Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I didn't inhale....

About 23 years ago, when I was in 2nd grade, I had to stay in the hospital for nearly a week after developing a severe case of pneumonia. What I didn't know at the time was that I was much sicker than I thought and quite possibly could have died. My potassium levels nearly bottomed out and I was stuck with an IV and went through nightmarish breathing treatments where I had to inhale some horrible smoky-tasting treatment followed by a nurse practically beating the shit out of my tiny 7-year old back in order to loosen up the phlegm in my lungs. My mom stayed with me the entire time and I shared a room with some older lady behind a curtain. I have no idea why she was actually there, but as I child I convinced myself that she was in the hospital for eating cigarettes.

I share this because I had to visit the Walgreen's clinic today and was diagnosed with sports-related asthma. I'm pretty sure my bout of childhood pneumonia left me with a somewhat reduced lung capacity. I knew something was wrong when I started riding my bike and running outside earlier this year. At the end (and sometimes during) my exercise, I started coughing and wheezing. I felt like I had the weight of a post-Jenny Craig Kirstie Alley sitting on my chest. So the Walgreen's doc prescribed an albuterol inhaler and I was on my way home to deal with the fact that I will now have to carry an inhaler with me when I run.

In reality its not that much of a setback. Initially I was a little concerned since not one hour earlier, I had signed up for the Resolution Run 5k with expected high temps in the low 30s (cold air aggravates asthma). Could I really do this knowing I would have to rely on an inhaler in order to do something as critical as breathing? As always, I turned to the internet for expert advice. A google search for sports-related asthma revealed that I share this diagnosis with Jackie Kersee Joiner. She was a pretty good runner I guess...... In other words, I think I'll live.

Friday, December 25, 2009

New Year, New Direction

In case you haven't noticed- I haven't posted in a looooong time. As much as I enjoy writing about my travels, I think I would utilize this blog more often if I strayed from my travel theme and just started writing about everyday life, memories, travel, etc. My resolution for 2010 is to write more often so I can look back at the end of the year and see how life has unfolded.

For years I kept a personal journal to sort through the severe anxiety and depression I battled as a teen and early adult. Every once in a while I'll flip to a random entry just to see where I was at that point and how far I've come since those dark days. Sometimes its very difficult to revisit my past like that, but as I age, I've come to realize that I'm the only person who can help myself. As a result, I've really put myself in situations I would normally avoid in order to grow. I hope this year will find me reaching out more to others, adhering to goals rather than dropping them out of fear of failure, and conquering my desire to please everyone (which we all know is impossible), and instead doing what I think is best for me.

Just a few weeks ago I decided to train with a group for the half-marathon in April. I expect to not only push myself physically, but emotionally as well. The hardest part for me was showing up at that first group run. Most people don't know it, but interacting socially with people I don't know can be crippling for me. I ended up forcing myself to join the group on its first run even though I felt my chest tighten and breathing shallow at the thought of meeting new people. My fears were realized: Noone talked to me during that first outing, and I couldn't even keep up with the runners. I felt like such a loser, but rather than walk away feeling hopeless, I returned for a second time. I can't give up this time- I've done that way too many times in the past. I have to see this through.

Stay tuned....