Thursday, July 28, 2016

Suck me, tick!

I really do think about posts to write all the time, but No, not really. No excuses. Eventually I will get back to regularly posting - that's how it seems to go. Ebbs and flows, after all.

So, Lyme disease. Just one of an ever-expanding cadre of tick-borne illnesses. As a life-long hiker, runner, and then trail runner - I have had remarkably little personal experience with ticks... *dramatic pause* UNTIL LAST YEAR!

Starting with our trip to upstate NY last June, I've now had a considerable amount of experience with ticks and their awful bacterial infections. First, my dad and brother contracted Lyme disease. They were lucky in that they presented the classic "bulls-eye" rash which, coupled with their overall feeling of unhealth, lead to an early diagnosis. Then, about a month ago now, Devyn found a tick crawling on her thigh while we were sitting on the porch. Two days later, a pimple appeared on the back of her leg, which turned into a large, black, swollen, painful open sore. A day or so after that, she began feeling lethargic, feverish, had a weird pressure in her head, and eventually developed a spreading rash over her extremities that moved onto her abdomen. The fever did not abate when she started Keflex for her was only until she started doxycycline that her symptoms began to improved within the first 24 hours.

THEN, about a week ago, I found a tick latched onto my calf after a run. I removed it and thought I was in the clear until this past Tuesday when I realized that I was sick - Neck stiffness, interocular pressure, nausea, body aches. I started doxycycline about 36 hours ago and the symptoms are starting to go away.

So, here's a great article that sums up everything I've learned about tick-borne illnesses. I promise you, a lot of what is talked about in this article will be new information.

Here some takeaways, both from the article and from the other reading I've done and conversations I've had with medical professionals over the past year.


1.) Ticks can transmit disease in about 10-15 minutes of attachment. Not 24 or 48 hours I had always been told - They had to engorge and then de-gorge in order to spit their bacteria into you.

2.) Remove a tick with tweezers or a pair of credit cards. Don't burn them or cover them with Vaseline or any of the other home-remedies.

3.) Tick-borne diseases are on the rise. This is due both to better understanding of the diseases and hence more diagnosed cases, but some research suggests that it's also due to the spread of the various strains of the bacteria across the country, like the type that causes Lyme.

4.) Some types of the illnesses are treatable. Generally, this treatment is always doxycycline (or perhaps doxy with another antibiotic as well). The course of treatment needs to be AT LEAST two weeks if not longer. I will also mention that my dad, for instance, had his Lyme treatment extended because the first provider he saw correctly diagnosed the Lyme, but then put him on the incorrect antibiotic.

5.) The symptoms of the different tick-borne diseases are varied, but after talking to at least dozen people who have had Lyme - The one thing that seems consistent is that everyone felt sick, but felt weird, too. This is really not science-y of me to say, but I did think it was interesting that everyone said that before they finally went to the doctor, they knew the were sick, but it felt different than any other sickness they had experienced previously. Common complaints from everyone were headache, coupled with neck/shoulder stiffness, and a feeling of pressure in the eyeballs.

6.) Many doctors are not very experienced with tick-borne illnesses. There is not a significant amount of time spent in medical school discussing this topic. Devyn graduated from NP school at fuckin' Yale, in the forested and tick-filled Northeast, and there was no talk about Lyme disease, how to differentially diagnose it, or how to treat it. If you think you might have been bitten by a tick, you should be well-informed before conferring with your healthcare provider...unfortunately, there still isn't a highly-accurate standard test for a patient that may have early-stage Lyme or other tick-disease. Here's a link to some of the tests that can be performed, but from what I've read, it's still pretty tough to exactly diagnose a tick-borne illness in the first stage (a month or two sometimes).

Ok, that's all I've got to say on this right now. I felt compelled to write this because I've really been surprised at how different some of the information is online regarding ticks and that many articles still include the older information on how to deal with them. Also, I've been surprised how little experience most health care providers have with tick-borne illnesses. More so than if you have the common flu, you really need to be your own advocate if you're concerned that you may contracted a tick-borne illness.

Ok. That's it. Enough enough. Let me know if any of this sounds unreasonable or woefully mis-informed.

Bridger Ridge Run next month. Really pumped!

Monday, May 23, 2016

McDonald Forest 50k and summer plans

Three days? Two nights? Safe to assume old Edwin Starr was a back-of-the-packer.

I compose blog posts in my head on a daily, near-constant basis...which might surprise you, as I have been posting less-frequently than ever during the past couple of years. I don't know what to tell you.

Well, I do know what to tell you, I guess...the McDonald Forest 50k in Corvallis, OR is a real nice, real fun time. I ran OK and finished 9th in 4:35. I met Josh Z. in person, which was a real treat and should the opportunity ever present itself, I encourage you to do the same. Josh is a class-act and showed it by running with his cosmic heart and not his earthly head and ran his fastest Mac 50k for 3rd place.

I am really happy to have back both the enthusiasm and physical health necessary to run ultras! It's been a long, weird couple of years with regard to running and I feel more "myself" now that I'm back boss jogging like a motherfucker again. I also feel myself more.

