The gift that keeps on giving

20 Feb

The blog’s been offline because I’ve been offline. Specifically, as it turns out, my hypothalamus got knocked out of commission and took my adrenals, thyroid, and a few other endocrine organs down with it. This unexpected health challenge occurred mainly because I created a perfect storm of idiot moves (IMs) over the past couple months:

IM #1: Dramatically ramping up my social life to make myself generally “more available” to potential dates. (Sidebar: this “plan” didn’t work even for its intended purpose).

IM #2: Firing my coach and thereby also damatically ramping down my road cycling, partially to spend time with George (the MTB) but mainly because I was feeling a bit chickenshitted about sharing the road with cars (e.g., see the most recent blog posting: Haunted). This dramatically reduced road riding plan was supposed to make “everyone” in my little life circle happy: Hooray, CZ’s finally seen the light and taken herself off the road! (Sidebar: screw you guys! Jk. Kinda.)

IM #3: Deciding to stop caffeine intake and start birth control at the same time.

IM #4: After spending a couple months over-socializing and under-riding I decided to take my un-caffeinated/hormone-addled self out for a “clear the mind” ride on the morning of my second midterm.

IM #5: It was ~90* and there was some climbing involved….

Add all the IMs together and you get Medical Mayhem. With every pedal stroke up the climb, I felt like a jackbooted ogre was kicking my kidneys. It was fucking miserable. Not: Gee, I’m a little winded and off my form, but, rather: REALLY FUCKING MISERABLE.

I didn’t realize how truly miserable it was until I got back to my friend’s house and saw myself in the mirror: My face was swollen and redder than an Irishman on St. Party’s day. Yes, the weather was warm, but it wasn’t that warm, plus I had actually kept my heart rate extra super low on the climb, especially after the ogre started kicking my kidneys. I definitely had not exerted myself in a manner that should have elicited such a flush.

Clearly something was not right and clearly this wasn’t just a “bad day” on the bike.

After my midterm (which was, hands down, THE toughest exam I’ve had by far — 30 cadaver stations offering a total of 80 open-ended “name the muscle/bone/vessel/nerve/marking” questions; 2.5min to answer the questions at each station; no back-tracking allowed; stay on your feet and just keep moving in a formaldehyde-infused classroom packed with 26 other highly anxious students, no, no stress there at all, piece o’ cake…) But I digress…

AFTER that midterm was over I wrote out a list of symptoms to describe to my doctor: occipital headaches, leg tremors at night, hand/tongue tremors intermittently during the day, recurring sporadic dyslexia, renewed challenges with word finding, erratic heart rate, temp fluctuations (96-101), “gritty” eyes, patchy skin on shoulders, peeling/flaky skin on finger tips, low-level constant lethargy despite an avg of 8+hrs of sleep, depression/feelings of uselessness, and, oh, you know A JACKBOOTED OGRE TRYING TO KICK IN MY KIDNEYS.

Given this list of symptoms and after asking me about any recent changes in my life besides December’s addition of birth control (i.e, my over-socializing, under-cycling and abdication of coffee), my doc had a good sense of what was wrong with me (which totally tracked what I had already intuited: i.e. Hypothalamic Dysfunction) but he didn’t want to drag me down to OC if we could avoid it. His 3-step, over-the-phone fix-it plan was:

Step 1: Resume 3,000micrograms of B12 immediately.

Step 2: Go to an urgent care site to get a CBC and have them send Doc the results so we could confirm our hunches.

Step 3: Ease up on the going out thing, enjoy a cup of coffee, and wait for his call.

The call came: Your endocrine and enzyme levels are out of whack. I’m changing your birth control prescription to help bring your hormone levels back into the normal range and you should considering rehiring your coach and resuming your cycling regime to help bring your neurotransmitters back into balance .

Uh. Excuse me? Did you just say that I should ride my bike more? On the road? With cars?

Long story short: Yes, Doc now supports my theory that road cycling enables/supports neurotransmitter homeostasis, at least for me.

Holy cow. My hypothalamus may be dysfunctional but my brain still works pretty good I guess! And it’ll work even better if I keep on riding. Hot damn & halleluia!

So, as of tomorrow: Coach will be officially rehired — happy birthday to me! AND he’s agreed to develop a training plan that will incorporate plenty of George time and be designed to keep me maximally safe — happy birthday to YOU, reader!

And to me, too, of course. After all, it IS all about me (at least tomorrow)…

I may not be able to avoid future unexpected health challenges brought on by my continually evolving/healing brain — after all, TBIis the “Gift That Keeps on Giving,” — but in the future if “little annoyances” like those on my symptom list crop up again, I won’t wait til an ogre starts kicking my kidneys before I seek medical advice.

The blog was dark for 2+ weeks cuz I was in a pretty dark place, but now we’ve seen the light and we’re ready to rock my 41st birthday celebration in the morning.

Thanks for joining us for another year of JustAdventures!

PS – Despite my busted brain I managed to pull in an “A-” on each of my midterms. 😉

4 Responses to “The gift that keeps on giving”

  1. Carissa Barker February 21, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    Happy Birthday Stin. Wishing you health!

  2. Amanda February 21, 2014 at 7:28 am #

    Happy Birthday!!! Wish I could buy you a coffee? to celebrate 🙂 Sorry to hear what you’ve been going through, but glad you’re on the road to recovery.

    • justadventures February 21, 2014 at 7:54 am #

      Thanks, lil’ sis! I’m not allowed to ride real roller coasters so I have to take the proverbial ones instead — they’re even more exhilarating!

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