Where’s ROJ?

I actually have several posts which should go live this week, but I wanted to get this up right now to say, if you find yourself missing me, I am active over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Oh and VERY active over on MFP (MyFitnessPal), which I can’t seem to figure out how to link, because I’m being lazy. Look me up at Starrr126 if you want. Also it goes without saying I’m still a FitBit addict.

In general everything is going “well”. My conditioned hasn’t worsened and I’m learning more and more each day on how to cope. It’s frustrating at times, because despite people saying they can understand or remember what I’ve said, I still have people comment on the way I eat and types of food I consume. Trust me I NEVER thought I’d be someone to miss a salad, but it’s happening. On the flip side, I’m becoming less tolerant of overly excessive sugar, so that’s a plus. I’m down nearly 40 pounds from last year (25 since January) and physically feel great from that loss. I can tell in pictures even though I’ve been 180 before, I look so much healthier than I did at that weight previously. More than likely it’s because I’m working hard to lose weight and be healthy as opposed to feeling sick all the time and slowly/rapidly gaining weight.

Here’s a collage I shared on Instagram. In the red March 2016, in the green April 2017.

And here you’ll see me last weekend vs summer 2015, at pretty much the same weight. Eh maybe not a huge difference, but I FEEL better.

Dave and I have been doing a lot of exercising together and I’ve been doing quite a bit on my own too, which I’ll talk about more in a different post. I plan to summarize the events we did by month and then do a post in more detail about my diet and exercise outside of the events.

Please note, I’m not avoiding the blog due to my health or lack of caring. In 100% honesty it’s because of the wedding planning. Did I mention that yet? We’re getting married in October!! I think most people who have planned a wedding are nodding their heads and saying “Say no more”. It seems every day there’s a new detail to consider or plan, and I’m LOVING the whole process, do not get me wrong, but it’s time consuming. I’ve scaled way back on my reading too. It seems what I do is work, sleep, plan a wedding, and try to fit a little walking in here and there. Again NOT complaining, but it is what it is and I will embrace each day for whatever it brings.

Hope everyone is well and I’ll be back VERY soon.

The Gift of Gastroparesis

Starting at the beginning (ish). After finishing my 2nd marathon and completing 25 miles of a 50K the week before, I took a little time off from running. Then in January 2015 I began gaining weight at an alarming rate. Part of me knew it was diet related, but I also considered it was stress related and possibly medication related. Even after leaving my previous job and starting a WONDERFUL new position, changing my eating habits and coming off the meds, I continued to gain weight. Putting it into perspective I was around 150 pounds (and FIT) winter 2014, by summer 2015 I was around 200 pounds which crept to 220 by winter 2015. Then summer 2016 I was finally down 20 pounds thanks to running and Nutrisystem, but always in great pain, which I assumed was weight related. While training for my next 50K I found any time I bent over I would throw up and eventually developed an unrelated case of plantar fasciitis, which is JUST NOW starting to properly heal.

Taking a step back again I gained some of the weight back and stopped about all exercise and continued to feel sick and throw up. My doctor increased my acid reflux medication, but this didn’t help. Last month I was sent to Gastroenterology and was set up with a gastric emptying study which I am SO THANKFUL insurance approved otherwise I still wouldn’t have answers. I arrived early in the morning and was feed an egg sandwich with radioactive materials. Fun, right?

Each hour they took x-rays of my stomach and I watched the silver mass on the screen make its way through my body. Nothing looked weird to me (ya know with my medical degree over here) and I went about my daily/weekly business, which included the Twilight Triathlon that weekend where I felt nauseous and threw up at the end. About a week after my study I received a voicemail, my study revealed I have gastroparesis, also known as slow to empty stomach.

What does this mean?

Essentially it means food sits in my stomach much longer than it should and this is why I throw up. It means my stomach doesn’t break food down as fast and as completely as it should so it is recommended I eat liquid and soft foods and no more than 1 to 1.5 cups of food at a time. It means I’m not supposed to have red meat, whole wheat, high fiber, high fat or high iron. It means I’ve “easily” lost 10 pounds in the last month, (currently 195) because some days I just don’t feel well enough to eat and if I do eat I get sick. Hopefully I never get to the point of having surgery (some people require gastric bypass if their stomach stops working all together) and I’ve declined taking medication for the time being.

