Thursday, May 15, 2014


We all hit these from time to time!

Since my last post, things were still dragging in terms of my health, up until two days ago. I finally FINALLY got some answers. It's a small bump in the road for me, but we all have them from time to time, but I can handle this bump.

So, the last three weeks have been pretty rough for me. I have continued training trying to train. At times, I have really struggled, as some of my friends have been seeing. I played it out in my mind hundreds of times over...could it be stress, could it be asthma, could it be a freaking heart attack, could it be this, could it be that? One of my lovely training partner's, Leyla, has certainly heard the most of my whining during sessions, but has always tried to help me to stay positive. For that, I am grateful!

Most days I wanted to just throw in the towel with my training sessions, but as a stubborn, typical Type A triathlete, you'd never catch me doing that. Oh no! I think it certainly made it worse to not have any answers, so the stress of that weighed me down ever more.  My doctor had me go in for an echo cardiogram last week and thankfully, after three different doctors reviewed the results, there are NO issues with my ticker. That's great news!! So, doc, we've ruled out a lot of things which is great, but what the heck is wrong with me???

I decided to carry on and on Monday, we had a hard open water swim session. During the swim, my chest ached and it felt like it was on fire. I managed to do the session but paid the price that evening. The pain in my shoulder, neck and chest was pretty intense. At times the level becomes vomit level, which means it hurts so bad it makes me feel like I am going to throw up. I don't think I have ever quite experienced anything like it.

On Tuesday, I finally got an answer. I was diagnosed with Pleurisy. What the heck is that?  

From WEB MD...

Pleurisy, also called pleuritis, is an inflammation of the pleura, which is the moist, double-layered membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the rib cage. The condition can make breathing extremely painful.  The double-layered pleura protects and lubricates the surface of the lungs as they inflate and deflate within the rib cage. Normally, a thin, fluid-filled gap -- the pleural space -- allows the two layers of the pleural membrane to slide gently past each other. But when these layers become inflamed, with every breath, sneeze, or cough, their roughened surfaces rub painfully together like two pieces of sandpaper.
What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of pleurisy are chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. The chest pain usually starts suddenly. People often describe it as a stabbing pain, and it usually gets worse with breathing. The pain: 
  • May always be present, but it usually gets worse when you breathe in. You may avoid breathing deeply to prevent the pain. 
  • Usually pain is on only one side of the chest. 
  • May extend to the shoulder, neck or the belly. 
  • Is usually worse when you cough, sneeze, or suddenly move. 
  • May ease when you hold your breath or press on the painful area. 
So, there you have the basics. Pleurisy, in Tonya terms, basically feels like you're having a heart attack and the neck, shoulder and chest ache, never really goes away! Apparently, my condition was caused by a virus. Here's how....about two weeks before the time trial in April, Abby had a virus which lasted about 10 days. It was nasty! She was very sick and I contracted just a touch of it, but nothing to really stop me from my regular activities. Or so it seemed. Between having the virus and pushing myself during the TT when my body apparently was still harboring said virus, my lungs took the blunt of those two things and said whoa.... when the two intertwined, well, you get the picture. I have not been the same since. 

My training is still going. I am able to carry on as normal, but I can't push myself quite as hard as I was pre- pleurisy. I have to keep it on the lighter side, per doctors orders. Rest would be best, but anyone who knows me, knows that unless they strap me to a table, that ain't happening! 
As Sweet Brown would say...
I feel this most when I swim and run, and especially after. Yesterdays 3700 swim set has left me paying the price. My neck and shoulder have been in loads of pain since, and the burning sensation in my chest comes and goes. It is so annoying!! My runs are pretty lame at the moment, but I am managing. My cycling which was exactly where I wanted it to be a month ago, has taken a bit of a blow. I simply cannot push the limits that I was pushing a few weeks ago. So, as long as I keep it on the easier side, I can carry one. I have been told to listen to my body and just stop if need be. With this condition can come other risks such as collapsed lung and the pleural effusion etc. I certainly don't want that. 

So what's my plan? I still plan to race Lake Hickory in two weeks. I am currently planning my summer races and am going to stick to my plan. I have Ironman Augusta in September and I am most excited about that. The time trial was something that I really loved doing and I want to do them each month, but I cannot say for now if the June TT will be on my list. I certainly hope so. I may sit the June race out and hit those back up in July. It's a waiting game really. There's not set time for Pleurisy to go away. Mine should go away on it's own, eventually. I've been told it could be weeks, it could be months. It could go away and come back. I just don't know, but I do know that this is what has been haunting me over the last few weeks. I'm glad that I finally know and that it's nothing more serious. I can deal with this.

Thanks to all you guys who have expressed concern and listened to my whining over the last few weeks. It's just a bump in the road, it's slowed me down a bit, but it's just a small bump and I will get over it!


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