Chicago Marathon Training – A Do Over

This time last year, I was very excited to have been accepted into the Chicago Marathon.

I had just PR’d in the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon after shortly finishing my first, the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis Full Marathon.

As a runner, I was on top of the world.

So, I put together a training plan for the Chicago and started on my awesome way. I made hotel reservations and believe me, that’s not cheap!

But life happened.

After some management leaving our company, my weekly hours increased by 30% leaving me with no time to run early in the morning nor late at night. Not to mention I was so tired that I fell in bed every night and had to drag out at 4:30am every morning.

And, my little brother Jimmy was suffering in his last days of cancer. He lost that battle in September of last year.

Running just became one of my stressors. I really started to resent running. It used to be my stress reliever became a big part of my problem. So after some good advice, I had to clean some things off my plate. Work had to happen and sadly, my brother was dying. So the marathon training had to go.

I read that you could defer the Chicago one year. You don’t get a refund of the $180 and would have to pay that again to reactivate the following year. So after struggling with that decision, that is what I did…I deferred. It did help some.

Guess what? I’m back in even though I have some health issues looming over me right now.

But I’m going to work through that until Doctors say I cannot and even then, I will. J

I have an appointment with a surgeon on May 12. I have a stricture (blockage) of the sigmoid colon that needs surgery. I have been increasingly suffering from this since November 2015 when I first became aware of it. I’m still very nervous about this.

So my surgery and recovery will happen right smack assed as I am supposed to begin my 18-week training program which was to start the 2nd week in June.

On top of that, I have not been running as much due to the pain and pressure in my lower tummy.

So to try to mitigate the interruption with surgery and recovery, I’m starting early on my training. So that hopefully, being in better shape will make my surgery and recovery go better. And then hopefully, after recovering, I can get back in the training without missing out on too much.

Well, that’s my plan anyway. I suspect my plan may fall on its face but I’m moving on as though all will be fine.

I’ll be tracking my training on a link on my page “Chicago Marathon Training.”

I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” ~ Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption)

Cruel Humans

Kevin and I took a trip to Amish country this morning to shop at greenhouses. It’s about 20 or so miles from our home.

I love being there. It’s so beautiful and they live so simple. In many ways, I envy them.

We had a great time stopping here and there for flowers and baked goods. I took my camera to capture the scenery. Amish people do not like their picture taken so I just photograph the house, farm, animals etc. It was a perfect day.

I was having such a good and enjoyable time until we saw a small dog on the side of the road. She was very small and obviously had given birth to a litter of puppies. We slowed down as to not hit her with our car and she started running after our car.

It was obvious to me that she had just been dropped off by some shitbags. She was tiny, skinny and her teats were almost touching the ground. She had no collar on. I immediately wanted to stop but Kevin kept driving.

I could see her still running down the middle of the road following our car. We stopped and waited for her to catch us. My heart was beating so fast because I wanted to help her but didn’t know what I would do with her.

I got out of the car and tried to get her to come to me.

What was so sad was that she saw our car and probably thought her asshole parents were coming back for her. So she came to the car but when I tried to get close to her, she would run away. She would stop, come closer but then run away again.

We tried to get her for a while. The only thing I had for her to eat to try to entice her to come was cashew brittle that Kevin had bought. She didn’t want it. She would come closer and run.

I asked Kevin to try because dogs love him and I thought maybe his soft voice would make her less scared.

We were in Amish country so not that many cars came by but one big truck did and almost hit her. I was crying like a baby. I wanted to get her to take her to a place near that I knew about that took in strays.

What kind of person would drop a defenseless puppy off in the middle of nowhere.

She kept waiting for her people to come back and get her. She knew they were in a car so that is why she followed our car. But when we tried to get her, she knew we wasn’t her people.

She didn’t understand what was going on. She kept waiting for her people who would never come back. She probably missed her babies.

We kept trying but soon we knew we had to leave.

