Monday, May 1, 2023

My New Nickname and Finally, a Diagnosis

In the news of the weird I'm still over here being dizzy, heavy headed and foggy. I am operating at about 50% of my normal cool self. I'm still not driving, but have managed a couple disoriented runs. Yes, call me crazy for trying to run when I feel like I've just had 5 glasses of chardonnay. I just choose a wide dirt path with few people and no huge obstacles like bolders, sink holes or tiny children.

It's been almost eight weeks. Well, 46 days to be exact. When this type of shit strikes you, you don't forget the date of onset (March 16) and you don't stop counting the days. It's been a long road to answers, but I think I've found mine. If you don't know what I'm talking about read HERE first.

Unfortunately with medical stuff, epecially out of the ordinary symptoms, it's a freaking wild goose chase to get answers. It's all about ruling things out more so than getting an actually diagnosis. After two visits to the regular doctor, a hearing test and three visits to the ENT, I was finally sent for a test called a VNG (it has nothing to do with a vagina - that would be weird, just like CLT ((the code for the Charlotte airport)) has nothing to do with figure it out). 

VNG stands for videonystagmography, which is one of the most bizarre tests you will ever have - so bizarre that when I was done the audiologist thanked me for not throwing up. Basically, you wear goggles (think VR) that have cameras in them to track your eye movement. This shows up on a computer screen. Then the audiologist has you watch images on a wall, and puts you in differnt positions. Then the fun part comes where cold and warm air is blown into each ear to see what your eyes do when that happens. This elicits crazy eye movements and dizziness, where you feel like you have the spins after a long night in Vegas. 

The outcome of the vagina test showed a diagnosis of vestibular neuritis (inflamation in the inner ear caued by a viral attack - I like to think it was the walkers from Walking Dead). I have 60% malfunction on my right side. This definitely explains all of my symptoms and while it will go away, it could take awhile. I'll be starting what is called vestibular physical therapy to help retrain my brain and other senses to compensate for the malfunction and hopefully get my equilibrium back.

On a side note I'd also like to share that while I think my ENT is a solid, thorough and wonderful doc, he is a bit quirky. On my first visit whenever I'd ask him a question, he'd start his response with, "I see 4-5 dizzies a week..." So, basically I am now categorized as a "dizzy." I'm not sure this is proper etiquette - like if you saw a psychiatrist would he/she say, "I see 4-5 crazies a week?" 

I also had an MRI on Friday to rule out all the scary stuff, but haven't gotten results back yet.  I took Ativan for the MRI then had wine later and apparently things became very enteraining (you'd have to ask Ken about the details).

Turns out when you can't run you have extra time for other things that don't require too much focus like doing crosswod puzzles and Wordle, walking Annie and picking up her big shits:

The answer is yes, you do need to see this.

I can also sit by a fire pit and drink wine and watch friends fart into the flames:

Tiny bit 'o crack showing

I'm able to sit in a manicure chair:

I've had time to watch every new show imaginable - 

  • The Last of Us (Another day, another apocolyse. Episode 3 was 😍)
  • Ted Lasso, Season 3 (recipe for the biscuits Ted brings everyone. You're welcome)
  • Survivor (I am the only one who has watched all 44 seasons? I refuse to add up how many hours that is)
  • Shrinking (Harrison Ford is so old. But so am I)
  • Bad Sisters (I wish the use of the word "twat" was normalized in the US)
  • The Door Prize (My potential = dizzy. You will get his if you've watched the show. If not, sorry)
  • A Million Little Things (this is getting very sad even if that particular character really annoys me)
  • Jury Duty (okay, this is worth the watch if for no other reason than the poop scene and the ending)
  • The Beef (I will NEVER engage in road rage again)
  • The Last Thing He Told Me (I read the book. The series is entertaining)

I also went ice fishing becaue that just requires standing still and looking into a hole (that's what he said) and not catching anything (well, okay everyone else caught something but they are just show offs).

This was last week at Redfeather Lakes, CO. Spring in CO is not spring in other places

I have already missed two races, including a trail half marathon in Fruita, Colorado. I really enjoy donating so much money to my running habit. Next up is the Bolder Boulder 10k on 5/29. I am determind to do this one as it is one of my favorite days of the year and I've probably done it 15 times. Plus, you can drink beer at 9 a.m. Here Ken and I are last year if you care.

Well, that's enough ranting for now. 

Humor me:

Best shows you've watched lately?

Ever had an illness misdiagnosed or hard to diagnose?

When's your next race?