How did this happen?

Honestly, I don’t know. A lot of cases for this diagnosis are connected to diabetes, luckily I don’t have that, but I do have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome which I’ve been told is like diabetes, however I’ve never had an insulin problem. Many other cases just don’t have an explanation, which seems to be my case. Somewhere along the way my vagus nerve was damaged or something and now my system works differently. In the end it really doesn’t matter HOW it happened, because it’s something I have and I can’t make it go away. I will have this forever and the best I can do is eat properly to not make it worse or make myself sick.

 

There you have it, I finally have answers and feel comforted I can move forward. This blog will probably focus a lot on the interaction of this diagnosis and my training/performance moving forward. Some of you may like it, others may not mind it and some may hate it. It’s my life though and now that I have an answer to why I’m different, maybe I won’t feel as ashamed or embarrassed about things, maybe someone out there will look to me and say “It’s about an active lifestyle, not an elite performance” because after all, we all have our explanations, but wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t feel like we needed them and could just go out, enjoy life and be ourselves?

Race Report : Cleveland Browns 5K

Happy Fall everyone! Is it cold enough for those of you in Ohio with me? Too cold for me, but what can I really do about it, right?

Two weeks back I had one of many very hectic weekends for the month. On Friday night Dave and I took my Mom out for her birthday. We drove up to Cleveland to see Fun Home because I received some GREAT discounts on the tickets. The play wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly a feel good type of play either. I can’t honestly say I’d recommend it, but I don’t regret going if that makes any sense. After we went over to Hofbrauhaus and introduced Mom to loud music, dancing on tables and Yeager. She had a blast.

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Of course the Indians were playing and I was totally oblivious the whole time because I hate baseball. Yes I’m a terrible person I know.

Saturday we got up early and drove back up to Cleveland for the Browns 5K. A group of us signed up together a while back and were team “The Underdawgs” haha. Cute, right? Dave and I were TIIIIIIIRED so we crept up there with just enough time to line up and run meaning we didn’t get in a lot of the group photos, but I don’t always love being in them anyway so that was more of a win than anything else. Here is the team before we arrived.

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The only part about getting there later that sucked is not getting one of the free “buffs” they were passing out. 1) I like those things and want one. 2) Football is one of the few sports I actually like!

Our race started easy enough near the stadium and took us around the streets of downtown Cleveland for 3.1 miles. I decided to see what I could do as far as “running” and only walked for about 30 second two or three times. Once on a hill early on where I needed to take off my hoodie. Once right after a water stop, and another time when I had such a bad side stitch I was coughing and bent over in pain. It went away quickly and I returned to trotting. Dave would walk and fall behind then hustle to catch up. Part of me hated he was basically walking to keep up with my running, but I also know he’s quite a bit taller than me so my little legs need to work harder.

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Pushing it into the finish chute and onto the felt amazing. I crossed the finish in 46 minutes (43 with adjusted start time). A 43 minute 5K is SIX MINUTES FASTER than my last road race back in August. I know some of that was because of the heat in Aug, but mostly it’s due to continued working out and dieting…even though I’ve only lost maybe 5 more pounds which is a totally different struggle. The field had a platform of sorts we all ran on to keep us off the grass which makes sense even if it was a little bit of a bummer. They broadcast-ed the finish line up on the jumbo-tron which was very cool to watch and made me wish I had my camera out.

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One of the photographers was even nice enough to take a group shot which is gorgeous and he took one with his camera but I didn’t see it in the final cut.

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The rest of the day I was in terrible pain due to my PF and wish my foot would just fall off or something that couldn’t possibly hurt more than what I feel right now. Becky and I went back to Cleveland a few hours later (seriously I should have gotten an apartment for the weekend or something) and enjoyed our annual tradition of the 12 Hours of Terror.

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Her boyfriend totally saved the day by offering to drive us there and pick us up the next morning. GREAT selection of movies this year.