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Don’t Let Fear Stop You

According to FDR “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”   While I totally agree with this statement that doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.   It’s also not all good either.   Fear is a powerful thing.   It can hold you back.   It can make you plant your feet in one spot and not move forward.   It can keep you from reaching your potential.

There are times when we wear our fears right out in the open, but these fears are usually minor.   Like fear of spiders or watching a horror movie.   Then there are times we hold onto fears that we aren’t even aware of as we don’t want to admit the truth because it makes them real.   Once we admit to the truth of our fears, then and only then can we begin to let go and deal with them.

So I’ve been pretty out in the open in dealing with my Hypoparthyroidism aka calcium issue.  Again people hear calcium and you think bone and teeth, but did you know that calcium is the most common mineral in the body and one of the most important?  Yes it’s needed for bones and teeth, but it also helps nerves work, helps blood clot, the heart to work, and keeps muscles from cramping.  There is probably some other stuff, but I’m still learning.   With this your bone density changes over time and although your bones are thicker, they may be more fragile and prone to breakage.    Did you further know that calcium levels decrease during exercise?    For a healthy person, the body will adjust but when the glands (Parathyroid) responsible no longer function properly there is no adjustment.

 That being said, I’ve been holding onto a lot of fear when it comes to it.   Part of that comes from feeling like I was on my own medical wise.    Yes, I’ve been under the care of an Endocrinologist this last year, but even then I felt like I was on my own.   This condition is not common.  It’s even listed under the National Organizations of Rare disorders.   There is a lot not understood about it even in the medical community.  I still am just beginning to understand how it’s all connected but mostly I go by how I feel.

Prior to my thyroid surgery my surgeon told me that there was less than a 1% chance that this could occur, but if it did it would just mean that I would have to take calcium.   I did not fully understand the impact it would have on me and I’m pretty certain neither did the surgeon.  After the surgery when it became apparent that besides no longer having a thyroid but that my parathyroid glands no longer worked, I saw two separate Endocrinologists.   The first one was good, but I was looking for one more versed in this disorder.   To be honest I think I was better off with the first one because she seemed willing to learn with me.   The best way to describe it was as if a patient was told that they were diabetic and needed to take insulin, but were not given any facts how to manage it.    That being said, I also did my own research found an online support group and learned what I could.   Anytime I would ask a question my second doctor, his response was always, “Your numbers are good.”   But I knew from my own research that my numbers might be too good which could lead to a whole host of problems with my kidneys.   So I persisted.

So after literally months of waiting, I finally was able to see a doctor in a major teaching hospital whose focus and studies involve hypoparthyroidism.   She literally teaches doctors about it while also studying it.    I will say that the best part of seeing her was the feeling of validation of my concerns, the way I’ve been literally feeling, and knowing that my doctor actually knows how to manage the disorder.    She also agreed with me that although my numbers are good, they might be too good for the long therm.   We discussed treatment options,  testing that I should get, and such.   She also gave me her cell phone number which she said she gives to all her hypopara patients.   Seriously, what doctor does that?

So I left her office with a sense of relief.   Nothing had changed, yet it was all so different.

Now if you’ve made it this far, you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with my running…..  Because of all this crap, things are different when it comes to my running.   I tire more easily after training.   I definitely am more sore and cramp easier.   I’ve also been afraid to push my limits which I’ve mentioned before.   On top of that due to the thyroid and not running as much, my weight continues to go up.  This starts a viscus cycle because it makes it even harder to run, I’m out of breath easier, and I can’t keep up.  It’s amazing how much things can change in a year.   I’m hoping by my second anniversary of my surgery, I will be in a better place and back to the confident runner that I was before.   I may down the road decide that I need to tackle the marathon distance again, but not yet.   Right now my focus is on preparing for my January half.

I’m not giving up.   I’m not backing down.   I’m moving forward slightly more confidently because now I know that if I do have issues that I can ask my doctor who will actually understand and be able to help me with it.

start-where-you-are-use-what-you-have

364 Days

So tomorrow marks one year on this magic carpet ride.   Last year at this time, I was prepping for my thyroidectomy.   You know the usually stuff you do prior to a surgery – make sure your will is up to date, make sure the house is clean, make sure the fridge is stocked, Oh and make sure Thanksgiving Dinner was ordered.

