Archive for October, 2011
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, although I do have a history of bipolar depression with OCD-like tendencies. Like so many, depression runs heavy in my family. I believe there is a time and place for medications and personally feel that so often medications are overused. To many my beliefs may be controversial. This post isn’t about being controversial. It’s my hope that it will help people, even if only one person, to re-examine their life to see where they can make changes and become less dependent of medications.
Let’s go back 15+ years ago. I had a zest for EVERY part of life. Nothing anyone could do or say would bring me down. I bounced back from any setback in an instant. Barring my OCD-like tendencies (that I kept hidden from everyone) and my history of being a worrywart, I didn’t have many cares in the world. Fast-forward 10 years, to 2007. My OCD tendencies had become known, they were at an all-time high and my bipolar-like personality had me at my wits end….not to mention my husband too. We had a discussion and felt it was time to talk to a doctor. I set an appointment, was clinically diagnosed with high anxiety and bipolar disorder, prescribed medication, and sent home. Within 12 hours I had side effects of the medication. I was unable to physically keep my head up and was unable to comprehend or complete the simplest of tasks. After several days I called the doctor and was given a different medication. The same side effects occured, this time, worse. Finally, after several weeks I was prescribed a medication my body could tolerate. Unfortunately after a months time of being on the medication I began to have side effects. Although my anxiety had waned, I had the attitude of “Meh. I don’t give a shit.” In addition, my phenomenal memory was shot. I couldn’t remember what I had done from one moment to the next, let alone long-term activities. Talk about going from one extreme to the other. At that point I decided anti-depressants weren’t for me and weaned myself off of the medication over 2 weeks time. Even with weaning myself, the side effects were crazy. I had the feeling that I’m moving fast but everything around me is in slow motion. Thankfully, after about a week’s time the side effects were gone and I was free. I will never go back.
From the get go I wasn’t a fan of anti-depressants, but figured I’d give them a try since my disorder was obviously effecting not only me but my relationships. In no way am I symptom-free. It’s a constant battle. One thing is true: Certain things I can’t change, but there are some that I can….so I did/do. It hurts my heart to see individuals suffering from symptoms, even while being on the medications; yet, by making small changes they could make big differences. Let’s discuss….
Are you on anti-depressants? Are you drinking alcohol? STOP! This has got to be my biggest issue. You’re depressed, are taking medication to fight depression, and yet you put a known depressant into your body?? Why waste your time and money by even taking the medication? The medication is already fighting an uphill battle, why challenge it even more?
What foods are you putting into your body? I’m not going to preach a vegan lifestyle. However, are you eating and drinking chemical-laden foods? Stick with whole foods and you’ll see a difference.
Are you surrounding yourself with individuals that love and appreciate you? If not, it’s time to ditch them and make new friends.
Are you doing what you enjoy? If not, make time for what you enjoy. Don’t know what you enjoy? Seek it out! Try new things.
Are you exercising? Do it. But, you say it’s hard? I know. But it’s worth it. I’ve been running regularly for 4+ years. I have had very few runs that come “easy”. Each one is a challenge in it’s own right. Whether it’s a challenge to actually get out and make it happen, or my lungs or legs are burning…the list goes on. But in the end it clears my mind and also makes me feel better about my body and myself. And yes, keep at it, and it will get easier over time.
Pretty much all of this goes for any medication. High cholesterol? Taking a medication for it? Still eating high fat foods? Still not exercising? Why?? There are no cure all pills out there. You can’t expect to live the life you’re leading, take a pill, and expect all of your problems to disappear. Things don’t work that way.
Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)
I don’t get sick. Other than my random endometriosis and kidney stones issues, which I’ve learned to deal with, I stay quite healthy. Unfortunately, for the past 2 weeks I wasn’t “right”. It’s the hardest thing to explain to people. I didn’t necessarily feel sick, but I didn’t feel 100%. I’d been thoroughly exhausted to the point of not being able to move. The only thing I can compare it to was when I had mono back in high school. I knew I needed/wanted to do something but didn’t physically have the energy to get it done. In the meantime I had nausea, had a little appetite, and when I did eat I could only eat small amounts. My “sickness” then started producing flu-like aches, then a cough. All the while, I still didn’t feel sick, just off.
