Monday, September 19, 2011

Maybe it's the rain....

(Dad and I were treated to a Colts game in a cool way from my surgeon Dr P last weekend and had a great time... aside from the ending score that is)

Maybe it's the rain that is falling today, maybe it's the fact that everyone and their brother is talking about what is happening this weekend at the cross races all over the country, maybe it's the fact that every time I walk out into the newly crisp air I "feel" cross excitement going through my veins. I don't know... but it all has me a bit down.

I've been bound and determined to make it back to elite level racing this year, even if it took me until December to do it. But this past week I think I finally am realizing that somethings can't change no matter how much will power you put into it. Nothing can change the fact of what I went through, that's okay, but for some crazy reason I had my blinders on when all the experts in medicine told me all this would take a long time to recover from. A long time? Like a few months right? I said that to the neurologist recently and she responded to me like I was a 1st grader. I can't blame her really. I mean, I am in the medical field and it seems to be pretty obvious when you break it all down what sort of massive healing process my body needs to do. When she said "a year to feel pretty normal," I'm not sure why I felt I could or should prove her wrong. It's not a contest. And it seems like I'm the only idiot that expects myself to feel "normal" at this point or expecting it to be back to normal very soon.

Whatever. So what if my lungs still are exchanging gases inappropriately from lingering inflammation, so what if my muscles and neuromuscular junction are functioning at 50% capacity for the next 6 months or longer, so what if I still have a lingering fever and my body is trying to recover all the little red blood cells that were taken from me for about a hundred blood draws. So what?

So it's not the easiest reality to take for someone who has always been active and independent. I had some very tough, life changing days when I was in the ICU... but I had something to do... try to stay alive. Now, my only choice is to sit around and wait to get better. It doesn't seem like I do anything. Which I know is the best thing, but very different than what I'm accustomed to doing, and very much not what I want to be doing! It frustrates me to no end, but when my muscles and energy levels drop, it stops me dead in my tracks and I have no other choice but to put my head down and rest. If the gas (acetylcholine) isn't there to run the engine, the engine just doesn't go no matter how ready it is.
Simple as that.

Some people look at me, see me as the engine that looks just fine, but what they don't know is that I don't have any energy to make myself go... no gas. It's a little strange to feel like I need to explain that to some people when I know I appear just fine. It's also been a very intriguing observation how people I have known for years that work in health care have reacted to me since I've returned to work. Most have been great and very supportive, but others treat me as if I have some sort of black plague and I find they treat complete strangers with more understanding and compassion. Just an interesting social aspect I've noticed along with all the other stuff. If I had the energy right now, I would do some sort of study on it.

I'm also learning I don't need to make excuses for myself, it's a discovered fact and there is nothing I can do about it until I've had proper time to heal. That's just how it has to be and I've started to see and realize the fact that this is a long haul ahead of me. I am learning that ANY day of activity, being it be a small half day trip somewhere, a few hours at work, or a easy 1 hour bike ride; will require 2 fold that in rest and sleep. I've learned that I can't make plans or get delusions of grandeur the day after I have a task to complete. It's just different now.

I think about how much my life has changed in a year. I know change happens in life and I actually enjoy change. Like I stated in previous blogs about the near death experience (NDE) I am not angry it happened and I don't ever think it is my place to say I would go back and erase it from my life, but I'm in a very different place than I was last year. Physically and socially (not to even touch on mentally), I was taking on the cross season, traveling to races, and working a full time job, and maintaining my home life on top of it all. I was a busy, busy girl. I look back now and it helps me put how ill I've been in perspective since last year I would work 8 -24 hour shift, get off work and ride 2-3 hours, be able to prep dinner and get ready to do it all the next day. Now, a few hours of doing anesthesia requires 24 hours rest, forget riding a bike or even doing grocery shopping or what not. Looking at things that way helps me understand that this isn't going to just go away in a couple weeks, and that maybe one of the top neuromuscular neurologist in the region isn't crazy after all.

Maybe it is the rain....
but maybe it's the truth.
And yes, I can handle the truth.

