Saturday, April 21, 2012

Matters of the Heart

 “The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s the real glory. That’s the essence of it.” ~Vince Lombardi

MP, moved by a quote from some football coach??? ;-)  It doesn’t matter what sport you dedicate your heart to. I think when it comes down to it, we’re all out for the same thing…to make something better of our lives. Or, better yet, to give us an incentive to step out of the ordinary.  In relation to how I’m feeling at this very moment, this quote certainly hits close to home for me. The most difficult notion to hold on to, but most essential, is HOPE. :-D

 Time flies, and a month has passed since my tumble. I came into this week with some good health news, which helped lessen the salt on the womb of my heart as I warmed the bench of the Boston Marathon on Monday. I was super busy at work as always, but the race I should have been running in couldn’t escape the back of my mind. I maintained a positive outlook, but it kept scratching around. Fortunately for me, the kindness of my amazing family, friends, and students (current and former) helped get me through the day with their cards, messages, and flowers of encouragement and consolation. It really touched my beta-blocked heart in ways I can’t adequately express in words. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You all will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. <3 However, crazy as it may seem, it turned out to be a good marathon to take the bench on. It ended up being one of the hottest Boston Marathons of all time as the temps pushed into the upper 80s! I can’t imagine what that must have been like. I suppose everything really does happen for a reason!
Flowers from my amazing kiddos <yes, I use beakers as vases haaaaa>

The good news that brought me into the week came from a phenomenal neurologist I saw last Friday.  She is a former tri-athlete, and simply put—she got me! There was no questioning my motives with running, in fact she was very encouraging about it. After a thorough visit that lasted over an hour, she came to the conclusion that what I have been experiencing are NOT seizures (WOOOO HOOOOO!).  Apparently my brain does not suck as much as the first neurologist suggested! She explained to me exactly what a seizure is, and although my symptom are “seizure-like,” they are missing some of the key characteristics.  Instead, she believes I’ve been having what are called confusional migraines. Confusional migraines are characterized by an initial impairment of vision, or the presences of what they call an “aura.” This precedes a feeling of lethargy, disorientation, and a sense of fading in or out. In the worst case scenarios, an individual may lose consciousness. Following the loss of consciousness, an individual can experience prolonged confusion, with trouble speaking or remembering. Nausea, exhaustion, headache, difficulty concentrating, and feeling just run down can last for days post a confusional migraine. THIS makes sense to me, and completely matches up with what I experienced! After dealing with uncertainty for over a year now, this is the first time I’ve felt confident with a diagnosis. I was so appreciative of her thorough examination and detailed explanation, and also respect of my sport, that I started to cry!  It’s just a major relief. She prescribed medication to help reverse my migraines when the “aura” appears. The funny thing is, I’ve experienced this “aura” with migraines since my childhood and never knew that’s what the official terminology was, LOL. However, whether or not I take the meds, if I’m seeing an aura, that means NO RUNNING for the day. That is the one wall my marathon body can’t push through---it is what it is and I accept that. She also recommended that I increase my salt intake. She said I should be adding salt to just about everything.  At this point, I can't count how many doctors have told me I need more salt, haaaa!? Lastly, she encouraged my running and respects my dedication and love for the sport. But, strongly recommended keeping balance in my life. She told me she was very similar to me when she was my age as she was preparing for her tri-athalons, but learned balance through maturity. I’m working on it!

I recognize that there is a possibility that perhaps there could be another explanation, and maybe this isn’t an issue of confusional migraines. Only time will tell. But for now, I feel a sense of certainty and relief, which is something I haven't felt in quite a while! It's helping me relax, reflect, and move on from this experience. However, I still have my cardiac issue. I do not believe that it is what necessarily caused my running black outs. I do understand that this matter of my heart is an issue, as indicated by the Tilt Table Test. So I’m still continuing to take the beta blocker, and am following up with my cardiologist in a few weeks. ***SIGH***
In the meantime, I’m keeping in great shape! I’m working out 6 days a week, and running at least 5 of those days. I ran 10 miles last week at a 7:50ish pace, and have started a little bit of speed work again to stay fit. I do cross-training 4 days a week, some lifting, and am working on getting toned! J I’m keeping my overall mileage low, and enjoying my break. However, I did decide to run the Cleveland Half Marathon in May…J My sister, bestie Jeness, and a few other friends are running it. My heart is in Cleveland, I would feel left out not partaking in it, and I already paid for the Full. I was able to switch down to the half for $20, so I figured I should just do it!  My goal will be---HAVE FUN and ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE!J J J

Oh, just one more problem—when it comes to “real” matters of the heart, beta blockers have their ironic limitations. Attractive, nice males have a way of working around it. Scientific explanations are welcome, because I don’t have one. ;-)


  1. So glad you had such a positive experience with the new neurologist and so glad you're training a little bit as well!

  2. Thanks, Salty!!! Just got back from 11 miles in the pouring rain. I kept telling myself this has to be better than the treadmill, right??? ;-) I managed a cozy 7:20ish pace the entire time--it felt great! I'm really starting all around feel back to myself! Not sure how I'm going to hold back in a few weeks, hehe :-D I've been confused about how to get to your new blog, and I finally just figure it out! CONGRATS on your upcoming new baby!! That's awesome that you are still running--I will be the same way someday! Hope you start feeling better!!! :-D