Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Fun Visit To The Gynaecologist

I know sometimes I over-share. This post will be no different. It's going to delve into topics that make some of you cringe and some of you dry-reach. It's about my little visit to a place where no man has gone before ... my gynaecologist.

I was a little bit excited to be going yesterday. Yes, I know - that's a little bit crazy but since I've graduated from my psychologist (or is it flunked out - because I'm no longer nuts) I know it's nothing to worry about. After all worrying is a waste of energy and I was going to need as much energy as I could get to lie there and think of England.

The reason I was excited was because I was going to get my treatment regime for my testosterone deficiency. I was going to start getting better as of yesterday.

Well that didn't quite happen. BUT I'm one step closer.

When I got into her office we just chatted for a while (it's good to get to know the person who's going to get quite intimate with you). She wanted to know what the problem was (too little testosterone) and why (because I was on an oestrogen based pill) and why I was on the pill (because of really bad monthly cramps that would make me take continuous ibuprofen for 48 hours or I'd be vomiting).

Once she had a grasp of the situation and how it was affecting my life she came up with a range of alternative treatments. Have I ever mentioned that I don't like to make decisions? Especially decisions involving my health. That's why I pay the big bucks to see specialists.

Option number one was to stop taking the pill. Hopefully that would make that nasty little globulin in my blood that's been stealing all my testosterone slowly reduce and make more of it available for use. But the draw-backs are that I'd be back to two days of ibuprofen every month and those occasional months where I'd bleed like a stuck pig. (See I told you I'd overshare)

Option number two was to stop taking the pill and have a progesterone-releasing IUD put in. It sounded a bit promising until she started telling me the possible side-effects. I can cope with spotting but uterine perforation (rare, I know) sounded like it was too invasive for my liking. I'd rather go back to two days of ibuprofen.

Option number three was to stop taking the pill and have a procedure called an endometrial ablation. From her description it sounded like she was going to get all up close and personal with my uterus using a laser. All I could imagine was a Star Wars scenario up in my girly bits and the voice in my head kept saying 'Luke I am your Mother'. And then she mentioned burning - I could see me walking out with smoke trailing behind me, smoke-rings if I coughed and being declared an environmental hazard. If the IUD was too invasive for me this was a definite no-no.

So it came down to option number four - supplementing with testosterone. This was what she recommended for me. BUT I can't have the implant because it went off the market last year (not enough demand - probably because not many doctors are testing for deficiency). Which leaves a cream that you just rub on your ... forearm (bet you weren't expecting me to say that - most people have expected it to go somewhere more naughty). BUT I can't just go to a pharmacy here in Queensland because it's not legal to sell it here. I can, however, send my prescription over to the other side of the country and have it filled. Why does this make me feel a little like I'm a drug smuggler? And why is it only legal in W.A.? Government bureaucracy is baffling.

And then came the best bit of all. My GP had told me that I was due for a pap smear so I should get it done while I was there. So that's what we did - or tried to do. When I was lying there, trying to think of anything except what was happening down below, the doctor exclaimed "Oh, there's something up here"

Great! What could possibly be there? The two dollar coin that just disappeared the other day? A yeti? The sock that I thought got swallowed by the drier? Or just cobwebs and tumbleweeds?

Turns out it was a polyp - usually benign but liable to bleed when it's touched. Which it did. So she snipped it off (That'll be $150 thank you very much. I'm in the wrong profession. I'm good with scissors and I wouldn't mind being paid $150 for less than five minutes work.) and that made it bleed even more. Pap smears don't work so well when they're covered in blood so even though she went ahead and did it there's every chance that I'll have to go back and do it again. Yay!!

I left there feeling just a little frustrated. I'd thought that I'd be starting treatment then and there but it won't be until Friday at the earliest now. And even then we don't know how well the cream will work because of my high levels of sex hormone binding globulin. I suggested that I go off the pill and start the cream but she only wanted to make one pharmaceutical change at a time.

It's obviously going to take a while to get it sorted properly. But I've managed to cope this long, I can be patient for just a bit longer - especially because I know we're on the right track finally.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Toby And Molly - Young Love

Toby has a girlfriend. She's literally the girl next door. They're about the same age and love to play with each other through the fence. Molly's even broken into our back yard to play with Toby (little hussy). Toby reciprocates her undying adoration by bringing her gifts of sticks and showing off his athletic ability running madly up and down the fence line. He's even gone as far as taking a leaf out of Josh's book of wooing women by going #2 while she waited patiently. It's a beautiful romance - young and innocent.

And it's destined to stay innocent. We had Toby 'fixed' a month or so ago and today Molly lost her ability to ever know the pitter-patter of many little feet. Molly turned up at the back fence looking all forlorn complete with and Elizabethan collar to stop her chewing out her stitches.

