Thursday, April 24, 2014

Good Friday Road Race

I am hoping this will be the first of many race reports but I'll be planning my season race by race. This one is long.... grab a coffee or something.

As most of you know I'm a mixed bag of messed up in many ways. I've been having health problems and anxiety issues that have been seriously affecting my training. My health issues are still unanswered but I'm doing everything in my power to manage the symptoms. The other aspect of racing that hinders me is the mind games I play on myself and the anxiety that I get from being in a competitive sport. Let's face it, I'm a pussy when it comes to standing my ground. Sure I can flap my swearing gums 'till everyone around me calls me white trash but when it comes right down to it? I am a ball of anxiety and my preferred place to be is far away from everybody.

Going into this race I had only one goal aside from not crashing my bike. That was: Do better than last year. I didn't know what to expect from my body, my bike, my skills, the weather, the other riders...

I'm in there somewhere (probably hiding behind people)

The weather was cold but that was expected. I didn't forget any clothing and I dressed appropriately (for a change). I got a good warm up out on the roads and was at the start line just in time. I was in one of the first groups to go out that day because it's common knowledge that nobody really wants to watch the crappier fields race, they all wanna watch the pros and they save the best for last. So the less desirables go out early. We had 4 womens categories in one field to make it a group of about 30 riders. That's a great size for always finding a slipstream to ride in but not so great with the various types of riders we had.

It was sketchy. I kind of wanted to push some of the girls off their bikes. Not really but I found myself shaking my head a lot. There were far too many "sorry's" going on in the chatter. I watched many girls overtake the yellow line and not by accident. Crossing the yellow line is an automatic DQ. I heard the loudspeaker on the follow car call bib numbers out and give warnings. I was pissed they were only warnings. I heard a lot of girls hit the gravel on the side of the road. I saw a lot of really terrible bike handling skills. It was risky. I have good skillz yo, I just lack the strength.


The course is 4 laps of a 16km circuit totalling about 64'ish km. Each time we return to the fairgrounds for a loop and then back out again. This is where I faltered. The loop in the fairgrounds was on a terrible gravel road with a sharp turn at a heavily pot-holled corner followed by an uphill climb and a sharp turn onto the road. We were skidding out each time. The second time out of the fairgrounds I had to push hard to stay on. The third time I got dropped along with about 4 other women. I was like, "Well, there they go." It was the familiar view of the field slowly disappearing in the distance as the follow car passes me. Except they weren't disappearing that fast. For the first time ever I refused to accept that my race was over. I hammered it and then I hammered it some more. I passed a group of dudes that were dropped from their race up ahead. One of them said, "Are you trying to get back on?" I replied, "That's the goal!". Just as I came up on the field, the follow car moved out of the way. I made one last leap with the other women in tow and I was in the safety of the roaring wheels surrounded by wind cover barely able to breath. One woman said, "nice job!!". I replied with, "If that happens on the next lap, there's no way I can do that again."

It happened on the next lap.

I'm pretty sure this was my last time out of the fairgrounds by the look on my face

The final time through the fairgrounds and although I had fire left in me, the gravel was daunting. I just sat back and grit my teeth. I stayed loose through the gravel which was really painful. It was vibrating parts of me I don't want to mention. I had to get out of the saddle. It was hurting. My body was a bit, er... sensitive after an hour and a half of balls out action. Again, myself and maybe 3 or 4 other riders popped off the back. This time I knew it was over. Don't get me wrong, I still tried to get back on but my legs were blocks of concrete. I saw the field disappear in the distance. I saw the follow car falling away from me. I was OKAY with this. I was so fucking proud of getting back on the last time. One lap to go and I had spent 3/4 of the race WITHIN the peleton and that was more than I could hope for. My friend and fellow scardy-cat bike racer Jany and I tried to work together. She had more spunk left than me and I just couldn't keep up. Part of me feels like I had mentally given up after the fact but at that moment, I really felt wasted.

Head down is a sign of struggle

I kept Jany in my sights for almost the entire last lap. I could tell by the way she was riding and her body movement it was just as hard as I was going. Then I passed the inevitable that I had hoped wouldn't happen. 3 women on the ground. I saw Joyce who is a new friend of mine and who was doing her first ever road race. I saw two old teammates on the ground, horizontal. All three were friends of mine and all I wanted to do was stop. Except there wasn't anything I could do. There were people tending to them and they were all conscious. I didn't see any blood which is always a good sign but I felt like my heart exploded a little inside my chest.

A woman passed me before the final turn but I thought I had given up gusto. Then I found myself speeding up and thinking, "nuh-uh chicky poo, nope, you aren't getting it." Where those thoughts came from is beyond me. Maybe all this THINKING about the mental edge has worn off a little. I sped up and passed her on the final stretch. I said some encouraging things. I said, "It's almost over, keep going, we're almost done!". That was before I asked her what her name was and which category she was in. I burned my last match, flew by her and had a super lame ass sprint attempt across the finish line. I promptly grabbed the fence and nearly collapsed before even getting OFF my bike. The race was immediately followed by conversations and chatting. We could barely walk 3 minutes without running into someone else to rehash the race again.

I didn't finish last and was only 5 minutes off the main field. I was over-fucking-joyed that I raced with the field for 3/4 of the race. A far improvement from my 1/4 last year. I was even more proud for chasing back on after the 2nd lap. ME! Scully! I chased back on!? that's unheard of.

