Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Endometreosis Continued....

So i realized maybe you have no idea what Endo even is. I know i didnt. I thought, until I looked it up, that it was just stuff that was in your insides ( ie uterus) that was inflamed or not healing right. So that when you had your period you were more uncomfortable. What i found was way more...hmm. icky, for lack of a highly professional term.

From our good friend Wikipedia:
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the membrane which lines the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum. The uterine cavity is lined with endometrial cells, which are under the influence of female hormones. Endometrial cells in areas outside the uterus are also influenced by hormonal changes and respond in a way that is similar to the cells found inside the uterus. Symptoms of endometriosis are pain and infertility. The pain often is worse with the menstrual cycle and is the most common cause of secondary dysmenorrhea.

So with that, you can see, its not as simple as my brain had thought. 

I left off with the surgery. So to skip the parts about me being nervous about General Anesthesia, and my sister and I playing with all the contraptions on the waiting pre surgery room..." hey lets try this one on my finger, what is your pulse? Wait its 99? that is high. " " No Elizabeth that is your pulse ox/ % you want it close to 100"  we had some giggles on that one. We didnt hook take each other's temperatures, and i nearly died when they asked for a urine sample when i hadnt eaten or had anything to drink in 12 hours. amazing how nervous pee is easy to produce ( think pre race).

When i was walked into the OR ( yes i got to walk in there, looking into all the other surgey rooms and seeing people passed out, i sorta wished i had been rolled in. All i remember was i lay down, the started an IV, they put on a BP cuff and then i was babbling ( nerves again) and said I would rather be doing an IM. The nurses ate that up and as i told them " oh no you swim first, otherwise you drown, its 2.4 swim then 112 bike then 26.2 run, " and one nurse was bowing to me. Then i woke up at 1030 in recovery. I walked into the surgery at 0730. Nothing like some Tri talk for them to say " lights out sister." 

When i woke up it was a few hours later and my Belly HURT. I am not sure what they gave me but i made the Anesthesioligist repeat after me that i was 123 lbs and that he wouldnt give me gas for a 150 or 175 lb male. I also made sure that my MD didnt inflate me too much. See they pump you full of Co2 so they can see your insides better. I had heard that the gas pain in your neck and shoulders is intense for 48 hours after the surgery. I had a little bit of that pain but It really was no worse than feeling like i had sore shoulders after swimming. It was really not bad at all compared to the cramping. I also learned soon after that i had some bonus organ removal. My guess was my tubes. But phew, those were intact. I just lost some weight in my RLQ ( Right Lower Quadrant) my appendix was inflamed. So who needs that. Fine by me, now i know i wont ever have an emergency Appy. 

As soon as i got home ( and starting looking up all the cute Dankso clogs the nurses had on) i remembered not to do anything big in the next 24 hours. Dont get married, Dont sell my house, Dont go buy $500 worth of cute clogs. I love Dansko I used to wear them in the clnic. As an aside friday night i couldnt sleep so i did buy Mike three pair of jeans, And i did buy myself some shoes and a sweater. Oops. 

I also emailed my Osteopath, here is what he said :

My understanding of endometriosis is that it starts with a problem with peristalsis in the fallopian tubes.  Instead of a smooth peristaltic wave from the fimbria end toward the uterus, the wave is chaotic and somewhat spastic.  This results in a backwash of endometrium into the abdomen where it implants, and then bleeds on a monthly cycle.

The peristalsis issue is at least partly related to blood sugar balance.  If you have any carb intolerance at all, then this is likely a factor in the initiation of endometriosis.  Other factors are a whole manner of environmental toxins that muck up the normal signaling in the fallopian tubes.  Detoxification is what is needed in this case, and a very clean diet free of xenoestrogens.

Once the endometrium has implanted, it is up to the immune system to clear it out.  I think that sometimes the backwash issue is ongoing and it overwhelms the body's ability to clear it out.  Other times it seems that the body just tolerates the implant though it is not at all normal to do so.

We can talk about strategies to try to handle all of this.

** last time i saw him we discussed eatling less sugars while training. I think i may have to try this. I Also know we tried eating Sardines for brekkie and i was like GAG. nope. Cant do that. 

