Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Life is Never One Event at a Time

Something about a diagnosis seems so official. We hem and haw about what could be wrong with us all the time, but there's some freedom in not really knowing. Ignorance can indeed be blissful, as trite as it may sound.

A couple years ago, I passed out on a run with Kelsey and she took me to the emergency room, where she reported convulsions, spacing out, twitching, and loss of consciousness. Since an EEG came back with no positive signs of a seizure, anyone who wasn't Kelsey was skeptical that it was actually a seizure. I didn't lose bladder control (I'd say if I did, promise), and a few other lingering signs of a seizure weren't present by the time I arrived at the ED. I, along with those I care about, did the requisite mental gymnastics to believe that it was something else- something related to my diet, my sleep, my exercise habits, allergens, whatever. Shit happens, and it was back in 2013.

Summer has been clicking along uneventfully. Working 3-4 days per week provided just enough stimulation and funding to allow some freedom, being off school is allowing for some mental recuperation, and being on an unprecedentedly long uninjured streak has made me feel like a powerful runner. Zane Grey's post-race glow has come and gone, and I'm looking forward to racing the Tushars 93k in late July. Preparation has been going swimmingly with guidance from Chris Vargo, giving me confidence and consistency I've never seen in myself before.

Training and running, moving in the dry spring air, has been happily commonplace. At least an hour a day, up to 8 hours, has been spent in the high country, the depths of the Grand Canyon, or a few places in between.

Long runs from one end of this mountain range to the other are something I'll never forget

Hikes count as training, right? Chotto and I took a hike to Doyle Saddle

I'm sure there's a story here.

Two days later, a trip to the North Rim for 28 miles to the Colorado River and back. The home peaks off on the horizon, 200 miles away.

Dave Eaton, coming from Sea Level for some heat, altitude, and elevation gain. Dude has grit I can only pretend to emulate.

My intolerance of heat may keep me from ever being a true card-carrying Arizonan. 

"Too muddy to swim, too wet to plow" or something like that.

Being a student/underachiever for most of my life has kept me from having too much change lying around, but I fell into a job at which I'm fairly decent. Not "full suspension" level sales chops, but "pretty damn nice hardtail" level to be sure. The trails around here are begging to be ridden fast and seen from a different perspective.
Figured I'd better pick up a bike before getting injured.

I go through life assuming I'm thankful for it. Of course I am, because to not be thankful would be ungrateful or entitled, and those are bad qualities, and therefore not qualities I possess (this how I imagine that inner dialogue goes for most people, myself included. Nobody wants to be an asshole).

I awoke Friday morning, had a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit, and went for a ride while Kelsey had an appointment. A quick 10 miles on the trails, then home. Kelsey returned home, I ate again, and we drove up the mountain to go run the Kachina Trail. I've only got spotty memories from the rest of the day. I vaguely remember jumping off some rocks and passing a group of women who were enjoying some lunch on the trail.

Then nothing

Then I was eating a cookie on a group hike with Kelsey and four women. I had trekking poles in my hands, and I was sure I was going to die but had no idea why I felt this way. I talked to myself as if I was another person, as if I was pacing a runner through the ultimate shitstorm of a bonk. "Just focus. You can get out of here. You can't die here. You aren't done here yet. Focus." We were close to a well-used trailhead, and I was in the company of one of the most capable outdoor athletes I know, who I happen to share a life with, and a handful of compassionate hikers, at least one of which was a nurse. I didn't know who or where I was, though, so that didn't matter at the time.

Then nothing

Back at the car. I was talking. I think I was even laughing. I hugged two of the women who were accompanying us back to the car, and thanked them. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew they were helping us.

Then nothing

The car door was open and I was puking out of the car into the gutter as a couple people rode past on the bike path.
Leads from the EKG

The only superficial damage from the incident, along with a nice bite on the inside of my mouth. For getting dealt shitty hands at times, I'm a very fortunate person.

I have epilepsy. I'm still waiting on the details, but I experienced a partial complex seizure, making it my third one in ten years. Everyone gets one pass, maybe two if you're convinced it's "something else" like my family and I have been. From what I've been told, multiple seizures means epilepsy. Now to wind through the myriad of side-effects and prescription drugs that, so far, are less preferable than seizures. Challenges take on many forms, and this is mine for the time being.

My friends and family have been supportive in the past few days, and I haven't really found the best way to tell everyone, so this is me doing that. Kelsey has been wonderful, just as anyone who knows her would expect her to be.



  2. Well, it sounds like you have the right attitude about everything so far. If nothing else, it sounds like this is demonstrating that you're not alone in this. Good luck and have fun with your new two wheeled toy!

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  5. By the way, this posting problem of mine is getting ludicrous. I'm a damn computer engineer and I can't post a simple comment just once. And of late, 75% of my Facebook pictures get posted upside down. These are the crosses I have to bear...

  6. It's a road bump. This'll be small potatoes for you, once you're a year or two out on the diagnosis.

    You're already living the dream. I can't even come up with a better encouragement than simply: Continue.