Brushing off the Cobwebs

Well, hey there friends, long time no blog! At some point, you haven’t blogged in so long that it becomes harder and harder and harder to blog. And before you know it, it’s been six months and you haven’t written anything. My bad guys, my bad. You see, the truth is, I was in a funk. Following my last racing season I completed something I never dreamed I’d be capable of. I finished the Grand Slam and felt on top of the world. I COULD DO ANYTHING! After months and months of dedicated training, reaching my goal was exciting… but then there was nothing. No Plan. No goal. I floundered for a bit, I did a few other long distance races and made memories with my friends, but not following a schedule was a major trip for my trained-out brain. I was tired and ready for the  break, but also, I had no idea what to do with myself in the meantime.

I’ve spent summer being active but with no real direction, and there were highs and lows with that. Having an off season is a good thing– my mental state and physical body desperately needed the rest. But as all runners know, it can occasionally be just as much as a mental struggle being in rest mode. Does my life even really MEAN ANYTHING if I’m not TRAINING FOR THE NEXT BIG EVENT?! Kidding. Sort of. If you’re a runner, you know what I mean. That feeling combined with a few health problems has left me feeling a little down for the past few weeks.

For about a year now I’ve been dealing with wrist pain.  It’s one of those things that started off as a small annoyance and then 12+ months down the road suddenly you’re in significant pain every day and your normal life activities are severely affected. When did that happen? It’s hard to believe a little thing has actually ended causing me a lot of trouble: inability to flex or move my wrist, inability to bear any weight in my left hand, numbness and tingling, chronic wrist, arm, neck, and shoulder pain, I’ve lost all grip strength in my left hand and daily activities like driving, brushing my hair, opening doors, and cooking have been made almost intolerable…

After wearing a brace for 3 weeks with no improvement, my GP sent me to a hand surgeon. It was a little overwhelming, to say the least. The first thing for sure: I have a ganglion cyst. This is what’s causing the sharp pain when I move or bend my hand. As soon as the nurse practitioner said this, I felt a sudden relief. A CYST! That’s no big deal, right??? Easy peasy to fix! Except,  maybe not. One option is draining it, however the NP said patients tend to have little success with the procedure and as few as 15% report a nonoccurrence of the cyst. Bummer. She feels the best bet for my particular situation, with a cyst that has been present and causing increasing pain for over a year, to be surgical. Awesome. But wait: the good news doesn’t end there! She feels that while the cyst is causing pain, I also have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. In a couple days I will be seeing a neurologist to have a nerve conduction study done on my arms (WHERE THEY STICK NEEDLES IN YOUR ARM AND JOLT YOU WITH ELECTRICITY, YAY), and if it comes up positive, double whammy– surgery to fix both the cyst and carpal tunnel.

The scary part about all of this is the issue of my age. According to the surgeon, it is fairly unusual for someone my age to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Not unheard of, but rare. He has seen several cases personally where a young person comes in with CTS due to some underlying autoimmune condition, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus… Needless to say upon hearing that I was a little freaked out. Of course, it’s most likely nothing, but they are doing a full blood work up on me looking for certain inflammation factors, and I will find out the results of that and my nerve conduction study as well as discuss surgical options next week when I go back.

I’m doing my best to not worry and hope for the best, because the logical part of my brain knows that it’s probably nothing serious (while my lizard brain is all, “welp, the end is nigh, might as well get my last will and testament in order,” but I do try my best to ignore that part).

To distract myself from my medical worries and get myself out of my no racing no plan rut, I have signed up for the Huntsville Sprint Tri! This was one of my favorite races last year and it’s happy, carefree environment is exactly what I need to get myself back in the mindset. Due to my wrist I am not able to ride a bike right now, so I posted on facebook asking of any of my friends would be willing to do a relay team with me. Two of my ultra friends, Martin and Alex, chimed in and said they would like to. At first I was like, “u gotta b kidding me dood” because both of these guys are mega fast super hard core athletes (they are both on the Fleet Feet racing team and have completed events like IRONMANS and crazy ultra races through the swiss alps or something…)… But with a little assurance that they were in it for fun, just like me, and that they wouldn’t be mad when my run time would be incredibly slow compared to their event times, we created team Slower Than We Look (lol). The race is in a couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to it so damn much. A sun, a little sweat, a little fun with my friends– just what this girl needs right now.