There are two mantras that I do my level best to live my life by. The first comes from Meredith Atwood (Swim Bike Mom) – “Just Keep Moving Forward,” because no matter the distance, the struggle, the obstacle, or the goal, I can get to the finish line if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and move in the right direction. The second is “Everything Happens For A Reason” – even if I don’t know what that reason is at the time.
The last few days have had me saying “everything happens for a reason” A LOT! After my impromptu Reindeer Racer half marathon on 12/19, I got a headache – a really nasty sick headache that wouldn’t go away. But I had stuff to do! Christmas stuff, work stuff to wrap so I could take some time off during the holidays while all the kids were home, workout stuff – you know, STUFF!
So, I soldiered on. Come to find out, I’m a pretty good soldier. I had skipped several workouts – my head pounded and even the thought of a swim, a bike, or a run made me nauseous, but everything else got done. Anyhow, the headache persisted and I finally went to the urgent care doc the day after Christmas. I told him my head had been hurting for nearly a week – lots of pain and pressure, no drainage, no congestion, and this weird burning, tingly feeling from my forehead all the way back to the crown of my head. Quick diagnosis: Sinus infection. The doc shoved a script for an antibiotic in my hand, charged me $100, and sent me on my way.
Saturday afternoon, I noticed tiny little blistery things on the right side of the bridge of my nose that burned and itched. By Sunday, the blisters had spread down my nose to the tip and in a line up the right center of my forehead. What on earth?
Monday morning I woke up and my right eye was nearly swollen shut. I hurt bad. I have been known to let things run their course – I don’t like going to the doctor and I don’t like drugs and I don’t like going to places where sick people hang out. But intuition told me this was different – and it was so close to my eye! MY EYE!! I work on the computer for a living – I write for a living – I need my eyes!
So I posted on my SBMAT group – there are many nurses and at least one doctor in our group – and gave my symptoms and the progression and asked for thoughts. Immediately, post after post pop up urging me to go back to the doctor because it sounded like shingles.
SHINGLES? Isn’t that something that old people and cancer patients get? Not me, surely!
But, it was getting worse, so back to urgent care I went. I was seen by a lovely PA named Janet, who spent a good bit of time with me and explained what shingles was. Apparently, if you’ve had the chicken pox you can get shingles. It pops up during times when your immune system is compromised and under times of great stress. I would say that my body and my mind have both been under a good deal of stress over the last couple of months. She said that the virus attacks a neural pathway which is why it is so damned painful. My particular nerve involvement is the trigenimal nerve which includes the eye. 5-7 days for the blisters and then they crust over and heal and that’s that.
So, she sent me on my way with an antiviral med (to slow/stop the spread), prednisone (to alleviate the inflammation), and lidocaine patches (to help with pain). She told me to stay away from infants and really old people – I am contagious to them – they can catch chicken pox from me, but not shingles. Deb and the kids would not be affected because they either had chicken pox or had the chicken pox vaccine.
And I was told ABSOLUTELY no working out until Monday, 1/5.
This is where the “everything happens for a reason” thing comes into play. See, although I had very much PLANNED to take the week between Christmas and New Years off from exercise, and my body needed the break very much, I was having great mental stress over taking that much time off, but KNEW that I NEEDED it.
So, the universe decided to take the situation out of my hands. I may not particularly like its methods, but I know the universe conspires to bring about my greatest good. My new training cycle to prepare for Gulf Coast 70.3 begins on Monday, so I’ll be nice and rested and ready to get back to training. The universe is conspiring to make sure I’m READY!!
Everything happens for a reason…