Transcendence

Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Mar 30, 2017

Setbacks

I had the follow up with the retina doctor on the 24th - good news initially. The bleeding in my eye had resolved, there was nothing wrong with my retina and it was time to get back to life. Stop the atropine drops and resume my normal activities. I think he may have forgotten how crazy some of my normal activities were though...

I planned on easing back into things, did an easy four mile run that day and then a five mile run Saturday. Two short mountain bike rides over the weekend on very non-techy trails and things seemed good. Sunday night had no issues and I could still see just fine. Monday morning, woke up, went for a little longer run and noticed the fuzziness was back. Exact same presentation as before - lots of small black floaters and gradually reducing visual acuity. Crap, crap, crap. With calls placed to the triage desks of both the eye and the retina docs, I went to work and pretended everything was fine. But I knew something was going on again. Finally got some appointments scheduled - one with the retina doc and one with the eye doc. Maybe this time we could actually figure out what was going on and causing me to lose my vision in my left eye.

Retina doc - well, it started bleeding again, but the pressure isn't as high as it was last time. Retina is still intact, so bleeding had to be coming from the lens chafing against the iris. Resume atropine and go see eye doc bright and early. Grr... with my luck, the lens had shifted in the capsule and would need to be removed and replaced. Bright and early was right - my appointment was at a time reserved for the "blue hairs!" Got there, settled in and waited. Pressure way done from even the day before! So that was good - the blood in my eye was draining this time. The eye doc was able to look at the capsule and identified the incision from the cataract surgery way back in 2005. And he wasn't as worried about the lens shifting since he could see the capsule and it looked good. His opinion? While there is always the possibility that the lens has shifted and is rubbing against the iris, it didn't seem as likely. Chances are the blood vessel that started bleeding back on the 15th had clotted up, but the scab had jarred loose when I started running again. Hence the return of the fuzziness and black speckled floaters. At least that is the hope! If that's the case, then I just need let it fully heal.

But there in lies the issue - the jarring of running is what we think caused the re-occurrence. So no running for at least another week, if not two. I can ride as long as I avoid jarring - so staying on the easy trails and avoiding the rocks. No intensity restrictions this time around, so my workouts on the bike are still a go. It's just the running. One week without running puts it at April 5th - two weeks the 12th. The Rattler Trail Race 25k is on the 15th - there's no way I'll be able to race. More hopefully, but still unlikely is the Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race 25k at the end of April. I've already had a week and a half with minimal running and haven't gotten a single long run done since the beginning of March. Palmer Park is technical running with lots of jarring. I have to be smart and do what is best for my vision. If that means I have to skip all the running races I signed up for so far this year, that's what I'm going to do. Hopefully I'll get an all clear to start short, easy runs at my next follow up in a week. Even then, key words are short and easy. I'd rather be able to ride my bike hard on chunky trails this year so giving up some running will be a small price to pay!

Mar 23, 2017

Behaving

Eyes are hard. Once the vision started coming back in my left eye, it's been a challenging week. I still have restrictions on what I can do and how hard I can do it. No running, no lifting, no mountain biking. Walking and trainer rides - as long as I keep the HR down and don't get crazy doing things. But nothing "feels" wrong - there's no pain like with an injury that would limit mobility - just a little photophobia and now resolved cloudiness in my left eye. That has made behaving even harder - since nothing really seems wrong. I should be able to get out, hit the single track and get some solid workouts done. I should be at work, doing something useful. But I'm not - I've been at home, doing my best to stay busy within the limits of what I am allowed to do.

Trainer workouts - but keeping the HR under 130 so I don't stress the eye too much. Walking to and from the library, and around the neighborhood. Doing easy chores around the house - like scrubbing bathrooms and decluttering. No lifiting heavy things around the house, so I haven't done anything like vacuuming. Even that doesn't take up that much time - so I finally made new pillow cases for the throw pillows in the living room. Yes - it's been a long, boring week - made worse by the nice weather outside. Somehow, being stuck doing trainer rides doesn't seem as bad when it's cold, blustery and icy outside. The motivation to head outside for an easy run is also minimal when the weather is snowy and nasty. This week has been awesome. Sunny, warm and perfect for lots of big hours on the bike and on foot. But I've been behaving - hiding in the basement, heading out for a few easy strolls. Have I mentioned that I hate walking?