And what did Toby do when he saw his lady-love weak and vulnerable after major surgery? He took fright! He didn't recognise the strange alien creature in Molly's back yard. His hackles went up. He barked furiously and then he ran to Mummy for reassurance.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Was Right

This may possibly be one of the happiest posts I will ever write. I FINALLY have an answer to my chronic health issues. And best of all it can be treated.

I went back to the doctor today to get the results of my blood test. She printed it all out for me and it was all fairly normal - I had a really high HDL reading (yay) and elevated bilirubin levels (I have Gilbert's Disease which is really a condition not a disease and is fairly benign). But the thing that stood out most was testosterone deficiency. I don't have enough of it and I have a hugely elevated SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which is basically making whatever testosterone I produce ineffective.

No wonder I can't run like I used to. My muscles have become weak and pathetic and I can't recover after sessions.

The reason why my SHBG is so high is because I've been on the pill for the past two years. Apparently this is a side-effect of the pill that only occurs in some people but I was totally unaware of it.

So the next step is treatment. I nearly cried when my doctor said she wanted to send me to a specialist. The last thing I want to do is wait again. It took me almost two months to see the gastro-enterologist. She could see how disappointed I was so she rang up someone while I was with her and spun a big sob story and the upshot was that I got an appointment this Friday.


I got home a little while ago and rang the specialist just to find out exactly the location of their office and in the meanwhile someone had cancelled their appointment. I get to see her tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day when I start to get better again.

It's going to take some time. It's taken a long time to get to this point so I can't expect to feel better overnight. BUT I can expect to feel better.

The upshot of this post, though, is that ultimately it is up to you to keep pushing for a diagnosis if you feel like the one you've been given doesn't quite fit. I know doctor's hate it, but use the internet for research. If I hadn't kept looking I would still be clueless about my condition. I'd still be thinking it was post viral fatigue even though I couldn't remember having a virus. Keep looking till you find answers.

The other thing that I learnt through this process is that women are not routinely tested for testosterone levels. So if you're having unexplained fatigue and weakness, not sleeping well, have low libido, incontinence and even sore breasts you might want to get it tested - especially if you're on the pill.

And last but not least - I was right!

Friday, November 23, 2012

I've Got A Secret

I've had a secret this week. It's a good secret not a bad secret and it's been hard not to tell the person who it most affects. But the secret's out of the bag now and I can tell everyone.

A couple of months ago Josh (#2 son) met a girl that he really liked. They went out a bit but she had to go back to Taiwan to finish her study. But then she decided that she didn't want to continue the degree she was doing. Brisbane seemed a much more attractive place to be so she made plans to come back. She and Josh became Facebook official and the date set for her arrival was the 24th of November ... or so Josh thought.

I got a message from Serena early this week to say that she was actually arriving on Friday the 23rd and wanted to come over to be here when he got home from work to surprise him. Yay! I love being in on surprises. So we worked out how it would all happen.

The waiting and not being able to say anything was hard. I kept asking how he was feeling about Serena coming back ('excited') and what time she was arriving (10am Saturday) and, most importantly, was he coming home straight from work on Friday and not going out with friends (thankfully not).

Serena arrived at about 4:30 and Josh was expected any time from 5:30 to 6:00. So we had a cup of coffee and a cupcake and chatted a bit then she helped me with dinner. And then we heard his car (not hard with the sub woofers he has ). Serena quickly hid her belongings and went and hid in his bedroom.

Josh walked up the stairs in a pretty good mood and after the usual greetings told us he was busting to go to the loo. As he rushed past me I casually mentioned that he'd got a parcel that day, quite a big parcel, and I'd left it in his room. As he sat on the toilet he pondered loudly on what the parcel could be. He couldn't remember ordering anything big.

Then he announced loudly that he had to go #2. Great we had to wait even more for the surprise to be revealed! So we waited ... and waited ... and waited ... and waited. It was taking forever!

He finally flushed the toilet and I was sure he'd go straight to his room BUT Serena's phone, which she'd left charging in the lounge room went off. I tried to head Josh off at the pass but there was no stopping my curious boy. He found her phone. And her bag. But still the penny didn't drop and the confused look on his face was priceless. "What the??"

I still don't know whether he knew what the 'parcel' was when he finally made it to his room. But I could hear how happy he was.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Normal Is Good

I bet you're all dying to know how my PMS is going. It's going great - if you think that hitting one week out of three is great. First week was a spot on. Second week I got two runs done (and the long slow one was only 10k) and this week has been a bust too. Today I had enough energy to run a really slow 6k. THIS IS NOT HOW I PLANNED THIS WOULD GO.