(I recently was given a high honor as a Distinguished Alumni from my high school Tippecanoe Valley. Final ceremonies were held at the half time of the football game; as seen above standing with Jason Bowmen, MD who was also a 1995 grad and a honored alum)

The Tippecanoe Valley High School Distinguished Alumni Class of 2011 were honored Friday. PIctured seated (L to R) are: Rebekah Parker Legan, Jayme McCalla Parker, Nicole Dorem, Sherri Miller Johnson. Pictured in the second row are: Vernon Goodman, Kevin Deardorff, Dean Trippiedi and Jerry Meadows. In the third row are Greg Hoover, Todd Stokes, Dr. Jason Bowman and Micah Lukens. Photo by Marissa McSherry, Times-Union

The Tippecanoe Valley High School Distinguished Alumni Class of 2011 were honored Friday. PIctured seated (L to R) are: Rebekah Parker Legan, Jayme McCalla Parker, Nicole Dorem, Sherri Miller Johnson. Pictured in the second row are: Vernon Goodman, Kevin Deardorff, Dean Trippiedi and Jerry Meadows. In the third row are Greg Hoover, Todd Stokes, Dr. Jason Bowman and Micah Lukens. Photo by Marissa McSherry, Times-Union

It was a cool experience going back to high school as a career women. I had a chance to speak to students and see some of the teachers and staff that helped mentor me to the place I am today. The honored alums that TVHS had were quite impressive and have made great contributions to this world and I was honored to be placed in that same category.
I was just a little rug rat from the small town of Burket... just like all the other's above were from small towns and went to a small school.
My advice to the students?

Just because you come from small places doesn't mean that you can't do BIG things!

And that's the truth.
Go Vikes!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Isn't That The Truth!

Isn't kinda cool how sometimes God aligns everything just right sometimes and something happens or is said that you absolutely needed to happen at just that right moment?

We've all had it happen and even if you want to credit God for it or not, well that's your thing... but I know God does it all the time for us. Heaven knows I've had a few things here lately occur that if He didn't interject could have easily gone south.

So my neighborhood I live in is called SpringHill acres. It's named that way because it is on a lake and it is down a hill. It's not Colorado, but it's a fairly steep incline that goes out of my neighborhood and also one that heads back down to the hospital I work at. Nothing major... but I can always gauge right off how I feel that day on a training ride based on how I tackle that hill. Before I was sick, I could ride up both hills like they were flat. I love when that happens. I was getting really fit.

After I finally got up the strength to cruise around the hood on the granny bike, my goal was to someday be able to make it up that hill. It took me a couple weeks to make it. The first couple times required a few breaks, but eventually I made it up clean! I was stoked. Such a little hill that I used to laugh at became a major struggle for me, but I made it and I didn't care what anybody else thought of me making it or needing to take break. To me it was a major hurdle and that hill felt like a prison wall holding me away from longer cruises until I could overcome it. And that I did!

(A little bigger incline at Cottenwood pass)

So once I made it up the hill and down the back side of it, my next goal was to make it back home up the other side. This is actually on a road that goes to the hospital campus, so it sees a fair amount of traffic therefor some of it has a sidewalk. Now, let me tell you this. It's been a long time since I've used a sidewalk with a bike under me, but these days I feel so much slower than traffic, I take that sidewalk all the time. Weird. This little hill maybe takes me 30 seconds normally, but given that I have already climbed another hill, I spent a few weeks needing to take a break at least 2 or 3 times. It was huge... it might as well been the Alps for all I know.

So lately, I have been able to make it up that hill all at once at snail's pace. I'm proud to make the hill, but some days I forget that I almost died 3 months ago and I start getting upset with how slow I go up that little hill. I don't get upset everyday, but the thought of frustration crosses my mind sometimes.

Which just so happened today. I'm on the sidewalk, minding my own "feeling sorry for myself being so slow" business when a familiar car rolls up beside me. I'm thinking "man I hope this isn't someone wanting to converse because I can't even breath right now." Then a dude I've known since the BMX days shouts out to me...

"It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster."

I thank him and Him and we both continue on our paths.

Isn't that the truth!

A couple months from now when Coach Mark has me training my tail off, this won't seem any bit harder then what it does now. I'm just going a little slower for the time being.

The thing is: getting up those damn hills isn't about how pro I look getting up them, how fast I used to be able to do it, or how fast everyone else can. It's about me believing I can go up it. It's about me going for a bike ride because I like to, it's about me trusting in God's decision that this is exactly where He wants me to be right now and giving me a chance to make it up even more hills and obstacles in the future.

My friend is right... it doesn't matter how slow, fast, or good I get. I'll always find a way to push the limit further because that's how I roll.

That's what I did and that's what I'm doing!