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Monday, September 3, 2012

it strikes again



As you may remember, I started training for a half marathon (which you can read about here) as a distraction from infertility as well as a coping mechanism for my life which had gone haywire. Having an achievable goal felt really good. Especially a goal that relies on my body which has failed me every month for the past several years. I was finally in control. Maybe I couldn't do anything about my body's inability to conceive but training for this run and accomplishing this goal was something that I could control. 

Right?

Not so much. 

A few weeks ago, I embarked on a 6 mile run with my girlfriend. At about 4 miles, I started experiencing menstrual-like cramping in my uterine area. I asked my friend as I have many other running companions if she ever experiences this pain. After clearing up that this is not "running" side-ache type cramps or GI distress cramping issues, she said no. Same answer I've heard from so many others. When I got home, I decided to do some research. Surely, someone else has experienced this. I can't be the only one.

Lo and behold, I found several runners forums with women expressing concern for the same issue that I'd been having. And almost all of these women have endometriosis and attribute the pain to the disease. Endometriosis typically goes undiagnosed for many years - a staggering 9 years. In a rather rare occurrence, one woman shared her story. She was a track runner in high school. But once she started her period, she started experiencing severe pain and cramping during intense workouts. After multiple trips to the doctor and an invasive surgery, she was diagnosed with endo at an early age of 17.

After further research, I discovered that the pain is caused when prostaglandins become inflamed. The inflammatory response causes restriction in blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow to the uterus and causing cramps. 

Seriously?!?! Endo strikes again. All my life I've wanted to become a mother and endometriosis is preventing that dream from becoming a reality. Through this infertility journey, I discovered that I enjoy running. And now this stupid disease is threatening to take that away too. I felt so angry and discouraged. 

When I told A about my discovery through huge sobs, he offered to buy me a horse so that I could go horseback riding instead of running (less intense so it won't cause pain). Yes, a horse....a huge investment and we don't even have horse property. But he wanted to give me hope and take my pain away. I'm so lucky to have a man who loves me enough to offer to buy me a horse!

So where does my running stand? 

I'm pressing on. I'm not ready to throw in the towel. But I'm up against a huge obstacle - one that I hope I am able to overcome. When the cramping and pain kick in, it's hard to keeping running. Then afterwards, I feel extremely fatigued and the cramps continue throughout the day.

But I've already invested six weeks training for this half marathon so I just want to finish what I started. To accomplish this small feat despite my pain. I don't know if I'll make it through the rest of my training and the competition but I'm going to try. This Sunday, I'll be tackling my 8 mile run, likely in pain for the latter half. After this half-marathon, I may never run long distances again but I want to finish this one...just this one. I refuse to allow this disease to take more from me than it already has.

17 comments:

Alana Christine said...

I'm sorry, girl! Try not to let it get you down!
You are definitely blessed to have a sweet husband who would do anything to make you happy!

Katie said...

I am so sorry! It is so hard that not only does that affect your desires to have a baby, but now a loved hobby too. You are such a strong woman and should be so proud of yourself regardless if you finish the race or not! I hope your run next weekend is better!

Alicia said...

Oh Jessah, I'm so sorry to hear this. As a woman with infertility caused by endo, I completely understand how devastating and debilitating this disease can be. You are so strong.

Ali @ Not All Dreams Are Free said...

You are truly inspirational! I too have jumped into a goal of (only) running 10km before my FET this month, and the training has been a bit hit/miss.... but you're courage and determination has just made me realise that every step toward achieving that little goal of finishing the distance, will be worth it. No more talking myself out of pushing further.... if YOU can run a half marathon (which is twice the distance I'm aiming for) and do it while you're feeling such cramping pain... then I CAN push harder to finish my 10km run this weekend. I'm pumped!!! I'm cheering you on to achieve your goal too Jessah!! Thanks :-)

Mrs. H said...

I'm so sorry. Did your doctor suggest surgery when you were diagnosed or any specific form of trearment? I can only imagine how hard this must be. Glad your hubs is so sweet and supportive.

Infertile625 said...

Eekk! That's makes me so mad for you. It's such BS that this is trying to beat you down. If I can tell one thing about you it is that you are one tough cookie and you will not let it win. Even if you have to stop (or slow down) running you will find something else. What if you added in some yoga too? Would that help with the pain & cramps?

Leslie Harris said...

Oh what a awful thing to hear. I'm so sorry. You continue to inspire me with your perservance and I'm praying for you. Keep us posted, and thank goodness you've got such a supportive husband.
Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

Lisamarie said...

I'm so sorry you have having to experience all of these obstacles. I hope you are able to have painfree runs. But... ummm... awesome husband. A horse?!? Please keep me updated on that. I would love love love to have a horse.

Heather @ A Little Hope in My Pocket said...

I'm so sorry. It's not fair. Cheering you on!!!

ADSchill said...

Ughh...I'm sorry. I can imagine a bit with PCOS and the horrible PMS I would have every month, but have no idea what it must be like for you. I hope you can find some relief and find a way to continue running.

J and A said...

Urg I hated reading this. :( I'm so
Sorry. You are so tough though I know you will just keep pushing forward.

Amy said...

I'm so glad that you found my blog! I'm training for a half marathon too, so I'll definitely be following along to hear about how your training is going. What race are you doing?

And so sorry to hear about the endometriosis :( I'm so glad to hear that you have a husband that will encourage you and help you through the frustration of it all.

Shannon Elise said...

That is sooo sweet that A offered to buy you a horse!! You so deserve one. :) I am sorry that stupid endo has found a new way to cause you pain. I have never had this with my endo, but I can only imagine the discomfort it must cause you. My monthly endo cramps alone are becoming more than I can bear. You are such a strong woman, Jess. You will find a way to beat endo. There may be no cure, but you will find a way to get your baby and live the life you want. It is a big, pain-in-butt obstacle, but remember, that it is just that...an obstacle. All obstacles can be overcome. I <3 you!!

RadiantKristen said...

Oh my goodness, that is a horrible situation! I'm planning on training for a half marathon in a couple of months, and I can't imagine having that kind of roadblock in my way. Your story breaks my heart!

Kerri Rogers said...

im so sorry! that is so sad. i can't imagine the pain of not being able to conceive. I'm a newlywed and i actually want to start to try having kids right away, somewhat in honor of people like you who can't. i bet it makes you sad to see people who are capable of having children purposefully not when all you want is to have one. maybe not but i imagine thats how i would feel. i think it is so sweet your husband offered to buy you a horse...seriously sweetest thing ever! i admire you for your perseverance!

kerrirogers@blogspot.com

Crystal Marie~ said...

I too suffer from endo and I am so sick of it affecting EVERY part of my life. I commend you for pushing through. I have experienced endo cramping during workouts as well and I have found that acupuncture has helped. Good luck to you and I wish you luck in your journey!
Crystal~
http://findingjoyinthejourney-crystalmarie.blogspot.com/

Ashley at flats to flip flops said...

So glad you stopped by my blog! I am now following you and we too struggled through infertility. It's such a hard fought battle! I admire your courage to share that part of your life!
Ashley

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