You can bet we are talking about this. While i know i am going to be healing and better in the months to come, I also want to do what i can to avoid this recurring. IF that means some diet changes then so be it. I can do that:) I sorta feel like i have to. As much as I can say "oh it wasnt THAT bad," I then have these flashbacks of times where it WAS that bad. 
The first night of camp 2013 in Tucson. Period Day 1, me up roaming the condo all night, crying, doubled in pain, not wanting to wake the entire condo, wishing and praying it would go away. Thankful that we werent climbing lemmon that day, i wouldnt have made it. I was a wreck. Stuff like that. The next day we made it up Lemmon just fine. I was fine. But hello russian roulette. 

So its now Wednesday, my surgery was last friday. I left the house today. What a thrill. I cant tell you how funny it is to not be totally stir crazy and to actually be feeling like this is the right thing to do. I miss training, but in the big scheme? I hope this is a small speed bump. 

What is the prognosis? Well I can start training 10-14 days post surgery. My plan is to start moving more prior to that as my body feels. They said i would have trouble bending over, or reaching. nope. And that i may be quite sore in my incisions ( yes) but they feel secure. The worst is that i have alot of cramping. And I have been taking Ibuprofen for that an it helps. No swimming obviously and i am guessing i will walk before i run and soft pedal before i look at watts.

As far as prognosis for life? not Triathlon? :) Hopefully with some dietary changes and with the addtion of a Mirena ( yup, tell all here) I will have less and less symptoms. If i were one who knew my sisters and mom went thru menopause early on i would have skipped the IUD but mid 50's and still going strong for my sisters means i dont want to deal with this for another 5- 6 years. I know the Mirena has its own challenges in the first 3 mos, but it surely cant be worse than what I have dealt with over time. Plus i am not a fan of OCP's for anyone my age or even after 40. Just my opinion. 

I was thinking that i had wished i had done this sooner, but then had an A-ha moment. The last 3+ years i spent taking care of Rich. Doesnt mean thatI couldnt have done this but honestly I had no energy to take care of me in This Manner. So i am glad i was brave enough to do this NOW. Finally. 

Ok so What did i leave out? :) not much. I missed the third Polar Vortex and hopefully the last. Its 12 deg out and it feels like its 70:) I am trying to eat more protein but honestly I lived on soup and graham crackers for 4 days. Thanks especially to ER and Angela whose daily emails keep me laughing and thinking that this is ok. And of course thanks to my family and  Mike for making me laugh ( now that i can without pain) and for reminding me that sleeping till 1130 then 930 then 9 am even without drugs is a good thing:) Dreamy i know. Wow. Who knew i could sleep like that. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mid Winter Break

Well this post will be different from my normal upbeat posts full of love and sunsets and activity. While those posts will return, I wanted to write a bit about my experience this last week AND over the last 6-8 years with endometreosis. Funny thing that word. I thought it was something other people got and was for women that just had some weird stuff going on in their insides. I really didnt even know what it was or that i had it, till about 6 months ago.

One thing i did know was that I have had SEVERE mentrual cramps and at times if i missed my period due to high training or when i had just started doing triathlon in my early 40's I was so overjoyed. I know this isnt a good thing. Getting your period is GOOD. As much as we say that tongue in cheek i know its a good sign that my body is healthy, i am feeding it, there isnt an energy imbalance and in many studies ( which I can find and state if you want them) there is a correlation with women who are irregular or ammenorheic and injuries, especially injuries to the lower leg and feet.  ( ie Plantars) So everytime i was balled up and literally unable to pedal my bike or had to get off the trainer to lie down, I knew that this was good for me, isnt it? Recently the " get off the bike to lie down and groan " had gotten more frequent. Even when i didnt have my period. This had also happened when i was Time Trialing or at a race when i was doing a very hard ( well I was racing) effort I felt like i had cramps even when i didnt have my period. It was the strangest thing, and it never happened when i was running or swimming.

