Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
The weight of the ice and snow on the trees is just incredible - most tree limbs are completely bent to the ground due to the weight of the ice. I am praying that branches won't start snapping and falling when things begin to melt. The meteorologists are predicting that the area will begin to thaw out on Saturday and Sunday, when temperatures get into the 30's and 40's - maybe even 50's on Sunday.
We are still without cable and internet at home, so I thought I'd put this post up while I have access at work. Here are some pictures:
Monday, January 26, 2009
I went to the cardiologist on Friday and he preliminarily diagnosed me with neurocardiogenic syndrome. I found this explanation of the syndrome on the Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care Group website:
In this condition blood vessels tend to expand, which leads to pooling of blood in the lower parts of the body. As a result, less blood reaches the brain and this causes fainting. The usual stimulus for this action resides in the nerves of the heart-hence the term neurocardiogenic. A head-up tilt test can uncover the underlying cause of the fainting in this syndrome. Neurocardiogenic syncope is usually treated with medications that reduce the probability of cardiac nerves triggering the cycle that leads to lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting.
When a normal individual stands up, gravity causes blood to pool in the legs, and return of blood to the heart is decreased. In order to compensate for this reduction, the body releases a surge of adrenaline (epinephrine). The heart beats faster and more forcefully, thereby pumping blood more efficiently to vital organs (especially the brain).
In an individual with neurocardiogenic syncope, the reduction of blood return triggers a miscommunication between the heart and the brain. Just when the heart needs to beat faster, the brain sends out a message that the heart rate should be slowed down, and that the blood vessels in the arms and legs should dilate. These actions take even more blood away from the central part of the circulation where it is needed. As a result, the individual feels lightheaded or may faint because not enough blood is getting to the brain. Fainting is helpful, in that it restores a person to the flat position, removing the pooling effect of gravity on the blood, and allowing more blood to return to the heart. Following the lightheadedness or syncope, most individuals feel tired and their mental abilities are somewhat foggy.I went to St. Joseph Hospital this afternoon for a "table-tilt test." The purpose of this test was to induce syncopation (fainting) by taking me quickly from a lying position to a standing position. I laid on the table for 30 minutes and my blood pressure was taken every 5 minutes. The only painful thing about the test was that I had an IV, and when the blood pressure cuff would tighten around my left arm the IV burned like fire from the pressure. Then I was moved to an upright position, where I immediately felt very lightheaded and like I was going to pass out. I didn't pass out though and held on for 15 minutes. At the 15 minute mark I went down, when my heart rate plummeted from the 160's to the 40's. The technician immediately laid the table back down and I came to. She said that a positive tilt test confirms that I have neurocardiogenic syndrome.
The name makes it sound bad, but it is very treatable and manageable with diet and exercise (high sodium and high fluid diet) and medication, if necessary. The technician also thought that I may have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (or POTS) due to my rapid heart beat upon standing, but that will be determined by the cardiologist on Wednesday. That can be controlled by medication as well, so that is good.
After laying down for about 5 minutes after the test I was able to get up and walk back to my room, where the nurse brought me a sandwich, fig newtons and a Sprite. I had driven to the hospital, with plans of driving home, but I didn't feel comfortable driving home after passing out so Chad and our friend Jeremiah came to my rescue. Jeremiah drove Chad to the hospital so that Chad could then drive me home. I was absolutely starving when we left the hospital so we stopped at Chick-Fil-A and I scarfed down a grilled chicken club sandwich, waffle fries and a delicious sweet tea. I feel a lot better now and I'm trying to get caught up on things around the house.
The best thing that came out of all of this is that my mom was able to come visit us this past weekend. We picked her up in Louisville on Friday evening, spent Saturday running errands, relaxing and going to a friends' baby shower, and then we had to take her back to the airport on Sunday afternoon. It was a brief visit but very fun and very comforting to see my mama amidst all of these tests and diagnoses. The only thing I would have changed was the temperature - it was just too cold for my southern mother. Chad and I caught her going to bed with her overcoat on Saturday night! It was pretty funny, and we gave her some more blankets so that she didn't have to sleep like a cowboy, as Chad put it.
Well, that's the story for now. I am going back to the cardiologist on Wednesday for an echocardiogram and to hopefully talk to Dr. Brewer about the tilt-table study. The echocardiogram will also let me know if it will be safe for me to continue running and training for the marathon in April. I am itching to get back to the gym and to my training plan, so I am praying for good results on the echo.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Well, yesterday morning I done fell out 3 times, totaling about 20 minutes of unconsciousness. I have been feeling a little under the weather this week - mostly due to a severe sore throat that's been nagging me since Monday. I ran on Monday and Tuesday, but took Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as rest days. I had actually planned to make a doctor's appointment for this morning to get my throat checked out and to rule out strep throat.
