Monday, August 19, 2013

Always Trust Your Instinct

My running has slowed almost to a crawl (slower than my usual snail slow speeds and distances) based on my exhaustion, will to play harder rather than run harder, and my doctor's orders (not that I always do as I'm told). I recently had an alarming test result (everything is fine, I promise) which caused me to reevaluate my running, health, and diet. Takeaway message: trust your gut instinct.

Here's the bottom line good news: I'm healthy. Reading that may cause a "Duh, I could have told you that!" moment, but recently my doctor had me believe otherwise. Blood tests don't lie, right?

I'm not going to bash my doctor ( I really do like and trust him), but I am going to tell you not to be afraid to ask for a second opinion.

Here's the short story and how my blood test results relate to running.  Sit down, buckle in, and know that even my "short stories" can be long:

I became a new patient to my doctor at the end of May and part of his thorough new patient exam included a full work-up of lab tests.

After my lab tests, the days went by and I didn't think much about it. I wasn't worried until the doctor's office called me to come in for a follow up appointment based on the elevated results of my liver enzyme test. (Insert flashback to college drinking days.)

Based on my Complete Metabolic Panel- Fasting, my Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) was high at 68 IU/L and my Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) was high at 86 IU/L (normal range is between 0-50 for both tests). Clearly something was going on but what? My doctor discussed all possible issues that may be causing this elevation including possible Hepatitis C (Insert flashback to college tattoo and body piercing days).

I want to panic! But, I trust my instincts and in my "stay calm" mom-voice I ask, "Are you sure it is not from all my running?" I remind him that my first appointment with him in May was four days after I ran the Windermere (full) Marathon. My blood tests were done 24 hours after I ran the Seattle Half-Marathon in June ( I procrastinated getting my blood test done because it required me to fast), and now I'm sitting in front of him 24 hours after running the Missoula Half-Marathon.

At that moment everything changed. He asked if I was sore from my race and, of course, my answer was "yes!" That is when he sent me for more specific blood tests to determine if the enzyme elevation was specifically from my liver or rather from my muscles. Low and behold, my results were this:

AST 43 IU/L (normal 0-50)
ALT 41 IU/L (normal 0-50)
Creatine Kinase (CK) 337 (normal 37-158).

Bingo! Smarty diagnosis: I ran hard and I'm sore.

So, I'm following doctor's orders of playing more (with my kids because it is summer break) and running less. At least until September when I start training for the Savannah Half-Marathon in November. In the meantime, I may have found a supplement that will help prevent muscle soreness....

I'm so grateful to have my health as so many others are stuggling right now.  Bottom line:  Always trust your gut and keep your faith!