Diabetes!! I nearly forgot about it (as if that's even possible). I took my regular Lantus in the morning and didn't bolus for my breakfast green smoothie which I was still sipping while pinning on my bib #'s. The last pre-race BG had me at 11.6mmol/l (208mg/dl). Totally fine before 2 hours of mayhem in my mind. I had one bottle of water and some blocks and gels. I didn't know how I was going to eat anything with big mittens on which left me unable to get anything out of my jacket but whatever. I didn't end up eating anything and hoping for the best. I had no way of knowing what my blood sugar was doing so really, I was planning to just wing it. When I finished my BG was up to 12.2mmol/l (220mg/dl). Not really what I was hoping for but I was glad I didn't eat anything during the race. The anaerobic last lap probably had something to do with that high reading. Really though, that's a number on the edge of still being safe and able to push for me. Could it have been better? Yeah, of course I could have given 1 unit with breakfast but if I went low I would have been fucked. I never really know how the 'betes is going to play out anyway. I've had so many opposing results of trial and error. I actually didn't think about my blood sugar the entire time because I was too busy thinking about the race that was going on. I took a couple of units of insulin and the rest of the day was completely uneventful with a nice even keel of glucose.

My training has not been optimal but I've worked as hard as I was capable of with health, weather and work restraints. This race proved that I still have a lot to do but it also proved that I received a veritable record of improvement and that's more than I can ask for. Dropping almost 30lbs of body weight has had an integral effect from this time last year. I know, I still question the weight loss. More about that and an update on my health in another post I hope.

I followed up on the friends in the crash and they are all recovering. 2 of them went to hospital for x-rays and no broken bones. Broken carbon fiber bikes - yes, but bones all in tact. Phew.

Muchos thank you to Ryan for manning my camera and waiting out in the cold.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I got skewered and all I got was burning

I mentioned to someone who was curious about the colonoscopy/endoscopy that I would write about my experience. I’ll try not to make it so graphic but I can’t promise anything. It’s long and although I thought about snapping pix I really wasn’t in the mood.

The skewering was scheduled for a Wednesday afternoon at 1. First problem right there. Why 1? Why couldn’t it be like, I dunno, morning!? After Monday night I was not allowed to eat anything. I have my opinions on fasting as a diabetic. It’s not that difficult people. The doc expressed some concern and I literally waved at her and said, It’s fine lady, just FIIINE. Why do people think that us diabetics have to eat all the time? Like eat real food? Like we’ll expire if we don’t EAT? It’s a lie. It’s not true. Not this day’n age with all our fancy insulins. If I go low? I’ll drink juice, I’m allowed liquids. 

Something I'd never buy on any other occasion

SO, I had some black coffee on Tuesday morning and started the long day of aches and pains. I took the day off work because I knew there wasn't a hope in hell I could focus on anything. I zipped out to the grocery store in the morning to grab clear drinks, other teas, carbonated water and I even got a couple boxes of lemon lime powerade popsicles which were the bomb.

I took my Lantus as per usual that morning. After all, just because I have diabetes doesn’t mean I can’t FAST!! Was it enjoyable? Hell no. I mean I don’t eat a shit ton to begin with but I also don’t enjoy the aching pain of an empty belly. As per the schedule I was to drink the purging solution at 8pm. Why 8pm?! For all that is holy, why 8pm? I gagged trying to get the entire litre of putrid crap down. It made me nauseous simply because of the horrid taste. Then my belly expanded and HURT A LOT! I waited and waited. Finally at 11pm I found myself sitting on the toilet until midnight. Then again at 1:30am, 4:30am and 6:00am. Couldn’t we have gotten through this during the day when I’d rather be awake? Nothing like a sleep deprived cherry on top of my grumpy sundae. It wasn’t long before I had to start drinking the other litre of vileness followed by more hours trying NOT to shit my pants while running (penguining?) to the toilet. After this I was not allowed to ingest ANYTHING.

By this time I’m pretty darn grumpy. I’ve not had food in 36 hours, my bowels are completely empty and my nerves were shot from the anxiety about the procedure. This is when my bg started to escalate. 

My blood sugars were phenom the whole time otherwise! I went a little low a couple times but without having rapid insulin or any food it made diabetes management non-existent. It was like an unintentional day of basal testing and I passed with flying colours! I was absolutely loving it. Maybe I should think about adopting an eating disorder like anorexia….  (guys that was a joke). I also, for my own entertainment, weighed myself before and after “The Great Purge”. I was curious to see how much waste was in me. I’ve never done any sort of cleanse before. Turns out there were 3-4lbs of POOPIES. I had a super flat awesome belly but I knew it was temporary.

My mum was the lucky one to chaperon me. Oh you poor retired fool! 

I was lucky enough to get hooked up with this clinic that does ONLY GI stuff. It meant that I was essentially put onto a conveyor belt. Bring patient in where there were 4 beds in total. People were either being wheeled into the procedure room awake and coherent or being wheeled back laying on their side completely sedated with only a paper towel covering their bits. I saw something I can never erase from my memory (sorry old man that was the last one to come out before it was my turn). Well, I guess I have to give up holding onto any amount of decency at this point. I mean, they’re going inside me from both ends.

The nurse comes over to test my BG. She had no idea what she was doing. I say, “I just tested in the elevator and it was 12.2mmol/l (220mg/dl)”. I was uncomfortable being this high but it was better than being low and/or not knowing what would happen if I was sedated. She insisted on getting her own number and TRIED to test my blood but was using one of those stupid Bayer Contour meters and the strip gave an error cuz she moved my finger away too quick. To make her happy I pulled out my meter and gave her another test. 12.3mmol/l. 

They wheeled me into the room and I really don’t remember much after that. I remember the oxygen tube up my nose and the familiar nitrous oxide high started (which was AWESOME by the way!). Then an injection of anesthetic which burned like a thousand Lantus shots.  Next thing I know I’m farting. Yeah, I know right? I remember thinking, “Oh I’m still in the procedure room so it’s just the docs and nurses.” Nope. I was already back in the recovery area groggy and dizzy as shit while farting up a storm. They expand your insides with air to better see it. The air causes pain so farting was sweet sweet relief. My throat, on the other hand, felt like razor blades.  My resting heart rate was something like 57bpm I remember seeing on the monitor.