Going in I was prepared for the recovery of the surgery.   I was prepared with having to deal with getting my dosage right for my meds to replace my now missing thyroid.   Easy Peasy.    I really was not worried at all.    You see, I knew so many people who either had their thyroid removed or knew someone who had theirs removed.    Another ace in the hole was one of my sons although he has a thyroid, it has not functioned since birth.   To be honest, my only concern was that a surgeon was going to literally be slicing open my neck.   That was my main focus.   Everything else would just work itself out.

So now I am one day shy of my surgery and I realize that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.   The blip on the screen was much bigger than I thought it would be.  Still trying to adjust the thryoid meds which is really what I attribute my 15 pound weight gain this last year too.   Oh and the fact that my running took a dive. It’s a work in progress.

This last year has been an adjustment both physically and mentally.   Prior to the surgery I in my mind was chasing a 4:15 marathon, completed a 50 K, and was pushing my limits.   I did not realize that post surgery dealing with parathyroid glands that decided that they no longer would want to function properly that my limits would change and change drastically.  I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as Parathyroid gland let alone 4 that were very important.

Over time, I may get back to where I was but realistically speaking I am not getting any younger.   In less than 2 years, I will be hitting a number many refer to as a milestone even, but we aren’t there yet!

Where we are is a celebration of where I am today.

Today

Is it where I want to be?   Not exactly.   That being said….

I ACTUALLY RAN THIS WHOLE THING.

There was no walking.   There was no stopping.   There was only running.   And while I will admit that it was so much harder than it used to be and I was so happy to hit the end, it is so much better than it has been.    Life gives you what it gives you.   Today it gave me 3 miles.   For today that is enough.   I admit that some days it’s not, but as I continually remind myself….. You can’t live in the past.    You can’t spend your life living the should of , could of, and would of’s of life.   You get what you get and you don’t get upset.   And my personal favorite that my sister hates….

It is What it is!

So today, I look back on not where I was prior to 11-18-2016, but how far I have come since then.    The support that my friends have given me has helped me continue to push on.    You have been there when I have complained about my aches, my pains, my feeling tired all the time,  and everything else in between.   So this is my shout out to you……   For listening when I complained.   For understanding.  For your ideas and suggestions.  For run/walking with me when I need to and when I need to again and everything in between.   It hasn’t been an easy year learning to deal with “the new normal,” but thanks for taking the trip with me.

 

PS – I’m still following my training plan for the January Half Marathon.   One week down:)

Good Thing Come to Those that Wait

I’ve been good for the most part.   I wisely only did one  race out of the four this past weekend.    Then yesterday I went for a nice six miles with friends using the walk/run method.

Today I went for the umpteenth visit to my Podiatrist.   He was VERY pleased that I did not do the 26.2 Festival this past weekend.   He is also VERY pleased with how much the inflammation has gone down due to following his advice.     When I said that I did not do the 26.2 three day event and only one of them, he thought that was a good idea.   He then asked when my race season was over this year.    I told him that the Runner’s World event was the last one that I had for the year.

Since I’ve been a good girl, recovery is going nicely.  In the last 2 weeks, I have ran a total of 10 miles with zero days of cross training

Yup.

Well to be fair, I really have been very busy with other things these last two weeks.   I’ve also been formulating a plan and my comeback.

Did you know that I was gone and needed a comeback?

Ha!

Yes, I know that I just ran Chicago but I didn’t run it well.     I’m not talking about my finish time.   I’m not talking about that I walked.   I’m just talking about how I felt.    I did not feel strong running it and that’s what I need to work on.

I’ve got some thing mulling around of what I want to do next year, but my focus right now is to get into a place where I have my confidence back.     So this will mean running a few miles a week until I’m completely healed.     I want to get back to Yoga which is perfect because my friend has been asking me to go.    I also plan on hitting the gym again.   I do miss those weights.    And if I have to I might sign up for a swimming class because then I will go (Blah).

My thought is that this will put me where I need to be long term.    I imagine in a few weeks, I will get the ok to run further and push myself a little.   I will balance that with the other cross training.   This way when it’s go time, I will be ready to go.

