrin and it subsided, then I forgot about it. It came back just a couple hours later, with a vengeance, I was at home for lunch and took more pain killers. That night at the finals, I was on stage and it hit me once again, so strongly that I thought I would pass out right there in front of everyone on stage, I did not.

My headache continued although it was not nearly as intense as it was that one day. I saw my Doctor on Tuesday, I had been living with it for 4 days.

After explaining the symptoms, I had a CT scan, and was given Vicodin for the pain, and still I never missed a day at the gym. I was on vacation, so it was easier to go about my day, even with a throbbing head and neck, I didn't have to work or really think.

Things seemed to get worse, and my son had a wonderful Lacrosse tournament on Treasure Island in San Francisco on Saturday (I made my way to clubhouse, you can see it above), we decided we would drop him off at the appropriate time, then drive over the bridge for our fish tacos and wine for breakfast, and get back in time to see the end of game one (1 of three that day, with three more the next day).

I was fine, I was still living with the nagging, throbbing headache until the end of the day, when I ended up curling up in the car for three hours as the pain was unbearable. The noise, the sun, the activity all took it's toll. The pain would not go away despite the Vicodin.

I was back at the doctor on Monday, blood work was done and a tentative diagnosis was made. I waited for the test results, and was told that I had to take an entire week off work, no driving, and no going to the gym. No exercise for a week, I have never done that in my entire life.

I asked for something to help me sleep, I hadn't slept much in 10 nights due to the constant throbbing of my head, so he prescribed Ambien. Vicoin in the day, Ambien in the night, no exercise, just laying around with a headache, not even able to sleep much.

I actually slept 10 hours with the Ambien, although I do not feel as though I slept, I am sure my body needs the Ambien right now, but I don't remember my dreams, and don't remember sleeping, I don't feel rested.

I am writing about this because it makes me realize how important my health is to me. I take it for granted, and I think many people do. It shows just how important it is to get out and do some sort of physical activity every single day if you are able.

Me? I spoke to my Doctor and he has referred me to a neurologist. He wanted to make sure I was home and not working (I have been sneaking in work here and there though). It sounds like I will be fine, it will just take a bit longer and I am just waiting to feel whole again. I would like to get back to work and I am really looking forward to getting back in the gym, I have a new sense of excitement and I know I have extra weight to lose just from the days of "doing nothing".

I have reviewed my training log, changed up some things. I will be incorporating a new cardio regime into my days to help speed the fat loss. Weights in the morning before work, then kettlebells or plyometrics after work.

I have a set back, but nothing that I cannot deal with. It just means I have to make up for a little lost time, but I am not giving up.

I will never take my health for granted again, I will approach every opportunity as if it were the last.

As coach Dan John would say: Never Let Go.