Stress, Signs of Stroke and staying sane while training

This last month has been quite eventful. If your life is anything like mine, events can be a bit overwhelming. Balancing everyday life, family, work and training is always a challenge so adding any type of unplanned occurrence on top of what already beats you up can quickly beat you down. I can’t say I learned a new lesson from it but I can say a lesson sure was reinforced this month and culminated to a point to where I had to force myself to step out of the Capital of Texas Triathlon.

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On Saturday the 14th, our family lost it’s patriarch. The death of this great man was not a great surprise. Our great Lord took about a month for his loved ones to get used to the idea of living life without him. However, no matter how much in advance notice you are given, when the death of a loved one happens, it still hurts and the lives of those who remain are forever changed. Being so relatively close to the deaths I had already experienced made me go toe to toe with some dark moments I probably wasn’t ready to deal with yet.

I guess I had wanted to convince myself that I had healed and that I could overcome the pain and grief that death brings that I found myself holding in emotion and trying desperately to show nothing but strength and determination. Truth be told, I’m still pretty squishy and soft inside. Clearly the stress got to me.

Early last week, I noticed my right ankle was swollen. It concerned me but thought little of it since I had been traveling so much lately. Because of time constraints, we had gone through a Jack in the Box drive thru and I ordered a teriyaki rice bowl on the 13th (a  day before my father-in-law’s passing) and that night had two beers at The Cure concert we attended. I chalked the swelling up to a combination of the hours sitting, the MSG in the to-go order and the beer.

On May 17th, the swelling had not stopped. In fact, it got worse. So when my left side became numb and my hands got tingly and the headache throbbed and my vision blurry… I knew I couldn’t ignore the symptoms any longer and I was in danger.

KNOW THE SIGNS OF STROKE (click here for the symptoms)

I calmly told one trusted co-worker what was happening to me. I told her what I was going to do and to check in on me at a specific time. I instructed her to tell my husband what had been happening if she did not hear from me because I did not want him to have additional worries until I knew exactly what was going on with me. I went immediately to my cardiologist.


I can’t thank my medical team enough. Many of them are athletes themselves and understand all too well the emotions, concerns and questions I have as it pertains to my health and well being. Coupled with their medical knowledge, I go to them just as often or more than I go to my triathlon coaches and gurus.

Not one of us are immune to the dangers of heart disease or stroke. And just because we can finish marathons or triathlons or gazilliathons does not make us less of a candidate for heart attack or stroke. 

Doc told me that he was very impressed with the way I had changed my life to make better food choices and incorporate fitness into my daily life style. However, there comes a point where sometimes genetics becomes a bigger player in many of our lives and medication is needed to better control your health. Next week, we will have a clearer picture on the blood clots that plague me but until then, it is best that I sit this next triathlon out and cheer on my courageous triathlete amigos from my home.

10257690_10154247617120068_4653284247583456940_oCapTexTri is one of my absolute favorite triathlons to do. It is one of the best courses, incredibly well organized, publicly cheered, fun-filled events in Texas. Whether you are a first time triathlete or a seasoned champion, this one is always a favorite event for both and everyone in between to participate in. Best of luck to all this weekend!!!

And again, let my lesson sink in. None of us are immune. Get checked up regularly and listen to your body. Last week at Ironman Chattanooga, a very experienced triathlete fell to cardiac arrest during the swim portion of that triathlon. As I look back at my own experience in Galveston, I now see the signs during my own swim and how it could have ended so much more tragically than a simply DNF. Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe this and will do my best to remember not to fight the signs from God too much from now on.

 

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