In which uncertainty reigns (but optimism stands firm)

My last post was from the beginning of July, shortly after I had a great week of running and Lake Michigan ice baths. After that, my life took a 180: I had a big flare-up for the last three weeks of July, then for two weeks in August. Looking back, that’s the cycle I’ve been going through for almost two years: health, flare, recovery. Health, flare, recovery. Sometimes health is the longest segment, other times it’s recovery. Thankfully, it’s not usually the flare. But either way, it totally sucks. I wanted this year to be the year I got to do a 50k – that’s looking more and more unlikely.

It goes like this: running is going well. Start to get into a rhythm. Start to build up a mileage base. FLARE: be out of commission for 1-4 weeks. Lose pretty much everything you built up to. Feel like shit for days on end. Try running; joints all ache, chest pain builds up, fatigue hits; lay in bed for six hours to two days.. Try to stay positive. Sloooooow recovery – until one day, you have energy and nothing, or almost nothing, hurts. Try running; it goes well. Feel human again. x amount of time passes; run, run, run. Then, inevitably, mostly unpredictably, flare again. Repeat. Mix into that doctor visits, bloodwork on bloodwork on bloodwork, and hours of googling autoimmune diseases. Also starting graduate school. Makes for a pretty fun time.

Now. All that sounds terribly negative, which is because it’s hard to put a positive spin on having some as-yet undiagnosed chronic inflammation/autoimmune disease, but here’s the good news: it’s usually not totally debilitating, only occasionally. And I’ve now gone on two pain-free, normal-feeling runs, so it looks as though the megaflare of the summer is over (knock on wood). It’s easy to lose sight of goals when you’re sick like that, but once you pop out back on top and, you know, become you again, it comes back. It never really leaves, it just gets masked by pain and malaise (which sounds very preteen-dramatic, but is nonetheless true).

SO. Will I do a 50k this year? Proooobably not. I wasn’t expecting to be laid low for so long this year, but all you can do is roll with the punches and keep an optimistic attitude about it. I’ll keep running as long as I can, and hopefully I’ll get a diagnosis soon. (Though sometimes I forget that getting a diagnosis does not equal automatic cure.)

Anyway – that’s what’s up. I’m going to try for something a little longer tomorrow because it’s so, so exciting to actually have energy to run again, even if I’m super out of shape because I haven’t really run much since that trip up north.

– b

PPS. A list of things it might me: lupus, lyme, POTS, mast cell activation syndrome, associated pleurisy and arthritis… it’s a fun list.

I just ran a few miles with a new running friend and it was HOT and I’m out of shape but - drumroll please - there was NO WEIRD PAIN! My hip and ankle bugged me a teensy bit at the beginning, but I’m attributing that to not running much the past...
From after my run yesterday. It was HOT but I was so pumped to be running again.


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