Words like "Fibromyalgic" (from 3 separate medical professionals) and "if you stay on this path, you are just slowly killing yourself" are not things I thought I'd be hearing in my near future after I was diagnosed with my 3rd stress fracture in early August.....
Life has a way of keeping us on our toes and never letting us too comfortable doesn't it? But who am I to complain? i'm certainly not the ONLY person or athlete out there who has been plagued with bad news or a stream of "bad luck". After my 2 mos of rest....and this time I really didn't do any cross training or anything...I was so busy all summer with weddings that I thought the rest would do me some good, I resumed running....
for about ONE MILE.
My ankle still hurt. Not where I had a stress fracture...but the place in my foot that was hurting BEFORE the stress fracture. Probably the problem area that LED to the stress fracture. My immediate thought was "Are you kidding me? 2 mos of COMPLETE rest, NO exercise..and this STILL HURTS?"
I walked home and felt sorry for myself. What now? frustrated b/c not once in that 2 mos did my ankle hurt while walking or standing...I had completely forgotten about it....but as soon as I tried to run, it was apparent that there had been no change.
Was it the shoes? was it my gimpy foot that flares out? what? what was I to do.
I found a new chiropractor who seemed quite stumped at my body and ALL the diff ailments going on on the right side of my body. I knew there was probably some tendinitis in my foot and we THINK that is what originally lead to the Stress fracture...but there had to be more.
ENTER: Weak glutes, Hips, and CORE.
Yeah...like I haven't heard that a million times.....STORY.OF.MY.LIFE
After a few weeks of this, I didn't feel like anything was helping..I asked for more options and he referred me to Dr. Minarik at Elixia Wellness group. Natural path and acupuncturist.
HOWEVER, he was apparently THE GUY to see about therapy injections etc when nothing else was working and I NEEDED to get this foot better!
Well...I also had been struggling with MANY other symptoms that seemed to be hormonal....for example:
-weight gain (10lbs in 6mos. I havne't gained weight in 15yrs)
when YOU know that something isn't right in your body...A stupid nurse telling you " you're just getting old and can't eat whatever you want anymore" doesn't cut it. Okay lady, I THINK I KNOW MY BODY, and something isn't right!
so glad I didn't listen to her and went to see Dr. Minarik. Within about 15minutes he knew things about me without me even telling him. He saw a chain reaction going on that was instantly recognizable to him.
I left my first appt not only feeling confident that HE could help me but feeling HOPE. for the first time in a year, I felt HOPE.
After learning about my really high stress levels, sporatic eating, sugar/carb addiction, too much processed and fast food on the go, he told me it was quite possible I was going ot have to cut out sugar and wheat ......
"yeah right, buddy" I thought. "those things are MY LIFE!". sad huh...but like so many other people, I am an EMOTIONAL EATER.
After some Dry Needle therapy in my calves (OH MY GOSH, the first session was the WORST), I noticed some relief.....I have done it 2 more times since...but he first wanted to address what was going on in my body....which meant doing some EXTENSIVE blood tests.
This next part I will suck at explaining but the results came back as such ( the best I can understand it)
1. Hypothyroidism: (hence the weight gain) T3 and T4 fine, but TSH off. more likely caused from high cortisol that hormones
2. cortisol levels likely VERY HIGH
3. sugar and long bouts of not eating during the busy work day causing major insulin spikes...causing MORE cortisol
4. exercise and marathon trainings = more cortisol
5. stress from running a business and trying to be mom and wife = more cortisol
A bunch more stuff I can't regurgitate BUT the result was this:
"You need to get your stress levels under control. You need to cut out all wheat, sugar and processed food for a few months if you want to get better. We can start you on some supplements that will help..." etc etc
As I sat on the other end of the phone it all sort of came to a funnelling moment for me.
Years of the inner voice telling me to cut back on work, stop eating the way I was and take control of my life. Ignored. again and again.
and now here I was.
"if you don't change something Nicole, you are just slowly killing yourself".
Sugar, wheat..processed food. It's just food right? should be easy, right?
It's just cutting back on work, right? should be easy right?
I knew it was NOT going to be easy. but I knew that I WANT TO RUN AGAIN. I want to be HEALTHY.
That was 3wks ago. In the last 3wks, I've made some DRASTIC changes to my life. Changes I didn't think I COULD make, Changes I didn't think I would see and certainly didn't think could come from changing my stress levels and my FOOD. But seriously, there's a reason they say "you ARE what you EAT!".
I am off my antidepressant. I have managed to incorporate some time managment strategies into my daily routine to cut back on anxiety and stress.
I have started some great supplements to help with my cortisol levels that seem to help alot.
I have not eaten wheat, sugar or processed foods for 3wks.
I am sleeping better.
I've lost 6 of those 10lbs I've gained.
I joined 24hr fitness.
I hired a personal trainer to start really WORKING on getting strong GLUTES, HIPS and CORE.
I met with a dietician to get help with my knowledge and planning there
I see my amazing Physical therapist Aubrey every week.
I am taking controlf of my life!
I have eaten my weight in raw vegetables the last 3wks.
I STILL miss sugar some days.
I MISS running and have had some very sad lonely moments reading about all the successes of my friends.
It's been over 3mos without running. I can run a 2 miler about once every week or 2 but other than that I am trying to use the eliptical and stair climber for cardio....this I am just starting.
AS I have lowered my cortisol levels, I can actually FEEL all the aches and pain in my body. I WORRY that I really do have fibromyalgia but would almost rather not know. My muscles hurt just to walk around now. My legs ache when I stand for too long:(
I DREAM of running again. I dream of making it back to BOSTON some day. So much of my running dreams have been robbed from me but I refuse to give up. I just can't. I would hate myself if I did.
I know it's probably going to be a year or so before I can REALLY run again and by then I will be starting from scratch but I am just trying to focus on what I CAN do.
I can eat well
I can get my INSIDES healthy
I can work on STRENGTH training
I can work on my time managment
I can strengthen my family and their eating habits.
I can slowly change my life so that WHEN I can run again, I will be STRONG from the inside out.
Do you know this was the first hallowe'en since I was probably 10 when we started celebrating it that I didn't Eat ONC Piece of candy! Nicole: 1, Candy: 0 :):) HUGE accomplishment!
In going through all this, my goals keep me motivated.
Some day I'd like to run NYC marathon and BOSTON. Some day. some how. Not SURE when or How but I know that God is on my side and knows the desires of my heart and He will help me get there.
One day at a a time.
Tomorrow. 6:30am I have a date with the eliptical:)
Hope you all are well. Keep your chin up and press on. This is YOUR LIFE. Take control of it.