Lets back up for a second. I have never had kids. I think that means i am more at risk for this. None of my family has it, that is also a risk factor if mom or sisters have it. I really had no other symptoms they list online ( you know, the BOX OF TRUTH) other than a ton of pain the day before and days 1-2 of my cycle. I dont bleed alot. I wont go into what they say alot of Endo sufferers have, go google it. But the point is every 27 days i would start to get really anxious and try to not plan things for those days. If i had a race? well that was totally a huge bummer. I was more worried about this than the race. I used to dose up on Celebrex, that didnt work AT ALL. When i started seeing an OB instead of listening to my MD ( who by the way is really a well respected sports med MD internist, shame on her) who just wanted me on the pill and NSAIDS for the rest of my life, I got a new Rx for Ibuprofen. This really was a miracle for me. IT actually cut the edge. So all last summer ( summer of 2013) i would dose up to 2400 mg of Ibuprofen starting 2-3 days before my period. That is alot of Advil. I have horse pills that are 800 mg ( 4 advil) and i would use my pill cutter so i could spread it out so i hopefully didnt Kill my stomach lining. It got to the point i didnt even need to eat, i never got an upset stomach. MAybe i just am eating pretty often anyways but so far i never had any issues with that. ( tick tock, i hope i still dont)

Ironman 2012 at Wisconsin before i had the above protocol i had my period. Rich was dying. I got off the bike 3 x, I wanted to quit. I am just amazed when i look back at that. Best of the US race in 2010 I had my period, got it race day. I grimaced that entire run. I think i nearly passed out when i finished and i remember thinking that if that run had been longer than a 10k i could NOT have done it. No way. I guess maybe this makes me sound all gritlike and superwomanesque. That isnt my point in writing this. My point, I think is to share this in case any of you have been told you just have to suck it up and deal with it. and maybe my point is that i decided that i didnt care if this interuppted my training for Ironman bc my entire life was being affected by this.

So when i finally got the clue to go see an OB ( remember no kids so i dont really have an OB) but i went to see Donna Block who delivered my nephews and is a great surgeon. My MD said " She is a surgeon she wants to cut," and yes I Get that. But i also know that Donna knew right away. Over 6 mos ago she said " we should do a laproscopy, we put you to sleep and...." I stopped listening at the general anestheisa part. I was not into that AT ALL. no way jose.

I got the information and promptly started doing the ibuprofen and this past summer of 2013 most my races fell on good days, i seemed ot get my period on monday! Or tuesday! not the weekend. Thank you body. Also maybe in the summer things just seem easier, yet i still had a few days of " ugh, glad i only have to swim today...or glad i dont have a big work day." It really is russian roulette. So i kept up the NSAIDS, never leaving home without my horse pills. OFten wondering what my stomach or liver or insides was thinking about this. Also wondering if when  iw as really training hard for shorter courses if somehow i would injure myself bc i was doped up on Nsaids 4-5 days of a 27 day cycle.
But i was doing good. I made it thru the season, and i ran the 10 miler and no issues ( as i said, the calender was in my favor)

So what made me change my mind? Well this fall I must have forgotten to get on the Nsaids on time and i had an episode that rocked my world.I had just met Mike and he was over, I had just started back with JH and had a ride that was not that hard but it really seemed to drain me. I figured it was a holiday weekend ( Thanksgiving) and i had eaten alot of pie andstuff i dont usually eat. ( We will get to the Gluten free stuff later) and i also was tired. Mike and i then went for a 20 min t run, nothing hard. Outside, remember when we used to have days above -25? well we did. And then i got home and i felt really really awful. I got my period and knew. I then got faint. I dry heaved I tried to eat, i couldnt. I lay on the bed in a ball and said to MIke " welcome to my world every 27 days." at that point i didnt want to take any Nsaids bc i had nothing in my gut and i knew that whatever gel or OSmo or Skratch i drank wasnt enough. I have NEVER FELT SO awful and I said " maybe you should take me to the ER." Then i thought clearly. " They will just drug me. " SO, being the resilient person i am i went to the small stash of Oxycodone that Rich told me " dont get rid of this, it has good street value." and i took a half a 5mg pill. IT worked wonders. Dont come looking for them ihave them well hidden.

I have never had to take narcotics before for my period and that was the exact day i knew that i didnt want to deal with this anymore and i went back into see Donna, Dr. Block and got this procedure planned. OF course my next cycle was fine. Fine meaning painful but not like that one i described above.

Background done and if you are still here i will write next post about the procedure and what they found and how i feel. I am really uncomfortable but i know this was the best thing to do. Dr Block told my sister " nobody should be this uncomfortable." Amen to that.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Florida in Pics!