Although I woke up feeling a tad better yesterday morning, I finally broke down and made a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t think antibiotics were needed, but I did feel that my issue needed to be addressed. Was this mono? What this an issue having to do with my B12 deficiency? Am I just crazy? The bottom line, with such little energy I was unable to exercise. That’s a deal breaker on many levels!
After quickly being poked, prodded, and asked a multitude of questions I received my tentative diagnosis: my B12 and iron deficiency compromised my immune system, allowing some sort of virus to take hold, and now I’m on the mend. It’s quite ironic that I found out last week that I am B12 deficient. The good thing, I guess, is that I found out I was deficient after I started have signs/symptoms…meaning I’m not psychosomatic. Thankfully I’ve been supplementing B12 for just under a week. My doctor also talked to me about supplementing with iron so I added in an additional supplement.
I must admit, I’ve always been hesitant to be a supplement taker or pill popper. I just not a fan of putting thing into myself that may not be necessary, hence why I’ve never supplemented prior. As I stated in my last post, I knew that supplementing would be highly likely due to my diet and activity level at some point. With that being said, I now have a baseline to work off of, and it’s obvious that it is time to do some supplementing.
So what’s my gameplan? B12 recommendations (depending on what you read and what type of B12 you take) are 25-100 mcg once daily or 1000 mcg 2-3 times per week. Since I’m already deficient and consider myself a raw vegan (meaning I have little intake of “fortified” foods) I’ll start by taking 2000 mcg sublingual methylcobalamin B12 once daily for 2 weeks, then back down to 1000mcg once daily. I’ll also be taking 25 mg ferrous fumarate (iron) once daily. Next, I’m going to take a few more days of rest to allow my body to recuperate from this virus (which is the hardest thing for me to do!). Lastly, after 3 months I will have my blood work rechecked to see how well I’m absorbing/supplementing. As with many things everyone’s body reacts/absorbs differently so I will check my values and adjust accordingly.
Now, if I could just be blessed with a bit more patience before getting back to pounding the pavement. -_-
Back in 2009 I was diagnosed with calcium oxalate kidney stones and then later in the year had a laparascopy to diagnose endometriosis. Needless to say 2009 was a rough year. I have stayed on top of my disorders, especially through diet, and for the most part have been able to keep my symptoms at bay. The unfortunate issue is the disorders rear their ugly heads randomly and it’s often hard to discern what disorder is causing the pain. I can guarantee I will discuss these disorders in the future, however, in the meantime, check out my previous blog to read on about my process of diagnosis and treatment of both disorders.
Due to my history I have bloodwork and urine collection performed every 6-12 months. This past collection I also had bloodwork performed to see if I was having any issues in regards to my vegan diet. I had my testing performed in late August and received the results within the past several weeks.
Urine results: In the past it was shown I do not produce enough citrates, which are known to inhibit calcium oxalate stone formation. Due to that, I am currently on potassium citrate supplement to raise my citrates. With that being said, my citrates looked great. The bad? My oxalates are now high, which is a first. Given my diet is plant/fruit based, this is no big surprise. If I wanted to reduce my oxalates I would reduce my plant intake and up my animal-based food intake. Another option is to watch the types of foods that have higher/lower oxalates. I will be choosing the latter. Thankfully, my doctor fully understands and supports my views on animal-cruelty/diet. He believes that given my fluid intake/output is high (I target drinking 3 liters of water a day) and my uric acid, citric acid, and calcium are within normal limits, I should be able to keep everything in check. Basically, there’s nothing the oxalates can bind to, to call for further stone formation. In addition, the citrates should inhibit formation. It is known that I have more stones located in my kidneys. These are only visible on CAT scan…not radiographs. This may sound like a good thing, but this was the case with my first stone, which presented a big problem. My fingers are crossed that my proactive approach will prevent further stone formation and if/when the known stones dislodge, they will pass easily.
