Friday, September 15, 2017


Well I saw the Rheumatologist. She was incredible, and understood my pain, how it was affecting me as an athlete and my emotional state, and sincerely wanted to help. That's not something I've seen too often. The first appointment was Wednesday and I went in considerable pain. Joint pain in my hands, fingers, wrists, elbows & shoulders. Lower back pain, the act of standing or sitting really hurt. Of course there was the ever present foot pain as well.

After a very thorough exam she had it narrowed down to "up to four kinds of arthritis" and needed some more information to narrow it down. So I had some blood drawn and had to go for some xrays on Friday. She sent me away with some samples of a prescription strength aleve & a stomach protector that should help the arm pain.

For starters, it worked! The arm pain kind of eased up, at least most of it did. Still had some pretty good stiffness in my hands though, but overall the pain was about 70% better. The foot pain eased up a bit too. So I tried to run on Sunday, and ended up getting in 4 miles. The first mile was actually comfortable. The rest weren't bad, at least not as bad as it's been the last few times I ran. So with a single 4 mile run this is now my highest running month since March. Mentally and emotionally it felt so good to get some miles in, albeit slow miles, and feel pretty good at the end without limping for the rest of the week.

Monday I went and got in an entire swim practice. And it was a doozy, a 4000 yard IM practice. The joint pain has been so bad I haven't made it through an entire practice in weeks, that's what finally broke the straw to convince me to make this appointment.

Tuesday I went back for the follow up appointment. The blood tests did not have any markers to indicate Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the xrays did not show any Ankylosing Spondynitis, one of the other scary possibilities. There was something funky in the lower lumbar area, so I do still need to get one more xray there. But my hips were totally clear.

I do have osteoarthritis in my hands - hence the remaining stiffness. Blood tests also showed a pretty bad vitamin D deficiency. So now I have to take prescription strength aleve & zantac twice a day, and a pharmaceutical grade vitamin D and chondroiten once a day. Also, temporarily, adding a foot wrap so I can start running regularly again.

Yep, I think it's finally time when I can try getting some beginner miles on the roads again. And it couldn't come at a better time (autumn). So it takes 6 pills a day and an ace wrap, but I can finally get back on the road and finish a swim practice.

**disclaimer - I know these memes have nothing to do with the theme of this post, but I find them hilarious and think posts without pictures can be boring.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

End of Summer

August didn't suck! I mean, it did, it was still August, but it didn't feel as bad as the last few years. I think the hottest it got was around 105-108*, not the endless days of 116* like last summer.

Swim: 37,677, 11 swims, 1 race
Bike: 35.2 miles, 3 rides
Run: 3 miles, 2 runs
Strength: 1
Yoga: 0

The only race was the ePostal 5k swim in the long course pool. I got in some nice time in the water, no real complaints there. Of course it could be more, 20 practices would be great. But my joints won't hold up for that. Getting some time on the bike was especially nice. I even got to brick a few of those, finishing bike time with a 2 mile treadmill run once, and a single mile on the 'mill another time. Way more activity than the last few months, but still pitiful numbers. and painful.

This joint pain is absurd. It started in my thumbs, then both hands, then wrists, now it's my elbows. Most of August had the left elbow flaring up first, but then in the last week the right elbow really stepped up to champion the cause even sending pain shooting up to the right shoulder after swimming. It gets bad after doing landscaping or construction work, and there was plenty going on there. I've had enough. Chances are, this is the same pain problem that is in my foot and keeping my running shoes dusty. So tomorrow I'm going to see a rheumatologist. The chiropractor, acupuncture (ok that was fantastic but didn't last), orthopedist, and physical therapy did nothing to help. This needs to get fixed. The Arthritis & Rheumatology center treats the group of about 100 chronic conditions known as arthritis, so hopefully they can figure out which one of those I have and give me a treatment. I want hope.

Instead, I've got landscaping! And family fun. And another boat. On to the photos:

added a poorly formed set of stairs

This isn't even stairs. It's a box that's supposed to be a single stair, but isn't. clearly.

Quicksilver! New boat under construction

Quicksilver under fiberglass

Durham Bulls game with the whole family!

This path is starting to shape up. Those hostas need to get moved.

same path from the other direction

Quicksilver comes together and gets some paint

Boatbuilder added a seat in the back half
Quicksilver is a one sheet boat - means that it only took 1 sheet of plywood to build her. It actually took a bit more than that, but the concept of a one sheet is pretty popular. Lots more about her on my woodworking blog.

Landscaping around the deck is progressing slowly but surely. I screwed up the height of those stairs on both sides of the deck, so they have to be redone. The gravel path leading up to the brick & stairs there is about done now. So you get to see the progression.

Path is taking shape, before adding gravel (in the wheelbarrow)

Kelley redid the bed on that side of the tree, adding mulch & plants plus a massive cleanout

Gravel path is down, but loose

watching the eclipse with coworkers

My view of the eclipse through the glasses

Quicksilver finished and ready to water test

It fits inside of the truck bed!

It floats! Leaked pretty bad, but it floats

It even held me out of the water, but barely

sitting a bit low. I'm 20 lbs over the rated capacity for this boat.

Evil Genius decided to grow a beard

then we had to shave it off together

Got to watch the big fight in an incredible outdoor party on a projector

added a little buddha in the new bed

starting to add plants around the path

Got this side of the deck hardscaped and planted. Still need grass seed.

Enticing way to get to the deck. We did add lariope to the right of the path and replace that mulch. It looks finished.

added some hardy banana plants on the road side of the fence
Overall we got a lot done in August! There was some decent athlete work, some pretty good yard work, and some fun family time. The eclipse was cooler than I really expected, we did get to see it very well from Raleigh. The McGregor/Mayweather fight was amazing, we had a blast at the party watching on a 10' outdoor screen while drinking heavily. The baseball game was a blast too, my company gave out some tickets. I built another boat, and I actually applied a topical glue to that gravel to form a solid path. Should have used more of that glue, the path actually broke up a bit so now I have to find another product.

September brings the glory. Football is back, it feels like fall again, hockey will be here soon. As long as it all isn't ruined by a hurricane! Stay away Irma! I'm watching this one.