Sunday, March 1, 2009

January 2009

I had planned on running the Athens-Big Fork trail marathon on January 3, 2009. It is a fairly difficult, very hilly marathon-distance trail run. I was still feeling physically down, and was debating doing the race. It was at this time that I first remember thinking that this might be some kind of autoimmune-related issue. In fall 2005 I had experienced a sore, weak, and arthritic feeling in one of my arms, extending from my shoulder all the way down through my hand. I had limited use of the arm, and poor dexterity. I worried at that time about an autoimmune flare-up in the form of lupus or something related, but it passed after a few months. Before Athens-Big Fork, this episode crossed my mind and I wondered if I was experiencing something similar. I decided to go through with the race, primarily because the terrain is so severe that there is often more walking involved than running, and that if I felt sluggish, I could always slow down and hike. I did feel sluggish during the race, took it easy, and finished in a much slower time than I had in the previous year. Although my kneecap injury was not debilitating or acute, it was still not healing. There was a constant level of low-grade swelling and soreness that never seemed to change. After the race, I had a running friend who is also an orthopedist comment to me that he had never seen a bruised kneecap not heal after 2 months, and that it was highly unusual that I was still experiencing symptoms.

I continued to feel more sore and weak in my muscles through the rest of January. I noticed that I was lifting less weight in the fitness center. The fitness center helped me to see empirical weakness through comparison with weight amounts that I usually lift. It became obvious that I had a health issue emerging during this time. I was especially losing arm and upper body strength. It became hard to lift my arms over my head, and I began having trouble changing my shirt when I could not get my arms through the sleeves. I was starting to alter my daily activities and barely able to hold myself together at work. I began wearing the same clothes for a few days in a row, and sleeping in the same outfits in which I went to work because I simply couldn't change them. I was starting to walk with a labored gait. It would require all of my strength to simply get myself to work, and once I would get there I would cry with panic and fear when I would try to do normal tasks and simply physically fail. I alerted my boss that I was feeling like I had a health issue developing, and decided that it was time to start the process of doctor visits.

During the last week of January, we experienced an ice storm that was fairly debilitating for Fayetteville. We had no power for a full week, and the entire city was effectively shut down during this time. My plans to get to the doctor were postponed, and when I talked to my parents on the Sunday when things finally seemed to be back to normal, I was in tears. I knew that I had a serious problem, and it was time to address it. I could no longer dress myself, take a shower, or perform basic functions that required pushing, pulling, or lifting of more than a few pounds. The next day I made an appointment with my GP.

No comments:

Post a Comment