Bloodwork results: For the most part everything checked out fine. However, my iron and B12 levels were low. I did not have any outward signs of B12 deficiency, but I have already started supplementing for B12 with sublingual tablets. My plan is to take 2,000 mcg once daily for 2 weeks and then back off as directed. I’m still in the process of researching iron supplementation.
I’m sure most everyone will say, “You’re deficient because you’re vegan.” Ah, not so fast. Surprisingly, B12 deficiency isn’t a vegan/vegetarian specific problem. For humans the problem isn’t that people don’t eat B12, it’s that we oftentimes do not absorb it. So, if a random person is tested, there’s a good chance they may be deficient.
Since I was never tested for B12 prior to becoming veg 3+ years ago I don’t know if I was deficient. Something that is known: if I wasn’t deficient prior to my lifestyle change, I only had so many reserves before it came time for me to supplement. So I knew supplementation would be coming. Yes, in hindsight I think it would have been better to supplement from the get go, but as with so many things hindsight is 20/20. Living the vegan lifestyle has been a huge learning experience so it’s no surprise that I’ll have “mistakes” along the way.
I absolutely love when my doctors discuss my lifestyle. The look on their faces is priceless. They are so impressed. “Wait, you don’t eat fast food?” “You only eat fruits and veggies?” “You run everyday?” “You’ve signed up you a Half-Ironman??” And when they say, “Would you like to sit in my lobby and tell every one of my patients that walks in, ‘This is how it’s done’?” I take that as the highest compliment. I may not have been blessed with the best body or health, but I try my best to maintain the healthiest lifestyle I can attain.
I’m sure anyone that is my age has had their share of injuries, whether sport-related or normal day-to-day injuries. I’m no different. Although I haven’t had many injuries per se, I’ve had one that has definitely affected my life.
Back when I was in 6th grade, in 1994, I joined our school’s ski club. We would take weekly weekend trips to 1 of 2 nearby ski “resorts”. I use the term lightly because they aren’t anything special. If you want to hit the slopes, it’s something, but nothing special. Although located in the snowbelt they have a hard time covering the slopes in snow and rely heavily on the snow machines, which tend to product more ice than snow. Skiing proved to be quite a challenge for me. I had a history of riding horses but that was the extent of my athletic ability. As you will see from the pictures, I was a bit chunky as a kid. This didn’t help my endeavor much. Unfortunately, due to icy conditions, poor functioning of my rental equipment, and my lack of athletic ability, I suffered a broken right femur. Yes, femur. The largest bone in my body. Broken clear in half.
Due to the immediate contraction of the muscle upon fracturing and the age I was at the time, a pin was drilled into my knee, I was set in traction for a month, and then placed in a body cast. The traction allowed the muscles to relax and stretch, while allowing the femur to heal.
After a month in traction I was taken down and placed in a body cast for another month. The cast was my entire right leg, around my waist, up to my chest.
If you’d like to read in more detail about my broken leg experience, check out this blog post.
I consider myself as having a full recovery from my accident. I’m fairly happy with the function of my body. However, over the past several years, as I’ve taken up running, I have found more challenges along the way.
- I don’t have the full flexibility of my right leg as I do with my left.
- Like so many people that have had fractures I can feel weather changes before they arrive. Although there is no longer any hardware located in my leg I have residual pain in the area.
- I have found to have significant pain and swelling in specific areas around my knee, especially when adding mileage and even worse if done at a fast rate.
- Along with pain I also tend to overcompensate, in other aspects (especially when tired), which then can throw my entire stride off, making further discomfort.
- Something else that has reared it’s ugly head over the past 2 years is discomfort is my piriformis muscle. Per wikipedia the piriformis muscle laterally rotates the extended thigh and abducts the flexed thigh. Abduction of the flexed thigh is important in the action of walking because it shifts the body weight to the opposite side of the foot being lifted, which keeps us from falling. Although I’ve had this addressed through a doctor they’ve never officially said it was Piriformis Syndrome. However, with further research I think this is the case.
