Tag Archives: Health

I was not dead. Just mostly dead.

Has it been seventeen days since my last post? In some ways it doesn’t seem that long ago and yet in other ways it seems like an eternity. Today I’m just dropping in to let you know I am still alive.

In those three weeks, I have been on the bicycle two times. Both of those times in the last three days. I can chalk up the hiatus to a nasty bout with bronchitis.

This is the first year in several where I have been hit this hard. There was a time back in the early 2000s when I got this gunk like clockwork every spring. It was actually the bicycle that I believe rescued me from that cycle.

The exercise on the bike brought me in my 40s the best health since college — maybe even high school. Sure I’ve had a cold here and there and even some bronchial issues, but nothing like this most recent attack. I was laid low for an entire week. The nagging and seemingly continual cough lingered through this weekend.

I do wonder if perhaps my January workouts affected me. I really went hard and my fatigue level was high. Yes, I was fit muscularly, but I was tired. It was right as I was considering a break that the mess hit me. Maybe some bug found me when I was weak and I’ve been paying for it for the last three weeks.

Anyway, I’m back! I was able to ride the trainer last night with only one attack of my cough. Seems I get it early in an effort and then once I begin to cool down. Once I am going I seem to breath the best.

I’m looking forward to spending some time on Zwift Island and then finding my way outdoors. Already I’m feeling an excitement about the coming time change. The days are growing longer and soon will be warmer. I can’t wait!

Attack of the crud

Last week was great. I was on vacation and while I didn’t ride my bicycle as much as I have on some past escapes to my birthplace in North Carolina, I got in some enjoyable moments. However, all that changed on my way back to Greenville.

It started right after lunch on Sunday. I noticed my throat felt a little sore. I didn’t think that much of it as I packed the car for the trip back. We rolled off and the primary sign that I was headed for trouble was that I couldn’t think straight and I was a little on the irritable side.

By the time we stopped for dinner in Columbia, I knew I was headed for trouble. My throat remained sore and now my upper chest was starting to tickle under my ribs. That is my sure sign that I’m having bronchial issues.

So here I am trying to keep from sinking into those stare-at-the-wall moments that come when you body is telling you it would rather be in bed. That can’t happen. I have too much to do right now.

I do plan to stay off the bike for now. One thing I’ve learned is that riding when my bronchial tubes are irritated is not good for me. They just end up getting more inflamed and I’ll end up with full blown bronchitis.

I take that back… I will be getting on the bicycle tomorrow. I will be visiting Jim Cunningham for a Retül fit. I’m looking forward to it and hope to report back here about the experience.

Hopefully, by the end of the week, I will start to get out on the road again. I’ve got to keep the miles up as I plan for the 2012 Ride for Mike. For now, I’m just fighting off the attack of the crud.

I’m so dizzy

It is back. Ever so often I get hit with a sinus problem that is deep in my head. It doesn’t really lead to a stuffy nose. It is more back around my ears. The pain is not so bad, but the dizziness is no fun.

They say that as long as your sickness hasn’t moved into your chest, you can get out on the bike. Of course, the people who say that can probably walk straight! If I’m going to get on the bike right now, it is going to have to be on a trainer. I don’t trust my balance right now.

One thing that seems to help is guaifenesin. Yes, it is primarily for the lower respiratory system, but it seems to loosen whatever is up there and gives me a bit of relief. Along with that over the counter drug, there is good old water. Staying hydrated is a big help.

Sometimes I think the whole thing gets started when I am not hydrating properly. However, to be honest, I’m not sure what brings it on.  It happens at weird times and doesn’t appear to be seasonal.

I just hope that it is out of my system by Thursday evening. I’d like to take part in the final POA race. You get dizzy enough going around that course without having an inner ear problem!

Anyone else out there have this happen to them? What do you do to treat it?

Bike therapy continues

I’m continuing to improve and starting to generate some more positive feelings about Saturday. Those positive vibes aren’t going to turn into a win, but I think I should be able to stay with the crowd and not get dropped on that lonely course known as Fork Shoals. After the last couple of weeks, that would be a victory!

Now that I figure I’m dealing with sinus issues, I’m not as afraid to push it a bit. Yesterday I went out for two hours and put in some sustained efforts over 300 watts. It included a climb of Altamont Road. I started up at a reasonable pace with no designs on pushing it. Based on the way I felt, I was surprised by the 13 minute climb.