The doc talked to me quickly once it was over. She said upon initial inspection my insides looked totally normal and that I won’t have biopsy results until May. No initial signs of cancer at least. I asked her about my hiatal hernia (which was discovered many years ago, like 20 years ago) and she gave me a blank stare. Mmmkay, maybe I grew out of it? I gotta say, I was a bit saddened. The whole ordeal was not an easy process. I have been quite ill for a long time and hoping, needing, wanting some sort of “your guts are inflamed” or “your colon looks like hell” or anything that would indicate further problems ergo giving me some sort of direction towards better health.

The rest of the day was terrible. It took a while to get my BG down from the stress and anxiety of the procedure. Farts were NOT to be trusted so I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. I was secretly hoping for the promise of torpedo farts (from Jessie) but mine were too dangerous. I ate a banana and had some glorious coffee after nearly 44 hours of fasting. I quickly learned that hot things burned my esophagus and hard or crunchy foods burned everything else. My throat was scraped and my guts were on fire. For the next 3 days food was the enemy. Everything hurt. It hurt on the way down and then for 3 hours after it burned as it made its way through my upper small intestine. I tried to eat a lot of soft foods but it was difficult. It was also difficult to start eating after such a long fast. I kind of had to ease back into it over the next 4 or 5 days.

Life since then? Same same. Wake up every morning with pain across my whole abdomen. Nauseous all the time. Explosive volatile shits. At least everything is back to normal.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The riding part of my week in SC

It's been a couple weeks so I've had time to really think about training camp.

It was considered a training camp but that sounds like it would be super structured which it wasn’t. It was more just, 50 some-odd Canadians descending upon the mountains of South Carolina and riding bikes. It makes me feel more normal to say it that way.

There were routes that were set out for each day and it varied in distance/elevation/time depending on how advanced each ride group was. I was put with a group of ladies of which there weren’t actually that many of down there. No surprises, I've been saying for years we need more chicks on bikes! These chicks were pretty tough and bad ass and I almost instantly recognized a couple of them from a 100mile ride I did last summer. That ride I did solo but found myself gluing my ass to random groups of people and these two ladies happened to be in that group. So in reality, I had already ridden a number of hours with these no-longer-strangers yet strangers.

Early in the week when the weather was actually WARM!

Day 1 had us heading out on some mostly "flat roads". I say that in quotations because there really was no such thing. Flat was relative to the rest of the week. It was ROLLY. Everything down there was rolly. We kept a decent pace and although I may have only actually pulled a couple of times I spent my time watching from the rear as is my usual view while cycling with a group. It's a good thing I like looking at bums. I was anxious about having diabetes and not knowing the style of riding whether we would be stopping for water or bush pees or anything so I ran my insulin a bit low. Meaning, I took a little less not knowing what to anticipate my output and input would be. Turns out I ended up a touch high the whole ride. I quickly learned to test my beeg in the spare moments girls were running into the bush to pee. I was thankful they were well hydrated (and I wasn't). About 2 hours into the ride I finally gave myself a wee shot of insulin. 2 units to be exact. I hadn’t consumed any carbs and was starting to feel it. Sadly my beeg didn’t come down to normal range until the ride was almost over which means zero intake of nutrition for the whole ride. This translates to quite the lack of necessary energy. I wasn’t THAT high, maybe in the 11’s (200ish) but I am not comfortable with consuming carbs at that number.  By the time the ride was done I was already beyond the point of no return. Dehydrated and under caloried (yeah I just made that up). Which meant I was somewhat nauseous. I tried but failed to eat anything save 1/3 of a hemp protein shake before bed.

Day 2 had us climbing up a mountain. It was a 10k climb with about 2000ft in elevation gain which equaled a 5-6% average grade I believe. I was nervous. We all rode up at our own pace which meant I was dragging the rear. I didn’t know what to think of this or how to attack it so I just took it (a little too) conservatively. I rode it in about 45-50mins which was painfully slow comparatively speaking. I felt way too good at the top so I know I took it too chill. My low avg watts and HR attested to that. This day I was able to take in regular carbs which meant I finished the ride in a much better state. I even ate a little that night.

At the end of the Ceasar's Head climb day. Photo courtesy: Not me. I dunno, the photo belongs to one of these ladies.

Day 3 was probably the worst day of riding I’ve ever had. The whole world ended up knowing I was on my period. The pain in my murderous uterus woke me up at 6:30am. I took some painkillers and went back to bed read:laid in bed writhing in pain. I took more and then more painkillers. Normally at home I can’t exercise on the first day of my period, I've tried for years. I have absolutely zero energy because it’s all being stolen by my uterus! Within 15 minutes of starting the ride I was struggling up the small rollers. I was actually wheezing in the granniest of granny gears. Wheezing! Air restricted. Eventually I had to give up and the girls took off for a small loop. I literally CRAWLED back that day. The cramps were killing me, my energy level was FUCKING NON EXISTENT. I remember thinking the saddle was the last place I wanted to sit that day. I was in hell and in retrospect should not have gotten on the bike that day because I compromised the ride for everyone. I ate a wee bit that night again but almost instantly felt unbelievably sick to my stomach. I went to bed in nauseated hell.

My sick stomach, crampy uterus and guts in agony woke me up at 1am. I crawled down the ladder to the bathroom where I had some unpleasantries from the rear. I struggled not to puke, it took all my might. I choked back gravol and patiently waited for the nausea to subside while writing (bitching, complaining crying) to Ryan. I slept next to nothing. Day 4 was a rest day. I got up, drank a few sips of coffee and had a few bites of GF bread. Nope. Stomach turned like the plague. I held back exploding and spent the entire morning in bed drowning myself in gravol. At that point I got an upsetting message that left me in absolute tears. I was told I would be relegated to the beginner group for the following day. I nearly packed my shit up and left because my intuition told me to run the fuck away and fast. I didn’t want to be seen. I was sick and unhappy.

