Not back in the game yet

Last  month, I wore a holter monitor for 21 days.  I affectionately referred to it as my robot heart.  Whenever I felt a particular symptom, I pushed a button on the monitor and scrolled through the lists to log the symptom and what activity I was doing when it occurred.  It looked like an awkward pager with four electrodes, so I got really creative at outfits worn to hide it.  I wore one of my running vests as an extra layer at work, it has lots of pockets so I was able to hide the monitor in an inner pocket.  I wore thick scarves to cover the stickies on the top of my chest.  At the end of the three weeks, you just stick in its prepaid box and mail it back to the company.

holter
Freeeedoooooom

 

Last week I had a cardiologist appointment to follow up on the holter monitor and the latest echos.  Both good and bad news: -my ejection fraction (this is the amount of blood or oxygenated blood or something that your heart pushes through) was measuring between 55-60%, which is almost at the 60% she wants to see (that’s normal) and higher than the 50-53% it was in the hospital (that’s too low). -the damage and thin heart wall in the lower area of my heart caused by the myocarditis is getting better. -they also discovered a have a very slight type of heart murmur, a mitral valve prolapse, which is when one of the flaps in a chamber of the heart doesn’t quite close all the way, but it’s so slight that there’s nothing to be done for it, just something to watch.

So while that sounds good, and is finally signs of healing that we’ve been looking for, the fact is that it took almost five months for that to happen.  So when the doctor said she’ll see me in four months and I have to maintain the same level of rest, I was very disappointed (“disappointed” is an understatement but I’m trying to keep it together here).  She said “I know it’s hard, you’re pulling at my heartstrings” and emphasized that I have to give it time to heal now or I won’t be able to get over it when I’m older, and risk a lot more complications.

I can walk up to three miles as long as I feel ok, and I can bike very easy (like, easy bike commute to church and around the neighborhood) up to three miles.  No running.  No swimming.  No triathlons.  No summer races.

I am not trying to be a whineypants, but I’ve been sort of avoiding thinking about it for the last few months, and I think I need to let myself do a little bit of grieving for the goals and the activities I had planned.  Even if I am able to start doing more in four months, I won’t just be able to hop back into full-blown marathon training, so any hopes of chasing a BQ or age group points in triathlons are going to be on hold kind of indefinitely at this point.

This is getting long so I am going to wrap it up after a few more thoughts.  This is a post I am going to share with a lot of running/triathlete friends so they know where I’ve gone.  I’m making an effort to unfollow some groups and people on social media, temporarily, because it does sting to see my friends literally running into the sunset while I am stuck on the couch, and also because I need to make more of an effort to fill my time with other activities to help me heal instead of just pass the time until I can run again.  I am still inspired by other runners, especially Master’s runners, who have been able to look back and say “that was a season I was not able to run, and I’m ok with that”.  Hopefully I will be on the other side of this someday, too.

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4 thoughts on “Not back in the game yet

  1. Have you been doing any art stuff during this time? Make more pitchers and vases, join a pottery studio that has wheel space for rent. Paint a mural in the basement. Or in the guest room.

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    1. I draw a bit but not much else, school was taking a lot of time. Maybe I’ll go find some time to get on the wheel now… I tried to get Eben to let me buy a wheel for the basement, but then I would need a kiln too…

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  2. A few random things that I’ve been thinking about lately: One thing that I sometimes have to remind myself of is that we still get all of the major health benefits from walking for 30 min as we do from running for 30 min if we are thinking about heart health, bone health, blood sugar control, etc. However, we are those people who somehow get so obsessed with doing more and more intense, endurance activities. At times, I think that perhaps it’s actually pretty self-absorbed that I’m out running for 3 hours as I train for a marathon. I definitely tell myself that it is good for my mental health and physical health but really, could I instead spend 45 minutes doing an activity daily, spend less money on athletic events and athletic clothing, and instead invest time, energy, and money into creating more social change? I 100% believe in taking care of ourselves physically but has our society gone too far? Have we become too absorbed in our physical looks, in how fast and far we can run, instead of focusing on greater issues in the world…? It is sad when I think that I just spent $30 on energy gels….and that money could certainly help people who have no food for dinner. Anyway, I’m being a “devils advocate” but I think these are important things to reflect upon. And of course, buying huma gels helps a local business thrive. The human trafficking work that you are doing with school is inspiring. I can’t imagine how challenging this must be for you but as you said, it is just a season. Thinking of you daily! xoxoxo Mary

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  3. I’m sorry, Anne!! It sounds like your doctors are on top of it though and it’s good you found it now. I do know that coming back to running is hard but you’ll do it and the short runs feel like a great workout and you’ll feel accomplished again even if it’s short! You’ve also got lots of time to focus on grad school!

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