I have cried the rest of the day. I wish I could have helped her. If I had something for her to eat, I think I could have gotten her.

I get a feeling that she will die on that road. She will obviously stay close to the road because she thinks her sorry assed people will come back and get her.

I’m at a loss for how I feel about people anymore.

I still see the scared and confused look on that puppy’s face. She is still waiting for her people to come back if she is still alive.

If you have a dog that you no longer want, please take it to a shelter so they can find it a home.

I Want to Cheat on My Doctor with Her Partners

I have been with my personal physician since about 2011 or so.

I am the kind of person who wants a warm and fuzzy feel from my doctor, dentist, physical therapist and for the most part that is what keeps me with them.

My dentist for 15 years retired out of the blue and one day I go in and there is Dr. L. I thought, I’ll do this appointment but then I’ll search for another. I was crushed! But I liked her immediately and maybe one reason is because she is a runner. So I stayed with her and love her.

But my general physician is someone that I don’t like. The was the only female doctor in this office so I thought I’d be more comfortable. That is such a wrong reason to make a decision. (lesson learned).

First, I want to say that I don’t go to the doctor often and usually just for a checkup, flu shot, annual blood tests etc. I’m dedicated to her and even switched my Gynecologist doctor to her just for simplicity sake.

I don’t go to doctors. Which didn’t pay off so good for me this time but I digress. I don’t doctor shop, drug beg or anything. I just want to feel that my doctor cares about me even if she fakes it while I’m there.

Dr. E doesn’t do any of that. I’ll try to list things that are on my radar and grown to a pissed off stage.

Now, she was cold and not a good listener from the start but hell all I needed was checkups so I lived with it because I hate changing doctors.

She doesn’t make eye contact with me.

She barely touches me

She quickly asks if I need anything (drugs etc)

She doesn’t stand close to me when she talks.

She writes while I talk and facts usually wrong (I’ll explain later)

She has never been able to see me on the rare occasion that I have an emergency like the Thursday and Friday that I was so sick and could barely drive home.

She wouldn’t write me an order for colonoscopy even though the ER doc said I needed on in Nov 2015. This proved critical to my care. I could have begged and pushed but relied on her that I didn’t need one because no one in my family had it. Still, it’s my responsibility to pursue. Let me point out that my dad died at 51 yrs and my mom at 59 yrs. Maybe they did have it? Maybe they would have gotten it if they had lived out of their middle age!

My gastroenterologist (Dr. W) said that I needed a doctor referral for my insurance to pay for it because it had not been 10 years since my last one and no history in my family of colon cancer.

On that Thursday emergency where I could barely drive home. I called on my way home in excruciating pain. I was begging practically for an appointment because I was in such pain, chills, throwing up and high fever on that Friday, they had no room to see me. Any doctor in the office would have worked but my own doctor…why do you have a personal doctor?

Her nurse told me to go to the ER. Fuck, I had been at the ER back in November and they only sent me to a doctor and said you have diverticulitis and get a colonoscopy. You see my frustration? I ask her nurse when someone could see me? She said that a physician’s assistant could see me that Friday. I took left over pain pills from November and waited until the next day to see a PA.

She weighed me, took my blood pressure, temperature, pushed on my belly….oh, it’s a bit tender. You fucking think? The physician’s assistant laughed about how it sucks to get old. She has it too, of course. I ask her if she could write an order for a colonoscopy with Dr. W. She said of course. She wrote me scrips for the same shit I was already taking even though I told her. And she wrote me a script for a non-narc pain pill which is ok but it was for fucking IBS!

I quit taking 2 of the prescriptions because I had such a depression that I felt useless and worthless maybe even a bit suicidal. Maybe that’s a bit over-exaggerating because I’ve never had those type thoughts before. I think I mainly felt hopeless and worthless. So I stopped taking them.

Within one day, I felt a bit better.

But my problems were still there.