Day 5 (ride day 4) To save face and prevent myself from lashing out and pissing people off (which I do way too often) I rode with the beginner group. I sat quiet for the most part. It was too slow and unorganized for me and I was ultimately bored. There was no form or function and the riders were all over the place. Luckily there were a couple guys in that group (Hi HAMMER!) that were able to ride a bit harder and we took off to do some extra mileage at a much harder pace at the end. I was overall happy I sucked it up for graces sake.

After the 20km ascent to the Eastern Continental Divide on the last day of riding.

Day 6 (ride day 5) Back with my group of ladies we set off on our longest (and final) ride of the week. We collected ourselves in the morning and there were a few complaints of fatigued muscles and tired bums. I believe I heard “casual chill ride today”. Within the first 15 minutes I turned to whomever was beside me and said, “Is it just me or is someone putting down the hammer already?”. We headed to our mountain climb of the day, about 25mins away. The climb was long. 20km with a few downhills thrown in for good measure (which sucked on the way back down). I forgot to hit my lap timer so I really don’t know how long it was. It was awesome though. We all rode at our own pace which means I was alone. I was taking in all the gorgeous scenery knowing I was coming back to snow. I rode it a bit less conservatively than the climb 3 days prior. In my head I wanted to leave training camp knowing I left my all on the road that day. Near the end of the ride we missed a turn. I was already falling behind big time and not catching up anymore. This wrong turn added on a good 10k or so (OF HILLS). 10km isn't much but I had cracked, bonked, hit my breaking point where my legs were not spinning much anymore. I knew my way back by this point though. It was such a short distance but I swear I went through every emotion existent to a human being. I wanted to cry, scream, laugh. I reminisced on the weeks emotional turmoil, feeling like a failure and being worried about my health. I cherished the new friendships and daydreamed about what my future would be on 2 wheels. I stressed about getting back after the ride, packing and then driving 4 hours north to Missy Foy’s place.


More than anything I was glad it would be over soon. I went, I rode as best as I could and that’s all I can be happy about. The future is uncertain. The future of my health, riding and racing are all interconnected. I learned some major lessons down there. Firstly? I have a lot to work on with my lack of mental strength and poor self-confidence. A topic that deserves a post all to itself. I learned through watching others that I desperately need to get my health in check. It’s absurd to think I can train on empty day after day. I thought about hanging my bike up on the wall semi permanently. For the record it stayed hung up for 11 days and at the time of writing this I’ve been on it only twice since getting home.

Am I glad I went? Yes and no. If I was in better health I think I would have fared much better. Even now, weeks later, I still feel like a shell of a human since training camp and since coming home to getting’ skewered. (That too in another post – getting through a colonoscopy/endoscopy). It just brought so much stuff forward into the frontal lobe of my brain space. Health, Mental, Anxiety, Training, Confidence….

All that and more in another post. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

In the podcast business - mental aspects of racing

Ryan started a podcast and he's pretty fucking good at it.

Tonight and probably many more times I get the pleasure of joining in. We talked about the mental aspects of racing and how crappy I am at it. It's something I'm very aware of and something Ryan is very good at managing within himself.

This is the race medal holder I made for Ryan for Christmas that we talk about in the podcast

I didn't swear once which is shocking. See? I actually can be a normal human. That's not to say that I didn't almost swear many times. You can bring your kids around, I don't always have a dirty mouth.

There's an RSS feed over on the right that takes you to his podcast or follow the link here to his blogpost and have a listen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Training Camp or ...?

Training Camp Courtesy of Coach Chris

I returned late Sunday night from a week of training camp in South Carolina. Since I've been back it's been a whirlwind of questions from myself to myself. I came back with a lot of mixed feelings.

Let me get this straight, if you've read my past few posts you know I've not been well. If you've read my blog for any length of time you also know I have a huge heart and desire to race bikes but most of the time I just don't make the cut.

So here's the low down on my week:

I went down there knowing that 3 days after my return I would be getting skewered. Tomorrow I am having an endoscopy immediately followed by a colonoscopy. So I travelled south with trepidation and anxiety. Would I be able to ride? Might I miss rides due to my health? Maybe. Possibly. I'll keep that in mind.

Last night I finally got the opportunity to talk to Ryan about it. Although we were in contact almost constantly, he wasn't there for all the gritty details. While I was talking to him I was choking back tears. My week was awful. I signed up for this training camp because it was affordable and my teammate and best friend Shelly would be with me. The closer we got to the week the worse the state of my health got.

I have trouble eating anything at any point during the day. The weight I've lost has stayed stable which means I am somehow maintaining it. I question if that's consuming carbs to chase lows and not actually fueling with proper nutrition. In the span of a week I lost 3lbs from simply NOT being able to stomach much. That's starvation. That's putting out too many calories on the bike and being in a constant deficit. That means that I was riding on empty nearly the entire time. Probably burning muscle for fuel.

What was I to do? Go all the way there and NOT ride? I am too stubborn for that. I wanted to believe I could just ride through it and find my normal. So I rode. I suffered when it should have been easy. I hung off the back and got dropped many times. Near the end of the week I was a motherfucking wreck. I was empty. I was broken down. 

Ryan told me I am different since being back. The spark and cheer is drained from my life. I am a bit of a shell emotionally and physically. After telling Ryan just how much I suffered on so many levels he looked me straight in the face and said, "You can't keep doing this." He's right. I can train and ride when I feel able to. I can still put the hours on the bike but the idea of racing is probably going to go by the wayside for now. At least until I can find out what's wrong with me and find a way to fix it.

