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James Wanless

this is where I write

2017-04-08

When it rains, it pours. Or, something like that. I’ve documented some of my previous issues this winter – multiple bugs, including a two week doozy over Christmas, and a dislocated shoulder chief among them. Even just in terms of said rain, March was utterly dismal and a week into April, things haven’t improved much.

Back attack

At various times, I’ve also alluded to a lower back issue that’s gone on for well over a year now. It started in early 2016 as a small flare up after runs, and slowly progressed to the point that it was constantly tight by late in the year. It presents as a QL muscle or perhaps SI joint issue, and has been plateauing for the past three or four months. If there’s a slight silver lining, it’s that it isn’t too problematic for cycling unless I climb a lot or do longer rides (the kind I like).

I had an x-ray back in November that didn’t show much, and have been working through some moderate physio and had little relief. Thursday I opted to go to my old physio for some IMS, or as I like to refer to it, needle torture, in the hope that something a little more invasive might trigger the muscles to relax. I’m pretty sure I got 50 needles if I got one and, two days later, I’m still waiting for things to settle down.

I’ll need at least two or three sessions and some manipulation before I’ll know if it’s helping in this case. I’ve found IMS to be hit and miss in the past, so I’m loathe to make any predictions. While they aren’t necessarily very conclusive in these cases, I’ve got my doctor getting me an MRI, as it seems strange for this type of thing to be going on this long.

Gutsy

About the time my back began to plateau, around Remembrance Day I also had a pretty intense gastrointestinal attack, the details of which I’ll spare you. Suffice to say, I was damned lucky I just happened to be off work for the week because I doubt I would have been able to anyway. As the runs on the first couple days gave way to several days of constipation, bloat and a complete lack of appetite, I dropped about three pounds that week.

I went to the doctor at the time and he wasn’t really prepared to order any tests unless my symptoms went on for considerably longer. Things were back to normal after about a week, but in the four or five months since, I’ve had a couple smaller flare ups, including one I’m dealing with now. I just visited him again last week and had some blood taken at the lab. At present, we’re just looking for obvious deficiencies.

Should I suffer another, I suspect I’ll be looking to begin all the tests (including the joyful colonoscopy) to eliminate all the more serious things that would point to an IBS diagnosis by elimination. Given the pattern that’s emerged, I suspect that’s what I’m dealing with, particularly in the absence of any of the red flag symptoms that typically suggest something more serious.

I’ve always had somewhat sensitive digestion, but nothing like these last few episodes. I’m also ready to test a total FODMAP diet for a week or two, to see if I can reduce my food sensitivities.

Had my fill

Between the horrible winter weather we’ve had, getting sick a bunch, dislocating my shoulder, my gut and my back, I’m really done with this shit. As you might imagine, my cycling and running have taken a major hit this year, easily down by more than 50% from what it would normally be. No racing so far and none planned until things chill a little more.

I know it’s not all going to suddenly resolve like rain clouds parting to reveal sun, but there are also a few glimmers of hope. The winter bugs seem to finally be done and the shoulder is probably about 95% at eight weeks, with just the tiniest range of motion tightness remaining.

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