Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Well, I have lupus

My appointment this morning confirmed it. I'm not shocked at this point, but still trying to figure out my next steps.

The doctor was positive overall. It doesn't look like my kidneys or liver are involved, which is great. Now it's about managing my stress and health to reduce flare ups, and prevent organ damage.

So, no more distance running (ever) & likely no more running for the next few months until my joints are feeling better. I may need to move to low impact activities permanently. Things I wish I had done: run a marathon, run more half marathons, gone on that I could have. Things that I will miss. . . all of it. Sprinting towards the finish line, the stress management of running, and the amazing feeling after a long run. . . when the sweat is dry and your body is tingling, and you are so proud of the effort you put forth. Let's hope I can find a similar "high" through some lower impact activity. :-)

My job is really stressful and demanding, so next up is thinking through how I want to handle that. Lots of lifestyle changes on the way.

Running, I miss you already. :-(

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ten things Friday

Because, really, who can settle for five? :-) Especially when you're a sporadic blogger - fun things pile up!

I received the full results of my lab work last night, & the test results confirm what I've been thinking for the past few weeks. I have my appointment on Wednesday, but I've mentally prepared for the expected outcome & diagnosis. Michael & I had a long conversation last night about my need to think through how I will adjust my life, so I know and understand that I CAN handle this, and that I will make any and all changes necessary to have a healthy life, regardless of the diagnosis. He handles stress in a very different way, so it was nice to have that talk and share my thoughts. I haven't put anything into action yet, but I am prepared for next week in the best way that I can, and that makes me feel stronger and more confident, and more in control.

Enough of that - today is FRIDAY! Here's what's happening today:

  1. The weather forecast in Seattle (through the weekend) looks amazing. Seattle is a total clutch weather player - when it delivers, it delivers big. Cannot wait to be outside!
  2. Michael is going to Vancouver for his cousin's 50th birthday, so I'm on my own with my peeps. Weekend activities include: snuggle parties (on the floor on blankets, watching movies, with snacks, and of course, snuggling :-), laser tag, & bike rides to the park. In addition to the regular karate & swimming.
  3. I've discovered homemade popcorn. Why was I such a fool with that microwaved crap for so long? Homemade popcorn is amazing & easy, & the boys love it. Perfect for snuggle parties!
  4. Michael is making hamburgers tonight, & he is amazing on the barbecue. Can't wait. I also believe there are going to be margaritas involved. Sweet mercy!
  5. I'm going to try a couple of new recipes this weekend - one is for mango & greek yogurt sorbet, and the other is for a savory oatmeal with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, & chicken sausage. Woo!
  6. I've mastered the art of bread making. And, everyone loves flaxseed bread in the family. Who would have thought?!
  7. I've decided that I'm out for my half marathon next weekend. Regardless of everything else involved, I haven't been able to train, and I'm not interested in injuring myself. Feels good to have a decision made, and this means I have more free time to indulge on Mother's Day. ;-)
  8. Related to number 7, Mother's Day plans involve - a massage, pedicure, a solid low-impact workout, Michael making me my favorite Persian dinner, cupcakes from my favorite place, and . . . wine.

       9. I've found a local babysitter!!!!!!!! I can't describe my happiness that I now have someone to call when Michael & I want an evening out. We've had bad luck with sitters in the past, & have not had a sitter more than a handful of times in seven years. So, so excited about this, which means - Date night!  Michael & I are going to dinner next Saturday to celebrate Mother's Day. Hmmmm, where should we go? The possibilities are endless.
      10.  love the innocence and confidence in kids. There is a boy in my son's class that he has befriended. The teacher mentioned that she moved Nick to specifically sit next to this little guy because he was struggling so much and Nick was a great influence. I check in with Nick on the ride home from school, and he is always so positive when I ask. (name of other child changed.) "How was school today, Nick." "Great, Bobby is really learning math, mommy. He's not as far along as I am, but he's working hard. Sometimes he gets distracted, but he's a really good boy and he's getting better every day." He is a fierce protector of his friend, says such motivating and positive things, and quite frankly, reminds me when I need to do better about this kind of stuff myself.

That's all I've got. What are you up to this weekend? What are you happy about today?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Things I'm not very good at and my top five happy things

The list is probably long, but at the very top is patience, dealing with the unknown, and controlling my own "worst case scenario" from playing out at every opportunity. So, it's pretty frustrating not to be able to get in to see a rheumatologist until May 8th. In fact, the doctor I was referred to by my primary physician wasn't taking appointments until the end of June. I called around & found another specialist covered by my insurance plan who was available earlier, thank God.