SUAR (aka "the dizzy")

Monday, April 3, 2023

Life is Hard. RIP.

 19 days ago, I stood up from my desk at 4:30 pm and almost fell over. As I stumbled around the kitchen like Annie (Kristen Wiig) on the plane going to Vegas in Bridesmaids, Ken told me to lay down and have some Nuun. I did it because I am subservient and in a couple hours felt better. Fast forward to 7am the next morning and you could find me flat on my back in my dark bedroom with a bucket by my head. The same white vessel we named the “puke bucket” for our kids when they were young. I'm sure every home has one designated barf container. 

Mother fucker

What was happening to me? Was I pregnant despite Ken's vasectomy and my 56-year-old eggs? Did I have a brain tumor like WebMD said?

Well, no. It was apparently a sudden onset of vertigo. Imagine not being able to move your head without the spins or having literally crawl to the bathroom. Imagine that every little sound, smell or movement made you want to vomit. Literally, I could smell Ken microwaving chicken noodle soup downstairs and wanted to hurl. Stupid.

Annie is perplexed.

Never did I think it would last this long, as we close into 3 weeks of this bullshit. I am no longer carrying the bucket around, but the dizziness is still my constant companion and I can’t drive or needless to say, RUN. My head is heavy and my brain is foggy.

Let’s increase the sadness factor here. On the very early morning of March 27, Ken woke me up and said, “My mom died.” We had gone to bed that night and knew she had gone into the hospital and was in ICU but the news came as a shock.

So, soberly (in the sense that we are sad but not in the sense that I stopped drinking wine) we are headed to Florida in the morning for a funeral and internment. Peg, my mother-in-law, was a decent, sweet, funny and pious woman. She “saw the eye of God” in her last hours and I hope this brought her peace in those final moments. I like to believe it really did.

These three weeks have taught me some things about patience, vulnerability and acceptance. When you are reduced to such sadness and when you can hardly do much for yourself, you get clear on what is important real fast. Not running sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. What is the end of the world is not being able to walk your dog for a minute in the sunshine or talk to your mom or best friend on the phone because you feel too nauseous. What sucks is your brain being so mixed up that you can’t track a thought or put on your socks.

Two ENTS, a chiropractor and my primary doc later, there is no clear diagnosis. I just have to wait it out. Maybe it’s BPPV (crystals in ear) or vestibular neuritis (inflamed nerve in the inner ear). We’ve tried all the meds and the maneuvers and now I’m just sitting here trying to not resist what is. The struggle comes in not accepting where you are, right?

I’m grateful we visited Florida in February before Peg was so sick and to have a few laughs and meals with her. Wednesday we will say our final goodbye and whether I’m dizzy or not, I’ll be there to take it all in and to honor her memory and the amazing mom she’s been to my husband and the devoted grandma she’s been to my kids. I won’t run while I’m there And you know what? Who cares. Running is my passion and what I love to do but it’s not everything.




Saturday, January 21, 2023

2023 Rock 'n Roll Arizona Half Marathon Race Report - Did I Get the Goal?

I woke up to dark, cold and wet. Well, it was dark, warm and dry in my hotel bed, but outside it was rainy and pitch black. I got up and started messing with the pile of running clothes I'd thrown onto the floor the night before. But, the most important order of business, coffee, needed to be tended to. I filled the Nespresso water canister, popped in a capsule and hit the "on" button. Nothing. I fiddled with the power cord and yes, it was plugged in. I moved all coffee machine parts around. No go. I started to panic. Coffee was as much a necessity as my running shoes and a pre-race poop. I called to Ken, who doesn't drink coffee (freak), to help me. With half closed eyes, he looked at it, pressed buttons then declared he was sorry but he had to poop. Sigh.

In the meantime I was getting behind on other things like eating my oatmeal (didn't have time to get hot water in the lobby so used lukewarm tap water - don't recommend) and pinning on my bib. I also still needed to jug some Nuun and poop ( don't mean jug poop; just get out some poop). I pleaded with Siri to tell me how to work a Nespresso maker, which she kindly did, but it still didn't work. I looked around, tears welling in my eyes (haha okay, so dramatic) and held my gaze for a moment, deep in thought. Then just like that, Christmas Vacation Style, I flipped on the light switch near the coffee maker and VOILA, a steady stream of hot liquid finally made its appearance. Problem solved. It's true I am a social worker who is very much not STEM-like in any way.

