So my chronic disease and I have now spent six months together. Went to see the good doctor yesterday and all the markers look pretty good. My electrolytes continue to run on the low end, somewhat expected with Addison’s, but of bigger concern to me given my active lifestyle. We discussed a few strategies, namely, using a sports drink that has higher sodium and electrolyte levels than the standard sports drink.
As you’d imagine, there are not a lot of mid-winter races in the Northeast, a couple, but not a lot. One local race that I’ve been trying to run for going on four years now is the Old Fashioned 10 Miler put on for the last 30 years by the Wampanoag Road Runners. It had never been canceled in it’s history until I signed up. Or so it seems. In the past three years, it’s been canceled twice due to snow storms and shortened to 5 miles due to icy road conditions.
My goals for 2016 are to have no goals. Cliched as it is, after the last few months, just taking it a day at a time, staying healthy, staying rested and figuring out how to live with this disease is my primary goal. Turns out being rushed to the hospital and spending a week in a really uncomfortable bed while being put through a ringer of tests will put a lot of things in perspective. Initially, sitting in that drab room, it gives you a vivid awareness of that ledge out there. Of death. But now, more removed, I’ve found my perspective has shifted. The entire experience has shown me less about death and given me more an acute awareness of life.
I’ve run this race in the past quite a few times and there isn’t too much new to say in terms of the course or the experience. It remains a nice, well-organized hometown 5k where all the race proceeds help local initiatives. It’s also a nice way to cap off the year and see friends and acquaintances before everyone begins to get busy for the holidays or hibernate through the winter.
The big difference this year was that it was Cecilia’s first 5k! And she did great. Better than great, really. She ran the whole way, pushed through the tough times in mile 3 and finished strong. Her time would have been even better if she didn’t slow to run and chat with her friends at the start. But what fun is running if you can’t hang out and chat with friends? She’ll have plenty of more years to really race.
Reunited and it feels…. Well it feels pretty damned good. I did my first run in almost three months today and my first since the hospital. My training calendar was beginning to look like a barren wasteland. Truthfully, I tried not to think about it. Not being able to exercise when it was such a key part of how I define myself was, and continues, to be very difficult. But after my one month post-hospital checkup, I was cleared to return to exercise and it was all I could do not to leave the office and try to run home.
The difference is so distinct and so much better that it feels like a year since I hobbled out of the hospital. In reality, it’s only been a month. A few days ago, I had yet more tubes of blood drawn (which didn’t conjure up pleasant memories, but I guess I need to get used to it) and then yesterday, I had my one-month check-in with the endocrinologist.
What has the last month been like? Mostly managing fatigue, resting, taking some meds, resting some more and letting the body recover. It’s probably not unlike what people go through after a major surgery.
At the ten mile mark, over seven hours and 67 miles after I had started, I turned to Laura and said I thought I might be able to run to the finish. She wished me luck. I took a deep breath in, let it out and before I could take it back I started, well, not running exactly, but shuffling more quickly than I had been for the past three hours. I just wanted this over now as quickly as possible. This was not how today was supposed to go. At all.