I know what’s wrong with you.
It’s a phrase that usually makes me cringe. Nobody likes it when someone points out their flaws. Or worse yet, when your doctor tells you that there’s someone wrong with you.
That’s what happened to me last week.
For the last year and a half, I’ve been struggling with increasing levels of fatigue. I just haven’t been myself.
Right out of the gate…
No. This is not because I run marathons or even because I’m training for an Ironman. Obviously, that was something we considered, but all my doctors LOVE my level of activity. One said “I wish all my patients did what you do.”
So first I corrected my diet. I almost bought some of those expensive health shakes from a friend, but instead, opted to just try eating real food for a change. Dan and I did the Whole30 back in February of last year, which eliminated all potential allergens and irritants – dairy, gluten, sugar, etc. People claim that this diet gives them a level of energy they’ve never felt before. “Tiger blood” they say. Didn’t do it for me.
So I started chasing down other potential causes. I tried other cleanses. My doctors ran every test humanly possible. Everything came back better than normal. Basically I am the epitome of health ;), but I feel like garbage all the time.
Finally, this spring my doctor suggested I have a sleep study done.
“Maybe you have sleep apnea.”
That’s ridiculous, I thought. Sleep apnea is for people who snore and struggle with their weight. Plus, sleep studies are expensive. I think I’ll look into some other things.
But after undergoing a series of additional tests and second opinions and still coming up with nothing to explain my malaise, I decided to try it. I had exhausted just about every other option, and was literally tired of it.
Turns out the doctor was right. I have sleep apnea, a condition in which people stop breathing while they sleep. According to my study, I stop breathing up to 16 times an hour while I’m asleep. It’s bad news and can cause a host of other serious issues. But it totally explains why I never wake up feeling refreshed or well rested. It explains my brain fog. It explains my lack of motivation or normal capacity to do the things I want to do.
As crazy as it sounds, I’m so happy about it. It’s so great to know what’s wrong with me! I’m so relieved. I’m relieved to finally have an answer and a way to fix it. I’ll have to start sleeping with a device called CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) that will keep my airways open and ensure I’m getting enough oxygen throughout the night. Definitely not the sexiest thing and it might not be super comfortable at first, but I’m ok with that. I just want to stop feeling this way and get back to living life to it’s fullest.
All that to say, God’s grace has been sufficient and in my opinion, it’s basically a miracle that I’ve been able to keep training at the level of intensity I do. It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Ironman Wisconsin is less than 5 weeks away, and my biggest training weekends are staring me straight in the face. This weekend, I head back out to Madison to tackle my first ever century ride (100 miles), a swim in Lake Monona, and an 18 mile run. This is getting REAL, folks.
Most days, I feel like doing ABSOLUTELY nothing. But kids in Africa need clean water. I care, and so I run. Relentless forward motion. We will end the water crisis in our lifetime. I’m not stopping, no matter how crappy I feel, until we do.
Please donate – especially this weekend. http://www.teamworldvision.org/participant/sineadtris