Either way, I need self care.

I had to go to the ER yesterday for mysterious chest pains. I’d say I’ve had about five episodes of chest pains within the last two or three weeks, but it was so fleeting that I wasn’t too concerned. It was more like I was aware. But they really only lasted about 20 seconds. It wasn’t such a pain that I struggled with it, it was more of a pulsating feeling with a light pain that simply let me know it was there. I was concerned, of course. It would sometimes happen at work when I am sitting at my desk, but most of the time when I was relaxing in bed.

But yesterday was different. I was at work, extremely busy. It’s been that way lately. The owner has been trying out new things and making changes, but it actually seems like he’s trying to give his employees ulcers and run his business into the ground. It’s the classic case of having a skeleton crew and working them into the ground, also compromising the integrity of the company. It’s been extremely stressful, but I have been pretty good about pushing on and sweeping my stress under the carpet just to get the job done. It doesn’t always help that my other office coworker is friends with upper management and can get away with doing less work and focusing more on personal matters, such as gossip, her cell phone, and anything else she feels like doing that isn’t work.

Anyways, back to my episode yesterday. I was taking and making a lot of calls, multitasking, and the chest pains happened again. My chest also felt tight, my hands felt slightly cold and tingly, and it started making me feel anxious. I felt weak and wondered what would happen if all of this lead to me losing consciousness at work. I wanted to take a break so I could process what was happening to me and relax to see if these sensations went away. But the phone was still ringing, my coworker was busy arguing for almost an hour with her bank about a missing deposit on company time, and I didn’t know where my manager was. I tried to keep working and ignore it, and it was unfair that I couldn’t just immediately create some space for myself to deal with my chest pain. I started getting more upset and anxious, and finally my manager walked into the office. I decided I needed to leave. I told her I was having chest pains and I should go. She seemed concerned and said of course I could leave, and I should call the doctor. I called the advice nurse in my car and she said go to the emergency room.

My chest pain went away on my way to the ER, but I needed to make sure I was okay. I got an EKG, some blood tests, and a chest X-ray. Thankfully, the tests they ran for my heart all came back good! I was very relieved. The doctor told me that she suspects my chest pain has been due to either acid reflux or stress. She asked if I eat a lot of acidic things, and I said not particularly. She told me to take note if I get chest pains again, and keep what I ate in mind. Honestly, I don’t even experience any of the other symptoms of acid reflux, so I am not going to dwell on that unless it’s further looked into by my doctor. As for stress, I told her I have been dealing with a lot of stress lately, and I am well aware that I usually sweep it under the rug. Most of my stress is from work! The only other things I have stressed over lately is my cat, and then I had to spend money on my car recently because one of my windows was having issues. Perhaps I believe I can mentally handle my stress, but maybe my body is tired of suppressing it.

And why wouldn’t my job be the main source of this stress? The fact that I felt I was too busy working to take a time out and concentrate on my chest pains is a sign of how stressful my job is. I had to make the decision to put myself first when I shouldn’t have even had to decide. I should have just walked away from the desk once I knew something was wrong and just left the damn phone to ring and ring. But no, I have to be too responsible and can’t let things in the office fall apart. Why should I even care that much at my own expense. Everyone else shits on that place, why should I allow myself to stress the way I do?

I am supposed to follow up with my doctor about my ER visit soon. I don’t know for certain what has been triggering the chest pains, but I do know I am stressed. The doctor said I should definitely spend more time on self care. I will because I don’t do it enough. And I should do so without explanation.

That back pain

I never wrote about that visit to the physical therapist.

I complained about my back pain, arthritis, and getting out of shape when I posted about the Tough Mudder and Spartan Race I did. I was expressing how disappointed I was and that they were the weakest races I have ran ever since I started racing in 2014. All because I slowly just stopped going to the gym due to the pain I experience. The lower back pain would discourage me. I would go to Body Combat class with plans to “take it easy”, but I’d still grumble in pain and stretch my back in between each track. It felt disheartening to try doing what I used to do and it would just hurt. Body Pump class was out of the question. It just made my lower back ache. Of course I would go on the elliptical, but it’s just not that fun. I’d like to do all my fun things again.

I’ve gained all my weight back that I had before my fitness journey. My knees bother me. My back started hurting to the point where I got sick of it and went to see a physical therapist. He took a look at me and had me move around a bit, says I have an anterior pelvic tilt and I need to do certain stretches every day to correct it. He said having a desk job for 12 years is a likely cause of the pelvic tilt.

I am wondering if doing squats and dead lifts, without any awareness of the anterior pelvic tilt, is partially what caused the lower back pain. I read that it would make the pelvic tilt worse if you keep arch in your lower back. Maybe that’s what I was doing to aggravate my lower back, causing the arthritis problem. When I am able to do weights again, maybe I should start off with Body Pump class, low weights, and just test out my form to protect my lower back and avoid anterior pelvic tilt.

I am afraid to jinx myself by saying anything, but that particular back pain hasn’t been affecting me for a couple weeks. I had the back pain for almost a year, so of course I am terrified of going to the gym and ending up in pain again. But I NEED to go to the gym. I want my fitness back again. Maybe all I need to do is take baby steps and have a lot of patience.

Tough Mudder 2018

I’m doing Tough Mudder on Sunday! I’m both excited and concerned.

tough mudder 2018

I did my first TM in Spring of last year. It was Tough Mudder Half. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to try a Full race. I volunteered the next day to get a sweet discounted registration. I was supposed to do the Full race a year ago, but it was postponed, due to the awful fires in that area.

At that time, my fitness level was declining because I had been dealing with some abdominal pain issues and it was getting in the way of my training. I ended up getting laparoscopic surgery earlier this year to remove a couple cysts. I lost an ovary and my tubes. The cysts had low malignant potential so they had to go. After I healed from my surgery, I thought I’d be ready to jump back into my training, but I lost a lot of motivation. I think part of it is because I cant do things I used to be able to do when I was training a lot harder. I lost strength and endurance during that time I was nursing pain and focusing on my well being.

It wasn’t only the surgery. This year I had one molar extracted and a root canal on another molar. I kept getting recurring toothaches for both those teeth and tooth pain is way too miserable for me to want to push myself at the gym. I finally got both those teeth dealt with, so this year so far I have gotten rid of a tooth, a nerve, an ovary, and my tubes. All of them were causing me pain and hindering my performance.

There’s one more things that has been causing me pain and I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with it. (Yes, being in my mid 40’s has brought some changes. It wasn’t too long ago that I was wondering why I even pay medical insurance because I never even need to go to the doctor. Well, that changed.) Anyways, I also have arthritis. Sometimes my joints ache in certain areas. It comes and goes in different areas. Sometimes it leaves me alone for a while, and sometimes it stays for a few months. I first experienced it in my hands. One time it affected my feet really bad and the doctor said I probably have plantar fasciitis. But they ended up feeling better after a few months. My latest issue is my lower back. My joints ache and I have pain in my lower back and hip areas. I often feel like I need to pop my lower back. It’s annoying. I haven’t been wanting to lift weights or do any jumping. Sometimes I have good days and I’ll go to the gym, but I have that fear that I am going to annoy my back even further. With that being said, I have not trained properly for this race.

I’m just gonna do the race and be cautious, try to make the best of it. If I can’t do something, or shouldn’t do something, then I won’t. If I end up running a “Weak Mudder” race, then I will just end up doing the race again one day when I am in a better physical position to accept a greater challenge. That’s the best I can do. I hope I surprise myself this weekend without suffering after.