I think the hardest part about this has been missing the Run Through Time Half Marathon last weekend. There was a great weekend planned with running, Boathouse Cantina, and then mountain biking the S-Mountain trails. I knew when I was sent to the Retina Consulitants that the chances I would be able to race would be minimal. After all, if something is causing me to lose the vision in one eye, I need to behave. One race is less important then my vision at this time. So I stayed home, trying to stay away from the photos on Facebook. Hard to do when nearly all my running friends were partipating in either the half or the full marathon! I pick my races carefully so I'm ready to perform at a solid level, so missing one race is hard mentally. I know that the season isn't shot just with one missed race and one more easy week. I'll probably come back from this even stronger due to the forced recovery. That is the hope anyway.

Tomorrow morning is the follow up visit. The vision in my left eye is back to normal, with the exception of the photophobia from the eye drops. I'm hopeful I'll get cleared to return to full activity - or at a minimal be able to run and ride outside! But I also need to ask a few questions. Like - what caused this and how can I prevent it from happening again? What should I do if it does happen again and how should I manage it if it does? What are the long there complications I need to be aware of and what is the risk to my vision? Lots of questions... And I know I've had this conversation with the doctor, but this is an new issue - so the conversation will be warranted once again.

Mar 16, 2017

Beware the eyes of March

Okay, so it's a bad pun. Ides of March, eyes of march - makes for some nice word play to lighten up my cranky eyes. Yes, my eyes are "special" and for some reason, they really don't like March. At least the left one. The left one is absolutely my Brutus, stabbing a dagger into the best of plans. Back in 2011, it was a retinal detachment and small tear that had me taking an unexpected month off. But I bounced back from that, finishing the Xterra West Championships in 10th. It wasn't pretty, coming off the couch to attempting to race, but I managed.

Well, this time it's a little different issue that's keeping me from playing. Not another retinal detachment, but something even rarer. Of course - me and my special eyes! On the Ides of March, the vision in my left eye started getting cloudy. And kept getting cloudy until by the evening I could really only see general shapes. No details at all. I was doing my notes at work with my left eye closed so I could focus on what I was typing. Today, the cloudiness was still there, still bad and light really hurt my eye. Just my left. My right was fine. Not one to be optimistic about my eyes, I called the doc and they were able to get me in - but that only ended in the dreaded referral to the retina specialist because they couldn't see through all the material in my eye. Not normal at all - and the cause of the cloudiness. Now the issue was figuring out what was causing the increased pressure and hemorrhage in to eye. The poor retina doc - he walked in the room shaking his head "you weren't supposed to be back to see me ever!" Same doctor who did the surgery in 2011 to repair the detachment, so he's very familiar with my eyes. This time? After an ultrasound of my eye to make sure the retina was intact, and far too many bright lights into dilated pupils, he diagnosed me with Uveitis Glaucoma Hyphema also known as UGH. It's a very rare complication from cataract surgery, when the artificial lens starts rubbing against the iris, causing bleeding and irritation, which increases pressure inside the eye. Like I said, special eyes that don't like being normal...

So now the question becomes why. Why is the lens now rubbing against the iris? Before we can figure that out, the excess pressure and blood inside my eye has to go away. Normally, it should resolve in a few days or a week - as the iris stops bleeding and fluid starts draining normally from my eye. But for that to happen, it means no jiggling or jouncing of the lens so there is no irritation on the iris. Guess what that means - no running or mountain biking.... So much for my half marathon this weekend in Salida! I was looking forward to a fun weekend running and riding with Amber. But now, gotta stay home and chill out. Hopefully, it's just a week of super easy, super chill strolls and trainer rides and I'm going to behave. Eyes are too important.