Thursday, August 12, 2010

HOME never felt so good!

All I can really say is WOW. The past few days were tough.

After the first trip to the ER I vowed I would not return…knew I had some doctors appointments lied out for the following week. Days of REST and more rest and I returned to work late Monday. Barely able to make it through the lessons as soon as I hit home things got scary. We headed back to the ER for some treatment and before you know it we were NOT going home.

Severe dehydration, the lack of nutrition, and the intense flare up had me in my worst state EVER. Yes, I had flare ups before lasting 4-6 months but never this severe, they were managed well by medication and listening to my body and resting as needed.

Ironically my GI doctor was the on call gastroneurologist for the week so he was able to come see me every day. It took 7 huge iv bags to have to go to the bathroom. And after losing over 8 lbs, I soon blew up so much that I did not even recognize myself. I didn’t care about anything though, just wanted to get healthy and feel normal again. I soon had cankles, swore I gained 15 pounds (later to find out only three), and looked like I had collagen injectons all over my face.

Many have asked what causes the flare up and so just to address it, it is not “caused” by stress or nutrition. It is that I continually have inflammation due to ulcers in my colon and it needs to be attended too, once a major flare up occurs (which for me comes on quickly and strong) then anything (ie: stress and nutrition) become a huge component it getting it to settle. So I was on complete bed rest, iv bags and liquid diet (chicken broth and jello). They do not know what causes ulcerative colitis but is very similar to Crohns disease (on a smaller scale). I had heard of hospitalizations and individuals having sections of their colons removed but truly never thought I would be in this situation.

My tests all came back negative so I have started the Remicade treatments (yep, they run from t $7,000-$14,000, thank goodness for insurance). I responded very well to the first one, as I was actually moving and was able to eat solids starting the next day. I was pretty exhausted immediately following but with the help of amazing friends and family the time was spent much more pleasantly than having to go through this solo. I had the most beautiful flowers to look at (thank you Johnna, Ryan, Bryn and the Cunninghams!), magazines galore (Thank you Bri, Bridget, Jenn, Kirsten, Sarah, Karen, unbelievable that there were no "repeats!") (BTW the black blazer is the hot item now!), a fantastic new lululemon scarf/blanket/do anything cover, a real toothbrush and toothpaste, room spray (Miss Bridget is like a mom!) , the cards, the FB messages, the concerns, and an ipad that has EVERYTHING a girl could want to watch and the little trip for a cute lulu tank and deodrant was over the top (thank you Beth!), itunes gift card (H* thank you!) , and visitors that made the time fly by (You guys are the best!). And thank you everyone for taking care of Mark during this time too, he was more of a trooper than myself I believe (the sandwiches, the pretzels, the banana bread, a trip to Azteca- he likes food!, but the messages too....I can't thank you guys enough).
I have another treatment in two weeks, then in four, then in 8, etc, etc. It is a progressive medication that does have many side effects but if I lay low and rest then I hope to continue to respond like the first treatment.

As for training, that is no more for now and there is no time to telling as to when. But I promise to be the best spectathlete to all of you out there pursuing your fitness dreams! My time will come! I am pretty okay with it for right now. Just had a small bout of sadness when looking at the pro list for Lake Stevens this Sunday. That quickly changed though when I had to “walk” around the hallway (which I had not been out of my room in 3 days) and felt dizzy just doing that. Amazing to go from 100 mile bike rides, to walking 50 steps as success, baby steps I know! Leaving the hospital was pretty emotional, seeing the sun, going home, and having this new amazing husband that could not have been any more supportive made me appreciate life even more.

I know most of you reading are triathletes and taking time or days off is really hard to swallow. I wanted to just remind you that are bodies are pretty amazing things and they “let” us do what we want on a day to day basis. It is important to listen to it and know when to say when and also to appreciate it and on those days you are looking for motivation just remind yourself how “lucky” you are to just be out there doing what you love. So often athletes are so focused on the time goal, the PR, the winning, and truly it is so much more than that. But yes, I understand that winning is fun! Triathlon has kept me fit, given me the best job in the world, has let me travel the world, but what I think of most is how the sport has one by one added new amazing friends to my life. The support and the messages that rolled in during this past week reminded me of what a family this multisport lifestyle really has become. What I will miss the most during this time is that which I get to spend with my friends, the fun memories we create while doing these crazy workouts and the laughter. The races are the icing on the cake and as much as I love to race….it can wait for now!