On another topic — this was my first ride up the mountain with the new Felt. Really there didn’t seem to be that much of a difference climbing. I wasn’t pushing hard so the extra weight didn’t come into play. When a difference jumped out at me was when I started descending. Again, I don’t think it really is the brand of bike as much as I am now on a frame that fits me perfectly. I was able to take the turns off of the mountain with utmost confidence and comfort. The larger frame definitely improves my balance and distribution.

One thing is for sure, my sinuses let loose. Not sure how to say this politely, but there was more than sweat dripping off my nose! You can tell when its allergies. It isn’t mucous that comes out of your nose — it is “water.”

Once again, things felt great while I was riding. However, an hour or so later the pressure comes back with a vengeance! It isn’t the riding that is hard, it is recovering afterward. Makes me want to just keep riding.

Seeing how the riding helps clear things up temporarily, I decided to ride the fixed gear into work today. What a beautiful morning to do so! I arrived at the office feeling great. I’m looking forward to spinning back home here at lunch.

Sinus problems or not, it puts a smile on my face.

Take a dose of the trainer and call me in the morning

I am happy to say that I am feeling much better today. Not well, but better. It is about time seeing it has been a week since it first hit me. Funny, but the thing that gave me relief last night was the bicycle.

Jim told me to spend an hour on the trainer. The “workout” called for me to spin easy for 20 minutes and then ramp it up just a tad for the next 30 with a cool down at the end. He said that if I started feeling “lousy” to stop.

I felt lousy before I even got on the trainer, but something in my mind told me that I wouldn’t regret it. So, I climbed on board and started turning my legs. I’d see how far I could go.

If you put me on a bicycle while I was asleep, I would start spinning. It can turn into an out of body experience. My body just naturally starts turning and after all the training I’ve done, I naturally settle in with my preferred cadence of around 90 rpm.

So, it wasn’t long before I looked at the meter to see I was within the power range Jim told me to aim for. As I continued to spin, my head began to clear as well. By the time I reached the cool down, my head felt almost normal. My legs were a little shaky because my body was still feeling weak, but the head was nice.

Jim said we would take it a day at a time. I was supposed to report back to him after I finished and he would give me my marching orders for Tuesday. At first, I was raring to go, but the longer I spend off  the trainer the more I felt the closure coming back to my head.

The good news is that riding my bike isn’t hurting me. The dizziness has almost disappeared. It seems to have settled into a plain old allergy issue.

I’m still kind of weak, but I think that will only improve in the days ahead. I’m aiming to race on Saturday. Who knows, I might not be able to finish it — Fork Shoals is a tough course, but I’m ready to give it a try.

Calling it off

I’ve been waiting to see if I would improve before making the call about racing tomorrow. It has been harder and harder to face the fact as I’ve watched the temperatures rise. People, it is going to be an awesome weekend for the Greenville Spring Training Series! Unfortunately, I won’t be part of it.

It isn’t the flu. It isn’t a bad cold. As a matter of fact, I don’t have a fever. What I have is something deep in my head that makes me feel like I’m in a mental fog, gives me headaches, and causes me to be dizzy. It is also sapping energy out of my body.

It isn’t the fact that I am not feeling strong that is keeping me away. More it is that dizziness. Sometimes getting up and taking the first step sends me veering off to the right. My balance is affected and I don’t want to be out there being a danger for others.

My guess is it is some sort of allergy that is swelling my sinuses inside my head putting pressure on my inner ear. I just need to attack it with some anti-allergy medicine and stay hydrated. This isn’t the first time I’ve been through this and that seems to have worked in the past. One morning soon, I’ll just wake up and things will be clear.

Until then… I hate it.

Please don’t send me to the doctor

There is a little strangeness going on since I returned from the 2010 Ride for Mike. At the end of the day my calves and ankles are swollen. I first noticed it Tuesday evening. Now I’m starting to get paranoid and the Beautiful Redhead is getting ready to send me to the doctor.

It is true that last week was a shock to my system. You might recall that I even weighed in a under 150 pounds the Wednesday I came through Greenville. However, that seemed to be the turning point and by the time I reached home at the end of the week, I was back at my normal weight of 165.

This morning I weighed in and found the scale reading 176 pounds. I reset it and tried again… 176. Hmmmm, that isn’t that much over my normal weight. Also, I haven’t ridden my bike since I returned. Without exercise, it isn’t that hard for me to pick up 10 pounds. I guess the only weird thing is that would be 10 pounds in a couple of day.

