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Running is Making Me Sick . . . Literally

Posted Oct 07 2011 10:05pm

I have not posted in a while.  I’ve been about as down as a girl who has run out of Nutella and peanut butter at the same time. Get under the covers down. Drink too many glasses of wine down.  Xanax down.

Running is making me sick.

Or I’m sick, and running is making it worse.

Let’s rewind.

I have been running for 15 years. In the past three, I’ve been struggling with some health issues. I could write a book, but instead I’ll share the symptoms:

Great, great fun it is to turn forty!

I’ve been to doctors (oh yes, insurance loves me!) After numerous tests and blood work I was told I was probably at the beginning stages of an autoimmune disease. Words like lupus and scleroderma erupted like hideous burps from the doctors’ mouths

I took Sulfasalazine for a while due to inflammation in my blood; it burned my mouth; I stopped taking it. The ‘big test’ they use to determine an autoimmune disease – ANA – came back negative.

I felt better for a while.

Now we are here again.

I’ve been sick with two nasty illnesses the past two months, both ‘undiagnosed’ but involving headaches, low fevers and fatigue; one involved ejecting all the contents – and more – from my stomach for a period of eight hours.

The first was diagnosed as fluid on the ear; for the second, every test they ran (strep, mono, flu, stool) came back fine. Only my WBC was a bit below normal.

I have done two runs in the past two weeks after ten days of recovering from the stomach issue:

After both, I spent four hours (yes, four!) reliving flu like symptoms on the bathroom floor or in my bed: chills, severe stomach cramping, fatigue, nausea and, at times, resting my face on the cold tile floor hoping I didn’t die.

I haven’t run in six days. I’m afraid to.

I can understand feeling a little yuck after the long run, but after the 6 miler? I’m used to that distance! And I was sloooow at that race. Halfway through I didn’t feel well and began alternating walking with running.

Two months ago, before getting sick twice, I’d hoped to do the 10K in 50 minutes; I did it in 63!

And still, four hours after the race I couldn’t walk across the soccer field for my daughter’s game without stopping to sit twice.

Something is making me sick. I have wondered for a long time if it could be running, if it is irritating my body, causing inflammation; but that doesn’t make sense – sometimes I can run just fine. In fact, before this last phase of illness I was running just fine!

Now I’m afraid to run again.

Then again, I’m afraid not to run.

Running has been my close friend, sometimes my closest, over the past fifteen years.  It has kept me sane. Normal. Happy. It has gotten rid of the yuckies and replaced them with fuzzies.

And it has helped me as I’ve struggled to contemplate life with a potential long-standing disease.

I was going to run three miles yesterday, but I got scared and left my shoes at the door.

Oh, but I want nothing more than to lace them up.

Maybe I’ll go for a short one today.

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