Friday, December 20, 2013

Reminiscing...and looking forward

On January 15 I will celebrate 3 years of hard earned sobriety. Appreciating this milestone lead me to evaluate my life and how different it is and how different I am.

There are many things about drinking that I really miss, like the sound the cork makes when it is pulled from the wine bottle or the hiss that escapes the beer bottle when the cap is twisted. I miss the warmth in my belly that errupts following a bigger than proper sip of wine. I miss the cardboard boxy smell of the liquor store. 

I have remained faithful to my commitment to sobriety because the life I enjoy now is a more peaceful existence then the life I lived as an active alcoholic. The largest part of the new peace I enjoy is fueled by my love of running. My desire to run and be the best I can be is bigger and stronger than my desire to drink.

I have created a place in the world among people as a runner. I run and I blog a bit and as such, I have been welcomed into a digital world of positive, productive runners. I am grateful I have found what works for me and I am thankful to those who have helped me find a place where I can continue to build a healthy life. Thanks to iRun and Canada Running Series for believing in me.

The following is a link to the first blog post I wrote for last year's iRun Running Blog Idol Contest. This contest helped me realize that I was good at writing and running.

Canada Running Series has also had a big impact on my sobriety. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be invited, again, to be a Digital Champion for the Yonge Street 10k. I can't wait to run down the middle of Yonge Street on April 14 2014. Join me! Let me know when you register. Follow the buzz on twitter using #TYS10k.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shamed and Blushing

Me: " how long before I can run? I was thinking I would take a week off."

Surgeon: <laughing...really hard> "A week? Who told you that? Did you read that on Google?"

Last week I had an Abdominal Hernia Repair. A tiny bit of my insides seemed to have worked their way where they did not belong and I was foolish enough to mention this to my doctor earlier this year.

Foolish, I say, because now, I sit with eight weeks recovery time.
 No running.
 I can walk, but who does that?
 I am a runner.
 I run...but not for eight weeks.

I went to see my doctor in the spring because I suspected I had a stomach ulcer. During this appointment I happened to say "by the way, what do you think of this?".

"This" happened to be a small lump about halfway between my sternum and my navel. "This" had been there for several years and was the culprit of a small amount of discomfort when I poked at it. During  "its" lifespan, I just decided not to poke at it and we could co-exist with minimal fuss. No reason to disclose "its" presence to said physician.
When I outed my little lumpy friend, it was in haste. If truth be told (and why not, I have uttered grander truths than this via this medium), I was trying to distract my doctor from the lecture that was building.
I noted the way he cocked his head and gave it a shake as he inhaled deeply. The worst part of the pending lecture or "health teaching" was that I knew exactly what he was going to say.

I am a runner and as such, I have well earned aches and pains. These aches and pains are typically staid by the use of ibuprofen, a wonderful over the counter anti-inflammatory. This miracle medicine reduces inflammation caused by too many kilometers, thereby reducing the pain that is associated with the inflammation. The caution to ibuprofen is that it can be hard on the stomach lining, risking the development of a lesion or hole in the lining, also known as an ulcer...<insert a bit of blushing>

With weeks of stomach discomfort climaxing to a middle of the night attack of severe pain and the taste of blood in my mouth, I went to see my doctor.
He listened to my complaints with concern and felt as though my self diagnosis of a stomach ulcer was probably not the issue, as I had no risk for the development of one...until he muttered, almost to himself and waved his hand dismissively,

"It's not like you are taking anti-inflammatorys for any reason. That would be the only risk someone with your good health would have."

Me:  <with hesitation> "Well...actually I do use a fair bit of ibuprofen to ease my running aches <voice trailing off in shame>.

So there it was, the more than likely, self imposed source of my problem. I gave up beer to become an Advil addict! As the lecture began, (which was made worse by the fact that I am a Nurse and know better),
 I skillfully steered the exam to my abdomen and its pet lump.

Doctor: <with surprise> "How long has this been here?"

Me: <with mission accomplished relief> "Oh, I don't know a few years..."

So, with that smooth transition from one complaint to another, I ended up under the scrutiny of a Surgeon who was decidedly more concerned about the hernia than the ulcer.

The ulcer healed without intervention. I committed to cleaning up my Advil habit and as I put the bottle of pills in a cupboard, out of sight, I noticed that the bottle said "extra strength". I looked closer and realized that I had been taking two of these pills at a time, instead of one. Like a good addict, I reasoned that I could probably still take this medication, if needed, as the problem was not likely the result of the medication itself, but my improper dosing! Addicts can always rationalize their use.

I am happy to share that I am not only sober, but I am clean and free of the anti-inflammatorys as well.

As I sit and write, I am one week post-op, with seven more weeks to heal, all because I couldn't take the heat of a lecture!

Stay tuned for the painfully, inactive weeks to come.