Getting some health answers (finally)
Otherwise known as that time I felt like Dorothy Zbornac.
Any Golden Girls fans out there?
Let me break it down for you. There's an episode where Dorothy is chronically ill and completely exhausted, and she's been to doctor after doctor and no one knows what's going on. One even tells her it's all in her head, as in mental. She finally goes to see a doctor who diagnoses her with chronic fatigue syndrome and when she finally has her diagnosis, she's overjoyed because she knew she was sick, she knew she wasn't crazy, but after a while, it starts to feel crazy when no one can figure out what's wrong.
And this week, I felt like Dorothy. I finally went to a specialist who figured out that I have chronic sinusitis, which means my sinuses are inflamed. It was likely set off back in March 2015 by allergies, which set off my asthma (hey, Skidaway!), which set off a year and a half long on-again, off-again illness with constant upper respiratory infections and sinus infections popping up every few months and major asthma attacks and flare ups. And while I'd get treatment for those infections, it was never treating the root cause of the issues, so I'd feel good for about a month before things started to go south again. And the treatment I was getting was likely causing more issues in the long run because prednisone makes you more susceptible to infections. It was a vicious cycle. No wonder I felt awful and no wonder my motivation has been in the garbage.
Chronic sinusitis can cause a host of issues, many of which I suffer from, including fatigue, chronic migraines and headaches (hey, Floppin' Flounder!), tenderness in the face, ear pain, and a bunch of other fun stuff. Plus my allergies flare up constantly as well, which really adds to the fun.
It's the reason I feel sick more than I feel well. But at least I don't feel crazy anymore. These aren't excuses for bad running or racing. It's not all in my head (well it is actually, but literally not mentally). I really have been sick and it's not only affected my running, but my life.
This past year and a half has been a constant battle for me and not just from sleep deprivation from being a parent or because of stress (although, those things probably didn't help the situation, I'm sure), but largely because I'm sick. My doctor actually said that people with bad allergies like I have can have a poorer quality of life on a day-to-day basis than people with much more serious illnesses. While I'm thankful that my situation isn't serious, it's nice to have someone actually acknowledge it for what it is: a chronic illness that makes me feel awful and affects my ability to function at 100 percent most of the time.
Our course of action now is to find out exactly what I'm allergic to, so I'll be going back in for a test in a few weeks. From there, we'll figure out the right treatment.
There is silver lining here: my asthma is completely under control. The medications I'm currently on are working beautifully. When the doctor did a breathing test on me, you wouldn't have even known I had asthma. But I don't need a test to tell me that. I feel it in my running.
Even though I feel generally weak and tired right now from the latest round of illness (and probably cumulatively from the past year and a half), and most of my runs so far this week were run/walks, when I run I can hit sub-8 paces and it feels like a fairly comfortable pace. And that's with these crazy triple digit heat indexes. I'm not breathing heavy and there is zero wheezing. It's amazing! This is what it feels like to breathe! Even before I had all of this illness, I don't remember it being this easy to breathe.
But I am tired in general right now and my legs feel so heavy that I have to do run/walks frequently right now. Even slowing down to a slower run pace doesn't help. I only have energy to run for a certain length of time, no matter what the pace.
The good news for me is that, unlike Dorothy, there is actually a way to treat my issues. Not only do I know what's wrong, we have a plan to get me back to feeling good. And after that happens, I really hope that my running gets better, faster, and more consistent. I'll be glad to write normal race recaps instead of ones marked by illness, start picking up my speed, and mostly, to not wake up with headaches or feeling just generally miserable the majority of the time.