So, to recap, I got the call on Saturday night that I tested positive for an autoimmune "disease" (that was the word she used). The results were concerning, & I needed to make an appointment right away to see a specialist. Testing positive means there are a limited set of things that I could have - it's not a definitive "you're pregnant" test result. Some of the diseases are a big deal (lupus & rheumatoid arthritis, being two of them). The lupus one freaks me out, because the symptoms that I originally went to see my doctor about were: fatigue, extreme hair loss, muscle & joint pain, an increase in my anemia symptoms, and an ongoing low-grade fever. Which matches up with the lupus symptoms. Yes, I know, self-diagnosing is not a good idea. But, I also feel the need to "prepare" myself, for any of the possibilities that loom ahead. Does that make sense?

To me, get in to see a specialist "right away" means . . . this week? Not the end of June. Anyway, depending on what could be wrong, there are certain lifestyle changes I should be making or considering - how much running I'm doing (creating additional joint pain seems like a bad idea), drinking might be problematic, etc. So, how much should I change my life while I wait around to hear what's going on? The honest truth is that I'm.scared.shitless. Seriously, I'm scared that the person I am right now is going to change, and I'm going to have to adjust my entire lifestyle. The reason I went into the doctor for the initial appointment is that I just don't feel like myself - I'm EXHAUSTED. I want to crawl up under my desk and take a nap. I feel like a lazy slug who is not a good employee, mom, runner, and I just can't stand the feeling of not being myself.

I don't know if I should continue to train for my half marathon in a couple of weeks, but what I'm going to *try* to do (which, goes completely against the grain for my Type A, training plan & schedule driven self) is train as much as I comfortably can. If that means I'm not fully trained, I'll deal with that. If I'm able to train as my plan calls for, I can make a game time decision about being ready for my half. My goal is to not push my body past what it can comfortably do right now - which is kind of the opposite of the normal running philosophy, I think. :-)

So, on that fun & awesome note, here are the top 5 things making me happy right this very second!!!

  1. My amazing husband booked a trip to Las Vegas, for the week my parents are taking the kiddos to Disneyland. I really, really need to look forward to: cabana time, sunshine, massages, adult-only dinners, time with my love, & people watching!!
      2. My grandmother's 80th birthday. My mom, sister & I are taking her to the beach in a few weeks to celebrate. She has dementia, & so there are times when it's hard to see her change and forget things, but when she's in the moment, it's fabulous. She was hugely important in my life when I was growing up. Our last beach trip with the ladies! Why yes, we're in the local watering hole. ;-)

3. My boys have become obsessed with reading!! Here's my little guy, at the bus stop. Just reading away.

4. This lady, who saved me from myself & took me to lunch (and cupcakes!) yesterday. College roommate way back in the time machine, still best friends (on the right). In the middle is my amazing sister, who is turning 40, even though you would never know it! Jealous of the baby face.

5. Oh, & I may have bought myself a new bikini for getting into trouble this summer! The dark purple looks surprisingly good on my super pale skin. ;-)

Fill me in! What are the top five things making you happy right this very second?!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

10K PR

It was my first 10K, so of course it was a PR! :-) Garmin time - 1:04, 6.4 miles.

Ran it, rocked it, put all thoughts of autoimmune disease & test results away, & focused on the fact that my body was strong enough to run today. That's enough for the moment.

I crushed my 5K PR, which was likely not the best strategy, since it was a 10K, but I did have a nice smile on my face as I looked at my watch & thought of how far I've come as a runner in the past two years. This race was where it all started, & I remember looking at the 10K runners & not knowing how it would even be possible to run for 6 miles.

I can already tell that, regardless of what the rheumatologist/specialists tell me, I am going to need a physical outlet to deal with all of the stress & unknowns that lay ahead. No matter what changes in my life, or my physical capabilities, I AM A RUNNER.

Any fun races this weekend? Fill me in!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

To race, or not to race

What a wild ride the last few weeks have been. I got a flu that just wouldn't quit, I've been having such terrible fatigue, swollen joints, sore muscles, you name it. My doctor thought it was a flare up of my anemia, so I moved on & have been pushing myself to get back to normal over the last week - getting back to slow (but regular) workouts, eating better (less carbtastic than I was during the flu & post-flu comfort food phase), & getting religious with my iron supplements.

