Saturday, November 10, 2012

Health Update

October has now come and gone, and still no running for me. My health seems like it has continued to improve, but so slowly that at times I can't actually tell if I'm getting better, or if I'm just getting better at functioning at less than 100%. The good days aren't so bad, but the bad days are still fairly regular, and are sometimes fairly difficult to deal with. I've done my best through all of this to remain as upbeat, forward thinking, and positive as possible, but at times this has been quite hard too.

I've seen a total of 5 western medicine doctors (sports medicine, nuerologists, internists), as well as an acupuncurist, a massage therapist, and a somatic experiencing practitioner. I've done extensive blood, urine, saliva, and stool testing, as well as MRI, X-rays, and a lumbar puncture. These tests have almost certainly ruled out many of the more sinister and/or specific diseases/conditions which fit with some of the symptoms I've had (MS, Lupus, Vasculitus, Neurosarcoidosis, Hypothyroidism, Lyme disease, Celiac's, etc). If I have a fairly well understood condition then I almost certainly have an unusual form of it that isn't showing up the way it "normally" would in tests.

What this leaves me with then is the possibility that I have some kind of excessive physical stress induced fatigue syndrome (i.e. over training). Although I'm very aware that this is a very real thing, and a very real possibility in my case, I'm not certain I'm to the point just yet of accepting this as a diagnosis. I'm currently waiting on a large wave of more tests that the most recent doctor I saw told me would, if not diagnose, at the very least, paint the picture as to what I need to do to get healthy in as short of a timeframe as possible. I'm also planning to have another brain and a spine MRI in a couple weeks.

Once all of these tests are back there really isn't much else I can do if everything still looks more or less "normal." At that point I would simply need to move forward with getting healthy, aware that I may never know what has been the definitive cause of all of this. Although I would much prefer to know exactly what has been the cause of all of this, I'm also feeling myself getting closer to the point of not really caring anymore. Not to say that I don't care about my health, and that I'm not doing everything I can to try to get better, but that I am beginning to feel myself ambivalent as to what disease/condition I'm dealing with. Certainly if I do have some specific disease/condition I need to find out what it is to best treat it, but as more and more testing makes it less and less likely that I have a specific disease/condition (at least one that medicine currently recognizes), then it becomes less and less necessary to be able to put a name to all of this. It then just comes down to getting healthy, and that is something I very much look forward to working toward.

At any rate, I may be getting a bit ahead of myself in thinking much about this before I get the results of these next series of tests. I have found through this whole thing though that it helps very much to have a bit of a mental plan in mind for what to do if a bunch of new tests come back "normal", as this is now something I've had to deal with at least a half dozen times. In this current case I think I may finally be to the point that I'm ready to move beyond the testing and the searching for a diagnosis, and ready to simply move toward being as healthy as possible. This actually feels like a very liberating and refreshing shift. Of course, if this plays out like so many things in life, it'll be now, that I'm willing to stop searching for answers, that I'll find what I've been looking for the whole time. That would be OK with me too. I guess time will tell.

34 comments:

Ian said...

Hope you recover soon Geoff, you are an inspiration to me and many others. Very best wishes to you and your family.

Heath said...

Good luck Geoff! We're wishing you the best, and look forward to seeing you back out on the trails mixing it up!

Adrian Miles said...

Just throwing some more info out your way: http://robbwolf.com/2012/04/09/real-deal-adrenal-fatigue/

I've only ever heard about this, and never experienced it myself. I'm sure you have enough information, but what the hell - I'll throw you something else to consider.

get well mate

The Bud said...

Wish you nothing but the best Geoff. Wish there was something I could do or a doctor I could find for you. Anyway get well soon!!!

Meghan said...

Keep the faith, Geoff. I'm taking my daughter to the Mayo Clinic on the 19th. I'll be happy to share with you how that goes as she has had many of the symptoms you have.

Korey Konga said...
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Korey Konga said...

I've been following your career since that epic WS win of yours, which happened to be the same year I got into trail running.
Your strength has always inspired me and continues to do so. I'm sure all the answers will come to you soon and I wish you all the best.
keep on keepin on!

Fernanda said...

Geoff! Think positive with faith! You will be good very soon! My best wish for you!Hugs from Spain, Fernanda Maciel.

Fernanda said...

Geoff! Think positive with faith! You will be good very soon! My best wish for you!Hugs from Spain, Fernanda Maciel.

Xampa said...

I wish you the best. Big huges from Brazil. Take care.

Stefan Fuglsang Toft said...

I hope you get better soon! Take care from Denmark.

mtntrailrunner said...

