Blog changes

Thanks to everyone who followed Training Because I Can! over the last nine years. This blog started with Addison's Disease, hypothyroidism and a crazy idea of doing an Ironman distance triathlon. My life has changed and so has this blog. I am using this blog strictly for Addison's Support topics from here on out. I hope to continue providing people with hints for living life well with adrenal insufficiency.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm in medical limbo. I haven't missed this part of getting diagnosed and treated. I'm thinking I will c

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stuff is going on

Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Here's a rather boring report about what's going on with me. As usual, bold used so you can skip some or all of this!

That limping I was doing, the use of the elevator, the sitting to get my pants and shoes on, all legitimate. I've got a stress fracture of the femoral neck. I'm on strict orders to use crutches and keep weight off the right hip at the very least until I see the orthopedic doc. It hurts a lot less now that I'm not walking on it.

What did I do to cause this? No one knows but here's my theory...My bone density is excellent, running training was quite reasonable. I think it was a combination of factors, not enough cross training, wearing Crocs to run in when my heel hurt, and basic hormonal problems (Addison's, hypothyroid, low free T3, lowish estrogen). In addition, I kicked the hell out of a couple of things after the aching started and that probably put me over the edge. I also tried to ignore the pain for a couple of weeks before seeking treatment. I suspect many of you feel as I do, I feel like a hypochondriac every time I go into the doctor's office or mention a pain at home. I try to avoid going to the doctor's office unless I'm in a lot of pain or really sick.

What now? I'm on crutches and trying to learn how to carry crap around at the same time. I need to keep weight off the leg. Nuclear bone scan today or tomorrow and an appointment with an orthopedic doc Saturday.

Excellent small town medical treatment! Right from the start, I was treated very well by our local medical staff. I was able to get appointments immediately when I requested them.

  • The first appointment with the NP was excellent, upon finding out I had hip pain, she was not shy about bringing in a medical text book and going "by the book" in trying to diagnose me. I refused an Xray and MRI, dismissing my pain as muscular. She prescribed some physical therapy.
  • Dan Streubel, the physical therapist and athlete, listened to my concerns, treated my pain and suggested that I get the MRI (several times!).
  • I saw my GP about some thyroid adjustments last week, he treated the thyroid stuff quickly and then got going on the hip (I didn't really talk about it, just limped into the office). He told me I had to go for an Xray immediately and set up an MRI for yesterday.
  • I got the MRI, my appointment was 30 minutes late because the door was frozen shut on the MRI trailer. Welcome to Idaho!!! Because I'm not a patient patient, I walked immediately to the clinic where I bumped into the GP to tell him I had done the MRI and I wanted the results when he had a chance.
  • Noon Tuesday, I got a call telling me that I had the stress fracture (not going to say who but thank you!!). Well, I freaked out a little bit because I was hoping for tendinitis or something. I called the local clinic IMMEDIATELY and got a walk in appointment for 1:30 pm. I was seen immediately by my GP. He gave me some basics, kept me from freaking out, arranged a bone scan, gave me lab orders, got me an appointment with the orthopedic guy much earlier than the girls at the appointment desk could.
  • 8 pm Tuesday, I got a call from Dan, my physical therapist, checking on my mental health. Good call Dan!
I'm incredibly pleased that within hours of my MRI, I knew what the basic problem was, had an idea of what I could and couldn't do and had a follow up appointment set.

What now?
  • I've got to figure out what caused this despite my good bone density and weight bearing activity. Low estrogen??
  • Catch up on stuff I've let go over the last few months of running :)
  • Create a workout program that allows me to maintain my fitness without hurting myself.
  • I'm exhausted. Need to figure out what the hell I can do to not be so tired, headachy and nauseous. Adjust my hydrocortisone amounts? Adjust my hydrocortisone schedule? Both?
  • Research about healing stress fractures and getting back to walking.
  • This is an excellent opportunity to set new goals and complete goals that were avoided because I was too busy.
That's enough for now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I took the elevator

You've read it right! I took the elevator. It's something I try to avoid doing whenever possible.

