Thursday, May 1, 2014

Slower Than a Turtle Stampeding Through Peanut Butter

Where do I begin.... It's been a week since my last post, so I apologize for that. I was sick with a sinus infection, and since I wasn't running, there wasn't much to report.

Yesterday was the day I've been waiting for for 3 weeks now, my appointment with my cardiologist. My main focus was the swelling in my hands, but also the fact that I didn't feel like I was improving, in fact my running times were getting slower. I met with him momentarily, then was sent for an echo, then we met after to discuss the results, etc. First, the most important news, he said I can continue running! Due to my underlying congenital heart disease, he said I will never be an elite runner. This I knew, but I always thought that I could at least improve to the point where I would be able to run a 10 minute mile. Honestly, that is something that may never happen, and it's a reality that I have to deal with. He said the fact that I'm doing all the running that I'm doing with my congenital condition is great, and is more than is expected for someone with my condition. Sadly, at least I have a reason for being slow and not improving (hence the title of this post).

As for my hand swelling, it is not attributed to my heart. My cardiologist explained that if it was just my right hand, that would make sense since I had the Blalock-Taussig shunt as a baby, and that would be something I would just have to deal with. Since it was both hands, that wasn't the case, and he even asked another cardiologist who is a runner for any ideas. He said maybe it was a histamine response during exercise causing my swelling, and suggested I try taking a Benadryl before I go out for my runs to see it that helps. I may be able to kill two birds with one stone here. When I go out for long runs, my sweat causes me to itch all over, so I'm hoping this helps both issues.

He stated my right sided chambers have increased in size, but not to the point where it's concerning. This could be due to my running (and training), and it could be due to the regurgitant flow, or both. We talked about pulmonic valve surgery, and as I expected, I am not a candidate for the Melody valve as I currently do not have a conduit. As of right now, my only option would be open heart surgery, which neither of us are quick to jump on. I certainly don't want to deal with the cracked ribs and recovery from that. He did mention that there are a few medical centers using a trans-catheter approach to replacing pulmonic valves with severe insufficiency, and that could be an option down the road. That is something I would certainly be interested in when available. For now, I have to go back in a few weeks for a Metabolic Stress Test to see how effectively my body is using oxygen, and we'll go from there.

Now for something a little more fun! It's finally May, and that means that the Stroll for Strong Kids 5K is at the end of the month. This years theme is Peace, Love and Healing.

Isn't Sandy cute!!

This is one of my favorite events, and I love fundraising for it. After everything the Golisano Children's Hospital has done for me, it's the least I can do to give back. If you have time, please check out my secure fundraising page, and consider donating to such a wonderful cause. No donation amount is too small, especially when it helps to fund the medical treatment and procedures that are necessary for these resilient children and babies.

QOTD: Is there an event that you look forward to every year? Do you have any weird histamine responses when you're running?


  1. In the winter my skin goes extra bonkers but a loratadine has been enough to calm that down for me. I'm extra proactive by covering my legs with capris or leggings under shorts.

    I'm glad you can start running again! Just keep doing your best and trying to be consistent and if there is progress to be made pace-wise, it will happen :)

    I'm excited for the Strong 5K, too! And you know I love me a Color Run. Just not the Color party (aka the color-powder-dome-of-darkness-and-fear).

    1. Hahaha, yes, the color party is death for your lungs (duck and run!) I'm so excited for both!!

      I've definitely noticed the same, when I cover my skin with leggings or capris they're not as bad! Keeping my fingers crossed this helps! : )

      Now that I can run again, we should do some evening runs, and go to Team RWB when you're available!

  2. Glad to see your appointment went okay! I'm actually a peds cardiac care center nurse at Strong, so I take care of all the peanuts with congenital heart defects that have had open heart surgery! I just find it so fascinating your ability to run as much/far/long as you do and am so happy for you that you can still do something you love! Really gives me hope for all the kiddies recovering :) I'll also be at the Stroll this year and can't wait to run the 5K!

    1. That's so awesome, I envy you (even though I'm sure you see some pretty heart breaking things)!!! It is my dream to work in the Children's Heart Center at Strong. I'm planning on sitting for my pediatric echo boards this fall. I know the ladies in the lab there love their jobs, there's a very low turn over rate.
      Looking forward to the Stroll and best of luck!! Maybe I'll run into you! : )