What do you do during your off race season?

For the record -There is no off running season just off race season:)Patience

And Now It’s Over

Don’t worry that doesn’t mean it’s bad.  Really.

Seriously

First, I have to say that I was right in picking up my race goodies.    The shirt is nice although it’s green this year which threw me off.   They have been blue the last couple of years.   No socks or hat which is sad because I saw the hat they give for the Hat Trick and it was really cute.   It was a nice snow cap.  Those signed up for the Grand Slam do not get all those goodies which is a little odd.   That being said though,  Grand Slam entries got a really nice backpack.   One that I can actually see using.

RW2017_2

Yesterday’s trail race was just what I said to my friend it would be.   A hike in the woods with a little running in between.   I ran yesterday trail run of less than 4 miles in just under an hour with an average pace of 15:37.   It was a pretty trail.   They are correct  their description of it too.  “The course includes plenty of rocks and short, steep climbs to challenge the most experienced trail runners, but even novices will find the terrain runnable.”  I would want to run this trail again.

I went into this as I said not be be a complete idiot and just to get my goodies.   I had thought that I might go out today for the 5K and 10K.   I even  set out my clothes out and set the alarm.    When I woke up, I felt good as I stretched in bed.   Once I got out of bed,  I felt that heal discomfort that Plantar Faciattis brings in the morning.   Nothing unrunnable.   Nothing I haven’t run through before.

So why am I sitting here writing this and not cruising down the highway then?

Because as I said yesterday, I wasn’t planning to be an idiot just a partial one.    I don’t really even think that I was an idiot for yesterday though.    And as I’ve also said in previous posts, I also need to be tough enough to do what I know needs to be done for long term recovery.    Yes, I’m sad that I will be missing out on today’s races, bling, and fun.   That being said I need to thing long term. I’m not a day trader and I’ve got nothing to prove.   I also know especially with shorter races(at least for me), you can’t help but push yourself faster than you should.  I’ve got to think of what is good long term as I’ve got some friends in town waiting to run with me.   That’s more important than a shiny medal and I’ve already got a few of them.

RW2017

Besides there is always next year!

Plus I must admit that it will be nice to actually have a weekend at home after being away these last two weekends with Chicago Marathon and then College tours.   It might be nice to see my family.

 

 

Validated

 

I was very happy after the Chicago Marathon to know that I would be seeing my Podiatrist a few days later.     As I said before, I knew that I had undone all his hard work during the race.     I didn’t need him to tell me, but the ultrasound of the tendon confirms it.  Validation is always nice even when it’s not good news.

On top of that, I had been ignoring pain in my right foot.   I’d been ignoring it because I had dealt with it before in my left for a year or so ago.  Plantar Faciitis.    But since I was going, I had him take a look at it.    Yup another validation.   Although the hobbling around was a big clue.   At least that he was able to give me a Cortisone shot for that.

I had to laugh though because he’s like heat the left foot for the tendon, but ice the right for the Plantar Faciitis.   Talk about running hot and cold!

I have to say that it is nice   to have a Podiatrist that understands the anatomy or a runner and explains thing too.  Anyway, he then goes on to ask about my upcoming schedule.   I am supposed to do the Runner’s World Grand Slam in two weeks (26.2 over 3 days).   He then proceeds because he knows how us runners can be to ask if maybe I could not run for the whole next week or so  and not do the race because in the long term it won’t be good for my feet.

“Rest is the best thing.”

Hmmmmm…….

Well at least this also validates all the pain that I was in in Chicago.

I could do with a little less validation:)

Ha!

Validated

 

 

Creeping Up There….

I went out yesterday for what should have been a “easy” 6 miles.    Even skipping my normal training in Vermont, these 6 miles shouldn’t have been that difficult.   I was not in the mood to keep track of time, so I decided to just keep the pace slow and I would give myself a walk break every mile.   Seemed like the way to go.

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As you can see from the long red and orange line, even at these paces I was working hard.   Harder than I feel that I should, but I imagine the paces don’t really tell it all as it evens out with the walking.  Still need to work on it.   Part of the problem is that in the 8 months since my surgery I have gained 10 pounds.    I’ve never been what one would call petite.   That being said, I had remained steady in my weight for many years.   As I’ve blogged before in Laying It Out There even though the numbers never changed, I could tell that it was redistributing with added muscle.   Sadly, I can not say that now.