Thankfully I have been able to keep this issue in check through stretches/massage and have not had to resort to medications (other than the random NSAID). However, I’m interested to see if my conditions, especially piriformis-related, will be exacerbated with not only adding more biking to my workouts, but also the position in which I have to sit. I foresee this being a challenge, but as with everything, I’m ready for the challenge and look forward to overcoming it.
So what previous injuries have you had that affect you to this day? What has helped you overcome them?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
After I started getting the hang of my tri bike I started to re-evaluate myself. Although things were coming along I realized that my positioning was way off. In order to keep my girly bits (thanks Hoo Ha Ride Glide for the terminology) I was sitting way too far back in the saddle. Anytime I moved forward in the saddle I was beyond uncomfortable. My initial plan after purchasing Sparky was to upgrade the saddle. However, in order to spread out cost, I thought I could get by with the one that was supplied when I purchased him. That plan didn’t work too well. Upon performing a quick survey on Twitter I found that most everyone recommended a cut-out saddle, but more importantly to be re-fitted for my bike. Not a problem since I had already had plans to go back in to make some tweaks.
As quickly as I could I made an appointment with Bike Authority for another fitting. They immediately understood my discomfort and gave me several options for a new saddle. After discussion I ended up with an ISM Adamo Road Saddle. No surprise, but it has a cutout and I felt immediate relief in my seat. Whew!
Mike also made a few adjustments with my bike while I was there:
He raised the seat approx 5mm so that I had a more appropriate angle extension.
He also spent some time with me while I was on the CompuTrainer explaining how pedaling is different with clipless pedals, how to actually pedal, and discussing different exercises I can do to improve my technique. With the CompuTrainer I was able to visual see a difference in how I was pedaling. I found it very interesting and helpful. I know it will be a challenge not to “punch” my legs as I pedal, since I’ve been doing that since learning how to ride a bike, but it will come with practice.
I thought I was happy prior to my second fitting (minus my saddle), but after these adjustments and helpful hints I was in heaven. I’m so very happy. Now, I’m back at it, working on logging hours in the saddle in order to get more comfortable with Sparky, being in aero position, pedaling correctly, and adding endurance especially while being in that position.
I know I blogged about him already, but wanted to explain his name. When I purchased him I was told that he needed a name…you know, kind of like a boat. No biggie. I name anything and everything. Chances are if you know me, I may have a nickname for you. For instance, all of our companion animals not only have their ‘real’ names, but secondary names.
Lily AKA Liky Beans, Beans, Beaner. Viking AKA Bubba, Bubba Black Head, Vike. Spencer AKA Banana Nose, Spence, Bigs
In addition, our cars are also named. Back in the day I had a Mercury Topaz that was named “Betty”. Nowadays we drive around a Jeep we call “Creeper”, as in jeepers creepers, and a Chevy Aveo we call “Skate”. We have a local skating rink where you get to ride in a large skate for your birthday. Doesn’t every town have this?? It was kind of a right of passage to ride in the skate for at least one of your birthdays. My car is so small it reminds us of the Skate World Skate. I’m so lucky that I not only got to ride around in the skate for several of my birthdays growing up, but now I get to ride in my very own everyday!
Back to Sparky. Originally I was thinking of an Ohio State Buckeyes name. You know, like Scarlet or something, given my bike is Scarlet & Gray. Although we’re huge fans, it just wasn’t clicking. Of course I liked the name Buzzbomb, but that’s my namesake, so I couldn’t share it. I knew I wanted something with a bit of energy and zap. Ah ha! Sparky!! It has the energy that I wanted, but also a few more reasons…
While growing up we went to the greyhound races once. (Something I’m totally against now). Everytime the lure would come out for the dogs the announcer would say “Here comes Sparky!!” and the dogs would take off after it. Now, everytime our adopted greyhound takes off running in our yard, I can’t help but think of that. In addition, one of my previous coworkers, Carey, blessed me with the nickname Spark Plug. You are probably seeing a trend here with my nicknames…first Buzzbomb, now Spark Plug. What can I say, I’m a livewire. Although I’m not willing to share Buzzbomb, I am willing to share Spark Plug, or atleast a play on the name.