Dressed, hydrated, caffeinated and full of cold oatmeal (and poop ugh), we headed to the start.  I said goodbye to Ken, handed him my jacket, and got into my corral in the rain. I failed to wear a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. It doesn't really rain in Colorado. It also doesn't really rain in Phoenix, so there's that. I'd just suck it up. I told myself to embrace, not resist, the conditions. I'm very wise that way.

Let's pause here for a moment. After my accident in August I've had to stay off of the trails for fear of falling and re-injuring myself. Therefore, once I was given the clear to run in September, I decided to set my sights on road running and qualifying for the NYC Marathon with my half marathon time. In the 55-59 female age group that's a 1:54. Before November, I hadn't done a road half marathon in years. My last one was the Utah Valley Half in 2017 - one of those common Utah races where they drive you to the top of a canyon and you run down (800 feet of elevation loss, no turns). I did that one in 1:50:21 and that was when I was 50. Gulp.

Yes, I'd done my long runs consistently as well as speed workouts on the treadmill. But, based on my half marathon time in November (2 hours), 1:54 seemed like a lofty, although not impossible goal. If it was easy to qualify, everyone would do it right?

The gun goes off and so do I. I decided my approach would be to not look at my watch until mile 12. I've never gone totally by feel before. Lets try it! I also promised myself that if at the half way mark I felt good I'd pick it up. It rained hard for the first 7 or so miles. So hard I thought I'd lose a contact lens. I didn't. At the halfway mark I took a Maurten gel (consistency of pure Jello) I had in my pocket and knew I had enough in the tank to pick it up. I couldn't believe how good I felt and how much energy I had. I kept telling myself to keep pushing and that I didn't do all those freezing cold long runs in the snow and sweaty interval runs on the treadmill just to not make my goal. 

At mile 12 I gave myself permission to look at my watch because I didn't want to miss my goal by seconds. My watch said 1:41. WHAT??? I knew I had it. I sprinted that 1.2 miles and seeing Sam with about 1/3 of a mile to the finish line was a huge boost. I ran the second half faster than the first.

Thing is, this time qualifies me for NEXT year's NYCM - so 2024. Hopefully I'm still alive by then.

Overall, I really liked this course. It's not especially scenic, except for one part around 9 miles when you climbed a hill up between two buttes and have a gorgeous view of the city (Papago Park). I also like that it's pretty flat with only about 200 ft of elevation gain. Rock 'n Roll has it dialed in with their aid stations, excellent tracking app, post race party and multiple porta potties (I never did poop). And, Phoenix in January is usually a sure thing weather wise for a race. 

Clearly not my photo as I wasn't in a helicopter, but you get the idea.

Thanks for reading along. I'm a big fan of race reports so thanks to anyone who has written one and has filled me in on their experiences and what to expect.

What's your next race? I don't have anything officially signed up for until the Bolder Boulder in May. But, will likely do something before then.

Are you obsessed with your watch while running or do you go mostly be feel? What watch do you have? I've been going by feel on my long runs, but use time/pace for speed workouts. I have a Suunto 9 Baro and absolutely love it. Been using it for almost 5 years.

Favorite pre-run fueling? I usually do oatmeal/graham crackers and/or a Honey Stinger Waffle


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Friday, January 13, 2023

Do NOT Water Down My Margarita + Countdown to Race Day

I'm feeling the love. I missed you too. People still DO read blogs!

It was really reassuring to learn how many of you have dogs that eat turds. But, the question keeping me up at night is why don't cats do it? My estimation is that they are far too sophisticated for that BS. If they were going to do it, they would be so embarrassed about their behavior that they would likely hide shamefully in an old Amazon Prime box and do it in there under the dark of night.

Tomorrow we leave for the airport at 5am for Phoenix to get there in time to get the the Rock 'n Roll race expo before it closes. I chose our hotel (The Canopy) not only because it is at the start line, but also because it has a lovely rooftop pool and bar. It is a slam dunk that if you go to Phoenix in January, or really anytime for that matter, the sun will shine upon you and you can put on your bikini (or tankini or one piece) and lay by the pool with a margarita. Eff you Phoenix. This does not look like vacation weather.

I do love to run in cooler temperatures and don't mind the rain if it's not pouring or going sideways. So, the race weather is fine. But, I don't like to lay by the pool in the rain because my margarita gets watered down and my headlights come out (IYKYK).

Did you know my first ever race was a marathon (Rock and Roll Arizona - same race I'm doing Sunday) and here is my first ever blog post about that race! 2009. God I'm old because I thought I was old then but I now see I was young and supple and now I'm old(er), periodless and I take things like fish oil, calcium and Vitamin D regularly (I even have a day of the week pill holder). Gasp.