Part of the weight gain I attribute to not exercising as much post surgery.   Part of it might be from thyroid surgery while getting my levels correct.  Part of it might be Christmas and winter coming during this non running time.   While I don’t care about the extra weight per se, I do care that my clothes are not necessarily fitting the way that I like them.   I also think this is part of why I am struggling a bit with my running.    Yes, my legs are more sore than before, but that doesn’t account for all the heavy breathing.

Now is the what to do, what to do moment.   I honestly and whole hardheartedly hate dieting.   It’s not my thing baby.   

That being said, I am creeping up to another big milestone that I do think I would be upset to hit as it would be how much I weighed when I was pregnant.

  I  know that with my hypoparathyroidism, I do need to do better with my diet.    It might help with the muscle cramps and other issues.    I have toyed with my diet for this reason, but never committed especially since I still think my parathyroid are going to bounce back and work properly.  I keep waiting for the doctor to tell me they made a mistake.   I know.   I know.   It’s a foolish pipe dream, but I still can’t fully admit that this is permanent and my life yet.   It’s a work in progress.

So maybe it is past time to meet with the nutritionist that I called and never followed up with an appointment.   Not for my clothes.   Not for the way I look, but for my health as I really need to eat a diet with less salt and more calcium rich foods.    There has been much discussion in my hypoparathyroid groups on what is a good diet and I really need to start paying attention.   Also, I really need to figure out proper fully for runs.

So maybe I could turn this all around.   You know make lemonade out of lemon kind of thing.

start-where-you-are-use-what-you-have

Moving forward is all you can do as sitting still is not an option.

 

 

 

Not Backing Down

hy

I know what it feels like after you’ve run a half marathon.    I know what it feels like after running a marathon.    I even know what it feels like after running  50K.   When your an athlete whose run as many miles as I have you pay attention to these things.  I’ve trained my body to run on tired legs.   I always joke that I come from hearty stock because even though times my body has been sore, I’ve always recovered fairly quickly.   The day after the Philadelphia marathon, I was even wearing heals.   Like a bumble, I just bounce back.   I also think both the way that I have pushed my body in the past and know how to roll sore muscles are helpful now.   I know how to pay attention to the needs of my body.

Sometimes by the end of a busy day, my body feels like I’ve run a race that I haven’t run.

My legs are sore.   My back aches.   I’m exhausted.

In reading many comments and stories from people with this disease (hypoparathyroidism), I really believe that my training has set me up for success.   As much as it sucks, these are not feelings I’m unused to.   What sucks is feeling this way and not having a medal to show for it!

I keep hearing from my online support groups that I will get used to the “new normal” but that it takes a LONG time to get there.   That eventually you forget what it’s like to wake up without all the aches and such.   It’s a work in progress.   I think one of the things that takes getting used to is looking fine, but feeling like this.

Again it’s a work in progress. What further helps is that I’m pretty tenacious and head strong.   I will keep pushing through  even if things are harder to accomplish.   I will not give up as long as I can do the things that I want to do.

What does worry me as I start planning my Chicago Marathon training is if I feel like this without really doing much running, how will I feel once I’m training.    Training starts in a matter of weeks.    I need this just as much physically as I do mentally.   I will be prepared going in knowing it’s going to be harder this time around.   Knowing that it will be even more important when loosing calcium through sweat while training in the heart of summer, to replenish during a run and not wait for a crash.     I will be prepared to take care of myself after runs too.   Where in the past because I could get away with it, I was not the best about post stretching, rolling, or soaking in mineral salts.    I will ad that time into my training.

I am a runner.

I am an athlete.

I am a marathon runner and I’m not letting anything get in my way.

tenacious

 

 

 

Yes, It is Real.

 Yes, my running is coming along.   Yes, I’m getting stronger than I was before, but in my mind and body I knew that things still just weren’t right.   To the outsider looking in they might think that everything was ok.   I knew differently.   Mostly because as much as I talk, as much as I share; there is a whole host of things that I keep to myself.   Plus sometimes you begin to wonder, “is it me or is it because of the calcium levels.”