So I've been back to the doctor's. AGAIN. And this time I want a real diagnosis. Not some wishy-washy 'I-think-that-it-might-be' and the only treatment is to rest till you die.

I think I need to see Dr House. I'm sure he'd be able to find out what's wrong after nearly killing me a few time with inappropriate and unsubstantiated treatments and totally ruining my body's immune system by irradiating me. And he'd be able to do it in an hour WITH ad breaks so I could make a nice cup of tea and go to the toilet.

That extraordinarily long finger is the one he uses to check prostates

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks. Not knowing when to run, how long to run or whether to run at all. I know my long-time readers have heard this all before. This is my fourth time round. I've been to GP's, Sports Medicine Specialists (two different ones) and a Gastroenterologist. And I've had an exercise tolerance test, an echocardiogram, numerous blood tests and an ultrasound (for an entirely different matter). The only test that's found anything definite was the ultrasound but it's not fibroids in my uterus that's making me tired or slowing me down.

So for all you medicos out there (real or ones that have learnt everything they know from watching medical dramas like me) - here are my symptoms

Deterioration in Athletic Ability
Muscle Weakness
Sleep Problems
Poor Recovery from Training

Those are the major ones and there are other things I could complain about (children, husband, the weather and the fact that I'm over-worked and under-appreciated) but probably have no relevance here. And every one of these symptoms fits with low testosterone. Yes, we women have testosterone too. And we need it to feel good. Yet, because we're women, there is only a small amount of recent study into this condition. I didn't know that being on the pill can affect your testosterone level and I've been on the pill for a couple of years now to counteract problems from my fibroids. You can see where I'm going with this.

I saw the doctor on Monday to see whether any of my blood tests included testosterone levels and none of them had. So yesterday I went and had more blood drawn to have still more tests done. Oh, and I had a shot of vitamin B12. I'm starting to feel a little like a pin cushion.

Next Monday I get the results back. You can't imagine how much I want this to be a testosterone deficiency - mostly because it's so easily treatable. Just a testosterone implant. And then I will feel stronger, more powerful and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I might grow hairs on my chest and male genitals but that will just make me even more interesting/quirky/unique than I am now. Or I might just feel normal again. And normal is good.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Two and a Half Hours

I had two and a half hours sleep last night. Woohoo!! I may possibly be a little delirious but I'm not feeling as bad as I expected to. And I've been incredibly surprised about what you can achieve when you're sleep deprived.

You can manage to get to training on time. This is despite waking up after an hour's sleep at 3:15am and trying to change the alarm so you can sleep a bit later. In my foggy state I decided to miss speed session but get up in time to make our Tuesday breakfast (Tuesday breakfast is sacrosanct and can only be missed when your child is caught in a fire at work the night before). I couldn't change the time. I think there were a few neurons misfiring. I got up at 4:45am, put the left shoe on the left foot and the right on the right, let the dog out to the toilet, realised I shouldn't have put my shoes on before my shorts but managed to dress anyway, drove to the session without hitting anything or falling asleep at the wheel and smiled at people when greeted. (I swear it was a smile and not a grimace). I may have even strung a few intelligible words together.

You can run like the wind for about an hour. Okay, it might have been a lazy puff of a wind that had no real direction but I kept running. The session was 3k, 2k, 1k with 500m recovery and if there was time left over we were supposed to keep running 1k's. I ran the 3k then I ran 500m on, 500m off. With permission from the coach of course! The 3k was pretty ordinary but each of the five 500m got faster. I may have been sleep-running.

You can spend a good portion of the run socializing. I can sleep-run and sleep-talk!  Coach Chris had also given me permission to walk the recoveries (by 'giving me permission' I mean that I tell him what I plan to do and he says okay - he doesn't want me getting sick again so when I tell him I need to back off there's no argument). Walking the recoveries is awesome. Other people decide they'll keep you company because it's only polite and you end up solving some of the world's problems. Not bad on two and a half hours.

You can solve the rest of the world's problems and engage in witty, erudite conversation over breakfast. I may actually have been talking drivel, or just making unintelligible grunting noises while drooling into my eggs but it felt witty and erudite at the time. My friends are way too polite to let me know the bitter truth and they'd be kind enough to wipe the drool off my face if and when needed.

You can drive home in the morning rush hour and manage to make it there without incident.

You can remain alarmingly calm when you see the mess that has become your lounge room.You can pick up the foam that used to be Toby's mattress off the floor and hardly bat an eye. Possibly because you might fall asleep if your eyes shut for even a millisecond.

You can fold the washing. (Note to my sons - if the wrong shirt is in your pile it's your responsibility to find the rightful owner)

You can decide the menu for dinner. I think that we might have cupcakes tonight.

