Saturday, March 26, 2016

Done is done, right?

This one sneaked up on me. I knew I wasn't feeling my best, but boy did my body give me a run for the money this morning. After I got off my meds last month I gained about 8 pounds and have only been able to lose a little bit of it. So, it looks like I may need to talk to the cardiologist about going back on the diuretic. I may give it one more week with some major changes to see if it helps first.

I felt like I was running (if you wanna stretch and call it running) through mud this morning. I had a spurt or two of feeling "okay" but never did feel good during this race. I kept an eye on my heart rate and it never spiked, but it seemed to have a more difficult time coming back down. It was running a bit higher than normal and taking forever to slow down when I'd start walking. I ended up walking A LOT! Frustrating.

The Go Girl itself was very well organized and as always - very well done. Except they changed the course from last year and I swear they did it so they could incorporate every.single.hill in OKC on this 13 mile course. That was actually one minor factor too that just didn't help me out much today.

I'm glad this bad experience is behind me, which means my 19th half marathon is done and the OKC Memorial next month will be my 20th half marathon. I'm also really glad the Cowtown was one I felt very good doing - that way I KNOW it's possible. I just need to make some adjustments.

I know a lot of it is about attitude, and right now mine probably stinks. But a bad race (I know everyone has them, don't they?), just gets to you when it takes so much just to get there. One thing that nags at me is watching all my "running buddies" and I use that loosely - keep improving, losing weight, looking more fit, trying new things... etc. And I feel stuck. There has to be a way. Today I really felt like a heart patient (I am coming to grips with the fact that I am one whether I'm having a good day or a bad day.) I actually thought of a T-shirt design today that says "As a matter of fact, I AM running with CHF!" I was whiny and unhappy today.... but I do have a plan.

First thing is to get my eating back in check. I've done pretty good with the salt (can do better), but I've been eating too much overall. I also eat lots of carbs - beans and nuts have been major sources of protein (and cheese - which is one of the problems actually). So I have a new dieting plan I've been toying with in my head for a few days and now it's time to implement it. Starting tomorrow I'll be following it and we will see how it goes.

Second thing is I KNOW I need to exercise (at least) 30 minutes every.single.day. I haven't been doing that. But I can tell it really helps my circulation - even if I'm just walking or stretching. So I'll be shooting for 30 minutes of something every day. I already know I have to be careful to avoid an overdo and balance out TKD and running. But I haven't been running - and last week I didn't even do TKD or running much. I notice a really big difference when I stop running or walking every day.

Thirdly, I have to get more sleep. I'm burning the candle at both ends and trying to keep up with work from a variety of angles. I find myself staying up until midnight, and sometimes later; but I'm still getting up at 5:30. I have to remind myself I can only do so much in a day period. Do what I can - but I gotta start getting some sleep. Gonna shoot for 10, and hope to hit 11! lol

That's the three areas I simply have to get a good grip on one more time. It sure seems like today's race - uphill both ways - trying to keep up with everything. But I'm determined. (I think I need to find an accountability buddy or something - maybe I'll think about that next time.) For now - I got another half to get ready for - the OKC Memorial in April; and I have a 10K in between, and a TKD tournament, and a TKD belt testing.... Just the way I like it!

Even though this morning's race was a real wake-up call - I did it. More slowly than I wanted to, but pretty much as carefully as I should have. And even though it felt like I was dragging myself through thick mud, every step's still a victory!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One Happy Heart Patient!

Okay, fine. I guess I'm just going to have to be a happy "heart patient." On one of my last visits with my PCP, I argued that I wasn't one, but she just told me we could disagree on that point. Today, for the second time, I asked the cardiologist to reverse the CHF diagnosis. No surprise - it was a "no" again.

His nurse did tell me I have the better kind of  CHF though and she agreed with me that it is mild - but must be managed. So I suppose I will just concede and be content to be a heart patient....at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital. Sigh.

But there is some real good news today and still a few modifications to be made. He had all the results from my tests they did last week. The worst of it is not really all that bad - but several things that just need to be closely monitored. I guess I'll be making more trips out to OHH. I do have a leaky valve but it's not bad - just gotta keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get worse on me. My blood work also indicated that I am "pre-diabetic" which translates to me to tighten my diet up more (ie - get rid of the other white stuff - sugar.) Those were the big, little areas among a few other ones that just need to be monitored to be sure everything stays in check.

But the good news? My bp was perfect - and I was even AT the dr. office - I think that's a first! So- I talked him into letting me try going without the diuretic. He agreed - with the understanding that if I start retaining water I can't just start taking it again - I have to call the office. He told me I am not allowed to be my own doctor. (He already knows me well.) And for the first time I was told to watch my water intake  - if I'm not running. On running days I can drink more - but on non-running days the nurse said not to drink too much.... acting like I have CHF or something! lol Honestly - that was a little weird...not supposed to be real...for me.

So basically, I am learning to control the symptoms with diet and exercise. But I'm not off the hook - and actually have to be more diligent about it going forward. I realize if I don't monitor everything closely and stay on top of it all that I could have to go back on medications - so the plan is to be super good so I can stay off. Hopefully I won't need them.

The staff is very supportive of my running and some of my blood work and other stats they say are due to it. So in some ways the running is very helpful. Of course that's as long as I don't overdo it.

You wanna know the funny part? I explained to my nurse (she said I could use her name - but I told her I'd need this in writing!) how I've been monitoring myself and managing symptoms. I told her I weigh every morning that checks for water weight gain and if I gain more than 3 pounds  then there's no running. I take my BP and pulse every morning to be sure it's staying in my normal range. And I monitor my heart on the run even in taekwondo since I figured out how, as well as wear the compression socks all the time. The nurse kept affirming that I am doing everything I should - she said, "we are going to get along good -you're so compliant." And, "you're going to be a good patient." I just laughed and asked her if I could get that in writing - she said no but I could use her name! lol

I guess it's good to know my own customized monitoring system is what I'm supposed to be doing. and I'm happy I'm off everything but aspirin for now! It's still early on in the journey but I'm feeling better about it. I feel like I'm being taken care of very well. That should help me be good! lol I'm a happy heart patient who is still running with CHF where....

Every Step's a Victory