Tonight we are hoping for a great nights rest of no more pottying in toilet hats, no more BP and HR reading on the hour, no more iv’s, no more moveable beds (to prevent bed sores), and to the lady next door whom was on “high alert for falling” whom bed sung “Mary had a Little Lamb” like the ice cream truck was driving by every time she would’t wait for a nurse….you will NOT be missed! (PS, this was more than an hourly occurrence, no joke, ask my visitors!!)
Cheers to your health and to being able to appreciating what our bodies can do for us!

20 comments:

Katya said...

Well said. We are so lucky. I know you'll be back at it soon, best wishes!

Kiet said...

One of your best lines during this whole thing: Being healthy is more important than being fit. In fact, I think being healthy trumps everything. I'm going to be writing an article for our parents based on this little gem. Thanks TN.

SSB said...

Thanks for this little reminder to not take our health for granted. I know i was starting to get frustrated that I'm only running 15 minutes every other day right now, but in retrospect, i'm healthy. I hope you are on the mend and I know you'll get back out there when you are ready.

Nat said...

Teresa,

I'm glad you're back home, but so sorry you had such a scary health ordeal! Thank you for sharing your with us about your experience. I totally agree that we are lucky to live the active tri lives we do, but even luckier for the friends we make doing it! Get well and take good care,

Natalie

Stasha said...

You are a true inspiration and your message only proves that you are a wonderful teacher on and off the course! Lots of love lil lady!
Stasha

Lisa said...

So glad that you are home! Hospitals are no fun. Big hugs to you!!!

Beth said...

Your attitude is so amazing and awesome Teresa - I know many would have a hard time taking it as well as you! I was thinking a lot of you yesterday while I was riding, and, like you said, being thankful that we can do this sport.

Thanks so much for this post - so very inspiring to me! Wishing you the very, very best and a healthy, happy recovery. Remicade do your magic!! Will be cheering for you!!

Elizabeth said...

T - thanks for sharing. You are so inspirational! Not just as an athlete, but as a person! You are a trooper and you are so positive!! Best wishes for quick healing!

Kim said...

T - SO SO glad to hear you are home and are healing day by day. as we have emailed, UC is a crazy crazy disease and im so lucky to have you to talk to about flare-ups, nutrition, meds, etc. hopefully one day there will be an ultimate cure and you and i will be perfectly healthy. until then, be well my friend. make sure you are vaselining - i know how ouchie the butt can be after flare ups!

Barb said...

Teresa, first off, I am so sorry that you had such a rough week. Your strenghth amazes me...I knew that you were physically strong. It takes a different kind of mental toughness in going through this type of unwanted, unexpected challenge. You will overcome, my coach and friend.

Christi said...

I am so sorry that you are having a flareup but I am glad that you have a great support system! I hope you heal soon and know that I am praying for you!

Johnna said...

I'm so happy that you are finally home and have some new treatment underway. When you are ready to train and race again you will be just that much STRONGER! Can't wait!

Mel said...

Oh, yay! Glad you're home and glad to hear the treatment is helping. Healing takes the time it takes but you've got the support & outlook to get there, T.

Rebecca Kelley said...

You lost 8 lbs?! :( Poor T. So glad you're home and can't wait to see you up and around -- hopefully on Sunday at the race! Take care and rest up. We love you!

Bill said...

Glad to hear you're home, you and Mark are very inspirational. Like you touched on racing is fun, but it's the family and friends you surround yourself with that really matter. Take care!

Natalie said...

Great Post T$. We love you and are glad to know your going to be fine. As others have said, it was a very well written post and hopefully we'll all take it to heart.
Love ya, Natty Pants

D said...

The "best" specathlete? I dunno, T. You're behind on training for that against me. I think I might have you beat, but I don't mind working with you to get up to the pro level ;)

<3 :)

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Feel better and thanks for sharing your wisdom.

GoBigGreen said...

Best of luck to you. I spent alot of time this winter with my hubby at Mayo and this summer he has been back to the riding and even his first tri. You will be back and you will be healthy and ready to go. you have alot of people pulling for you, Take care:)

Kim said...

Oh my! So sorry to hear about your illness. I don't know all the details but you are totally right, being healthy is a real blessing, no matter how you cut it, we HAVE to be thankful for that. Sorry that happened to you but thank you for your amazing attitude. Get well and rest up! There will be plenty more races to come!