As the weather turns over to autumn here in Colorado, I've been stuck in pretty much the same holding pattern with my health. The good news is that I'm feeling gradually better and better, but I still have had no luck in pinning down any kind of definitive answer as to what has been ailing me. It has now been almost 3 months since the first symptoms began to appear and in that time I have had more odd sensations, pains, and fears than the rest of my life combined. The past 6 weeks has pretty much felt like a never ending bad dream. The reality though is that it hasn't really been that bad, and as I've begun to feel a little better, I've been able to start living a somewhat normal life again. I even have some good days now in which I feel almost completely healthy. The problem is that after one or two of these days I seem to almost always relapse back into a bad patch. This past weekend was without question the most I've done active since early August. I even went for a 15 minute run on Friday! First run in nearly 6 weeks. We then had a birthday party for the little one on Saturday and went camping Saturday night and Sunday night. I would've been excited about having the energy to do this much under any circumstance as of late, but considering that I also had a Lumbar Puncture on Friday afternoon I was pretty stoked to be able to do much of anything at all. This coming weekend I'm hoping to take a trip out to Utah if I'm feeling up to it.
I've noticed in the past week or two that my mindset has shifted in all of this. For awhile I was more scared than anything. So much so that I was probably being too patient with seeking advice, care, and testing. Now though I have moved much more to a place of just wanting to heal in all ways possible. I don't feel scared anymore of what I might find out, or that I might not ever find anything out. I've also been fortunate enough to be accepted into a financial assistance program through the local hospital so I can afford to be much more aggressive in terms of testing and/or procedures. I've already had an MRI, the lumbar puncture, and a few thousand dollars worth of blood work (all out of pocket), but at least going forward I know that if I have any more major expenses I won't be footing 100% of the bill. This combined with having a few really good doctors trying their best to help me figure this out, has me now not feeling so helpless, the way that I did 6 weeks ago. I've also come to a better understanding of how important it is to integrate numerous approaches to medicine/healing when dealing with something like this. I truly believe 100% that I have some kind of specific biological condition which is causing my health to be compromised, but it's been cool to realize that western medicine might not be the only way to approach this kind of situation.
At any rate, this is a running blog. Where am I at in terms of my running? Well, of course, I want to run. I miss it dearly at this point, but just being able to get outside quite a bit in the past few weeks has been so helpful in all of this. I've been going out fishing a little bit lately, something I haven't done in a few years, but which has been a large part of my life in the past. I've also been really enjoying the simple act of riding my bike a few blocks to the market or to school to pick up/drop off the little one. One thing I do dearly miss here in Boulder (as compared to being in Juneau), is being always positioned right up against nature. On some of my bad days I hardly have enough energy to go out for a 10 minute walk. If I do that here I am only walking through the city. In Juneau, no matter where one lives you can go out for a 10 minute walk and 8 or 9 of those 10 minutes can be in the natural world. In this sense I have been cherishing our weekend trips to the mountains. I've always loved the feeling of waking up in a tent out in the natural world, but never has this had as much of an impact on my life as it has in the past two months. This past Sunday I spent the entire day outside in nature, and it was without question the best day I've had in several weeks.
It's been fun to observe things going on in the "running world": Run Rabbit Run, Wasatch, UROC, Cavalls, Bear, etc. It seems like there's been so much going on. I've been content to keep most of my focus in my little world here at home and trying to keep moving forward toward better health, but I'd by lying if I said it wasn't really hard to not even be able to do something as simple as go out for a short run. I miss the racing, and the culture of the races for sure. Each time I follow one of these races online I find myself imagining what it might be like to be there. Who I might have the opportunity to meet, and what landscapes I might have the opportunity to run through. Much more often than this though, I find myself missing the remote landscapes that I haven't been able to take myself out to on a daily basis at home. There are dozens of places in Juneau, and a few here in Colorado, that I can't even think about without crying. There are a lot of things that I value very highly in this world, but somewhere right near the very top of that list are all the amazing places I've traveled over the years under my own power. Whether it's been on bike, canoe, raft, or foot I can't possible find the words to describe how lucky I feel to have passed through all the places that I have. The views and the splendor in these places has been beyond anything imaginable, but even much larger has been the impact that these experiences have had internally. The list of ways in which I am in part defined by these experiences could fill numerous pages on this blog. Through some of the most difficult times in the past several weeks, I have felt like my strength has been lower than ever in my life, but never once have I not felt an intense desire to endure, to heal, and to get back into my strength. Without question this optimism and forward thinking has been hugely fueled by my running- past; present; and future, and by my vast experiences in nature over the years.
Today is a near perfect autumn day here in Boulder. I'm not feeling very good today, but I have the energy and the excitement to walk to Elle's school to pick her up from school. Never would I have imagined that I could experience so much and look so forward to walking 4 blocks, but right now I'm really excited for this walk. It's not quite the same thing as running for several hours in the mountains, but when your perspective shifts the way that mine has right now, it's not actually that much different. And I need to find the magic and value in these short walks before I can even begin to imagine running for several hours in the mountains again, something which I have every intention of doing thousands of times again in my life.