A new leaf shall I turn and for fewer jerking-off jokes shall I yearn.

But oh boy dat grammar gonna stay sweeeeeet.

"You are my candy girl/And you got me wanting you."

It's funny how I certainly learned a lot from running trail/mountain races over the years, but after a a couple away from it, I had to re-learn some of those lessons over again at the Mac 50k. 1.) I really didn't taper or rest well leading up to the race. I never really used to worry too much about rest before racing, but we ran and hiked every day around Portland during the week and on race day, my glutes and lower back felt tired and sore from the sustained, steep hike we did around the Multnomah Falls. Philosophically (and verbosely), I don't know how I feel about that...on one hand, life is short and I want to make the most of our vacation and it would have been a bummer not to hike those falls on a beautiful day. On the other hand, I spent a lot of time running and getting ready for this race and I definitely short-changed myself by hiking and running a bunch beforehand.

I need to think...THINK! bout what I'm tryin' to do to me.

^^The Falls were pretty worth it.

The other thing I did wrong is what I think of as "The Classic" in terms of running errors...I went out too hard. I was too excited about racing, being around a bunch of people, and running in a new and luscious land...and I started falling apart around mile 19 and was passed by three guys before the finish who had each been pacing themselves much more masterfully.

So, yeah, I really would like to race again soon. And on THAT note -

D and I both got into the lottery for the Bridger Ridge Run in Bozeman this August...the course looks excellent and we are both really pumped! I haven't been quite this excited for a race in a long time - although I think that any time you win a lottery, the stoke level goes up...if/when I organize my own race around here, I may have to impose a "lottery" (which everyone who registers will "win") if only just to give the participants an extra shot in the arm of thick, oily, stinking, straight-from-Afghanistan STOKE.

Summer's essentially here. You are essentially holy. Go get you some blessed sacrament out there, Truey Gooey Balooey! It's all love (except for when it isn't)!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Escalator to Heaven

Whelp. Good times 'round the outpost. Knee was bugging me again (getting older. what a scam. dwelling upon this reality gets me looking for a sturdy rafter to hang a rope.) but as I've reiterated on this blog recently over and over's FINE. I'M TOTALLY OK WITH HAVING THIS KNEE PROBLEM AND IT'S A SET BACK I WELCOME AS OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH, MATURITY, AND AS A TEST OF MY GOOD JUDGEMENT. 

At this point, however, I just want to take a shit in the mouth of good judgement.

So, yes. Trials and trib's. Smiles and squibs. True lies and factitious fibs. 

I've been running the famous stairs in Bisbee quite a bit as going up doesn't seem to bother my knee. 

D, Papo, and our friend Celia givin' it on Staircase #5 of the Bisbee 1000 course, aka Stairway To Brutal Soul Death Infernal Choke Torture (no, not as pithy as "Number 5", but much more accurate).

Here's summoh a'dat staircase jam y'all lovin' - Number 8 and feelin' GREAT* 

*like jamming my thumbs in my eyes

Papo straight vogue'n like the saucy bitch that he is. 

Here's a sunset sky. Time for bed.

Spring has sprung and your time has come! Love seein' everyone out there getting a piece of the earthly action and gaining some traction with a side of satisfaction. You should be following me on instagram. It's where I post all of the dog pics. @pattythurber

(new legally changed name)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Alma, CO and whatnot

We took a quick trip up to Colorado to visit friends the weekend before last. So funny to think of how much time I've spent reading about Colorado and looking at pictures of it VS. how little time I've spent there. It's definitely on the short list of places we want to move to after AZ. Also, D and I are engaged and gonna get hitched next April. I know it's really corny, but...she's the best thing that's ever happened in my life and I can't believe she's willing to marry a mess like me.

View from our cabin at 11,500 ft. 

Using the oxygen concentrator we found in the closet. I'm not sure it did very much, although it seemed pretty useful for hangovers. I may have to invest in one. At some point in the future...when I have money.

Devyn, haughtily rebuffing Mt. Lincoln's lascivious stares. 

Back home in AZ, atop Miller Peak in the Huachuca Mountains. There was a med helicopter doing something near the ridge where we hiked. It landed and then shortly thereafter two black military heli's took over in the same spot. All told, there was about 4 uninterrupted hours of helicoptering going on, focused on the same little spot on the ridge. Being that this part of the Huachuca range is just a couple miles from the Mexican border, I'd assume it had something to do with illegal smuggling. Build it tall and strong, President Trump!

My knee has been acting up again lately. I must be gaining some intelligence in this arena, because 3 years ago a running injury would have sent me into a two day funk of drinking and depression. Now, I whine for about an hour and then dutifully get on my bicycle and ride the shit out of it. Still, it's frustrating because I feel really fit right now and would like to just run a lot. I've been doing a little jogging and hope to be back running pain-free in the next few days.

Nursing classes are going fine. The motel continues to be a source of irritating people and funny interactions with them.