There were many times I enjoyed the riding. It was freeing just to be on my bike OUTSIDE for the first time since December. So many times I had big smiles flying down mountains. However, underneath it all I was rapidly degrading and hiding it all. 

Except for Shelly, she saw it all. She saw me eat next to nothing. It's an odd thing when you suddenly find yourself spending 24/7 with someone. They witness things I have been desperately trying to hide.


I might write more about the actual riding but for now, this is all I got. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

From the facehole to the asshole

I assume that it is not normal to feel like everything inside my abdomen is a rotten mess.

Am I right?

Most people don’t actually FEEL gut sick.

We aren’t supposed to normally notice our guts. They’re just there, inside our bodies, doing what they do best. Passing food along, extracting nutrients and kicking the waste to the curb. Voila right? Seems so simple.

Food goes in the top and makes it’s way down to the stomach. You know it takes an average of 7 seconds for food to travel down the esophagus and into the stomach? Maybe we burp. Maybe there’s a gurgle or a grumble. Then it passes into the long snaky ventures of the small intestine. It’s 10 feet long. Did you know that? When the food exits the small intestine, 90% of the nutrients will have been absorbed. One may say that this is where the most action happens.

What’s next? The large intestine is half as long and twice as wide in diameter. It’s also considered the colon. 

Then we poop. Repeat process. Continuously.

All in a days work inside our nifty lower gastrointestinal tract. 

For most of us… not including me.

Sometimes I get made fun of for how much I talk about my gut health. Whether it’s laughing at me for pooping on my runs (back in the day when I used to run). Or poking fun at my flatulence which I engage in myself. Farts are fucking funny okay. Poop health has, unfortunately, always been a thing with me. Sometimes I have friends that come to me about it simply because they know I will openly talk. I live in a world of nausea and upset.

This is why I talk about it so much, my friends. My system doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. I’m not sure it EVER did either. The problems I’ve been having lately are debilitating. I usually don’t feel well enough to drive myself to work and then sit at my desk all day but I do it. I don’t feel well enough to get on my bike in the evening and a lot of nights I won’t because I simply just can’t. I'm plagued with all day headaches and fatigue, sometimes extreme. My A1C went up by a little. My BGs have not been cooperating probably due to mal-absorption.

There is pain, I take pain killers. There is nausea, I take anti-nausea meds. There is gas and bloating and everything nasty that comes with that. There are tears on the toilet. There is hemorrhoid cream and ginger ale. Hours of lying down and many times getting my exercise in by literally sprinting to the bathroom. Sometimes, I don’t always make it.

At first it was once or twice, then it was every day. I noticed instead of having good days mixed with bad hours I am having bad days mixed with good hours.

The things that seem to bother me the most? Sugar. Fucking SUGAR. A day full of lows leaves me almost bed ridden. A diabetic who can’t tolerate sugar?! A friend said recently, “Someone is clearly playing a cruel joke on you.” 

I try not to eat – honestly.

Tomorrow I have a consult with a GI doc to talk about tests. Down the face hole (endoscopy) and up the asshole (colonoscopy).

“scared” would be an accurate description of how I feel. Why? Every affliction that has come into my life is almost always life long and chronic.

I wrote this for the sake of getting it off my mind.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Back to the board

My broken wrist is healing. The squiggly line showing the fracture goes straight across the head of my radius bone. I have some restricted movement as well as some pain but overall it’s on the mend. Soon I’ll be able to ride my bike not in the aero bars. Not yet but soon.

I’ve almost fully withdrawn off the vicious anti-anxietydrugs. I’m not sure what my new normal is yet though. Some days are good but others are a struggle. I’m learning how to live as me now, not me on drugs. It’s weird because it's a difference only I can sense.

We moved apartments. We had broken down vehicles – both of them.

Its only mid-Feb but it feels like this year has already gone on too long. I abso-fucking-lutely hate winter and have found myself researching somewhere more mild (while still in Canada) places to move to. Seriously. Totally fucking seriously.

I….. however..... am not well. AGAIN. I don’t know where I’m going from here or what I’m going to discover lies within the depths of my body. It’s my guts though. Most days it feels like I must be walking around with rotting insides. I wake up nearly every morning now with pain and cramps from one side of my abdomen to the other.

It feels….. disgusting in there. I imagine dead guts inside me, not healthy ones.

I’ve been denying it. I’ve been lying about it. I’ve been ignoring it. It started many months ago, I don’t even know when. I wrote about it here. That was in November and it was already going on for a long time. Remember EENV? Explosive endings and near vomitings? I even quit PB which I'm still mostly off. I thought maybe it was sugar related. It still is, don’t get me wrong, sugar will often trigger a violent reaction which is just fucking wonderful when I have lows these days. What I’ve noticed is the frequency of the pain, cramps, running to the bathroom followed by writhing in nausea. It’s been happening so often it stays almost all day now. Every day.

What's made me see this? I can't remember the last day I felt good. It was probably months ago.

Yes I'm trying to get in to see a gut doc but referrals to specialists take forever.

I'm feeling very reluctant though. My whole fucking life I've struggled with different manifestations of these same issues with varying diagnoses. I always go in with slightly different symptoms though. This time, it's the worst I've ever experienced. It wasn't worrying me so much until I really thought about how I've been feeling lately.

I feel like I'm dead inside. Every moment of every day. If I really was dead inside I'd be a zombie.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

EffexHELL

I can type again! removable brace in place of arm coffin. The arm coffin wasn't going to change how my broken wrist healed because of the kind of fracture I incurred. Long fucking blog post this is...

...It's probably easier to withdrawal from Heroin than it is from Effexor.

I'm going full monty without the nudity on this. Full disclosure. No holds bar because I am convinced there’s got to be people out there who deserve to know the truth and may benefit from my experience.