My doctor called tonight & I tested positive for an autoimmune disease. Leaning towards lupus, given my drastic hair loss & some other symptoms, but nothing is for sure at this point, just the positive test result for the ANA test. I got a referral to a rheumatologist & hopefully can get in next week.

I've been feeling like the laziest loser every day for the past month. No energy, no desire to run, so much trouble focusing at work. .. . I've known something was up.

This is all emotional, & I'm still trying to process everything the doctor said. I finally had to stop googling all of the symptoms, because nothing will stress you out more than a self-diagnosis.

Title aside, I am planning on running my 10K tomorrow. Slow & steady. This is the first race I ever did (a 5K, way back in the time machine in 2011).

This race makes me remember how far I've come as a runner, & I'm going to rock it. And, by rocking it, I mean slowly & easily. ;-)

Doctors get this stuff wrong all the time, right?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Makeover Monday and the return of the 20 mile week?

Happy Monday, all. My title from the post I was going to publish last Monday was "Return of the 20 mile week", because I had a great training week & was pleased that I was finally back on track with my training plan. . .

And, then I got the flu around midnight last Monday. I ran 4 miles (in total) last week, & I'm back to freaking out about my half marathon that is coming up in just under three weeks! I really have not been able to consistently train for this. I think my goal will be to finish, not focus on time, and find another half this summer that I can really rock & PR.

For those of you who are long-time readers, you may remember the "growing out my blonde hair color" saga. Refresher, here. :-)

I did, in fact grow out all of the blonde, in a true test of my patience. About three months after the grow out was complete, I started to go gray. Like, full on, ashy blonde/gray. I've been struggling with the dilemma of what to do with my hair for a few months (okay, six months), but I've been too afraid to do anything. Last night (after cancelling three previous appointments because I was too nervous), I added honey blonde highlights to hide the gray.

The before picture, at the salon. And, this was right after my workout - my salon is at my gym - hence the awesome post-pony tail curls. ;-)

And, after. I think it's pretty subtle, but Michael, who didn't want me to color it at all, kind of freaked out. ;-)

This morning's picture shows the highlights a bit better.

In huge news, it's sunny this morning, after a full weekend of rain! Do you know what happens to two kids when they are trapped inside on a rainy weekend & can't get all of their wigglies out in the great outdoors? I'll give you a hint . . . it involves lots of wrestling, general naughtiness, & time outs. ;-)

Sandal-wearing day. FINALLY!

In my first ever blog prize win, the fabulous Cori at Read.Write.Run.Mom sent me my Clif bar prize pack. Not shown in the picture is the chocolate/coconut flavor that I inhaled as soon as the package arrived. YUM! :-) Thank you, thank you, thank you, Cori! The boys are loving the Clif granola bars. I haven't seen those in stores, but will have to check them out.

What's the running plan for the week, you ask? Ahhhhhh, yes, that! :-) Well, my Hood to Coast team has a Facebook page, and we all report our weekly mileage numbers. I love it, and it keeps me motivated. Typically we average around 20 miles/per person. Yesterday, I had the honor of posting my "4 mile week". And, one of our other runners posted 47! Just the motivation I need to kick things up a notch, know that when I work hard, I can get the mileage in, and a reminder to refocus after being sick. So, thanks to Elliot for that kick in the pants. ;-)

Here's the plan! My core has been bothering me when I run, so time to amp up the yoga & pilates.

  • Monday - 4 miles + arms, & pilates in the evening.
  • Tuesday -  Cross train + legs & yoga
  • Wednesday - Hill repeats (4 miles).
  • Thursday - 4 miles speed workouts + arms + pilates
  • Friday - Rest + yoga.
  • Saturday - 12 miler.
  • Sunday - running a 10K. Was supposed to be with Michael, but he hasn't been training at all, so I'll probably be solo, and may see if there's a kids run for the boys.
Woohoo! How do you approach events where you don't feel fully trained? Any tips? I need the mental inspiration as much as the physical this week. Also, looking for healthy homemade snacks, for myself & the kiddos. We do a lot of homemade muffins, granola bars, trail mix, etc, but if you have any quick & easy favorite recipes, please share!

My current favorite granola bar recipe is this one.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Just sadness

Nothing really seems worth blogging about, but my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted. I'm nowhere, nowhere near fast enough to even dream about running Boston, but I've crossed other finish lines, & had my kids there, & even crossed the finish line at my first half holding hands with my son. The news that an 8 year old was killed hits way too close to home.

It just feels so personal.