Monday, January 24, 2011

Working Out Again...Starting over Again...

I have decided not to bore all of you with my positives for each day, but I still write them down.  It does help me realize that each day has something to be grateful for, even if it is small.

On other fronts, I am consistently working out each week.  I am now two months into a strength training program that I do 2-3x a week.  I never thought that I would be doing assisted pull-ups, dips, overhead presses, squats and a range of strength and core exercises.  I hope that this helps me to keep my strength up, even though running has not been going so hot.  I also started back to indoor rock climbing.  The only sport where you feel every bit of lost strength.  Paul and I climbed yesterday and I assumed that with all of my strength exercises  I would be bounding up the 54 ft, 10 ft pitch indoor wall...ha.  I was so pumped (a term climbers use for when your muscles turn rock hard and your veins poke out from exhaustion), but it was good.  I was happy to get a chance to do this again.  Paul was feeling pretty weak as well, so at least I could not blame it on the MS, it really was just not climbing recently.

I have not gotten into the pool in a while and I won't until my rec center starts their triathlon training March 7.  At this point I am trying to stay above the dry skin that is caused by consistent 0 - 20 degree weather and chlorine just adds to the dry skin issues, so I am happy waiting out until winter is almost done.  I have my bike on a trainer and have managed at least one workout a week...not great, but I have a hard time motivating myself on something that keeps you in one place.  ;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Positives 1/14-1/16

Friday, January 14.
  • I bought a CD I had been wanting for awhile
  • I enjoyed a delicious Chipotle meal (yea for GF/DF options there)
  • I enjoyed packing for my WFR.  Packing a backpack and going into the woods - my favorite.
Saturday, January 15 & January 16
  • WFR was great, since my body actually held up pretty well.  Tired but good
  • Braces, tractions splints, BUFF (Big Ugly Fat & Fluffy) splints were made & I remembered them well.
  • Last scenario was fun; full moon, snow and lots of fake blood and fake broken bones.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wilderness First Responder

This weekend I will be heading to Pennsylvania for a recertification of my Wilderness First Responder.  For those of you who are unaware of what this is, it is (from Wikipedia):

A wilderness first responder is trained to deal with many situations that may be encountered in the wilderness. While a standard Department of Transportation defined First Responder course as taught by an organization such as the American Red Cross may require 40 hours of training, the typical Wilderness First Responder Course involves 80 hours of training. Wilderness first responder training courses focus on teaching the students to assess a situation, improvise solutions using available resources to stabilize the patient and identify the best way to get the patient to definitive medical treatment. In many courses, students are encouraged to develop the habit of systematically thinking through and documenting their assessment decisions/plans using a SOAP note. Topics covered usually include, but are not limited to, the following principles
It is a great course filled with scenarios of fake broken bones, gashes, hypothermia, allergies, etc.

It is really odd to be heading to do this with my diagnosis of MS.  3 years ago when I did the full 9 day course, I felt so strong and healthy.  This certification, which includes learning how to carry out a person with a  makeshift back brace, is a very grueling and physical course.  I would lie if I did not say I was worried about how I am going to hold up for two 12 hour days in the snow.  I just pray that my body likes me this weekend.  It would be nice to have this certification for another three years, because at this point WHO KNOWS what will happen.

Even though I am nervous, I really enjoy the medical side of outdoor pursuits.  In another life, I would have loved to be a wilderness rescuer, even getting my wilderness EMT, I enjoy anatomy (hence the heavy physiology based exercise science degree)...but this is my life now. I cannot be a liability on a search and rescue, they need strong, healthy peeps with no health issues.  These are the moments that you feel the little pangs of sadness for where your life is now.  I really wish I had been a lazy, non-exercising slob - then losing my body abilities may be a little easier to swallow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Positives for the day

Oh yeah and one more resolution.  My positives for the day.  What are those you ask, well something(s) big or small that is a positive thing in my life that day.