Learning about my anxiety and more recent discoveries about being a Highly Sensitive Person (Sensory Processing Sensitivity) are changing my life. One day, I promise I'll write about HSP. I've been on a few anti depressants before settling with dear ol' Effexor a couple years ago learning it was the only one to help with my anxiety. Anxiety has always been the bigger issue for me.

If I knew how to deal with anxiety or if I knew the repercussions of going on such an awful drug, I could have made better choices. So herein lies the reason for this post, getting off Effexor.

I was taking a 150mg capsule of Effexor daily for the past few years. If you want to know more about the drug, please go google it because this post is going to be long enough. It's an SNRI which is different from the usual SSRI strain of anti depressants because it's more targeted toward anxiety disorder. Over a year ago I started lowering the dose by minuscule amounts every couple months because it would take me that long to adjust. The time came to where I was on the smallest dose (37.5mg) daily. These are capsules and not tablets so taking less than that is hard. Attempt no.1 to come off failed even after resorting to counting granules. The withdrawal symptoms were too much. My doc was the least bit helpful and seemed happier to keep me drugged permanently which I wasn't cool with. I understood her reasoning. She knows I struggle with anxiety disorder but I wanted off. I eventually gave up trying to withdrawal and went back feeling beyond defeated. I resigned myself to thinking maybe I'll just take 37.5mg for the rest of my fucking life.

A couple weeks ago I went rogue. I had no more refills and to make an appointment with my doc was simply too much effort. It was fucking time goddammit. I stopped cold tofu. For most people I'm sure they wouldn't suffer with too many withdrawal symptoms from such a tiny dose but I am not most people. This is where being an HSP (highly sensitive person) comes in to fuck shit up. I am extremely sensitive physiologically to drugs. I can't even function on cold medications.

Day one I noticed nothing. Day 2 also nothing. Brilliant! Day 3 and welcome to hell. I quickly discovered 4 primary side effects. The worst one is nausea. The second worst one is constant dizziness and vertigo. It’s like my brain lags behind when I turn my head making me feel like the earth is always spinning and perpetuating side effect #1. The third worst symptom is gastrointestinal in the form of cramps and diarrhea. Full disclosure? I got hemorrhoids from the diarrhea. Motherfucking HEMORRHOIDS. The last side effect that has bothered me the least is tremors. Or what I assume to be tremors. Full body shakes when I'm not cold and sometimes lasting for hours.

As the days went on the symptoms persisted. Most notably was the constant dizziness. I scoured online looking for help. A couple tips were found. One was to take a high dose of good quality Omega 3 supplement to help with what everybody calls “brain zaps” but what I feel is just plain dizziness. This helped in a minor way. I would take one every 4 hours or so. At the very least it minimized the effects.

Overall there didn't seem to be a way to withdrawal comfortably. Ergo I was left just trying to manage the symptoms.

I don't normally drink a lot of diet pop because of the artificial sweeteners. Omega 3's, Ginger tea, regular comatose Gravol, (somewhat less strong comatose gravol not pictured here), Ginger Gravol and my own concentrated ginger ice cubes.
 
Post amended to add pic of shit I didn't have/forgot at home:
I don't know why I always manage to take pics of the French side of products (and not realize it until later). Gluten free Breton crackers, Ginger candies and imaginary product. I don't believe in homeopathic remedies because I think they're bogus but for whatever reason I continue to use this "Colubrina (nux vomica)". Part of me thinks its just because of what it's called and the other part of me really wants to believe it's helping.

This has been hell. I am missing out on a lot of things because symptoms come and go without reason throughout the day while the evenings are the worst. Each has been a struggle just to get through it. Each days struggle makes me wonder if I have passed the worst part yet and then each NEW day reminds me that the hump was not a hump but a continuous Everest. I am beginning to wonder if it's ever going to end. One night I fell apart into a slobbering puddle of tears (in Ryan's arms) from the frustration of what I'm going through. I have good hours here or there so I've learned to really enjoy them while they last because it's never long before they're gone.

Then one day (it was a Sunday) I woke up with a terrible low. I treated said low as per usual with 4 dex. Then shortly after I wasn't dizzy or discombobulated but I was most certainly nauseous beyond belief and my BG went sky high. All day I was in and out of horrible nausea eased only with the use of comatose Gravol. Ah but herein lies the problem. Gravol makes me LOOPY AS FUCK. Even at half doses. Sure it eases the nausea but then I'm pretty much useless as a human being.

The very  next day was the best day I had since I started this process. I was alert and just regular nauseous, not terrible nauseous (how sad is that?). This was nausea I could cope with by way of subtle ginger teas. Until the next day when out of nowhere I get to work with nausea in tow. I didn't eat breakfast or drink coffee. I ignored it until it got so bad I was literally writhing at my desk while sweating profusely and unable to breath. I drenched all my clothes and tested my heart rate which was up to 120bpm. BG check had me going low and then I went MUCH lower for no apparent reason and at record speeds. I hadn't even taken insulin in 24hours nor had I eaten in 12 hours. I was super low, sweating and nauseous with a full blown panic attack. Guess my one day of awesome was too much to ask for.

At the time of writing this it has been 12 days since I stopped and every day has been a struggle of epic proportions. I've drank more ginger ale than I do in a 6 month span. I'm thankful for the new gluten free Breton crackers. I should also invest in Gravol and Omega 3 stocks. I don’t know what’s going to happen hour to hour. My symptoms are now mostly just nausea accompanied with diarrhea attacks at random. The dizziness has stopped but I’d take that over nausea. I've cried more than I do in a year purely out of frustration and not knowing how to manage the symptoms. I feel like shit ALL the fucking time and I just want it to end. I can barely eat as it is so I'm dropping pounds but not in a good way. My tummy physically aches from being empty. It’s at the cost of being light-headed and starving all day. The worst part is feeling like I have to hide this because I can’t call in “drug withdrawal” sick for two weeks. Fuck at this point I don’t even know when it’s going to END! Weeks? Months? NEVER?