Here's the situation. About 3 weeks or so ago I had my thyroid meds lowered, concurrently, I had a small groin pull. I seem to have developed tendinitis in my hip from a combination of aggravating the pull (kicked stuff HARD with the bad leg twice) and, I think, from lowering the thyroid meds. Tendons in my thumbs became painful during that time as well. Hypothyroid symptoms went nuts. I got my thyroid meds raised and the tendons in the hands and most hypo symptoms are decreasing.

The hip is not so good. Hurts pretty badly. I went to the doctor who referred me to PT. The Physical Therapist's office is on the second floor. I went up 2 stairs and then turned around and went up the elevator. Me using an elevator is a definite indication of the degree of pain I'm in!

The doc prescribed 20 mg pred for three days, 10 mg pred for three days and 800 mg of Ibuprofen. Here's the Addison's thing. She had no idea how or if I should take my hydrocortisone in addition to the pred burst. I highly doubt there's been any research on the subject. I'm nervous about this 20 mg of pred, it's equivalent to 80 mg of hydrocortisone. I will not waste the extra energy that's going to happen from this amount of steroid!! I'm already shaky and sweaty from it. I don't think I've ever had too much steroid before because this feels really weird. I hope I don't get super fat and mean from the pred, that's generally been the case when I've taken it before.

Anyhow, this is too much writing and probably boring to read. I have continued the streak (against my better judgement and the judgement of my husband but completely in agreement with the OCD part of me). It didn't feel good so I brought a cocktail along to the treadmill, some Ibuprofen on board and got it done.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

School's out! Although the temp here says -21, there are places in the Valley that are -30 or they wouldn't have canceled school. I can't wait to move to somewhere warmer (2.5 years to go)!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A laugh for the ladies


This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.

Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my husband purchased a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor, and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started!

The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines.. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today, very inspiring!
Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.

WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members.. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning, and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why the heck would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other crap too.

THURSDAY: A__hole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny b___ to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine-- which I sank.

FRIDAY: I hate that b____ Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the darn barbells, or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

SATURDAY: Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..

SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today, so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun-- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Streaking, Day 21

After 21 days a habit is formed, right? I've hit 21 days and created a habit. Here's what I've learned:
  • It's not as bad as I thought it would be
  • My garage is really cold (less than 30 degrees when the outside temp is 0 F)
  • Crocs are good walking shoes on a treadmill
  • Pull ups get harder and harder, even just 3 of them
  • I can walk in pajamas
  • I actually like starting my day off with a walk
  • I can type on my computer and walk 3 miles an hour, I'm doing it right now
  • The world would be a better place if everyone in the US would walk a mile a day

Monday, December 7, 2009

Unicorns and other stuff

One of two unicorns I saw yesterday

Unicorn #2

Unicorn #2 making silly faces at me

Buffy looking out from behind Travis' ice art

I spoke too soon about the migraine, got a small one Saturday morning. It wasn't bad since I had taken extra HC (for the busy day of party preparation ahead) and Ibuprofen for some pain in my hip. I recovered quickly and got on with the day.

We considered Festival of Trees 2009 a success! It may not have been a huge money maker for our local hospital but it ran smoothly and our guests appeared to have a wonderful time. Pictures and updates on the event at a later date.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Still streaking

Nice view, does it look like it's -15? It was.

Only in Idaho, a pickup truck bed full of mounted moose heads

Another view of the moose heads

Festival of Trees at MD Nursery, Driggs, Idaho

The streak of at least one mile a day and three pullups continues, about 18 days in a row! I'm on the treadmill right now, walking slowly because I have an ouch in my hip..