Since my doctor had rather communicate through email, I emailed and asked if they had written an order for my colonoscopy. The email came back from an assistant saying that I didn’t need a colonoscopy and that my IBS was fucking normal and the meds would make it better. Oh, and don’t eat popcorn. Except I didn’t have fucking IBS!!!

I emailed back that I had a 102 temperature going on 2 days and was throwing up and zero energy. I asked what was I supposed to do next? Who did I need to contact that could help me? No answer for days and couldn’t get Dr. Ellen on the phone.

I should have been my assertive self but I was so sick and then eventually, I thought it was in my mind.

So, 7 days after my visit to the physician’s assistant with extreme pain and fever, I got a call from Dr. Welsh office that Dr. E had written my order. This was on a Friday. Dr. W scheduled my colonoscopy that next Monday.

Oh, and on the day of my colonoscopy, Dr. E wrote that I had colitis!!! The gastro people were pissed and said that was an important fact with distinction. All the paperwork had to change and they made sure they had it right before my procedure.

And you know what happened after that if you read my previous post…Colonoscopy, blockage, tear, Ct scan etc.

Now, flash forward to after I was checked into the hospital by the gastroenterologist and not my fucking doctor… nurse told me that a couple doctors from Dr. Ellen’s office would come around and see me that Dr. E was busy. Fine I didn’t care because good surgeon were also checking in on me.

In comes Dr. V as they call him. He’s my husband’s doctor (from Dr. E’s office) and immediately I felt he cared. He seemed a bit confused as to why everyone seemed to give me the run around with a blocked colon, 102 temperature and perforated colon. He was handsome too so that was just icing on the cake! J

He sat on my bed, touched my hand and asked me to give him the history of my problem. He examined my stomach. He read my charts and labs. He knew more in a few minutes than Dr. E has ever known. He came back a few times during my stay to tell me what to expect. He was warm, matter of fact about my situation but I felt reassured for the first time in this mess.

The next day, Dr. E came to visit me. She barely came in the door. She never came close to me and barely ask me any questions. She did finally come and push on my sore belly and noted how tender it was. That was it!

The next day, another doctor from her office came to see me, Dr. P. I loved him also. He was caring, factual, followed up with everything he said he would. I asked him the same question that I asked Dr. V and he answered the same but felt he cared.

So, I want to switch my doctor to Dr. V or Dr. P. How do that do that when they are in the same office?

Your Body is Your Real Home

This has not been a good start to a year for me.

I’m blogging from a hospital room with no clear idea when I might go home.

It started Easter Sunday when I had to start drinking the Gatorade/Miralax cocktail all day long and nothing else but clear liquids. Then Monday at 12pm, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy due to issues that I’ve been having with diverticulitis.

When I wake up, the Gastroenterologist told me they couldn’t complete the procedure because of a blockage which I knew didn’t sound good. He said that I would have to have surgery very soon. He gave me numbers to call on the following Monday to get it all set up.

But on that same night and the following Tuesday, I was in pain all day with a high fever. I called his office and they set me up with a CT scan set for the following morning (Wednesday). I drank contrast for several hours before the procedure. By now, my poor messed up stomach has gone through a lot.

I get a call a few hours later from my gastroenterologist nurse telling me to get to the emergency room and they would check me in. The nurse on the phone seemed alarmed and said a few things were extremely serious. 1. I had a mass on my colon 2. An apparent perforation 3. Obstructed right kidney from the mass.

She told me to pack a few things and she would call the emergency room to let them know to check me in.

I’m upset and probably barely coherent and I’m asking is it cancer. She told me that the radiologist said the mass could be from diverticulitis or a tumor. I started crying. She said if the mass was from the diverticulitis, it would contain more liquid and that my mass did not. Of course I cried harder. It must be hard for nurses and doctors to talk to scared and hysterical people.

So I’m bawling like a baby on the phone. I called Kevin to come home. I was shaking because my worst fear was literally coming true. She said that it appeared that emergency surgery would be needed to remove the mass that was blocking my colon and partially obstructing my kidney. And, apparently the colonoscopy pierced my colon. But the blockage or scar tissue was there prior to the colonoscopy.

