Happy Birthday to Me

For the past 5 years, I’ve done a post called Birthday Facts. I’d do one fact for each year I had been alive. I didn’t feel right doing one this year. Not because I didn’t have 37 new facts that I could have shared with you. I had started the facts a dozen times but just couldn’t finish it. I don’t really have a reason why either, honestly. I just felt like it wouldn’t be fair to do it when I wasn’t being consistent in anything else.

But what I have been consistent in is getting my health figured out. Between my blood pressure issue, my migraines, and my weight, it’s been a tough but productive few years and I can safely say that I am doing better now than I have. I’ve still got a long way to go, of course, but at least I can say things are different now.

And while things aren’t exactly going my way, I’m finally getting to a more stable point. And that makes things easier.

The family issue that I have been dealing with hasn’t gone away. It most likely won’t for a long while. My Dad’s health hasn’t been good for a very long time, and it was about three weeks ago that we learned that his lung cancer had come back. They found a tumor in his lower right lung, and are currently treating it with alternative therapies and experimental drugs because he is unable to go through chemotherapy due to his heart problems. Right now, he is stable despite feeling tired and having issues breathing. He has his next appointment late April. My family has gathered together and is trying to work through it as best we can.

The topamax has been helping my migraines. I have had a few while on the medications, which has not been fun, but for the most part, my head has been feeling great. I am dealing with a lot of the side effects and that isn’t so great.  Here is a list of common side effects for the drug, and I’ve highlighted the ones I’ve been dealing with:

Common side effects of Trokendi XR include: Tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, tingling of the hands/feet, loss of appetite, changes in how foods taste, inability to sweat properly, body temperature irregularity, constipation or diarrhea, anorexia, and weight loss may occur. Mental problems such as confusion, slowed thinking, trouble concentrating or paying attention, nervousness, memory problems, or speech/language problems may also occur. You may also experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems.

NOTE: Topamax and Trokendi XR are essentially the same drug. The difference is that Trokendi is it’s extended release, and of course, that means you need a new name for it. They are weird about that kind of crap. But yeah, I had to suffer through a lot of side effects that are not fun. I miss being able to sweat normally and I miss soda. I love that I’m dropping weight, though. It helps tremendously given how little I’ve been losing lately with everything else. I’m genuinely not hungry and then it also makes me lose weight. I have to be careful, though, because not eating enough hinders the ability to work out. It’s not like you can run properly when you aren’t fuelled enough. I also have to be very careful when I post things because now I have word issues. What I think makes sense, actually, may not make sense. It’s annoying and Dreamboat makes fun of me sometimes because it can be funny but it is frustrating.

As of today, I am down to 206.5 from 216 lbs when I started the Topamax. Which is awesome because yay for weight loss, but boo for not doing it because of working out. I do have an appointment with my neurologist in a few weeks to go over how I am feeling and make sure things are going well, (and then make another 8-week appointment to follow up) but I plan to really refocus my fitness attempts next week with the start of April. I’m still having to take thing slowly and carefully, and my plans remain the same: focus on conditioning until I feel strong enough to really focus on running again and it’s time to train for the marathon. I have registered for the Space Coast Half in November, and I plan my next race to be the Tour de Pain in August. That should give me plenty of time to focus on health and conditioning.

As for the depression, I’m doing better, and I have it under control. I have great friends who are helping me through and are checking in with me from time to time. As you read above, one of the side effects is depressive thoughts, suicidal thoughts and/or actions. I had that problem the first time around with the Topamax about 6 years ago, but now with the extended-release tabs and the smaller dosage, things are better. Plus I have family and friends watching me like a hawk to make sure that there isn’t any real changes in my personality or attitude that might show that I am relapsing. I feel safe and secure with that. That’s not to say I don’t have bad days because I do sometimes. But I’m writing in my journal again, and that helps.

Speaking of writing, I’m writing again PERIOD. My muses seem to have come out of hibernation and I’m writing prose and poetry again and that has always helped. Plus, school keeps me pretty distracted as well.

It’s a slow process getting healthy, and it’s been a lonely one. I feel like I’ve been on my own going through all of this, watching from the sidelines as my friends are continuing their runs and making their running goals happen. I’m cheering them on and am thrilled when I see how great they are doing, but I don’t want to bring them down with the things I am struggling with which is the real reason why this blog has been so quiet lately. I don’t want to give you more excuses or complain or whatever, and I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer either. But I have to be honest here, this is what’s going on. This is how I’m going to get myself back out there. It sucks, and it isn’t pretty, but it is brave and challenging and makes me feel like a badass sometimes.

And isn’t that as much of a part of this whole process as running a 10-minute mile and crossing the finish line? Because I think so.


15 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me

  1. Rachel says:

    I’m sorry you’ve been having a tough go of it lately, but it sounds like you’re taking great steps to move onward and upward. Keep moving forward! xxoo

  2. Nicole @ Fitful Focus says:

    I’m so sorry you’ve been having such a hard time. It seems like you’re doing everything you can to make it better, so it has to turn around sooner or later. Sending good vibes to you and your family! xoxo

  3. Marcia says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through so much, especially all at once. I can relate to much of it. My dad’s been a mess for years and I know too well how heart problems complicate/limit the treatment of other issues. My thoughts are with you.

  4. chrissytherd says:

    I’m so sorry for all the tough times you’ve got going on right now. I’ve never been in your place so I won’t pretend to know what it feels like, but I do think it’s brave for being so open and sharing it all here!

  5. Lisa says:

    You are dealing with a whole lot. I hope it helps you to write and share your story, but if not that’s ok too. I’m sorry you have to deal with so much and i hope you feel better.

  6. Kimberly Hatting says:

    I’m SOOOO glad to see you again (via your blog LOL)! Sorry to hear about your struggles, but (from my non-medical expertise perspective), it sounds like you’re rallying back. I also think you’re smart to focus on your conditioning (and wellness) at the moment and let the running come back in due time. I’ll be thinking of you and your family this weekend…I’m doing the Fight for Air Climb (my 5th time is Des Moines; I’ve also done the Climb once in Chicago.)…all proceeds go to the American Lung Association. Take care and keep your chin UP!!

  7. Jennifer LE (@runningwithpugs) says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I am thinking of you and your family.

    As for the rest, I’m so glad you are finding success with the new meds. I hope that this is the solid start you have been looking for, and that everything will continue positively in your own health. ❤

  8. angela@marathonsandmotivation.com says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad and all of the things you have been dealing with. Sending positive vibes your way.

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