Just for fun here's me in Vegas last summer because I wasn't blogging then so you didn't get to see this.

Not only was my arm still broken, but I had an eye infection so I couldn't wear my contacts. Add to that drama that I don't have prescription sunglasses and did not have enough time to get them before the trip so I did the very classy "Wear Over the Glasses Sunglasses" (WOGS). Just to legitimize this trend, you can even find it on the Urban Dictionary HERE. You can barely even tell I have two pairs of glasses on or that's what I told myself. I did look pretty hot going through the Wynn slightly intoxicated with a sling and double glasses. In all fairness, I did wear an appropriate shirt (this was from New Years but I wore it n Vegas too).

That would be Fireball

Oh, and on that note about Vegas. I got kicked off a blackjack table for the first time in my life. Erika, Clair and I were at a table at Resort World having the time of our lives winning! I would get quite excited when I got a blackjack and flail my body around (plus I had a broken arm and I'm blaming that all day long). The first time I spilled my vodka tonic all over the blackjack table, soaking the deck of cards, the pit boss and dealer laughed and assured me it was no big deal. "HAHA everyone does it! No problem lady!" The second time, they were a bit more subdued, but still smiled and cleaned it up. The THIRD time it was actually Erika who spilled her Absolut citron and soda (so this whole thing is clearly her fault), and the pit boss said "Get out. You are kicked off this table!" I feel pride.

Welp, it's 3:25 p.m. so I need to pack and lay around before I go to bed and get up. 

I'll let you know how the race goes. I have goals. I'll tell you later.

What's your favorite weather to race in? 40s, partly sunny, no wind.

Got a good Vegas story? I have too many to count but someday I'll tell you about when I gave Erika's cell phone number to a gang member from LA. This is the kind of stellar friend I am.


Monday, January 9, 2023

My Dog Eats Poop and Other Updates

God, I'm so rusty at this...not sure I even know how to tipe enymoor.

Why now? I don't know. Today's been a boring, gray January day and I'm feeling less than energized by my job and life. It's the time of year for all you SAD suckers like me (Seasonal Affective Dickheads). I don't really have SAD per se (that's what anti depressants are for), but I do have the BLAHS (which stands for...Big Lazy Ass Hoe Show? I don't know). 

So much has happened since my last blog post ten months ago. For example, I got my first gel manicure and my nails are finally growing into real nails instead of little shitty papery things that make me look like I've been working in the mines of Appalachia <random. Picking your nose with gel nails is the bomb, btw.

I also stopped getting periods, which is less messy and annoying, but also means the hot flashes rage on. If you are 30 and reading this and don't think this will be your life, it will be your life and get over yourself!

Okay for real - in the spirit of keeping you updated, I got a puppy, Annie. She's an English Cream Golden Retriever, she's perfect and she'll be a year old in February. She also almost killed me in August when she pulled me over onto a concrete slab breaking my humerus (upper arm by the shoulder and there is nothing humorous about it), breaking two ribs and collapsing my lung. What a bitch. 

Here I am:

And here she is:

And here she is eating the cat:

Who looks better?

I still love her and I know deep down she is sorry for what she did. She shows me how sorry she is by digging in the yard and eating her own poop and and humping her favorite blanket at 5 pm sharp each night. Why are dogs so weird? Eating poop is not okay. Sometimes I know she's found a frozen poop nugget in the yard because I look out there and see her munching on what seems to be a tootsie roll, just loving life. 

I still love her.

What else? Well, the "my dog sent me to the hospital" debacle happened exactly a month before the 50 mile race I had been training for all summer (Run Rabbit Run in Steamboat) so I watched Yellowstone and drank chardonnay and ate cheese instead. I did, however, manage to do the Richmond Half Marathon in November, and ran a personal worst time (2 hours). Yay me. Don't worry. I'm doing Run Rabbit Run this year barring any freak accidents.

I am looking for redemption next week, however, as I'll be running the Rock and Roll Arizona half. Good news, I know I will not have my period that day! I've traded in my Nikes for Saucony's and I could not be happier. I am loving the Saucony Endorphin Speed.

Well this was just a check in. I wonder if anyone reads blogs anymore. I miss them. I'm glad you're here. Did you miss me at all? 

What are you training for?

Does your dog eat poop? Or what other obnoxious things do they do?

Do you still get periods?

How old are you? I'm almost 56 (February 22, 2023 - message me if you'd like my address to send gifts or money to).

Also - if you want to get emails when a new post is up please put your email address in the box a the top right. Feedburner went away and I guess I lost all those email subscriptions. Bastards.