I really though that my thyroidectomy was just going to be a blip on the radar.  So many people in my inner circle either knew or even themselves had their thryroid removed.   It was just a simple procedure and then you just figure out what level of hormone pills to take.

Easy Peasy.

Yes, the doctors warned me of potential risks.   One of them actually being a problem with my calcium level.   But these were minor risks effecting less than 1% and really how hard is it to take calcium pills?   But just like the informational….  But there’s more.   So much more.

I’ve talked about the struggles that I’ve been having since coming back from my surgery.   I’ve mentioned that my calcium levels are never coming back.   I’ve accepted this.  The name for this is Hypoparathyroidism.    It is actually considered a rare disorder.   Yeah, me.   I like to be different.

Again, part of the problem is just trying to figure out if it’s me or my calcium.    Before my surgery a friend who had her thryoid removed gave me a piece of advice.   I’ll paraphrase.   She is also a runner, so she understands.   She said that I should remember that I am a marathon runner and that I know the things that my body can and have done.   If something doesn’t feel right after surgery, I will know because I know what I’m capable of doing.    I hold onto this advice as I try to sort out things.   It is with this thought that I am reminding myself that things just aren’t right when I get a full night sleep and am still exhausted and need a siesta during the day..

What I didn’t know though that I wasn’t alone.   It is a powerful thing when you realize that you are not the only one and it’s not just you.   It’s amazing the information that you can find on the World Wide Web that is actually useful.   The problem is weeding out the garbage.  I recently (like last night) stumbled upon a Facebook group for athletes who also have hypoparathyroidism.   Once I joined the group and started reading some of the posts, I wanted to cry.   Not because they were sad, but because I realized that I wasn’t alone.   I wasn’t babying myself.   I wasn’t making excuses.    These are things that have gone through my mind.    I realized that the “Suck it up Buttercup” mentality really didn’t apply.

From the site NORD (National Organization of Rare Disorders) on side effects of low calcium.

  • The severity of the condition can range from mild symptoms such as a tingling or numbness in the fingers, toes or around the lips (paresthesias) to severe muscle cramps and muscle spasms
  • Additional symptoms that may be associated with hypoparathyroidism include fatigue, generalized weakness, muscle aches, anxiety or nervousness, and headaches. Affected individuals may also have dry, coarse skin, brittle nails, and patchy hair loss such as the thinning of the eyebrows. S
  • Depression, irritability, confusion, disorientation, mood swings and loss of memory have also been reported in individuals with hypoparathyroidism.

Because it is so rare and because people hear “low calcium” levels,  most people (and I was previously one of them) think that calcium is only for strong bones and good hair, but it really does effect so much more.   Then when researching and as told from my doctor the potential side effects of the treatment which for me is a minimum of 5,000 mg of Calcium a day (8 pill minimum throughout the day) with another medicine (Calcitriol) to help my body absorb the calcium., there can be severe side effects.   You can end up with calcium deposits on the brain, kidney stones, and such.   Good times.    According to my doctor, the goal then is to keep my calcium level just high enough to be right at the bottom level of proposed calcium levels, but not too high to cause problems.   Sure.

Easy Peasy.

One of the blogs I read summed it up perfectly.   They said that treating calcium levels is very similar to how a diabetic has to regulate their insulin levels.   Most diabetics can tell by the way they feel if their levels are high or low.   It’s about paying attention to their bodies.   The difference is that a diabetic can easily check their insulin levels at home.   This is not the case for those with hypoparathyroidism.    So it’s about paying attention.   It’s about knowing your body.   It’s about knowing this is a real issue that requires constant care.

I’ve already realized that when I come back from a run where I’ve pushed it, I can feel it.   Sometimes, I will get a twitch in my face.   My muscles are sorer than I remember them ever being.    I’m learning to handle it.  It’s about knowing that I need to roll with it.    I’m now learning from those that have already figured things out.   Life is all about learning, adapting, and doing all that you can.