You can try to have a nap. With the full complement of dogs on the bed (there's a strong sense of entitlement in our hounds. Or maybe they're just trying to be companionable) Snoring dogs make for bad nap buddies.

You can give up all idea of sleep and decide to start work early - just because.

And you can cut lycra until your skin gets all sparkly

This means I'm becoming a vampire, doesn't it? No wonder I'm having trouble sleeping at night.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

All's Well That Ends Well

Get set for at least three months of me whining about the weather. It will probably be more like four or five months - since technically I had a couple of little whines already this month and summer can last all the way till March or April.

I hate summer! I know some people love it. I will never be included in their ranks. What's pleasant about sweating every time you breathe? When your heart rate elevates just by getting out of bed. And when every run leaves you in an exhausted puddle on the floor.

Yesterday was vile. It was one of those sweat-all-the-way-through, never-get-below-24 nights. You get up just as tired as you've gone to bed. It also happened to be LSD day and I was going to run - a short long run.

I'd told Coach Chris all my woes during the week. And he was happy for me to cut right back this week and see how things improve. I hadn't run Thursday (except down the hill when I took Toby for a walk) and I was definitely feeling better but there's always a little fear that I might be doing the wrong thing. That I should have another couple of runs off. I told myself I'd only go 8 k - 10 k at the max. That I could walk if I had to (I don't know who I'm trying to fool with that one. I hate to admit that I'm struggling and walking is a huge admission.)

So we set off at 5:30 am in awful heat (for that time of the day). Started sweating in the first 500m. Heart rate was higher than I was happy with (yes, the heat and humidity had something to do with that). BUT I ran the whole way of my 10.5k (apart from a few very necessary water stops). AND I didn't feel sick afterwards. Little yay! I think I took my rest exactly when I needed it.

I'm resting again today - and actually won't be running till Tuesday's speed session (unless it's down the hills with Toby or to get out of the way of a speeding car. Don't laugh, it could happen). I'm feeling like I dodged a bullet and it's reinforced to me that I need to take a cut back for a week every month. Just a week where I pull back on the distance and number of sessions to consolidate my gains.

But back to yesterday. We'd been promised a storm. I say promised because I love a good storm. I love feeling of the wind come up after I've been suffering all day in the heat. I love hearing the rolling thunder. Seeing the lightening flash across the sky. I just love the power and might and majesty of it all. And we'd been promised a Superstorm.

The media love to name things don't they?! Americans get their Frankenstorm and, not wanting to be left out, we get our Superstorm. Well, I can say that our Superstorm was not a patch on the Frankenstorm but it was still pretty impressive.

There was quite a bit of damage around the city so I'm grateful that no one I know had any problems. I'm also grateful for the amazing massage my sister gave me (while the storm was raging) that put me to sleep for two and a bit hours.

And while we're on the subject of gratitude I'm also grateful for these.

At first glance there's nothing unusual in these photos but when I explain that these are the two beds that are left perpetually unmade. See, little things make me happy.

So even thought there was a little speed bump in my life this week, it's all ended up on a good note and I feel like I'm on track again.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

PMS Week 2 Fail

Yesterday I wrote a post that was absolutely rubbish. Sometimes if you really have nothing to say, it's better to keep your mouth shut. So I deleted the post. Today's post is bound to be way better because so much has happened since last night - if you count sleeping.

Yes, that's right I'm sleeping a little better. I fell asleep reading my book last night and stayed that way (apart from a very early call of nature) for nearly 9 hours. The night before was 8. Certainly beats the 4 hour mini naps that were passing as my night's sleep a week ago. (See I told you this post was going to be way better - sleep is always such a riveting topic)

I took yesterday's run off. I know! It's only week two of my PMS but I wasn't doing so well. It's my own silly fault too. I'd almost decided not to run on Sunday after being so tired on Saturday's run. But I slept okay Saturday night and was feeling pretty good. So I did what any obsessed runner would do, I ran. But my mistakes were in running 4 hours after when I'd normally start (it's nearly summer - what was I thinking - oh that's right, I wasn't) and running the distance that I hadn't completed the day before. My rationale was that I was supposed to run 12 k on Sunday and 16 k on Saturday, what did it matter if I changed them around?!! Well it wouldn't have mattered normally but we all know that my body doesn't behave normally and I was already circling the drain the day before.

So I set off towards the river. It hadn't seemed windy at home but it was along the water. There were even white caps. It was a headwind and I thought to myself that at least it would be behind me coming home because I was running a loop. But it never did. It seemed to change direction so I'd always be running into it apart from one short section. At times it got so strong that I felt like I was running on the spot. And at other times I was so over it that I just walked - which kept me out in the sun longer.