I did call in sick and much to my own chagrin I went to see my doc. She made me do a pregnancy test which I don't blame her for. After I told her all that was going on it even shocked me! It was negative as I suspected. I made it clear that in no way am I going back on them but please could she clarify that which I cannot find online. She looked it up in her giant pharma-bible and said that for most people it's about a week. Rare cases it's several weeks but there is nothing I can really do except to keep on the way I am. I was not at all surprised. I kind of knew that. If someone takes a week to withdrawal I can just multiply that by 3 or 4 because it's me and I fucking suck.

So I wake up every day hoping and praying to science it’s the day I feel better. I'm grasping at emptiness and despair while trying to stay focused and optimistic, two things I'm not very good at. Who fucking designs drugs like these? Is there such thing as life after Effexor? I went 30 years of my life without it. If I had any idea it would be this hard I may have looked at my life differently back then. I know my anxiety issues and their triggers now. Someone did warn me about the difficulties of ever getting off it but I clearly didn't heed his warning. Furthermore, why aren't there any resources out there other than bullshit forums to help with drug withdrawal? Oh and why are docs such cunts about NOT helping or supporting me? This is my body, my life, my choice.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.............

Friday, January 10, 2014

arm coffins suck

Took page from favourite blog “Bigfoot child have diabetes” to write this post. Forgive me… typing=hard.

May or may not know I broke wrist. Snowboarding. Out of bounds New York.

Sorta think “stupid Scully”. Good at boarding, lack technical forest skills. Follow crazy talented husband and brother. Learn fate lack of skills. Fall. Smash wrist. Knew right away. Crawled out trying to breath. Pain incredible.
 
Get down hill pull off glove what is weird bump? Why can't move hand? Shit. Get fuck back to safety (Canada). Longest drive ever. Seriously. Happy to have ice in backseat to keep arm fucking frozen feel less pain. Have final shower before go urgent care. In, xray, splint (half cast), home under 30mins. Brilliant. 3 days later fall down stairs. Major internal bruise on hip. Also, slipped on ice New Year’s Eve while running behind house to pee (no don’t drink alcohol). Bump other hip and head. 

5 days after break - full cast (coffin) on. Chose black so brother can't draw penis. Fucking friends remind white sharpie invention.

Coffin worst shit ever. Want rip off so bad. Fingers ALWAYS frozen lack of circulation.

 
Driving manual transmission car stop & go traffic hours a day. Knee valuable stand-in.
 
 
Work use mitten for slide & pivot. One finger type. Cast pressure cause all fingers ache ALL day so try not use.

Bathing ingenuity. Put soap on leg, use leg clean normal arm. Shave pits? Not a chance. Dirty hippy chick 6 weeks. No picture. This strict no nudity blog eh?

Learn elbow is awesome wedge snow brush scrape ice windshield.
 
 
Every day toque day can't do hair.
 
 
Teeth also great many things!

 
Wash dishes one hand master but noisy drag on sink bottom. Yes latex glove bum hand but hand not good for much.
 
 
Bike WAS doable with little cast. No bike train now, very VERY pissed off.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 12 of 12 - tiny things

December 12th. A most boring day indeed. I absolutely did not forget it was 12 of 12, there just wasn't ANYTHING worth documenting. Get up, go to work, come home, ride the bike. I tried taking pictures but they were just so fucking boring! I couldn't bring myself to finish so I did this instead.
 
There are more than 12 because I got carried away.  You can tell I took them all either at my desk or in the kitchen.
 
1 measly unit of insulin next to normal, everyday things. This shows the phenomenal cosmic power of the elixir that is insulin. ONE measly unit helps my body to process anywhere between 5 and 20 grams of carbohydrates. One wee drop of life, so small yet so much power.
 
1. A paper clip (standard size)

2. A triple 'A' battery

3. A test strip

4. A single grain of basmati rice

5. A sunflower seed

6. A raisin

7. A chia seed

8. A single grain of quinoa

9. A peppercorn

10. A safety pin (standard size)

11. My index finger

12. A lego dude. Can you see it on his hand? He looks furious! Okay this may not be a regular every day item but like I said, I got carried away!

13. A pencil eraser

14. A staple

15. Since we don't have pennies anymore I had to use a nickel. The beaver looks like he's poopin' insulin!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Have insulin, will live

One of the minor details in a life with injections is the need for a good memory. No device to tell me how much insulin is already in my system when I go to inject. I am my own bolus wizard and really it’s just bolus swagging now, let’s be honest.

Memory is kind of a big deal. Sometimes I forget if I’ve taken my Lantus and there’s really no way to check. I had a few times this summer where I forgot to bring insulin on rides and actually needed it.

I do have a fairly decent memory – MOST of the time. Except when I don’t. I keep both my pens in my purse pretty much all the time that way they’re always with me. Until they aren’t! 

I had made a mental note. Note: If you have to make a MENTAL note perhaps it would be keen to write a physical one. Just in case y’know? So I made a mental note to grab a fresh cartridge of Lantus before I went to work on Monday. Problem was, I didn’t get to sleep until after midnight and I’m up at 5am. I left the house miserable and groggy so when it came time for my morning Lantus shot I had only 4 units and I needed 16.


Thanks to how ridiculously easy it is to obtain insulin, I zipped over to the closest drugstore near work and bought a box of Lantus pre-filled Solostar pens (because they didn’t have refills). I can buy insulin over-the-counter. Anybody can. They write me an official receipt which I then submit to my insurance company. It was better than the alternative of either going without Lantus for the day or having to drive all the way back home. Have I mentioned how far I commute to work? Let’s not talk about that. Foregoing Lantus for the day? I’m not suicidal. It wouldn’t kill me but I’d try and kill myself due to how sick I’d feel all day.
 