January 13, 2011 Positives
  • I woke up with a lot of energy today
  • I could stretch my hamstrings oh that little bit farther after 5 days of yoga in morning and night
  • The person that was dropping the ball at work finished two projects for me today
  • I saw the sun peak out twice (which is a lot for NE Ohio)
  • Someone left some gluten free/ dairy free animal crackers on my desk.
  • My student employees borrowed my lap top, went onto my facebook page and put a funny status up - "I smell like BO and subway"(what a great joke)
  • I had a gym workout (squats, pull-ups, dips, etc) and am sore in a good way
  • I had a good eyesight day (I know that is weird but some days my eye is better than others...Oh MS, silly disease)
Not bad for one day.  I will take it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Life Resolutions (not just the new year)

I have been doing some soul searching lately.  Well really, I am almost always looking in, but now I am making some changes.  I realize that my resolutions are not as much for the year, as for my sanity & health, so I am going to refer to them as life resolutions.  These are items that I will be working on for the rest of my life, not just in the new year.

To start off a little simply:
  1. Restarting daily yoga.  Not only have I stopped in the past year or so, but I have noticed that I am not nearly as flexible or relaxed as I once was.  Not sure if this is because of the MS or if I am just a ball of tight muscle from the years of running and soccer, but either way I have struggled lately with my flexibility.  I have had a nagging muscle (not sure if it is pulled or what) in my butt that has caused me problems running for the past month.  I have been stretching, rolling, sticking, and even sitting on dryer balls to try to get this area loosened up, nothing has worked.  Another easy 3 mi run this weekend ended with me barely able to move my right leg forward and that was enough to motivate me to start again.  
  2. Can't change what is happening to me, so must change my outlook.  This is true especially with work.  Hours, stress, conflicts at work have drained me emotionally.  I was to the point of actually hating every hour, minute, second that I was there.  Considering that work is a huge part of my life and that I really enjoy what I do, I had to rethink how I was approaching each day and situation.  So my focus is to rethink how I let things get to me and also that I need to be more honest with my peers and boss about these items.  I am now in my second week of trying this and it has worked out fairly well.  Last week I talked to my boss about a co-worker who was dropping the ball on assignments (for an entire semester) that I was forced to pick up the slack.  I did not want to call this person out, but I was tired of it wearing me down.  I felt that the conversation went well and even if nothing changes, I did what was needed to get the stress off of my shoulders and back on to his.  I refuse to pick up his slack anymore.  I also have to change my outlook on MS and fertility.  I am reminded constantly by the MS community that I should stop trying to figure out when, why and where things are going to happen.  Instead just know that things will happen, these items are out of my control and that is that.  I have to stop focusing on every numb arm and leg, bout of dizziness, exhaustion, odd-shaped uterus :) ...when it is big, I will address it.  For now, this is just my norm.
  3. Continue to tweak my diet.  I have really done well in this past year as you all know from my posts, but there are still some areas to work on.  I want to cut out more sugar, which is my addiction.  For example, it is easy to snack on some sweet tarts because I know they are gluten & dairy free and they are soooo good.  But instead of having a bowl of them at my work desk, instead, I will allow them to be a once in a while treat.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All in fertility

I really had not given the details of everything since I found out I had a bicornuate/ septate uterus.   I figured for those other 0.05 - 0.1% of women who have this and those of you that would like an update, I would go into detail a little more.  My OB/GYN had me go to a reproductive endocrinologist after the discovery of my 'heart-shaped' uterus.  A very nice doctor here in Akron, Dr. Moretuzzo sat me in his office and gave me the list of testing that was to begin:
  1. Hormone Blood Draw: To make sure that my hormones were actually stimulating my body to do what it is supposed to do.
  2. Hysterosalpingogram (HSG):  This test involves radioactive die that is injected into your uterus and fallopian tubes.  This will give them a better view of the shape of my uterus as well as if there are any problems with my fallopian tubes.
  3. Renal Ultrasound: Huh?  You are probably wondering what this is for.  25% of women with a Mullerian Anomoly on their uterus will also have a renal issue - one kidney, bladder malformation, malformation of one get the picture.
  4. Sperm Count: Thank goodness Paul had to do something.  I feel as if I am always having one test or another, what with MS and now this fertility stuff, it was nice to share.  :)
Today I followed up with the Reproductive Endocrinologist, all testing answers were to be revealed.  At this point I was ready to throw in the towel of this whole idea of having a child.  I mean, I felt like I have just had a little too much time spent in doctors office in the past year and almost every appointment I have had, had bad I was not counting on much.  That way is much easier, then I am not so disappointed with bad news.  I also was able to drag my husband with me, he hates doctors appointments and he feels very awkward, but I managed.