I got home really tired about two hours after I started. And I was sunburnt. I never put sunscreen on to run because I run so early but when you run after 9am it's a different story.

I was tired for the rest of the day and still tired on Monday. And yet I still did speed on Tuesday and that's when I knew I really had to get serious about letting my body recover. My legs were heavy, my heart rate was high and I spent the rest of the day feeling sick and the next day as well. Major wake up call!!

Why do I do this to myself? Some of it is because I like having goals and achieving them makes me feel good. Some is because I love to run and I'd always planned on running more when I had more time. I'm terribly anal when I have a program - I just want to hit every workout and feel like a failure when I don't.

But the stakes are too high. Every time I get sick it takes longer to get better and I come back slower. So I knew I just had to back off before (hopefully) it was too late. Week 2 of my PMS might be a fail but it'll be better in the long run that I listened and acted.

It's all good and I'm not upset - too much. How can I possibly stay upset when there's this to greet me whenever I get home.

Monday, November 12, 2012

PMS Sucks!

I've finished my first week of my PMS (preparation for marathon schedule) and I'm prepared to be totally honest here. It sucked. Big time. Well, I sucked big time. I felt tired. My legs were heavy and I was slow. How's that for a first week?

I think there are a few factors involved with my week of suckage. First would be my lack of sleep. I'm averaging between 3 (on a really bad night) and 6 on the less bad ones. Saturday night was my one bright shining bed-light for the week - 8 hours!! One good night sleep doesn't make up for six bad ones, though.

Changing my diet may also have had an effect. I'm a bit unsure as to what I should and shouldn't eat at the moment. I've pared it right back in the hope of getting a happy tummy and then plan to introduce back different foods to see which is the cause of my internal unrest. So far, so good - the fart index has gone down significantly.

No longer are the neighbours complaining about the trumpet practice that happens any hour of the day or night. They were starting to wonder if Anzac Day was close because they were sure it was a very bad rendition of the Last Post. The high G was only reached with a potent cocktail of milk and beans with a chaser of cabbage.

Yesterday my TFC (total fart count) was only 13!! My kids are so proud of their Mum.

I've cut a lot of wheat products from my diet as per Dr Fart's recommendations and even baked my first ever batch of gluten-free/wheat-free cookies adapted from my favourite cookie recipe. They don't taste too bad either.

I think, though, that the biggest factor in the Dyson-like training, is the fact that I have run 4 weeks of over 50k/week. This would have been the norm last year but this year has been far from normal and I guess I shouldn't expect that I can run that sort of mileage without paying the piper. So I WILL be taking Thursday off. Maybe Sunday too if I need it. I have to get back to basics and listen to my body, not get  so caught up with the training program that I will suffer the consequences.

But onto happier things. Luke turned 19 yesterday. I have only one child left in his last year of teenage-hood (is that a word?). How did I get to be this old?

Lucky Luke didn't get to celebrate his birthday yesterday. It's hard to celebrate when your birthday is overshadowed by an enormous exam the following day. But I did make cake - because what is a birthday without cake?

And why the Angry Birds? They were angry because Luke's birthday was in the middle of the exam period. His exams are done as of 10am this morning so tonight we celebrate.

Just one final note. To the man who was behind me in the supermarket queue telling his friend how he managed to avoid getting sick a lot - yes we all could tell that garlic was the biggest weapon in your arsenal. No words were needed.

Friday, November 9, 2012

LSD, PMS and The Sweet Taste of Failure

It's raining today. Full-on, all-through-the-night raining. But it's Saturday and Saturday is LSD and it's the first week of my Marathon Training Program or, as I prefer it to be called, Preparation for Marathon Schedule (PMS for short). It was incredibly tempting to just stay in bed - especially because my sleep patterns are as bad as they were last week and I'd hardly had any - but I'd taken
     my teaspoon of concrete. There was going to be no piking today.

While I was getting ready I had the computer on, checking email, post comments and Facebook and I found this.

For the more observant of you - no, I didn't know how to take a screen shot until today but I'm a great Googler.

Even if I'd had second thoughts there was no getting out of it now. Especially after one of Josh's friends called me motivated.

It was a small group this morning. The rain had washed away quite a few of the group's motivation to run and had replaced it with the motivation to sleep in. But there's nothing much better than running in the rain. Well there are a few better things - chocolate, a good coffee, a good night's sleep, having a cuddle with my puppy and running in the rain on a FLAT course. That's right! Coach Chris had decided that seeing as we'd made the effort to get out of bed, he would torture us with the undulating course we'd done just two weeks ago. 

