When/if this is all over someday, I’ll write a Masterpost of Myocarditis. For now, here’s a quick update. Spoiler alert, it’s good news!
Not to be confused with actual birds.
Oiselle is a women’s running and apparel company, owned by women, made for women, sponsoring elite female athletes. The name is a play on words of oiseau (French for bird) and elle (French female pronoun), so there’s a lot of bird-related jokes and branding.
So, Bird Camp, where all the lady runners come to play.
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.
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.
I meant to do a real post about January, but that didn’t happen. Maybe I’ll get to that this weekend.
Today is a short update on the ongoing myocarditis thing. I had a couple of ER visits to treat some symptoms, and a cardiologist appointment today (my cardiologist injured her right arm so she was in a sling, so we were just both a mess this week, ha). Next week I have an echo, and am getting a
halter(?) heart monitor (edit: Google says it’s a holter monitor. With real wires. I thought it was going to be something fancy ant+ enabled like my watch. This is going to be slightly more annoying than I anticipated, lol). I guess it’s a device made of three little monitors that I have to stick to the same place on my chest for 21 days, and wear a little computer on my belt like a cell phone, and it will monitor all of my heart activity (and all you triathletes thought you were so cool with your heart rate monitors, ha).
Today she also discovered that I have a rotated rib on my right side. It’s about two inches down from my collarbone, and is slightly rotated/warped/turned from it’s attachment point in my back all the way around to the front. While I was definitely having real chest pain and palpitations, it’s good to know that some of it is not currently heart related, instead my skeleton just being weird. So I am going to call the licensed massage therapist I went to a lot last year, and see if she thinks she can work it out. I am hesitant to go to a chiropractor, but I would definitely like to be able to take a whole breath, so this may be the thing that pushes me to a chiro!
“Accepting where you are is not the same as settling.” -Lauren Fleshman
I started writing this last weekend, after an appointment with my cardiologist here in Lansing. I had a whole big thing of feeling sad about the irony that is my heart being damaged by something that is supposed to keep me healthy – but I’m gonna delete it all, and start over.
The short version is, the EKG and echo didn’t show any change from the previous appointment in December. The result is another appointment in March, and continued orders of no exercise till then. But I can walk. So I went to the indoor track at the Y and walked in circles (ovals?) for 20 minutes, which seems to be my activity threshold for right now.
I emailed my tri coaches and withdrew from the tri team training at the Y. 😥 I am signed up for the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 28 and Ludington Triathlon on August 21, but I am going to have to accept that there’s no way to know when I’ll be able to train again, so I am not signing up for anything else until I know for sure I am back at normal capacity.
So here’s what I’m doing to fill my time:
Keep up on my grad reading, not just skimming or skipping chapters
Read more books for fun, and keep a list of 2016
Cook – I actually really like cooking when I am not pressed for time…baking is a different story. I melted some cookies today.
Get back into art – there’s a studio nearby with open nights on the wheel, I have a friend with a wheel and a kiln, I’ve still got all of my drawing and painting supplies