So yesterday morning started off like any normal day, other than the fact that it was -3 degrees outside, with a wind chill of -12 degrees. Just too damn cold. I woke up at about 4:30am to take 2 ibuprofen for my throat, but then went back to bed. I then woke up at 6:45am and got ready for work - took a shower, got dressed, took my morning meds (b.c., multi-vitamin), took Emma out to go to the bathroom, tucked her back into bed, and headed off too work. Asbury Seminary is about 6.5 miles from our house, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get there. My car was warmed up and my heater was letting out a steady stream of heat, but my fingers and toes were still freezing - despite my thick socks and gloves. About half way into my drive, my extremities seemed to regain feeling, but then I started to feel funny. I felt like I was going to pass out, but I kept thinking - no, you're not going to pass out. As I got closer to the seminary the feeling got stronger and stronger - enough to where I was like ok, I have to park somewhere because I'm about to go down. I take a country road into work, and there isn't exactly any place to pull over so I knew that I had to make it to a parking lot at the seminary. I kept shaking my head, hoping it would keep my conscious until I made it to the parking lot. Luckily, it did.
I pulled into the parking lot and the last thing I remember is putting the car in park. I came to and was slumped against my door, feeling extremely disoriented and very hot. I turned off my car and took of my gloves and hat to cool down a little. All kinds of thoughts were racing through my mind - I need to call someone, what is going on, am I going to die out here in this parking lot, what am I going to do, etc. A little dramatic, yes - but I was really out of it. So I finally got enough sense back to realize that I needed to call someone. Before I could find my phone, I went out again. This time when I came to, I was freezing because of the lack of heat and no gloves and/or hat. So I pulled my gloves on and found my phone. I knew that Chad was in class and probably had his phone on 'silent,' so I called my boss, Sheryl. I was like Sheryl, I have no idea what is going on, but I just passed out twice and I'm pretty sure I'm about to pass out again. She had me tell her where I was and she was like - "Stay there, we are coming to get you!" and then I passed out again. This time when I came to I couldn't see - and that really freaked me out. I've passed out a good bit in my life (once due to pain, other times due to medicines reacting to one another) but I've never lost my vision as a result of blacking out. It came back after a minute or so, but it was one of the most terrifying minutes of my life. I remember seeing my dashboard slowly come back into focus, and it was the most beautiful dashboard I have ever seen.
About that time Sheryl and my co-worker Megan arrived at my car and Sheryl got in the passenger seat. She told me that another one of my co-workers, Isaac, had gone to get Chad out of class and that they were on their way to the parking lot. Once Chad got to the car I started crying and was like "I don't know what's going on..." It was decided that he would go back to class to get his things and Sheryl would drive me over to the student center so we could rendezvous with Chad. Once we did that, Chad and I set off towards the doctor's office. I didn't feel like I was going to pass out any more, but I did feel very disoriented and tired.
Once we got the doctor's office, Chad explained everything that happened to the receptionist and I was back in a room in about 5 minutes. I might try going to the doctor's office without an appointment more often - talk about quick service! So they took my temp, blood pressure, blood sugar, tested for anemia, tested for pregnancy and did an EKG. Everything came back normal, except they did find that I have a urinary tract infection. That was news to me - I don't even know what the symptoms are for a UTI. They also took blood, and we are still awaiting the results on that. My doctor didn't think that the UTI was the likely cause of the fainting, so she consulted with another doctor and they decided it would be best to schedule a brain scan, EEG, and for me to wear a Holter monitor. I have the brain scan and pick up the Holter monitor on Tuesday, and then I will go back on Friday to turn in the Holter monitor and get an EEG.
I am hoping that what happened yesterday was a freak combination of my body dealing with the extreme cold, dehydration, fatigue, and the UTI. I am hoping my body just decided to hit CTRL ALT DEL for a moment. For the safety of those in Jessamine County, I have been instructed to not drive until I have the tests done and the doctors can either diagnose me or rule things out. I am anxious to talk to the cardiologists about my marathon training. I am still hopeful that I will be able to do the Derby Festival marathon in April, but realistic to know that if I have a heart arrhythmia or something then long distance running might not be in my best interest.
I woke up this morning expecting to feel better, but I really felt like I was hungover. I don't really know what being truly hungover feels like because I usually can get a buzz off of two sips of a Miller Chill, but I imagine this is what it feels like. Chad has been a great caretaker over the past few days - bringing me Frosties and smoothies, Gatorade, soup, cranberry juice, etc.
I found out this morning that there is a possibility that my mom may be able to come up and visit us next weekend, which would be absolutely wonderful. A very nice man from my sister's church offered to give her a free round trip ticket, so I am really hoping that everything works out with the airline and that he is able to transfer the ticket to her. Everyone needs their mama when they are feeling bad!