It felt hard!!! Hot, humid and hilly was not how I was wanting to do my first LSD of my PMS. Usually I have my Garmin on the general screen which shows time, pace and distance but for some reason I put it on the heart rate screen and the numbers I saw were quite alarming. I'd almost decided that I was heading back to being unwell again. Luckily (for me and not him) Josh's knee was a bit sore so he wanted to walk at about the 13k mark. And being the wonderful, caring mother that I am, (see #2 on the post from 5th Nov - the nipple ring incident)  well I couldn't just leave him hobbling back on his own. Could I?!

I got home and loaded up all the data from the run then compared it to the run two weeks ago and surprisingly the stats are nearly identical. Today's run felt harder but I think that may be to do with the lack of sleep beforehand and because I could see my heart rate as I was running and it was freaking me out a little. Note to self - never have the HR screen showing when you're doing a hilly route. Your heart rate will be high so there's no need to get upset about it while you're running. Much better to keep that till after the run.


See this pretty little cupcake? 

This is my first mega Pinterest fail!! I've baked a few of the ones on my board and this one looked particularly awesome so I set it as my Friday Cupcake Challenge. Not sure why it failed but I'm still trying to work out why there was almost half a cup of sugar still on the bench  after I'd put the cake mix in the pans. I'm pretty sure it was just a dud recipe. That mound of icing is hiding a hole the size of the Grand Canyon (and no, I'm not the type of person who exaggerates for effect). They're still disappearing pretty quickly so I can only assume that sometimes the taste of failure can be sweet.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Modern Family is one of the only shows that Iven and I enjoy together - not sure why he doesn't like Glee (although I have a sneaking suspicion it's because they just randomly break into song at the drop of a hat - I think that's normal and do it, but he never does) or Smash (but it's probably for the same reason as above) or any of the programs where people are murdered and the murder is solved neatly within the one hour time slot by a combination of scientific tests and clever hypothesising.

We were watching it the other night. Claire and Phil were having a conversation - or rather Claire was talking to Phil and when she looked for him to comment he apologised and said he hadn't been listening.  
Iven looked at me and said "He never listens to Claire! I su ... mostly listen to you."

His little slip gave him away. He'd meant to say sometimes. Yes, he SOMETIMES listens to me. He mostly phases me - my talking becomes white noise. And I'm okay with that. It lets me get away with forgetting to tell him things (sometimes important things) and then being able to blame my forgetfulness on him not listening. It really is the secret to a long and (mostly) happy marriage - 26 years and counting (down).


After my little excursion to the gastroenterologist last week I've made a few dietary changes. I've cut right back on wheat and cruciferous vegies and I've put cheese and milk back in. Well, that was a huge mistake - I'm talking about the lactose-containing stuff. Dr Fart might not think that I'm lactose-intolerant but my intestines would beg to differ and have been shouting it from the rooftops, or more appropriately, the basement long and loud. Hello, I'm a GaleForce runner in more than one way. Dr Fart told me that it's quite normal to pass gas up to 24 times a day and did that make me feel better about my problem? Well, it would have if he'd changed day to hour. Hey, I could potentially hold a Guinness World Record. My parents would be so proud.

I'm back to eating lactose-free again and my stomach is feeling normal. Yay!! 

When I was talking to Dr Fart last week he mentioned the FODMAPS diet. Now my understanding of this is that you eliminate certain foods which contain certain sugars. Dr. Fart was rather scathing of the diet and the scientific method of the study. BUT one of my friends has a daughter who has irritable bowel syndrome and she's been on the FODMAPS diet for a while and has never felt better. Quandary!! So do I look into it or not?? Has anyone had any experience with it? What would Phil Dunphy do?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Things I've Learnt This Week

Here I am, plummeting headfirst towards fifty and I'm still learning. This week's been particularly educational and I'd like to share what I've learnt with you.

1. You'll never have your best runs when you've only had four hours sleep. No, there's not a newborn in our house (thank goodness) and I'm not having my previous 2am anxiety attacks (again, thank goodness). I just haven't been sleeping well and unfortunately I can't even blame Iven's snoring.

I had a shocker on Friday night. It was a mere three and a half hours before I had to get up and run. I didn't run very well - surprise, surprise! And that's after my awe-inspiring run on Thursday. That really did my head in for Sunday's run. I hummed and hawed about doing it and in the end lay in bed till it was quite late. Then I had breakfast - a sure sign that I've decided not to run. But that voice in my head tends to nag at me until I've done what I'd planned (and sometimes it can say really mean words) and I ended up heading out. My intention was to do a route I could cut short if I was feeling the blahs. It was after 9am, I had a full stomach and it was hot and humid and I was virtually setting myself up for failure BUT I had a really good run. I think that the 9 hours sleep I'd had the night before was the deciding factor.

I had another bad night's sleep last night. A whopping four hours! Today's speed session was not fun!

