I apologize for leaving this blog to crumble for about the past 10 months. I’ve hit a most unfortunate road block in both my career, and my life. I am believed to be suffering from Esophageal Motility Disorder, atleast that was the last prognosis. This disorder from what I read is an irreversible destruction of a type of nerve within the esophagus walls. To explain this further and tell my story: here goes nothin:
I’m swimming in the MiamiMan 70.3 Iron-distance triathlon when suddenly I have a strong desire to gag. That leads to a good 3 or 4 minute waste of treading water gaggin and retchin to high heaven. I thought I was going to have to pull out of the race, however as soon as I made my turn towards shore I reminded myself of how hard I’d worked to get there, and how much it would mean to me to finish. So I waited, and waited for the episode to stop. When it finally ceased, I restarted my swim, made it through the rest of the race and won my age group. That marked the end of the season so there was no real way of seeing if my swim episode was a freak accident or really something to work about.
In the coming months I felt the desire to gag throughout every pool workout and ocean swim. I couldn’t figure out why this was occurring so I pursued the matter further. First step was the pediatrician. I told him my story and he was stooped. More time ticks away, I can still ride a bike and run, however getting more swim practice in is a catch-22. I bounced from one doctor to another and stumped all of them. I can’t remember how many I was examined by, however I will always remember one thing about going to any doctor. I don’t think many people realize how annoying it is to go to a doctor and have them come back and say, “Sorry, I can’t help you I have no idea what’s wrong with you, you’re one of the healthiest patients I’ve ever examined.” Thanks for the compliment doc but I’ve got a real problem here.
In February I did my first bike race. Long story there I’m afraid it would make this post too long. However I will say that it was the first time I ever experienced this problem on the bike. It was an unbelievably windy day and after I had been dropped by the peloton at mile 12 I had to stop on the side of the road and gag for a few minutes.
Then, on a Saturday morning store run in March, I was running faster than ever, a 7:30 pace up and down A1A. Just south of Carlin I felt the feeling coming on. “Oh shit this ain’t gon be good.” I thought. I got to the Blue Top water station and it struck with a fairly delicate blow compared to other episodes, so I continued after it died down and made it home. That was the last time I completed a Saturday store run.
Then moving on to the Tomoca Triathlon in Ormand Beach, FL. I went up to do this sprint so my Grandmother living in Daytona could come see what I can do. I was mostly worried about the swim, made it through that by slowing down the pace. I made it through the bike, by slowing down the pace and by chewing gum, which long story short reduced the symtoms in the early stages. However, then I got to the run. At the end of mile one…I was sure death was near. I stopped on the side of the run course and just kept gagging and gagging, barely able to catch my breath. I was curled up in a sort of standing-fetal position, trying to….survive. Long story short, I made it through the race.
There are SO SO SO many more stories I could tell you, in much greater detail, however I’ll make this story the spark notes version and if anyone would like me to write up the full story of all I’ve been through just put it in the comments.
So finally some light at the beginning of the tunnel. Yes I’m aware that’s not how that saying goes. I saw a chiropractor, who found a reverse spinal curve from a car crash and was finding the vertebrae in my neck were pinching nerves in my throat that help you throw up when it is actually needed. And he was right. We fixed the spinal curve through very aggressive therapy. And the gagging feeling stopped for good. However then a new problem arised. This one more dangerous than the previous. This feeling became most prevalent out on the bike. This feeling was even more impossible to describe, with months of being in a vegetable like state I’ve come up with a light description that doesn’t do it much justice. This feeling is one of throat tightness, throat blockage, and disphagia. Luckily it was only affecting my physical activity and my regular life was still intact, however that all changed in August. Where my life was severely affected by this problem. There was nothing I could do but suffer. I stayed with the chiropractor who encouraged taking the Alcat food sensitivity test. So that test was taken and we got back a list of food intolerances. Which in other patience (one’s he found to have Candida) combined with SimplySilver, fixed their problems and they were healthy once again. When I got my test results back saying no Yeast overgrowth, it completely threw Candida to the wind, and now I believe the 7th specialist was stumped. Luckily I tried seeing an 8th specialist only a few weeks ago, an internist at Good Samaritan Medical Center. He found it to be acid-reflux problems by just hearing the symtoms. Although, once he got his own blood tests back, his verdict is Esophageal Motility Disorder and refered me to a pediatric GI specialist at the University of Florida & Shands hospital for a consultation and that’s hopefully where I’ll be on Tuesday this week.
I’ve missed an entire year of my life. I haven’t riden a bicycle in 10 weeks, I haven’t run since March, and I haven’t swam since longer than I can remember. I just hopped in the pool and kept perfecting technique and suffering suffering and suffering some more. Now nearly all technique has been mastered, in all 3 sports, I’m just pleading with God to let me do what I love doing again. It’s been the roughest road, and it’s been one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever been through, and I’m still not out of the woods yet by a long shot. I’m just begging that this will make me a stronger athlete than I ever was, and I can soon resume my goal to win Ironman Kona.