So I’m going to figure this out.

its-not-what-happens-to-you-but-how-you-react-to-it

 

 

The Struggle is Real:)

For those who have been here you know that I’ve been struggling a little recently.  I could tell that I’ve been off both emotionally and physically.  I recently changed the way that I’ve been taking my medicine and I think the change is working.    I was waking up and taking my thyroid medicine, 2 of the 8 calcium pills that I take during the day, and another pill to help my body to absorb the calcium.   It now appears that when my thyroid was removed, my parathyroid glands were damaged or have decided they need an extended vacation.   There is a chance they could still bounce back and start working but it seems unlikely at this point.  Surgery was 3 months ago and most people are back to normal within two  weeks.   My doctor did say in rare cases it could take up to 6 months, but I’m not hopeful at this point.

My last blood work showed that my calcium was just under the normal limit.   This got me thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be taking everything at once in the morning.   I’ve never been a pill or medicine person, so maybe it was just too much for my body.   After talking to my pharmacist, I implement the change.   It has only been going on two weeks, but I really think it is making a difference.   I guess we will see when I go for my blood count again in two weeks.  I already think my calcium will be on target with the changes or at least I hope so.   I can tell my nails are not as brittle, but I’ve still got really dry skin.  Your guess is as good as mine.

And you thought calcium was just for strong bone and teeth.   Who knew calcium was so important?  Not me.  Live and learn.   It is important for a whole host of reason.

I do think though even if I have to tweak the calcium dosage that my thyroid levels should be good.   My doctor upped my dose a month ago and I think that those levels will be on target.   I have more energy.   I am also starting to get  back to my old self which I think getting back into my old routine is helping with.   I’m paying attention.

So what is that routine….

I’m still not where I was, but the good news is I don’t need to be there right now.   Since I wisely switched from the NJ Marathon to the Half Marathon, I don’t feel the need to push myself to the 40 miles a week I was running presurgery.   I do hope to build to a 20 to 25 a week, but I’m in no hurry.  My goal for NJ Half is just to finish.  Period.  End of Story.

Now that I’m looking forward, I also want to take time to reflect on my 2016 and how I fared.   This will allow me to FINALLY see what goals if any I want to set this year.   I’ll let you know how that goes tomorrow.

un-slumping

 

 

A Storm Settles In

I try to keep this blog drama free if you will.

  I try to keep it sole focus on my fitness journey, but as I’ve said a time ore two before..

Running does not take place in a bubble

The outside world has a real effect not just on our time, but it effects us mentally too.       Running is usually a way to release tension, give time to think, and often time to get away from thinking.  It is time that I admit that part of my lack of wanting to run is not physical but mental.  Same reason I’ve been ignoring my blog because that means that I have to think about all that is keeping me from getting out the door.

What happens when you feel like none of it matters?    What is the point of running XYZ race?   What happens when you have no desire to push it because you think , “What is the point?”

I’m not sure.

stephen-fry-quote-on-mood

There is just so much rain right now.    I’ve been in worse weather and survived.  I have no doubt that I am strong enough to survive this one too, but I’m drenched right now.   This is just a thunderstorm and I’m trying to figure out how to open my umbrella when the reality is that I need a raincoat.

I keep reminding myself that the only thing that anyone has control over is themselves and how they react to the world and people around them.   It is with this knowledge that I am pushing forward.   People will never be who you want them to be.   The world will never be the way you think it should be.   This is the reality of the world.   This is the reality of my life.

I can’t let these things stop me from my journey.   I can’t keep these things from finding joy in things that I found joy in before.

Right now I don’t want to do anything.   I really don’t.   I also don’t like that feeling.   I miss wanting to wake up and push myself to go for a run.   To push my body.    To push my limits.   I miss it.   I want it back.

Right now though I don’t have the fire that I had.   So what I am going to push myself to do is something that I really am not a fan of.

I’m going streaking.

I think this is what I need right now.

I will do it my own way as always.   I am going to go a minimum of a mile every day.   I will even count a mile walk, but a mile it must be.   My goal is for at least a month.   I will let you know how it goes.

This is more than just reclaiming my fitness too.   It is reclaiming a part of me that has gone missing.

Running does not take place in a bubble.

Life does not take place in a bubble.

Embrace it all.

Accept it all.

Go.