Well that is my crazy experience of the week. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and kind words - they were very uplifting and comforting yesterday and continue to be so.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Training summary for the week:
Mon: Rest day
Tues: 2.5 mile run in 24:04 minutes, arms & core weight workout
Wed: 3.5 mile run in 35:15, legs & core weight workout
Thurs: 15 minutes on stationary bike, 15 minute run, arms & core weight workout
Sat: 3.1 mile "long" run (should have been 6...see below)
I really would have liked to have gotten a 2 mile run in on Monday, but it was my first day back to work after two weeks off and I wanted to be at my desk bright and early. So I used Monday as a rest day and began training on Tuesday.
My training plan called for a 6 mile long run yesterday, but I was only able to get in 3.1. I met up with some friends in Wilmore for the run at 8:00am and we hit the road at 8:10am. At about 8:20am, a torrential down pour began. We were running a 5k loop, and my plan was to run it twice. I figured that I was soaking wet anyway, so another 30 minutes out in the rain couldn't be too bad. But it got a little colder and the rain came a little harder as I approached the 3.1 mile mark and I decided to throw in the towel. Not literally, because I would have really liked to have a towel at that point. If I would have had a change of clothes I would have gone to the gym and finished the run on a treadmill, but I was soaked to the bone with no clothes to change into. My shoes and socks were totally soaked as I ran the last half mile and I really began to worry about being sucked into a storm drain, getting "trench foot" and/or my most likely fate, getting bad blisters. Luckily none of the above occurred.
We called it quits at 3.1 miles and each headed home for warm showers. I had a 10 minute drive to get back to Nicholasville and I was absolutely freezing when I pulled into our driveway. But a hot shower and coffee with friends soon after helped to warm me back up. I know the weather in Kentucky in the winter can be very fickle, so I hope to not have to cut any more long runs short during my training due to weather. From now on I think I will come prepared to finish my run on a treadmill if necessary.
Overall, I am feeling pretty good. Chad and I both are trying to eat better and cut back on processed foods. I am really trying to curb my eating and eat only when I am truly hungry - not just because I am bored, tired, emotional, etc. I think that food holds a much greater place in society and culture to be simply viewed as "fuel" - but I find myself repeating the "food is fuel" mantra when staring down a plate of brownies, cookies, chips, you name it. It has really helped me this past week.
I weighed myself on Tuesday morning and would like to drop 10 pounds between now and marathon morning. I think this goal is definitely attainable, and I look forward to dropping some pounds, increasing my fitness and endurance levels, and transforming my body over the next 3.5 months.
Friday, January 2, 2009
We had lunch - Schlotszky's sandwiches (a family tradition) and an assortment of chips and delicious dips - and then opened presents. I love opening presents with my family. We have always opened presents the same way for as long as I can remember. A few family members distribute all of the gifts, and then we go around in a circle and each open one gift at a time. This prolongs the gift opening experience, and lets you see everyone's reaction to their gifts. We received (and hopefully gave!) wonderful gifts and both Santa and my family were too generous to us, as always.
I have a hilarious video of my dad boxing, but for his sake, I will not post it here. Although it is pretty impressive...so it may just have to be premiered at some point!
On Sunday, we relaxed and had a good lunch at Double Dave's Pizza, visited On the Run to scope out some new running shoes, and went to Borders to look for a 2009 Moleskine planner. Then we went home to get things packed and ready to go to the airport. We had such a great time in Clear Lake and it was hard to leave. It is always hard to leave home.
We left for the airport at 4:30pm, arrived at 5:30pm and flew out at 7:45pm. We landed in Lexington about 11:30pm and I was exhausted. Our good friends Justin and Charis picked us up and delivered us home. It was kind of strange to be back in Kentucky. We were away for 10 days, and it was just long enough to make things feel kind of surreal when we got back - like, is this really my house? kind of surreal. Since we got in so late on Sunday, we weren't able to pick Emma up until Monday morning. I was at the kennel when the doors opened and was jumping for joy to pick up my baby. I brought her home and we gave her her Christmas toys and treats, and then we crashed for a two-hour nap.
After the service, we drove over to Pineville to drive through Central Louisiana State hospital, an in-patient facility for mental health services. Every year they put out tons and tons of Christmas decorations - all hand-carved and painted by patients. It really is something to see! Unfortunately, I didn't bring the camera so I don't have any pictures. Chad's parents have been taking them to see these decorations since they were little kids, so it was neat to get to drive through and see them with Chad and his family.