I haven't run in days because of Festival of Trees, a fundraising event for our local hospital. I am cochairperson with Milissa and we've been working hard on it for months. The actual event is tonight. This week has been tough because it's been so blasted cold, the hip hurts and FoT is taking up all of my time. Anyhoo, FoT has been great because I don't feel the least bit guilty about not running on the hurt hip. I'm exhausted and taking an extra 5 mg of HC but still falling asleep very early.

Good news, NO MIGRAINE for the third month in a row!!! I'm attributing this to doubling melatonin the week before the expected migraine. This is the longest I've gone without a migraine in about 4 or 5 years. For me, migraines are NOT stress related. I'm under a lot of stress right now!!

Although I've been consumed with the fundraiser, I'm still thinking about next year's running goals and how I will accomplish them. It's imperative that I keep thinking about the races because many application deadlines are looming for events that will happen in the spring and summer of 2010! Next week I will submit several applications and commit myself to a few things.

Full moon setting over the Big Holes, -10 degrees F

Monday, November 30, 2009

A few pics from Saturday

Mamma and her baby (laying down) in the Willows by the Teton River. Heather and I were glad we were on the road with a fence in between and some traffic, just in case!

Saturday was a gorgeous day sunny and "warm". We probably had a high of 40, woo hoo!

I had company on my long day and it was great. Heather alone for some, Joanne and Heather for some and just Joanne for some.

This is probably the last time I'll see the pavement of the bike path. Winter is coming.

Only in Idaho! Behind the clouds, trailers, gas tanks and dogs are the Tetons.

Spuds are being planted.

Joanne does my work! There were two bald eagles in the trees. As we approached, they flew closer to us, swooped over the lake and disappeared. BEAUTIFUL. I only had my phone and didn't get a picture. It was the only time, all day long, that I didn't have my camera!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Risk taking part of being healthier with chronic disease?

Someone on the Addison's Support Forum got me thinking about why some people with Addison's are healthier than others. My answer was:

I think there's a common thread that runs among those of us who live our lives normally. We research our diseases, keep copies of our labs and research. We're probably not considered the most compliant patients either! We hand doctors highlighted journal articles, question "normal" labs (and back up our questions with documentation) and suggest more up to date treatments and protocols than are being offered. Most doctors need a little boost of knowledge because they treat so few Addison's patients. There are so few of us that we can't expect them to read the latest journal articles about our condition on their own. We have to find the info and share it with them so they can treat well. We also ask to be tested and treated for comorbid conditions. Most importantly none of us are willing to settle for feeling ok if we can feel normal.

What I wrote above got me wondering if those of us who consider ourselves to feel well also consider ourselves risk takers? If you're a "healthy" person with chronic illness, do you consider yourself a risk taker? I can think of a few of you that I know personally, through email, phone calls and/or blogs that I would consider risk takers and you're all well despite a chronic illness or two or three.

Risk taker needs a definition: someone who risks loss or injury in the hope of gain or excitement

Are you unafraid to speak up to your doctor, follow your instincts with educated choices or ask the medical profession for what you want and need in order to gain good health despite the potential risks?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Day snowshoe

Looking up the trail

Looking down the trail to the valley below, Sawtelle Mountains in the background

Trail treasure! I think this is a backpack that has water bladders. It might be used to put out hot spots during a controlled burn. I will return it to the Forest Service office today and find out exactly what it is.

Grouse print in the snow

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dark Horse Book's tree design

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope it's a great day for you and you spend it with the people you enjoy.

I'm going to make a couple of pies and then go out for a run. When I get home, I'll make some turkey breasts and taters. Yum! Later in the day, we'll go to Milissa & Mike's house for desserts.

Speaking of Milissa, she and I are cochairing the Teton Valley Hospital Foundation's Festival of Trees. It's the only fundraiser that the the TVHF will hold this year. Please see our ad. It's going to be a fun event with a Las Vegas theme. We will be auctioning off some beautiful trees and wreaths. For pictures of past year's Festival of Trees or this or join the group on FaceBook, Festival of Trees 2009. Come look at the trees and wreaths designed by local artists at MD Nursery (Hwy 33, Driggs, Idaho) from November 30 - December 4, 9 am to 6 pm. It's FREE, come and enjoy!!