Weather was better than in MN! 80's to start, 40's when we left. Still no snow!


Night shot. blurry:) 

ME and DAD


I must have been telling Mike a secret

Before it got to be 40 deg in the AM we had some lounge time. 
we are geeky, matching shirts. and we were on Captiva, i know:) not Sanibel. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

January 2014, Anyone Still There?

Well its 2014:) and up here in the tundra we are just being pelted with cold temps. My swim pal steve emailed me last night " this weather is freaking me out. " I really believe if the media didnt get hold of it I wouldnt really be thinking about it much, but its the talk of the town up here. Horray. Wonder how the horse and buggy would feel out today, and wonder if my face will fall off if i go outside to run or walk or go to work. I am sure I will be told how to feel tonight on the news. Another reason i dont get a paper and rarely watch the Tv news. My brain isnt as confused!

2013 ended like it started. Pretty mellow. I had a fun night with Mike and his girls, lots of ping pong, popcorn, games and Harry Potter. I know its funny but i had NOT seen the first HP movie and i really enjoyed it, enough to want to see the rest of them ( how many, 6?) of course I havent acted on that. I have had a recent obsession with Mike's homemade popcorn ( tho Boom Chicka Pop) has been decent and sorta healthy, then my mom got some cheese popcorn that seriously was 50% of your saturated fat in one serving and while I dont read labels as often as i should i figured i would rather get my 50% in another food than popcorn cheese!

Training has been consistent. As i ran today ( outside, thank you very much nobody said negative windchills are in all directions, though it hurt and i looked nuts I am sure) I wasnt thinking how awesome I was, i was thinking how boring the TM would have been and how running in cold and wind and awful footing not only helps makes sore your stabilizing hip and lower legs but also builds that tenacity and durability you need at the end of a long course race. MENTAL durability. I think of that alot in the winter, doing work. Mike said " do you ever want to just not workout somedays?" And I said " no. " ha. I guess there are some days i know I Want it more than others, but in the big picture i know this time of year isnt for winning workouts its for being consistent, doing work, building strength and as i said for me at least, building mental durability. I have started more weekend workouts after 10 am than i ever have ( thank you weather) and i am alive to tell about it. I know that once the bigger hours start I wont have the leisure to sleep in so I am doing my best to enjoy it.

We had a great trip to see my nephew Chippy in Kalispell, MT and I would love to go back to that area in the summer. I have skiied once. I have to admit I am ok with that. While i miss it I also think that the bitter cold and my hand and feet issues ( Reynauds) makes this a non issue. We have also had alot of snow, so while i miss the skiing I am pleased that others can frostbite themselves for me. Kalispsell skiing was fun. I only fell once:) and i did remember how to skate ski. We also had some fun family time and beer from MT. I also got my mom's head cold. :) I havent had a cold in years so it was my turn i guess. It prompted me to finally get my flu shot. And no for the millionth time those of you that think the flu is a the stomach flu, its not. Its Influenza, its respiratory,  head, chest, etc..get it if you havent its not too late. ( and no you cant get the flu from the shot and no i dont want to know what your chiro says )

Here are a few fun pics from the winter. sorry nothing training. I was going to take one running today but really? Try even taking your gloves off when its sub zero, i cant even hit my garmin buttons. So no pictures. And we have all seen enough trainer photo ops. You are welcome.

Ruby had a great Xmas, she even posed for a photo and she never does that. She is usually quite coy.

 Emily was in town and we had a great time catching up.
 Roger has such good words of wisdom. Random addition to this post but i think it could be tennis, or any sport. Do what you love, win or lose:) who cares what anyone thinks.
Me playing Vanna White with a growler Mike bid on at the boat club fundraiser. We enjoyed it but it sure went flat fast. Moral is that you had better drink it all in one night. 
 More fun memories of Xmas. Cute necklace and cute mug, eh? and Sarah once again trying to mess with me by sending lots of bubbly my way:) Party anyone? kidding Sarah, I now need to have a party to drink up lots of Champagne!

 And last but not least, in a week i will be in " PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ..sunny florida." We met Jack there two years ago. He and Rich were good pals. Hopefully Jack will be back roaming the beach with us in a week.
Happy 2014, stay warm, stay upright and KCCO.