2. Giving up thirty minutes of your favourite TV program to help your son look for his nipple rings is never wasted time. I bet you weren't expecting that one! Yes, Josh has nipple piercings. Actually he only had one until a couple of weeks ago when he decided that the pierced nipple looked bigger than the other and he needed to balance them out. I think he was worried that he might end up with a huge-nipple-induced scoliosis. A new piercing needs pretty sparkly jewellery and his couldn't be found anywhere so I lent my super-power of finding the unfindable (all mothers have this super-power). Unfortunately we didn't find them. But we spent some quality time together. And the other day when I couldn't get my earring in, Josh came to my rescue.

3. Dogs have an uncanny ability to sniff out dickheads. I'm sorry about the language but after quite some time pondering a suitable synonym, I gave up. Toby was barking in the back yard today. Not hysterical barking, just the odd bark which said he was a unsettled. When I looked out the window I saw a workman in the back neighbour's yard. He took exception to Toby telling him that he wasn't welcome in our yard, yelled at him then took a swing at him with his shovel. I called Toby in and then 'had words' with the Neanderthal who doesn't understand that a bark is a lot different to barking  with hackles up and teeth bared. He told me that Toby had barked all day at him the other day - which was funny because I was at home working under the house and Toby was with me and we didn't hear a thing (actually I heard a bit of snoring from Toby who was asleep on the floor.) He'd barked once or twice at him earlier in the day but had lost interest. I suggested that next time he might like to pat Toby to befriend him rather than threaten him with a shovel. I don't know what he was afraid of - Toby wouldn't hurt a fly! And if it was the noise that was bothering him, tough! We had to listen to his dreadful taste in music and we didn't threaten his radio with a shovel.

Toby might not hurt a fly but beetles are another thing all together.

4. If you try to teach a dog to bring an egg up from the chicken's pen you might end up with a lot of eggshell and a dog that now has a taste for raw eggs. Yes, Josh tried it and now Toby is a little egg-obsessed.

5. The cupcakes on Pinterest are evil and addictive. That's to make not to eat. I leave the eating up to my boys. I may have over-done it a little on the weekend. There's over 2 dozen cupcakes in my kitchen after a couple of days of eating.

Snickers Cupcakes with a snickers and caramel filling and caramel butter cream.

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes. 

That's the total of my 'learnings' for the week. Has anyone else learnt something interesting that they'd like to share?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Righteous Indignation

I'm a bit of a rule-follower. Maybe because I've always been a timid little mouse who liked to do the right thing. Maybe because I didn't have to think too hard if I was following the rules. And definitely because I knew that rules were there for the good of everyone.

I've only gotten a speeding fine once in my 31 years of driving. I've never cheated on tests (until a couple of weeks ago and I had to cheat to be pronounced crazy enough). I've always walked my dog on a lead and picked up his poops (this dog, anyway).

And walking dogs on the lead is what this post is about. I have a bit of a problem with some people's choice of leads. I hate/despise/detest/abhor those extendible leads that some people use. To me a lead is a tool that you use to control a dog with. An extendible lead is basically a way for dogs to have a wander where ever they please with the owner pretending that they're doing the right thing. Usually I see the owner meandering around totally oblivious to what their dog is doing about five meters away from them.

Our last dog wasn't very sociable so we would keep him away from other dogs when out walking. That was really hard when other dogs had free rein and could come over whenever they wanted. I had one woman be quite upset when our dog started snapping and snarling at hers (on a long extendible lead) when we'd been doing everything in our power to try and get away from it.

On Thursday I got to see another incident involving one of these leads which just left me shaking my head. An elderly lady was walking her dog in the same direction I was running. A middle aged man was walking towards her in the opposite direction. The dog was meandering across the path and the lady was oblivious - in her own little world. It got to the point where the man had to come to a complete stop before she became aware of her surroundings and the position of her dog. And it was only then she decided to pull in her dog.

I'd watched the whole thing as I got closer and closer and could see what was going to happen. And I was becoming righteously indignant for the poor man who was just trying to have a mice morning when I ran past the tangle of dog and humans, I 'muttered' quite loudly and in my most withering tone "seriously!", just to let the woman know how inconsiderate and rude she really was. I kept running but there was a little more fire in my step to match the fire in my belly. It was the the last kilometre of a 16k run where I'd pushed myself a bit. The fire lasted until I'd run enough around the corner that I was out of sight. Then I had to stop and walk to catch my indignant breath. Righteous indignation can be exhausting!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Awesome Thursday

Thursday is fast becoming my favourite day of the week. Last Thursday it was the 'Free Scone' incident that made it extra special. Yesterday was great more because of what didn't happen than what did.