I didn't sleep very well while we were out of town. I had these strange bouts of insomnia each night where I would wake up about 2:00am and then fall back to sleep around 5:00am. I think it was because I didn't have my little Emma to snuggle with - she's my usual sleeping pill! So on Christmas Eve, Mrs. Suzy gave me a sleeping pill and I was out like a light from 10:00pm - 7:00am. Things were a little fuzzy the next morning, but it was nice to get a solid night's sleep!
I love spending time with Chad's family. I love everyone in his family dearly and we always have such a great time when we are in Alexandria. But on Christmas day I felt really torn - I loved being with Chad's family and didn't want to leave them, but I also wanted to be with my family. But I knew that we would be driving to Clear Lake the next day, so that made things easier. Since we have been married, we have alternated back and forth as to which family we are with on Christmas day. Luckily, we have been able to go home for long enough stretches of time in late December/early January to where we are able to see both families. This is one of the reasons I am looking forward to moving back down south after seminary, so that we can see our immediate families more often, and also see our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins more often as well.
in the Christmas spirit with a red bow.
Dana, the Brooks' family dog, also in the Christmas spirit.
a little over a year ago, and now he is obsessed with all things Harley...
...so when Chad and I found this little leather Harley Davidson cap for dogs at
Petsmart, we knew it would make a perfect gift for Dana!
On Monday evening, we headed 45 minutes north to Natchitoches (pronounced Nack-uh-desh), LA. This is a really cute town - its big claim to fame is that Steel Magnolias was filmed here. Every Christmas season, they have a "lights festival." The town decorates the entire downtown area and all along the riverfront. Each Saturday in December they have a big fireworks show at the riverfront and boy is it crowded. People come from all over the state to the see the Natchitoches lights. We go there every year with Chad's family and I love it! Since we went on a Monday this year it wasn't very crowded at all. Chad's sister Payton and her husband Jay drove down from Shreveport to meet us for dinner and a stroll along the riverfront.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, Chad and I got a great digital camera from my parents. Here are a few pictures from our Christmas adventures at home in the south!
We went to Joe's Bar-B-Q in Alvin, TX on our first Saturday home. My parent's love this place - the last time they were there they saw Dusty Rhodes from ZZ Top eating some barbecue. Chad was really hoping that he would be there when we went, but alas, we didn't see any members of ZZ Top. I was kind of hoping we would see Nolan Ryan (Alvin is his hometown) but we didn't see him either. I'm not a huge barbecue fan, but I love this place because they have a pretty varied menu that includes hamburgers, chicken fried steak (my choice for the night), loaded baked potatoes, etc.
Me, Chad and my dad - enjoying Joe's.
My sister Michelle, my niece Brittany (wiping off a kiss on her cheek from my mom) and my mom at Joe's.
A not-so-subtle request I received from my niece, shortly before we left for Alexandria. We were talking about babies in general and she gave me this note - it says "Have a darn baby named after me! Mrs. Onion Pance (pants)." She drew a picture of a baby, but I thought it looked like an onion, so she started calling me Mrs. Onion Pants. It was kind of strange, but pretty funny.
Up next, part 2 of our trip - Alexandria, LA.
Pictures and posts about Eloise and her big sister, Margot, can be found at Jason's blog at www.likethebird.blogspot.com
Having two weeks off from work has turned me into an absolute slug. I can't seem to get motivated to do anything! We were out of town and traveling for the first week, and it seems like I've spent this second week recuperating from our travels. I am really looking forward to getting back to work and getting into a consistent routine again. I am also excited about beginning my spring marathon and sprint triathlon training program on Monday, January 5th. My sister (her new blog can be found at www.texascrossfitter.blogspot.com) has started utilizing CrossFit workouts into her workout schedule. These are really intense workouts, but seem to be great for building endurance, strength, stamina and muscle tone. I am going to try and incorporate some of these workouts into my training this spring as well. I'm also hoping to pick up my rate of blogging as my training picks back up.
I'm really excited about training for a sprint triathlon. I've always said that I wanted to do triathlons, but I didn't have a bike and I didn't know how to swim. Well, now I have a great Specialized road bike and access to a heated indoor pool...so I don't really have any excuses any more to not do a triathlon. I think training for the Derby Festival marathon and the sprint triathlon at the same time will work well - the biking and swimming will help with my endurance and hopefully keep me from getting burnt out on running. The tricky part for me will be figuring out how I can run a long and steady pace for the marathon, and a fast pace for the triathlon's 5k. I'm hoping the speedwork I've incorporated into my marathon training will serve to help me in both the marathon and triathlon.
Chad and I had a wonderful Christmas with both of our families. My parents got us a gift that just keeps on giving - a great new digital camera! I am in love with it and we took so many pictures while we were in Houston, TX and Alexandria, LA for Christmas. I am going to be posting the pictures soon - it will probably take 3 or 4 posts to get them all on here! I'm hoping to get all of the pictures posted by the end of this weekend.
Happy new year!