Sure, I’ve been showing off with all my triathlons. I mean, wouldn’t you if you did five triathlons and got four medals? (Even if they were basically for showing up because there’s almost no competition in your age group.)
My last tri was an Olympic version, double the distances for the previous sprints. Two weeks later, I felt like I was in the Psycho movie when I woke up with stabbing chest pain. (I should probably insert a movie clip here, but since I’ve never had the stomach to watch the shower scene, it’s not fair to subject you to it and I think we all know the screeching music.)
Diagnosis: Pleurisy. Fast forward a bunch of tests, anti-inflammatories, “stabs” at working out, twenty-plus pounds gained, a lot of frustration over resistant pain and, eight months later, yesterday’s consultation with a pulmonologist.
We had a very interesting conversation. To rule out other serious conditions, I’ve begun a round of medical tests, including a second chest x-ray, a “medically-challenged” pulmonary function test (where they give you some sort of medication to bring out potential asthma), a nuclear stress test, and blood tests requiring about a gallon of my red stuff.
I know doctors just love it when you do your own online medical research, so I had to raise a looming fear: What about a tumor? The doc looked me in the eye and said–doubtful with my 20 pound weight gain; then explained a couple of other reasons. As my husband not-so-delicately (and rather dangerously given my mood) pointed out, apparently my mouth has no problems working out.
To my thinking, the best case scenario is that my pleurisy has become equivalent to a badly sprained ankle. Once I reach a certain threshold, my system is stressed. That is how I understood the doctor. I might be the kind of person for whom working out is more painful than for others. (Hey, I remember telling my husband I was allergic to working out, but nooooobody listened…)
A well-meaning friend picked up on my frustration when I said I was actually hoping to be classified as a wimp. He suggested perhaps if another condition was found, it could then be treated. What? NO! I don’t want another condition.
My mind doesn’t think like that. If I’m a wimp, I’ll come clean.
I might have to start eating more spinach (wink,wink), but in the end, I YAM WHAT I YAM.
Perspective is everything; before I was whining to my coach about wanting to beat people in races; now I truly will be happy just to participate and finish again. The doc said I might have to work a little harder to ignore the pain. Translation: Suck it up, cupcake.
But you know what? In my age bracket, I can still clean up on trophies.
To be continued…
PS: In order of my progress from non-athlete to triathlete, here are some of the articles I wrote along the way…
You are not a wimp. And, I would be concerned about a doctor who says “work through the pain.” Remember moi – “it;s just an anxiety attack” – result a damaged heart. Just sayin’.
Hope I wasn’t unfair to the doctor; he’s not letting me do ANY exercise until I have the stress test–for the heart–just to make sure.
Only if everything else is ruled out, I might have a chronic issue with the pleurisy, comparable to how a sprained ankle never goes back to it’s pristine state.
Thanks for looking out for me. Love you, G
OMGsh, Gayla! I had no idea. I once had pleurisy when I was MUCH younger and also a smoker (now ex for MANY years) and it hurt like h—. I think taking the stress test is a good idea, and I
know you’re unhappy about not being able to exercise, but maybe there’s a grander purpose here. Maybe you’re supposed to be writing more and working out less?? Just a thought. At least
I tell myself things like that when I have injuries (bursitis and Baker’s cyst of the knee last fall
for MONTHS). Perhaps a bit of balance will appease the powers that be? Hope complete healing comes upon you soon!
A runner friend just told me this: Running is a great way of discovering our weak spots decades before they would have popped up so we can deal with them pro-actively when we’re young.
I like to think the way you do, so we’ll see what happens! Thanks for the perspective. ~ G
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