Dr. Moretuzzo came out to the lobby to meet us, I always enjoy that personal touch - it makes you feel a little more cared for, and pulled us into his office.  He opened my thick folder (gotta love health issues) and started to tell us the results.
  1. The blood draw was fine, I have the right levels of hormones and thyroid levels, things are where they are supposed to be.  (YAY!!!!)
  2. The HSG (which btw was the most painful procedure I have ever had).  Showed that I have a bicornuate/ septate uterus (which we knew), but I could actually look at it and see it.  It is a more severe separation than he had hoped for.  This means that if I become pregnant (which is more difficult), I will have around a 50% chance of miscarrying.  However, since we know about my uterus shape already, he can do some things as a precaution to prevent a miscarriage.  I also have a blocked fallopian tube, which he said could be from some endometriosis - explaining the crazy cramps and periods that I have.  This also adds a problem, I am only ovulating out of one side.
  3. The renal ultrasound came back completely normal (thank goodness for small wins).
  4. The sperm count was a little interesting, although Paul's numbers are great - he has some issues with the shape of them.
Dr. Moretuzzo explained that the next step is for me to start Clomid (which is a drug that causes your ovaries to make eggs), sperm cleaning (where they pick only his best guys) and then they inject them into me on my most fertile day.  This improves chances by around 50%, especially because they will make sure that I am ovulating on the side that can reach the uterus. If I have a miscarriage then we will have laproscopic surgery to look around at everything.  If my uterus only has a septum (which they cannot tell yet), they can actually remove some of it so that my shape is more normal.  If I am bicornuate (which means there are distinct halves), there is little that they can do.  He would also be able to look at my tube and see if there was anyway to repair it.  However, that surgery is not always successful, so I am a little hesitant to think that will be an option.

Ok, so what does this all mean...well hope.  It means that there is still a small glimmer that I can get pregnant and a small glimmer that it will be successful.  I will take a small glimmer, that is more than I have had in a while and something to lift some of the weight I have been carrying around.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 and such

Some of you might have noticed a disappearing post last week.  I published and then thought better of it and unpublished.  I am not going to lie, 2010 sucked a big one and I am scared of hoping for the new year.  I just am not sure how much I am willing to 'reveal' on here.  I want to be very honest about my struggles, but at the same time - my struggle is very individual and personal.  When I feel something and somebody gives their two-cents, it is not that they do not have valid points, it is more that I need to be allowed to feel something without it being diminished by somebody who has a healthy body, has things going well or cannot relate to where I am at currently.  You know the whole 'walk a mile in their shoes'.

So 2010 brought:
  • Accepting a new disease at the age of 28-29
  • Finding out that I am infertile and so far not looking very positive
  • Job was T-O-U-G-H on me emotionally
  • Both of my only living grandparents were in the hospital and may be pushing their last years
  • Put down the family dog (family member)
  • Husband was promoted twice and is now MIA in the police academy (Great for him, but lonely for me)
  • Finished my first marathon after my MS diagnosis (hoping that I can do a few more)
  • Dizziness that lasted 4 months early in the year
  • Diet changes and health awareness (both have helped, not always easy)
This past holiday was the toughest test to my diet yet (I had not changed my diet at this time last year).  My mom and sister were determined to make me feel like I was not missing anything (they did a great job) but there were still the times that you miss, the food that you miss and the family members who make you painfully aware of your struggles (if I hear that gluten-free tastes weird one more time...).  I am still on track though, so I guess I have that.