O'Brien Landscaping's wreath design

Thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a fantastic day!


Friday, November 20, 2009


Robert Opel streaking at the 46th Academy Awards ceremony.

Did I get your attention?

I'm going to see how many days in a row I can do (walk/run/crawl) one mile a day and three pull ups each day.

Why? Cause I feel like it. My friend Colleen "streaked" last year, inspired me and now I'm ready to commit to my streak.

My streak started on November 18, 2009. I'm three days into my streaking!

Do you have a streak that you're going to do, if so, post it in the comments. I want to know what your streak is.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Running analogy

My new friend Sarah, great on the uphills and finding trail!

I don't believe anymore that life is an out-and-back course. I don't believe that I've circled the cone and am headed to the finish. I don't believe that what hard will be easy in the second half.
I believe now that life is a point-to-point course and that we don't have any idea what the distance is. We don't know how far we'll have to go or what we'll find around the corner. We don't know if the next few miles or years will be flat and fast or rolling. And, for sure, we don't know where the finish line will be.

Runner's World Magazine, December 2008, John Bingham

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Patients Turn To Online Buddies For Help Healing

Addison's Support Forum

Patients Turn To Online Buddies For Help Healing

Morning Edition, National Public Radio. Click the link to listen to the audio.

A woman types on her computer.
Increasingly, patients are sharing and learning from experts and other patients like them through social media Web sites.
text sizeAAA
November 16, 2009
When Americans go looking for information on health, they turn to the Internet as one of their first sources. According to a recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 61 percent of adults say they look online for health information. There's a term for them: e-patients.
Most e-patients go online to read about a health condition. But that seems almost passive compared to the way a small group of Internet-savvy people are connecting to get their health information.
About 20 percent of e-patients go to Internet and social-networking sites where they can talk to medical experts and other patients, says Susannah Fox, with the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
"They are posting their first-person accounts of treatments and side effects from medications," says Fox. "They are recording and posting those podcasts. They're tagging content. They are part of the conversation. And that, I think, is an indicator of where we could be going in terms of the future of participatory medicine."
This reflects the growth of social-networking sites. "The Internet now is not just information," says Fox. "There is a social life of information online. And people are using all these tools to connect with friends and family, to connect with health professionals. And people are accessing a much deeper level of information now than they were five years ago."
Ahead Of The Medical Community
Fox says patients are far ahead of doctors and hospitals when it comes to using the Internet. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, only about 17 percent of doctors say they use computerized medical records.
Fox says a growing number of patients are tired of waiting for doctors to share information. "The patients on the vanguard, who understand what's at stake, are saying it's not meaningful if I can't use it," she says.
So they're going to Internet and social-networking sites that allow them to put their own medical data online.
Microsoft last month introduced My Health Info. And Google has Google Health. People use these sites to enter their lab results, or track their blood pressure or cholesterol over time.
The sites say they used advanced encryption, firewalls and other technologies to keep private information secure.
Power From Knowledge Sharing
Jamie Heywood, who created another site called Patients Like Me, says people are used to tracking all kinds of personal information online. So they don't understand why they can't get the records that their own doctors can order up. "What's sad is, you know, they order all this information, and they get it back from the lab, and it comes back in this rich electronic format with all this information on it," he says.
"And in an ideal world, you'd be able to get that raw information just like you can on your credit card for every transaction you do in the world. But you can't in health. It's immoral."
Heywood created Patients Like Me because he was trying to find out about research advances that might help his brother, who later died of Lou Gehrig's disease.
Heywood's site is still small; about 50,000 people have joined. But they come together and share personal information with others who have the same illness, such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia or bipolar disorder.
Heywood says he came to see patients gain power when they share medical information — even the most private of information. By sharing on social-networking sites like his, Heywood says patients can make better choices about their own care.
"The amazing shift is that we've pushed out this concept of sharing," says Heywood. "Which is to say: If you share information about your own experience with this disease, then we can facilitate the conversation that you want to have with the person in the world who is just like you — whether they live in Vancouver, Canada or Australia, or down the block."
You can find another patient who knows what you're going through, says Heywood, someone who "is on the same treatments, is dealing with the same side effects ... whatever variable matters to you at that moment. To find out whether your concerns are justified, they make sense, whether you're doing the right thing — that's the transformation."
The Pew study found that 39 percent of e-patients already use a social-networking site like Facebook. And mobile devices are making it easier. But the source patients say they trust the most remains a traditional one: their own doctor.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This week

