This is the race I was supposed to do in October. It would have been my 10th full marathon, a nice round number to retire with.
I registered for it way back in January on the heels of last years race, during a time when I was feeling strong and confident about doing one more marathon. All of that changed 3 months ago when I got sick.
What started off with some mild fatigue and breathlessness, turned into a weird syndrome of almost daily fevers and flu like symptoms, which eventually made my asthma spiral out of control. As a result, I spent the better part of 2 months in and out the hospital. After being tested for everything under the sun, they were never able to pin point the cause of the fevers. Thankfully the fevers have subsided now, but some of the other symptoms persist.
Following my discharged from the hospital in mid July, I immediately jumped back on the fitness wagon in an attempt to regain some semblance of normalcy in hopes of salvaging my marathon plans. I worked harder at it than I ever have in the past, but it just wasn’t meant to happen. 4 weeks out now, Ive been unable to get anywhere close to where I need to be to even think about training for a race, let alone actually doing one. Im not sure what happened during these past few months. Ive always managed to at least partially recover after a really bad bout, but not this time. Something has changed. Not only am I having a rough time breathing during my daily walks, but Im feeling physically and mentally fatigued during them as well. The bad breathing part has always been there in various degrees my entire life, but not the tiredness or fatigue part. The farthest Ive been able to walk after 4 weeks of hard workouts, is only 6 miles. Any attempt in walking farther, I would have literally collapsed. Not sure what’s going on, but my most recent spirometry results might offer a clue.
On July 23rd (at my request), I was sent over to the UCSF severe asthma clinic for a re-evaluation of my lung status. I knew my lung function was the pitts, but I didn’t realize they were this bad. If you compare these results of those from earlier in the year, you’ll see the numbers are pretty similar. What makes these results different however, is that the test was done only 2 hours after doing a neb treatment. So essentially, these are “post bronchodilator” results…much different than last time when my numbers up after a treatment. My FEV1 is now firmly planted in the 20’s % percent region, along with an FVC of about half of what it should be. That, along with all hospitalizations, might explain why cant seem to get back to what I perceive as my “normal”. This is obviously a turning point in the disease process. I guess it just snuck up on me during the last few months and didn’t really manifest itself until this weird fever thing came along. Amazingly, my O2 sats still hovers in the 93-95% range on room air ( more about that in a future post).
Ok, so my crappy lung function is making life more difficult, but as long as I can continue to experience a few good breathing hours each day, Im good. I just have to learn to downsize and do things in smaller, more manageable chunks. Not exactly easy for someone who’s used to taking on huge obstacles or challenging the status quo, but I’ll find a away to adapt, I always do.
My new exercise routine consists of two 1.4 mile walks per day and a longer walk once or twice a month if and when my breathing and my mood allows it. I wont be earning me anymore medals, but that’s OK, I already have a wall full of them. I just want to stay active and fit enough to be around a couple more years in relative comfort.