Sunday, September 22, 2013

Testing the Limits

I am one of the most tenacious fighters you will ever come across. I am stubborn, focused, and determined. I refuse to stay beaten for long. I am also a runner. A runner who accomplished many things before she was told to stop running. A runner who had to start over. I will never surrender my love for running nor will I ever be able to explain that love. Running is as much a part of me as this disease. Heck, it's even a part of my marketing for my art:

clearly.alive.art 
artist. runner. blogger. engineer.

Ironically, the thing that pays the bills comes last on this list.

Well this runner is tired of people telling her to not run! When the annual Oktoberfest 5k came around, I decided I would go for it. I was unsure of how my body would react. I just knew I had grown weary of watching my friends post pictures of their 5k shenanigans on facebook as I sat stationary on the couch. Plus, competing in the 5k equaled a free entry into the Oktoberfest later that night. Although this Gluten Free girl can no longer enjoy her beer or funnel cake, I can enjoy the company and fellowship of friends.

That meant there were two demanding activities combined into a single day. Why not add a third?! Red Bull Flugtag. A team of students from my Alma Matter made it into the competition and I definitely wanted to see how they would do.

Yikes. Three events stacked on top of each other exactly five months after I was released from the hospital. My co-workers thought it was a recipe for disaster. I knew it was going to be a difficult and stressful day, but I did not want to surrender any activity. I might have several auto immune diagnoses, but they shall not control my life. I will partner with these beasts, listen for the signs and symptoms and hopefully never have another nightmare ever again.

So all that went down yesterday. And the results...

I ran with my cell phone in one hand and my emergency shot in the other.
At least I was balanced.
My 5k time was 34:17, or eight minutes slower than the exact same race last year. But I don't care! On 5k street races, the time doesn't matter. The focus is on the fellowship, the atmosphere, and all of the free food at the end. I greatly enjoyed jogging with a friend. I chuckle as I think back to the last 5k we ran together. I dragged him along at an 8:25 min/mi pace. This time, I was jogging slower than 11 min/mi and I was darn proud of it! If there was one thing that my nightmare taught me, it was I must learn to readjust my expectations and be flexible. What was considered a victory for one day might be near impossible to achieve the next. Anyway, activity one accomplished!

Onto activity two! We were in the sun for over four hours. My uneven sunburn definitely vouches for it. As for the team from my Alma Matter? Perfect scores of all 10's. Farthest distance flown with 72 ft. Second place only flew 42 ft. I am so proud of those students. You probably have never heard of this small university over in East Texas, but we do damn good work.



After Flugtag, some friends came back to my apartment to relax for a couple hours before going to Oktoberfest. It had been a long day already, yet we still had one more activity. We had fun.

How did I do everything yesterday? I ended up taking five times the amount of cortef I normally take. And even at 5x the amount, I went to bed last night with a severe low cortisol migraine. I am on a double dose of cortef for today as I continue to allow my body a chance to recover. I would be lying to y'all if I said I was not exhausted.

But I am so proud and pleased with how yesterday turned out. There were no ER trips. No hospitalizations. No need for the emergency injection. There was just a lot of proactive planning and a refusal to play the victim card.

I might live with an incurable invisible illness but I refuse to let it stop me from living my life.

Clearly Alive forever, y'all.

PS- Did I mention that the Texas Tomcats took FIRST in the DFW Redbull Flugtag?

5 comments:

  1. So Proud of My FAVORITE Granddaughter Runner. :-).

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  2. Glad I could be there that day :) (and that there were no medical crises)!

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    1. Agreed! :) Now come back and visit so you can pick up your mug! ;)

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  3. Amber, have you been tested for growth hormone (GH) deficiency during times of stress? Like cortisol, your body needs more GH after working out. The best test is called an insulin tolerance test (ITT). My endocrinologist tested me and found that my GH stress response is below the bottom of the normal range (even though I produce some GH normally). Cortisol alone helps, but doesn't fully relieve my symptoms. Until I combined hydrocortisone with GH, I couldn't exercise regularly -- but together, these medications are a miracle. Now (in my late 40s), I can exercise like I am young again with minimal side effects.

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    1. I have not been tested for GH deficiency. Though, I'm not sure I want to have a hypoglycemic episode induced... that will go down as one of the more scary sounding tests.

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