Without knowing any specifics it sounds like you have some sort of auto-immune disease. My wife had been dealing with an "unknown" auto-immune disease for the past five years. She too has had many of the tests done that you've had. Earlier this year she mentioned getting tested for food allergies to her doctor. As it turns out she is moderately allergic to milk w/ an increasing sensitivity to it. Her main symptoms were fatigue then joint pain then chronic urticaria among others. She's not 100% yet but by removing dairy from her diet she removed the joint pain and the fatigue.

Just a thought. Hope you get things worked out.

Stay Vertical said...

Best wishes Geoff. Clarity will come.

Dennis Southworth said...

Geoff, I started running the day after I watched your amazing finish at Western States. before that I hated running, but something about what you did that day inspired me and I can never thank you enough..since then I've run dozens of races including my first of many ultra's (a 50K a few months back). Whatever this illness is I'm pulling for you as are countless others...you can beat this, I know you can. Be well and stay positive!

djconnel said...

I went through something very similar in grad school: chronic fatigue, no explanation. I took fatty acid supplements (which are supposedly good for endocrine system) and DHEA (which may boost the adrenal system, but is considered illegal doping, so I'd not recommend that), but the real treatment was most likely just time. I'm fully confident you'll be back 100% by next spring: I think sometimes the body just gets pushed beyond it's limits and needs time to reboot.

Benjamin Nicholas said...

Hope you feel better soon Geoff!

Fames Jahl said...

Geoff keep staying positive, hope your condition is diagnosed or takes care of itself with rest and time.

Fames Jahl said...

Geoff keep staying positive, hope your condition is diagnosed or takes care of itself with rest and time.

Eli M said...

HI,
Have you ever thought of going vegetarian? I know it may sound like a small thing to do but Since I did it I have had 0 stomack issues -A couple months ago I threw up like 3 times 3 miles into a 10k- and inproved my 50k time -same course- by a hour and twenty minutes.
:) Eli M.

Steven Nairn said...

re tune! check out the link Adrian Miles put up about Robb wolf.

DUANE VANDERGRIEND said...

Thanks for sharing those details. I hope and pray you recover well.

DUANE VANDERGRIEND said...
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rnrmom3 said...

You are truly a gifted, self disciplined, inspiring Ultra Runner who has accomplished and achieved excellence in the UR community! To me, it's inspiring to see how you continue to persevere through this time in the desert of uncertainty...[yeah, it sucks not to have a Dx or a 'name' re: your condition:( ] -no matter what comes...even if it means a "new normal" you remember deep w/i your spirit, your worth is FAR more than all your UR accomplishments & Joy with thanksgiving in the journey will continue. faith*hope*&love...the greatest of these is Love.

Art said...
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Art said...

When you come back, my Grand Canyon off-the-grid run offer stands. In any event, the journey [back] is the reward (Chinese proverb). Best, Art

ashwalsh said...

Sounds like adrenal fatigue/ clinical OTS. I had to take this entire year off bc of it. You sound exactly like me right now. It sucks so freakin bad. My recovery so far this year has been so so slow. I was told to expect that tho, I did about a years worth of damage - could take over a year to get myself back. Tons of NOTHING but rest. We chatted at SBER100 lst yr, btw. Email me if you want: ultrachicksunite@gmail.com good luck- hope u get answers. -AshleyW

Laura said...

Wishing you a speedy and full recovery Geoff!

Kristin said...

I've been thinking about you and hoping to read better news. Please know that there are still people out there who care and are sending you love & positive energy! Here's to you finding out what is going on and healing!

Kristin said...

I've been thinking about you and hoping to read better news. Please know that there are still people out there who care and are sending you love & positive energy! Here's to you finding out what is going on and healing!

The Duck Herder said...

Geoff, I have gone through something similar when training fultime several years ago. After months of thinking I was dying, going through way too many tests and no joy, I decided to go to my naturopath and he diagnosed Candida. A month in to the very strict 6 month anti-candida diet and I was feeling 100% again. The diet is gruesome and its very tough to train on no sugar (not even fruit) or simple carbs, but I was so happy to feel good again.

Good luck and I hope you find a way to feel like your old self.

Ryan said...

Anxiety? Depression? They're often overlooked. They can disrupt normal biological processes and manifest in any number of ways.

scott ormond said...

Geoff, please contact me. scottormond5@msn.com

David Herrera said...

My best wishes for your recover!!
Stay positive

Court5km said...

As difficult as it might be, your body may just be begging you to repair and recover through reallly good nutrition, doing movement and exercise that is light and not overly strenuos, and really nurturing and caring for the other aspects of your health (spiritual, relationships, healing,emotional health) outside of the extremley physical components. you are talented runner. be patient. open yourself up to new experiences outside of running and really care for your body and spirit.