I’ve met with a couple of surgeons a few times and they made me feel better that it is very unlikely that it is cancer and more likely that it is infection from a tear in my colon from the recurring diverticulitis.

So my husband and I were crying tears of joy when we were told that. They did say there was no guarantee but in their opinion, cancer is less likely and believed it’s from the infection.

But I still have some serious things to go through. I’ll be in the hospital for a few days getting antibiotics through the IV to help blast the infection away. I am on a clear liquids diet until God knows when! Of course they always say they can’t rule out cancer but I’ll choose to not dwell on that now.

So I’ve spend several days in a hospital hooked up to IV. I push a button for drugs, I’m bored shitless and eating broth and apple juice in a hospital room all day for a few more days. Once they get the infection cleared up and they can get a better look, they will do the surgery to remove that part of my colon that is causing the problem.

According to the surgeon this morning, I might go home tomorrow and continue antibiotics and liquids until I’m healed.

And at about 3 weeks, they will schedule the surgery to repair my colon. I don’t know much about this surgery but some say it can be laparoscopically done which I hope. She said I could resume most activities now and up to the surgery. My best scenario is that the surgery can be performed and maybe out of the hospital quickly.

I was told not to go back to work but that’s not going to happen. I just manage anyway and staying at home will drive me freaking nuts. I’ll take it easy and do as I need to do workwise.

I do plan on going to work on Monday and the Dr. said I could exercise (even run) as I felt up to it but pay attention to abnormal pain.

It may set my Chicago marathon training back a bit but I have full intentions of rocking that bitch with my friend, Tammy.

I’ve gone through so many emotions lately…highs and lows. But mostly I couldn’t bear the thought of dying and leaving people and puppies. I was facing the horror that many families face when they hear the word cancer.

When we thought the worse, Kevin and I had that discussion of what I wanted if the worse happened to me. He cried and didn’t want to hear it but he did. I was explaining how to go about getting the insurance money, creditor info and what I wanted done if the worst happened. I remember the look on his face. He always seems to be strong but he looked so weakened and sad that night. He seemed crushed as we discussed it. I told him where I kept all the info he needed on insurance, stocks and assets.

A few hours later, we met with the surgeon and he explained that it was unlikely a mass and more infection that was viewed on the CT scan. After the doctor left us in that cold room, we both broke down crying and relieved.

I’m still not convinced that I will not still hear that scary, horrible word “cancer” but for now, I am not focused on it. Although the surgery and recovery will be hard on me and Kevin but after that initial scare, I feel we can handle it better.

I don’t want to leave this world. I love my family and my life. But I do need to re-evaluate how I eat and live so these things are less likely to occur again.

One striking thing that I have noticed during my escapades lately in various doctor’s offices, ER rooms and clinics is that the rooms are full of obese people who smell like smoke. It is very hard to not notice it.

The nurses, doctors and techs in my hospital “Boone Hospital” have been awesome. The hospital is modern and nice. This is the hospital that my Daniel was born in. The people who cared for me were nice, professional, efficient and friendly.

(Ronnie, Adiam, Shawn, Szu (my favorite!), Jordan, Karen, Dr. Prica, Dr. Suppas, Dr. Vahabzadeh, Dr. Welsh) and others J

I’ve been mostly on clear liquids but now I am graduating to a low residue (low fiber) diet until after the surgery.

Update: I got out of the hospital late on Saturday afternoon. I was so happy to be home, in my bed, snuggled next to Kevin, Peyton and Eli. That was good medicine for me. We laid in bed together (all 4 of us) watching “The Office” on Netflix until after midnight. J

I regret the unhealthy life I have lived. Low fiber and unhealthy living caused the diverticulitis. And then I didn’t take warning with the first flare up back in November 2015. I really regret that.

Take care of your body. Teach your children to take care of theirs. It’s the only home they really have.