Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tendonitis Trials

A few weeks ago I wrote about my golf-induced tendonitis in my right elbow. 

I talked about ordering something called a Flexbar and using it to help me stretch and strengthen my elbow so that I would be healed and golf-ready by golf season in Canada. 

Things were going well. They really were. My elbow was feeling better by the day and certainly by the week. 

Then I started swimming and that seemed to aggravate it. Not a ton but I could feel it. It would be tender or sore for a few days after a swim, it would recover and then I would swim again. 

Then I started using the erg machine at my new fitness centre which wasn't making my elbow any happier. Add some upper body weight training on top of that and things were no longer improving the way they had been back in early March. 

Did I mention that I have started colouring? Which, as it turns out, requires my right hand. It didn't hurt during the colouring sessions but  it would be tender for hours afterwards. 

So on Tuesday night, when I headed out for my first ladies' league 9-hole golf game, I was a little worried about my elbow. 

I gripped the club in my hand - no pain in my elbow. 

I lifted the club - pain in my elbow.

I swung the club - pain in my elbow. 

So much for my ambitious goal of being completely healed by golf season. 

I've added some strengthening exercises and some stretching exercises to my routine. I no longer lift anything heavier than a toothbrush with my right hand and I'm icing and resting as much as I can. No swimming this week and no fitness centre either. 

Hopefully I can get it to calm down enough to resume the healing process. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Just Say Yes

I’m a big fan of saying yes. Not yes to every ridiculous request that anyone ever makes but yes to things that are important. Yes to things that are good for me. Yes to things that push me out of my comfort zone. Yes to things that scare me.

If I had not been a big proponent of saying yes, I would not be a runner today. Nor a cyclist. Nor a swimmer, a curler, or a golfer. I would not be a blog writer, nor a public speaker.

The idea of each of those things makes me uncomfortable. Those things were scary, some of them more than others, but they all turned out to be wonderful decisions and I am glad that I made them.

My life is richer because of those decisions and, given the chance, I would say yes again to every single one of them.

Yesterday I said yes to another one of those things that makes my heart pound in my ears and my stomach lurch.

I have done several presentations for Animas now and they asked me to send them a bio so that they could promote me for other presentations. That part was easy and I was happy to make one and email it off.

It was the question that followed that gave me pause.

“Would you be willing to present in French?” “The Quebec team will want to know.”

“Yes” I said. “As long as they are willing to work with me to make sure that I know the proper diabetes lingo in French” was my response. “And if I practice 1000 times with my French-speaking father” I thought.

I then proceeded to spend my 15-minute drive to my next appointment seeing if I could translate the English presentation I did last weekend into French in my head. I went through it sentence by sentence, other than a few words and expressions, and the diabetes lingo, I was able to do it. It wasn’t perfect but it was a pretty good start.

With practice and a bit of courage, I think I could totally do this.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blood Pressure Droppings

I mentioned yesterday that I had checked my blood pressure before and after my long run.

What I didn't mention was that Doug and I bought an at-home blood pressure monitor a few weeks ago. We thought it might be a good idea and I liked the ability to check my blood pressure at different times to see what it does.

I thought it might also give me a clue as to why my ears plug up on longer runs, particularly in warmer temperatures.

I noticed a few things pretty quickly once I started testing.

I noticed that my blood pressure seems to drop when I exercise. My readings were consistently lower after a workout than before.

I also noticed that my readings at home are always lower than they seem to be in the doctor or the dentist office. Not sure if its mild stress of being in a medical appointment or slight differences in monitors but it is nice to see that my blood pressure, at home at least, it always below 120/80.

Sunday's run though was a little freaky.

I was 112/80 right before I headed out for my run.

The run went well in terms of energy but it was a struggle for a few reasons. My heart rate stayed in the high 160s no matter how slowly I ran. My ears plugged up starting at about 10k and kept filling for the rest of the run. By the time I got home I felt heavy and sluggish even though my legs still felt pretty fresh.

Post-run blood pressure: 78/52 (I checked it twice more to be sure)

That seems to me to be a pretty significant drop.

An hour later, it was 90/59. An hour after that it was 93/58 and two hours after that it was 102/67.

I'm not sure what any of this means. When I look up 'blood pressure dropping with exercise' I read that it can be anything from heart disease to dehydration.