Did someone say Thursday? We LOVE Thursdays!

But first I'll back up to 'stupid' o'clock, when my day started. I woke at 4:00am and managed to stay in bed till 4:30. I was a little excited about my run. And I was really excited about being a little excited. It hasn't happened much this year and it means that I'm not expecting it to be a torturous, hard slog.

I was out of the door at 4:45 and already it was light. But there wasn't a soul around and that's just how I like it - me, myself and nature. I headed towards the city and the river. My first kilometre clicked over in 5:22. Talk about confused. I haven't run that sort of pace feeling that easy for such a long time. I actually had to check my Garmin to see if I'd somehow set  up my distance beeps incorrectly. I hadn't.

I kept running and kept feeling good and the kilometres kept beeping off at under 6:00 min pace (except for the one where I forgot to stop my watch when I got a drink). I actually felt a bit more like I used to before the wheels fell off. And it felt REALLY good.

I got home one and a half hours and 16 and a half kilometres later, checked my watch and compared the data with how I've been running. Two minutes faster than I ran the same route two weeks ago. Same speed as I ran a 12k a little while back but this run was at a way lower average heart rate. Yes, it was as good a run as it had felt.

I had an appointment yesterday with a gastroenterologist (who will henceforth be referred to as Dr Fart). It was at 10am and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get my groceries before I went to the appointment. But after the run I felt invincible so I decided to risk it. But leaving the shopping centre, I realised I didn't have quite as much time as I would have liked. After all the appointment was at a hospital and I had to find a park, walk to the medical centre, allow myself time to get lost, allow myself time to find someone who could point me in the right direction and then actually get to Dr Fart's office.

I didn't actually break any road rules getting there but I did say a few unpleasant things about other people's driving abilities. I made it to the parking lot with 10 minutes to spare. No parks until I hit the 6th level. Lots of sweating until I hit the 6th level. More sweating while I tried to find access across to the hospital (it wasn't just nervous tension - it was a hot day). Glorious air-conditioning which snap froze the sweat beads on my upper lip. Easy to follow signs meant that I was in the elevator with two minutes to spare. I hit his office at 10:01. Winning!!

And I didn't even have to wait long. I'd barely settled onto my seat and sent a text before I'd been called in. It was such an enlightening visit.

I learnt - that I am gullible and easily lead by dodgy nutritional fads
           - that you can have too much of a good thing, in my case fibre.
           - that stress will be manifest in the form of explosive gas for some people.
           - that some people think that the amount I run borders on lunacy and that running in the rain
             crosses that border.
           - that if you have worked at a world-renowned hospital, you will want to slip that fact into the
             conversation at least ten times (don't worry, Dr Fart, I was impressed the first time you
             mentioned your ground-breaking study into the comparison of gas production by intestinal
             microbes on both a white rice and baked bean diet at the Mayo Clinic)      
           - that very few WASPs have lactose intolerance.

So the verdict? I am probably not lactose intolerant. I most likely have irritable bowel syndrome (quite possibly going to the psychologist has been the best thing I could do to help my fart situation because it's gotten my anxiety under control ... for the moment.) He wants me to have a blood test to check on the possibility of Coeliacs but he doesn't really think it is - it's more to rule it out. He DIDN'T need me to have a gastroscopy or a colonoscopy. Relief! I really didn't want to have either - yet.

He wants me to make a few dietary changes. Cut down on baked beans (not an issue - I don't eat them). Cut down on cruciferous vegies  (bummer - broccoli is one of my favourite and I like cabbage but I'm indifferent to Brussels sprout so no loss there). Cut down on wheat products (Damn!! I really like a good loaf of bread but have bought some rye bread on his recommendation. My muesli is in the 'can have' group and I've swapped wheat bran for oat bran. At least he didn't say cut wheat out altogether so I'm hoping if I make some modifications I can keep the things that I really LOVE in.)

And I'm allowed to go back on dairy. Yay! I can have cheese again. And a really good ice cream after a race (yes, that's my post-race treat of choice). I can ditch the soy cappuccinos - wasn't a huge fan of soy but any coffee is better than no coffee. My coffees will be cheaper again, another plus.

The appointment took about 30 minutes and when I went to pay I realised why you should encourage your children to do medicine and become a specialist. $250.00 for thirty minutes work is pretty good money. The receptionist offered to put my Medicare card through for my refund and that's when I found out that I'd reached some magic number for the year and that I was getting more back per visit. $225.00 back on a $250.00 visit - winning again!! And because Dr Fart was running on time my parking was only another $8.00.

When I got home I got my first business call of the week from a school wanting over 50 leotards. Another reason to cheer - I have work again!!

I'm starting to really look forward to next Thursday. I wonder just how much greater it can get.