If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Epiphany Moment

A few weeks ago, I had decided to not talk about my head-on collision with Graves Disease because I figured most people don't really want to read about it.  Well, I changed my mind.  After scouring the Internet for information on endurance athletes with Graves, I discovered that there isn't ANY information out there connecting the two.  I surmise that this could be good and bad - good, in that not too many people who enjoy endurance related activities have it; bad, in that endurance athletes who develop it are no longer endurance athletes.  That is my fear.  Hopefully we can contribute a little info to aid someone who may eventually be in search of it like we've been.

I had a few weeks where I felt exceptionally good, around the last of April and the first week of May, where I thought that perhaps I was starting to see a true improvement in my physical well-being, i.e. beginning to regain some of the strength and endurance that I had lost, beginning last fall.  Unfortunately, the past few weeks have been a slow slide backwards, whereby I've been scratching and clawing to hold onto my 'feeling good' gains to no avail.  Doc lowered my anti-thyroid med dose over Easter by half, based upon my improving blood results.  There is still a lot of extra thyroid hormone poison coursing through my body (the thyroid stores up tons of extra) so Doc told me to 'hang tight' and assured me that the ride on the roller coaster will level out.  I have been moping around in the doldrums the past few weeks, following the weeks where I had a wonderful glimpse of what COULD be, physically speaking.  It almost felt like a cruel joke.  I am slow, weak, and tired.  I have no capability, right now, of anything endurance related. Bummed big time.

But all that changed this past Wednesday when something 'clicked' in my mind and heart and I have done an about-face in terms of my attitude.  Steve and I were at the monthly newsletter stuffing for Pikes Peak Roadrunners and afterward, chatted briefly with John from The Colorado Running Company.  It seems that John happened upon our blog a while back and had learned about my Graves diagnosis.  Unbeknownst to him, our brief conversation resulted in a pep talk and also a swift kick in the pants.  He shared stories about a couple of our local running speedsters who were sidelined with debilitating conditions for several years.  He then said it was OK to only do what I can do.  If all I can do is hike, right now, then hike and be satisfied with it.  If I can only run 5 miles without collapsing in exhaustion, then be happy with it.  If it's 10 miles, well, then good.  Just don't be so unhappy and so dissatisfied if the body isn't able to do more.  Be happy with where I am and whatever I am able to do for the moment. Don't push for 'that little bit more'.  He probably didn't realize what he was doing for me but it was what I needed to hear, so thanks John!  I guess I needed PERMISSION to go easy on my body.  It has been beat-up and abused by Graves for 6 months and I all I have been trying to do is push and PUNISH it even more, for being 'BAD'.  It was one of those true Epiphany Moments.

The fact of the matter is:  I can run.  Not fast and not as far I would prefer, but I can run.  I can ride my bike.  Again, not as fast and not as far as I would like but I can do it.  I rode 25 miles this past Monday and 22 miles today.  I ran 10 miles and hiked 7 miles yesterday (Steve ran 19 miles) - it was too much, just call me a bone-head - so I will be making sure to cut back on my running routes for a few weeks or a month - whatever it takes - because it's OK and I'm good with it (at least momentarily).  I truly am thankful for what I am able to do right now - and that's not just blowing 'feel good smoke' at you - it's true!  :-)

So yes, you will be hearing more about the Graves thing because, reality is, it is a part of our lives forevermore.  It is woven into the fabric of my being, like it or not.  I happened across Michaela's site this past week.  Michaela just graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was diagnosed with Graves Disease last fall.  She and a couple of friends are getting ready to embark on a 3000 mile bike ride to raise funds and awareness for Graves.  We exchanged a few quick emails this past week and it's nice to be able to talk with someone who is in the same situation and understands the challenges of dealing with and healing from this disease.

Some of the challenge, too, is the fact that Steve and I have always enjoyed doing our riding and running together - it's who we are.  So we both have had to adjust to this - we are still doing these things together but in a little different capacity.  I want him to keep going and keep pursuing but sometimes he wants to wait for me.  I don't want him to wait for me.  It is what it is.  Hopefully, soon, I will catch up.  Just some time and lots of patience............

Fingers crossed, pictures tomorrow!

Happy Trails for the rest of the weekend!

Here's some fun, feel-good music that revs me up!!!

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