Sunday, March 6, 2016

Listen to Your Body

Everyone I know tells me that I'm impulsive. 100-mile bike ride? Sure. Marathon without training? Sure. Swim 2 miles on a Friday? Sure.

Normally I'm okay after all this stuff. A little soreness never hurt anyone. But a little less than 2 years ago, about... Two days after I signed up for my first triathlon, soreness was the least of my worries.

David, Henry, and I went for my first bike ride EVER. My excitement compounded with my nervousness led to anxiety, which triggered a panic attack, and ultimately gave me an asthma attack. My heart felt like it wanted to rip itself out of my chest.

A trip to urgent care ended up with me having to be taken to the hospital crying of chest pains. Despite multiple tests, x-rays, and EKGs, doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong. When I followed up with my primary care physician a few days later, they prescribed me an inhaler and to be a little more careful.

Here's the thing: I know I stress my body out a lot. I don't rest enough between double workouts, and sometimes when I work out, I'll double up the workout just to see if I can do it. My body usually cooperates and will react with soreness, but you can imagine my surprise when three weeks ago, my chest began hurting again.

At first, it was a dull gnawing pain. Last week, it felt like my lungs were filling past capacity and pressing against my chest. The other day, during my swim, I was taking in a breath between strokes and felt like someone stuck a needle into my heart.

Every time, the pain would last 10 minutes at most and then I'd forget about it. Still, these are signs I need to pay attention to. Your body doesn't complain if it's OK. It tells you you need to listen.

This morning I woke up at 4:30 to get ready for the LA Tri Series triathlon, but a sharp chest pain led me to drive myself to urgent care instead. I'm irritated because I know something is wrong with my body, but to doctor chalked it up to "getting older and creakier."


He sent me off without diagnosing anything. But really, unless I'm having a heart attack, he says it's muscle soreness. I don't believe him.

What do you do when you're in my position? Seek out another doctor? Am I just a hypochondriac?

Sigh. Trying to listen to my body here, y'all. Bueller?

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