So, that’s why my bike is named Sparky. I can only hope that like the lure at the greyhound race, I’ll have other athletes chasing after me. Ha, wishful thinking, but the idea still makes me smile.
I’ve had my Tri bike for several days now. I’m still enjoying the excitement of owning a new bike. ‘Sparky’ is currently being housed in our dining room. I find that everytime I walk by him I want to hop on, and oftentimes do. I know this excitement will more than likely fade, but I am enjoying it now. Not to mention, by hopping on, my body is adjusting to the fit of the bike.
I knew there’d be an adjustment in riding a Tri bike versus what I was used to. But I must admit, I think it’s going to be a larger adjustment than I originally thought. Mind you it’s been several weeks since I’ve ridden my bike since I’ve been targeting 5Ks. However, with the Tri bike I feel like I’m so out of shape. I’m tiring easier and my legs are sore the next day. I attribute this to the different geometry of the bike.
So it looks like I have a bit of a challenge on my hands. But, if I learned anything from D being in the Marines, I must Adapt and Overcome. I’ve never let an obstacle stop me before and this is no different (with the exception of doing pushups. I can’t do a pushup to save my life, no matter how hard or long I’ve tried. Any helpful hints on doing them are greatly appreciated!)
Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)
Several big things happened over the past few days and I wanted to share them.
Number 1. I purchased a Triathlon Bike this past weekend. Back tracking a bit….in April 2010 I went to Bike Authority. At that time I wanted a “big girl’ bike since the last bike I had was from when I was in 8th grade. I decided on a hybrid vs a road bike since I thought I could ride it to and from work a little easier. Although this was the case I wonder if I should’ve purchased a road bike at that time.
Fast forward to the present, I was looking to upgrade to a road bike given I’ve started doing triathlons. The fit of a road bike vs hybrid is totally different. Add on to that, a triathlon bike is even a little more different (it has to do with the geometry of the bike and you), but more specific to performing triathlons. I walked in targeting a road bike with plans to upgrade certain components (adding aero bars, etc) but walked out with a Cervelo Tri bike. Say what? Tis true. Here is my reasoning. We were all set to get me fit to the road bike and we passed some bikes on sale, most of them Tri bikes. One was the perfect size for me. After adding all of the components I had hope to add they would’ve been comparable in price. And lastly, although the Tri bike is more specific to running triathlons, that’s all I plan to do and I have my hybrid bike as a backup if I want to just go out for a joy ride.
So I was measured for “Sparky” (I’ll explain the name in a later blog), purchased clipless pedals, purchased cycling shoes, adjustments were made to the bike, I picked up a trainer, and I was good to go! I’ll be heading back to Bike Authority in a few weeks for any adjustments that need to be made.
I’m grateful that not only do I have an understanding husband, but one that encourages me in my sport. He went with me, helped me choose my bike and got me all outfitted, without one complaint…even about how much everything was. It got to a point where I had to tell HIM “no!” when he wanted me to get more things. I know there are many supportive spouses out there. I’m just glad I was just one of the lucky ones that got one.
Chris and Mike at Bike Authority were excellent! Although I had done a ton of research they took their time and explained everything, which I really appreciate since I’m still a newbie when it comes to some of this stuff.
Number 2. Even bigger than the bike…I registered for the Half Rev3Tri at Cedar Point!!! I’m so flippin’ excited that I cannot contain myself. In 340 days I will be swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles…all in one day. This idea has been in the back of my mind for several years. I’m lucky enough to live in a city that the Rev3 Series hits, so why not?? This is a first for me and it is a big undertaking, but I have no worries. I’ve never let myself down before and it won’t happen now.
So that’s what’s happening around here! I had a 5K race this past weekend and another one this weekend. I plan to do a video recap of those and will post those sometime next week
Be Grateful and Keep Smiling!