The very next day, I forget my NovoRapid pen at home in the bedside table. VERY.NEXT.DAY! Why was it there and not in my purse?  Late bolus in bed plus two ferrets that steal everything and hide it on us. I had a weird feeling when I closed the drawer, turns out that weird feeling was that of, “You’re going to forget it’s in there.” I forgot it was in there.
 

I got halfway to work and halfway through my oatmeal when I reached for my pen. For FUCKSAKE Scully! Turn around and go home? I was already halfway to work and… well… you sorta know my commute. Check drugstore website for pharmacy that’s open. I did this while driving which lands me in hell (I’m already going there). It’s 6:40am. Find the closest one and make a stop en route to work. They didn’t have pre-filled Novorapid pens so it’s back to old school vial and syringe for the day. Immediate bolus in car while sitting in the parking lot. 2nd crisis in as many days averted.
 
Shooting up in my car
This picture I owe a massive credit to a friend who taught me how to take a pic with no hands!
 
Moral of the story? Well aside from being late to work two days in a row because of having to make emergency insulin purchases, don’t forget insulin! Have insulin, will live. Above all, when all else fails? It’s fucking awesome that I can walk into any pharmacy and buy the precious elixir and something sharp to get it into my body with. Thank you 24h Shoppers Drugmarts.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"HTFU" she says

I am Canadian. I, like most cyclists, quite dislike the indoor trainer. Nothing like spinning to nowhere while sweating up a storm for hours on end. It has its purpose but this post isn’t about that. We race bikes and so we can’t let our bodies go to mush for the 8 months of the year where it’s cold. We do what we can with what we have.

I made a pact with myself in the summer to acquire the proper winter riding gear and get outside on the weekends as much as I can. Weather depending of course. I DO have a temperature limit to which my body would surely freeze into a solid block of ice. During the week I’m short on time and don’t have the hours required to get outside. I mean, fuck, getting dressed for a winter ride is already a 30 minute ordeal.

So here is my system. My secret methods of things that work for me (or sort of work for me). Keep in mind I am not one for cold weather so if this works for me? It should work for anyone. It's all about the gear. Cost is the unfortunate factor because for high tech quality cycling gear you might want to take out a second mortgage.


We’ll start at the hands. I will say first I have yet to find a glove combo that works. This is a fleece glove under a wind/waterproof lobster shell mitt. My hands were pretty okay this past weekend UNTIL we made a fairly long slow decent back into town. As soon as we stopped working hard enough our fingers froze so bad I wanted to cry icicles. I usually always have problems with cold hands and feets so I’ve never been able to keep my hands warm, just mildly tolerable. Oh and the snot thumb sleeve is 110% an absolute necessary!

Yeah that's tape on the toe. It's covering a hole.

Feets? Totally different world of absolute misery. I don’t understand it but it’s as if my feets don’t produce heat at all. Blocks of concrete. I also have a lot of problems with numbness on any regular (even summer) day because of pedal pressure. As a result of that issue I can’t wear thick socks even in the winter. On top of that is a toe warmer. Then the shoe and a thick winter windproof bootie. This means my feet don’t freeze solid but it certainly doesn’t keep them warm.

Note: toe warmer still stuck to sock

Moving on up. A pair of thick winter cycling tights. They have rad stirrups as well as over the shoulder bib straps. They’re relatively weather proof in that they keep the wind out for the most part. They aren’t overly insulated so I wear knee warmers underneath – a tip lovingly tried and tested by my Ryan. The tights don’t have a chamois so a pair of bibs is necessary unless you’re masochistic.

Count: 6

Up further to the core of the machine. Long sleeve quick dry base layer on top of sports bra and heart rate monitor strap. Then bib shorts, then tight straps. On top of that I have a short sleeved cycling jersey then a thin semi-transparent lightweight rain jacket. I learned this trick from Shelly. It helps to hold some heat in because it’s not overly breathable. Finally on top of that is my team jacket. It’s the warmest jacket I have. It’s fantastically windproof but not so much waterproof.


Lastly I have a thin buff around my neck that I can pull up when I need it. I don’t like having fabric over my mouth and nose, it makes me feel uncomfortable and the eventual condensation from my breath freezes. I also have a rather thick toque under my helmet that covers my ears. Super important.

So yes, getting ready for a ride is a FEAT. No joke, it takes me almost 30 minutes and I’m usually sweating like a whore before I can get out of the door. Whores sweat. Also all of these items are stupid expensive so it took me awhile to collect 'em all.

So far it’s been okay. A couple weeks ago we were riding in wet snowy conditions which coated our brakes and derailleurs in a thick solid ice and rendered them useless. My back brake froze solid and we couldn't shift out of our big ring. We won’t be riding in a lot of snow again. If the temps get much below -10C (not incl. windchill) I think that might be pushing it for me.

Landrys plug!

The last problem is frozen water bottles. They are good for about a couple hours. Unfortunately the lids freeze and I’m left to dehydrate and die. My other friends have been smart and put a wee bit of liquor to help prevent their bottles from freezing. However, due to my physical inability to process alcohol and the resulting sick-fest if I do, that isn’t an option for me. I thought about minty fresh mouth wash… but that would be gross. I read online about closing the bottle and placing it upside-down in the cage. It freezes slower. I’m going to try that next weekend. Maybe I'll write about it along with the "attempt at managing diabetes" in the cold also.

So it’s kinda sucky. One might simply say, “You’re fucking crazy” and I wouldn’t deny that for one second. I am forever grateful to the company – especially friend and team mate Shelly. It helps to have another crazy person to share the stupidity with. In the end it’s rule#5 that drives us. “HARDEN THE FUCK UP”.