I think at this point I'll continue to do before and after exercise checks to see if this happens again and I'll keep track of the numbers. In May I'm back at the diabetes centre so I'll see if they have anything to say.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Weekend in all of its Colours

What an interesting weekend. What a lovely weekend. What a tough, tiring, peaceful and inspiring weekend.

We drove to Fergus and spent a lovely evening with friends, chatting about health, house renovations and our favourite iPhone apps.

I got up before the sun on Saturday and drove to Listowel where I had the honour of speaking to a roomful of ladies with type 1 diabetes. I met some wonderful people, made a few people cry, and discovered how many people share similar diabetes journeys.

I headed home after my talk via a slight detour that allowed me to enjoy a 2 1/2 hour coffee with a lovely lady that I met at a presentation I did a few months ago. She's relatively new to the world of type 1 and is adjusting to its ups and downs with grace and humour.

I ran 16k on Sunday morning. Due to several factors beyond my control, I didn't do any short runs last week and had not done any exercise for three days. So running 16k was tougher than it should have been. Toss in some warm temperatures, mild dehydration from the day before and 16k took me longer to run than 18k usually does. My heart rate was higher than I liked throughout the run and my blood pressure dropped pretty significantly from start to finish. Happily, my blood sugar held steadily and, with only one date and a clementine, my numbers were stable the entire time.

After my chores were done, I managed to sneak in a bit of colouring time and got to try out the new markers I got the weekend before. Wow! Markers leave less options when it comes to shading and depth but they sure do boost the colour saturation. It incredibly rewarding to watch the colours take over the page and bring the picture to life.

Colouring with pencil crayons for those days when I feel like taking my time and finessing the shades.

Markers - for the days when I don't want to think too much and I want to be rewarded with rich, gorgeous colours in exchange for very little work. 

And through it all, we watched the Masters. We watched hours of incredible golf and we got to know this year's winner, Jordan Spieth. He's an old soul - a 21-year old with wisdom and composure way way beyond his years. I'd love to be able to channel his focus and his ability to manage nerves under incredible pressure. Not that I have terrible nerves or incredible pressure but I am joining a ladies' league and the thought of playing in front of ladies I don't know does make me a little bit jittery.

Happy Monday. Here's to another great week!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Saturday in Listowel

Tomorrow morning, at the crack of dawn, I will be two plus hours from home in a small town called Listowel.

Coffee in one hand, my laptop in the other, I will be speaking to a roomful of ladies who have also been on journeys, big and small, that eventually brought them together for a workshop called Living with Type 1 Diabetes from a Women’s Perspective.

I will be one of three speakers at this event and I get to talk about my own journey. I get to talk about my discovery of running, my love of triathlon, my refusal to say no to things just because they are scary and the strength and support I get from being part of the diabetes online community.

I get to meet new people and exchange a few laughs and probably a few tears. Perhaps even a few emails.

Even more fun is that, on my drive home, I’m taking a wee detour to meet up with a friend for coffee. She is someone I met at my last presentation in November and with whom I’ve been exchanging emails ever since. She’s relatively new to the type 1 diabetes world and I’m going to hear all about her new insulin pump and how things are going in her life.

After that I’m going to drive home, exhausted but very grateful for all the wonderful things that diabetes has given me.

Because, let’s be honest, there is not one part of Saturday that would happen if my pancreas hadn’t decided to take an early retirement. And I’m guessing Saturday is going to be a pretty amazing day.

So thank you diabetes for that.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April Showers Bring Hope

It’s pouring outside as I write this. Dark and dreary and it looks hours later than it really is.

Rainy April days are the price we pay for sunny May ones.

Doesn’t matter one whit.

The rain, the darkness, the lack of sunshine.

Because I know what’s coming.

This past Tuesday, the remedial golf ladies and I signed up for another season of ladies’ remedial golf.

Yesterday I researched the best sunscreens to protect me against four hours of rays.

On Saturday, our driving range is officially opening for the season.

On Monday, our golf course is officially opening for the season. Monday is also the day we get to bring our clubs back to their summer storage spot and the day of the golf social where I will take a deep breath and sign up for the Thursday ladies’ league. Rumour has it those ladies play golf a notch or two above what my beloved Tuesday gals do. Tuesdays will be fun, Thursdays will be educational.

Next Tuesday we already have a tee time booked right after work.

Let the rains fall and the sun hide. It doesn’t bother me one bit.

Once golf season starts, spring is just around the corner.