When the wife saw me this morning, she was checking out my hands, wrists, and face. “You are swollen,” she said with that nurse look on her face. “Look, my legs are fine this morning and I don’t think my face is really swollen,” I replied. Then she gave me the “I am the mom” look and said, “If you don’t look better by lunch, you are going to the doctor.”

Turns out she had been researching stuff on the Internet while I was sleeping in a bit. She has me near death with blood clots and who knows what all else. I think I just need a little more time for my body to equalize after going from one extreme to the other. Probably a good spin on the bike would help that along.

I walked into the office this morning and looked at my assistant. “Okay, this is not a joke,” I asked first thing. “Does my face look swollen?” She replied, “Your left side does.”

Well, here’s hoping it goes down by lunch.

To do the pot or not

I’m fighting a bit of a cold. Other than the sinus congestion and a little continued soreness in my hip, I’m doing quite well physically. As a matter of fact, I was starting to feel the old strength returning just before I awakened in the middle of the night a couple evenings ago to find my nose plugged.

At first I just chalked it up to a reaction to something – I do tend to fight mold allergies in the winter. However, after a day I realized this was just one of those colds that you get. Now the question is just how to deal with it.

Lots of fluids – check. Rest – well, I’ve had a few late nights recently, but pretty much get the sleep I need. Zicam – check (perhaps it is just a placebo effect, but the stuff really does seem to help me). Is there any thing else I could try that I haven’t given a go?

Oh yes, the Neti Pot.

I’ve seen them before. Initially I thought it was for making tea – or perhaps it was used for bringing out a genie. However, I learned that this was for pouring salt water in one side of your nose and out the other!

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I’ve toyed with the idea of using this “nasal irrigation device.” My sister has used one and gives it a thumbs up. Of course, she also uses those candle thingies that you stick in your ear and catch on fire. It is supposed to pull excess wax out of your ear canal.

Bottom line is that medical science seems to back up the claims of Neti Pot users. However, it could be that the same thing can be accomplished with a bottle of nasal saline that you squirt up your nose regularly. The reason both work is irrigation.

Your nose has little hairs (not just the ones that some of us have to keep trimming back) called cilia. These are the traffic police for the snot in your nose. They direct it towards the back (where it is swallowed) or to the front (where you blow it out). Word from the researchers is that when you are facing a sinus infection or cold the little traffic police get confused. They start pushing stuff in an uncoordinated fashion causing your mucus to hang around and do bad things.

A properly irrigated nose helps keep your little cilia happy. They are better able to do their job when their not drowning and confused. Before you know it, they can direct that bad stuff right out of there and you’ll be feeling much better.

Here is the problem, I hate having foreign stuff in my nose. I think it goes back to that time in high school when I was eating a hamburger with friends. Just as I was getting to swallow a well-prepared-to-be-digested mouthful, a friend made me laugh. Instead of going down my throat the little burger particles went up my nose. I was blowing burger out of my nose for hours afterward.

I think I’ll start with a bottle of saline nasal spray. If my cilia don’t have burger flashbacks, then hopefully they will straighten themselves out and my symptoms will improve. If by Saturday I’m not feeling better, then I may take up the pot.

A small glimpse into a fearful world

Had a scare over the weekend.  Turns out it was probably nothing, but it did give me some insight into how some people must feel when they learn some fearful news.  Here is hoping that I’ll never have to really face it.

It started when I woke up Saturday morning.  My right breast was swollen and painful to the right of my nipple.  I felt that was pretty odd, but didn’t think about it too much.  I figured I had just irritated it somehow.

I went riding and came back to find that things had not improved.  It was actually hurting worse.  I started to feel around to find out what might be going on.

Of course, the idea of breast cancer came to my mind.  Then the idea of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma started to play with my head.  I went online to get some information and after a time of searching, I felt less likely that I was facing either of those.

There is no lump and this morning the swelling has disappeared.  The soreness is also almost gone.  Something else happened on Sunday that gave me another idea of what might be happening.

I got a sore throat.  I’m guessing that I have some sort of infection.  I’m combating it by resting and drinking plenty of water.  If things don’t improve, I’ll go see if I can get an antibiotic.

In no way do I want to minimize the shock that comes when someone realizes they have cancer.  However, the thoughts that were going through my mind must have been similar to someone finding that evidence that there is something not right.  This situation gave me a small view into that world.

Today I am just dealing with a sore throat.  I was very happy to wake up this morning without the pain of the last couple days.  However, you can bet I’ll be keeping a close eye on this thing!

4 days left to help me raise $5000.
$1135 raised so far to fight cancer.
Give to my fight today!