"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Saturday, February 2, 2013

This is Not

Going through a tough time once, a special Buddhist teacher taught me the phrase "This is not mine; this I am not; this is not my soul (self)"

Indian Ocean at Perth
I found myself down at the beach the other night, alone, calmly watching the water, the dogs and their owners, and the setting sun and suddenly that phrase came into my mind. I had just finished having a lower leg bone scan.

Considering some of my current, ongoing, lingering, and new health issues and my obsession with running, it's really no surprise that such a phrase would come back to mind.

But backing up...I went for another iron test a week ago. Despite having what some would call an obsession with healthy eating (I know about things like cruciferous vegetable and the iron content of almonds and the GI of potatoes), and taking a mega-dose iron pill every day, my ferritin is still low.

This is not mine. This I am not. This is not my soul.

Good news, haemoglobin is still up, so not anaemic again...yet!

Event traffic controller class this weekend - I'm a certified lollipop holder!
My sports doctor queried coeliac disease back in late November and I went off gluten. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects 1/100 Australians and 75% don't even know they have it. Environmental factors can trigger it at any point in life (though you still might not know you have it). Now, I'm back on gluten because apparently you have to see some inflammatory marker to detect it when they do the blood test. Day 2 came and I thought I was pregnant with my distended "wheat belly."

This is not mine. This I am not. This is not my soul.

My periostitis worsened after last weekend, such that we decided to get a scan on Wednesday (another needle, yay, only with bonus radioactive dye!). It said that I have "anterior cortical reactions" (maybe there's a stress fracture).

This is not mine. This I am not. This is not my soul.

A quick search of the literature (naturally!) revealed that signs of stress reactions are found in up to 50% of asymptomatic runners who never go on to get symptoms (e.g., Bergman et al 2004 Vol 183 Asymptomatic Tibial Stress Reactions: MRI Detection and Clinical Follow-Up in Distance Runners). After all, bone is continually remodelling all the time. It's like my sports doc says...you scan/image things as a last resort often because you're always going to find things...in my case, I'm an ultra runner, in middle age. There will be "stuff." So then it's a case of trying to weed out the relevant stuff, if there even is any.

New racers! Okay, maybe these are mine ;)
But this got me thinking...what if I am coeliac (which destroys your villi in your bowel, causing malabsorption of nutrients). Well, that would explain why I can't get my iron stores up without massive doses. What about these supposed stress reactions when I'm so very good about my diet, training (taking running breaks usually at least twice per year), and gradual load increases? What if I'm not absorbing nutrients? Gee, calcium is a nutrient.

This is not mine. This I am not. This is not my soul.

Time to mega-dose on calcium. But, wait! Calcium inhibits the absorption of iron (so no more cheeseburgers for you, dear reader!). That means I have to time my pills so that I don't have any near morning tea (tannins also inhibit absorption), and not near each other. Yikes, how complicated!

This is not mine. This I am not. This is not my soul.

Next week I will see the sports doc to discuss the scan results and next steps. For me, query MRI, query bone density test, query nutrients like calcium, query coeliac.

How many runners with a history of stress fractures could be coeliac and have malabsorption issues? 1 in 100? Maybe in the end, this won't be my story, but it's got me telling a lot of people to get blood work done. Regularly, if you do what we do.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the ETC class. Some of the lollipop holders earn $93K a year so Ive heard, so if you upgrade to the next stage might be a good extra source of funds. I'm thinking of doing it in the next few years. All the best with the maze of Iron, Calcium etc stuff...