Teton Valley, more specifically Victor, looking east to west. Big Holes are the mountains in the back of the picture.

First off, my apologies to those of you who have emailed me. Most likely I have not emailed you back. I'm sorry! I enjoy the emails I get and they bring a smile to my face. I haven't been able to pull myself together to respond properly!

As far as Addison's goes, I'm feeling well. This disease is interesting, it seems to change over time. I've always been a morning person and that has not changed. Now that I'm getting up early, I'm falling asleep EARLY. Staying up until 8:30 or 9:30 has been a struggle. I used to be able to get less sleep and go to be later. Not so much. My concentration in the morning is good, come evening, forming sentences and coming up with words can be a little bit of an issue. I just have to rearrange my life to accommodate my body.

Below are pictures from one of my care taking jobs and from a couple of runs.

The baby is getting bigger. She's 5 months old.

For reference, the same horse 2 days old

Me and Cisco's nose, he's quite friendly and wants me to pay attention to him, not his baby sister

Runner girls on the Horseshoe Challenge loop, out and about before the wind picked up

Runner girls coming off a really steep section of trail

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Red Creek again

Red Creek again. It's my current favorite. It's so peaceful and quiet when inconsiderate motorcyclists aren't illegally tearing up the trails. This loop is supposed to be non motorized. See next picture for the inconsiderate motorcyclist who continued tearing up the muddy trail despite me telling him the trail was non-motorized.

Recognize this inconsiderate guy?

Rant off. There were tons of deer, moose and squirrel tracks. No bear tracks at all. Whew!

Squirrel tracks (?) crossing the trail.

Fresh moose tracks going down the gulley

Duck footed Dusty tracks coming up the hill.

If you look closely, you can see the imprint of my knee in the bottom, right corner and my hands on the left side. That was quite a slip! It didn't hurt.

The result of my slip.

Sometimes a girl's got to take a break on the trail for a smoke. They're Lights.

Warm spring in Red Creek.

This looked like a tree giving birth to another tree. Yes, I'm a little weird.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some pictures

Nancy, Heather, Margaret and Suzie in Moose Creek

Short summary: I'll continue doing the blog. I'm so glad you people don't find it boring or at least too boring for me to continue. I've been feeling well and I think I'm having a breakthrough with the migraines. I've been migraine free for a couple of months now. I will dedicate a post to this in a couple of days. I started a FaceBook page called Trail Runners of Teton Valley (see the box to the right) and I've been able to run with some new, wonderful women. It's been great having company, laughing and sharing stories on the runs. Below are some pictures from the last two weeks.
Rudi today. A perfect hiking companion

Dolly (dog), Rudi, Tammy, Nancy and me


Dolly and I at Aspen Trail. I ran some miles in Crocs!! I've got a sore spot on my heel and the Crocs didn't rub the sore spot. It's fun trying something new.

Bridger (dog) and Joanne up near Mike Harris. Big Holes in the background.


A big pile of barbed wire in the ditch

Allison's favorite tree house

A barn in Teton Springs

Harley is tall and wearing jeans to run! Heather is his wife.

Teton Middle School Librarian, Kim, got the kids lots and lots of great new books. She let me touch all of the brand new books first!

A big moment in my son's development. He's eating sautéed mushrooms and onions.