Friday, February 1, 2013

Lethargy and a Weighty Issue

Workout: 3 miles, 10:41 average

"A Weighty Issue"-a title I imagine has been used by every blogger at one point or another.

I didn't run yesterday as planned because there's something up with my health. I seemed to feel better this morning so ventured out for a planned 5 miles that turned into 3 as I realized I wasn't quite up to it. More on this below. For now, some pictures of where I ran taken a few weeks ago because frankly, I was just too tired for pictures today.


So my energy levels are really wonky and I can't figure out why. The last couple of days I've been pretty lethargic, light-headed, shaky, and in kind of a daze. My muscles aren't tired, but if I do something suddenly like run up some stairs, my heart starts to beat much faster than necessary and I feel faint. I've also had a hard time sleeping because for whatever reason, my heart has been beating really loudly (not quickly, just loudly, if that makes sense). Before we continue, I'll say that following the holidays, I made a concerted effort to stop eating anything and everything in sight, as had become my custom, in order to lose some LBs. It was more "only one piece of chocolate tonight" as opposed to severely restricting caloric intake, but it was enough that I should have noticed a difference after a few weeks. It seemed to me, however, that not only was I not losing any weight, but I actually seemed to have gained a bit. That is, until I was suddenly 5 pounds lighter. I don't know the exact timing because I only weigh myself every three or four days, but it seemed to be almost literally overnight. This corresponding with the whole shaky "tired" thing.

I feel like I should insert my "history with my weight" story here because that's what bloggers do, but I really don't have one. I used to be adorably and hilariously chubby until I suddenly wasn't (I guess that's what happens when you grow seven inches over the course of a summer), put on some weight in high school (apparently eating fries and a muffin every day for lunch isn't "clean" eating?), and then became probably the only person ever to go to college and lose 15 pounds (that's what happens when "moving" becomes part of your lifestyle). For the past six years, I've hovered around almost the exact same weight, regardless of whether I'm pounding beer every night or eating well and running a lot. If I were cheesy I'd call it my "happy weight"-you know, my equilibrium, the weight to which my body gravitates naturally. It seems that a three-month all-I-can-eat buffet has caused me to leave this equilibrium, however, leaving me about 5-6 pounds above where I'd like to be. Hence all this nonsense about not eating every See's Candy bordeaux I can get my hands on, which had become kind of a mandate.

There she is! Soccer-playing Jeano! Love this picture (and this girl).

That extremely long and unnecessary history is my way of saying that I don't think my low energy levels are the result of trying to drop a few, although it's possible that the massive amount of salt I consume on the reg was making me bloat-y until suddenly it wasn't, at which point my efforts caught up with me. I don't know. I'm leaning more towards an iron or thyroid issue.

I have an extreme aversion to doctors since their track record with me is rubbish (we can talk about this another time), but I'm going to get some blood tests done to make sure everything's cool inside this aged body of mine. It's actually a great time to do it, regardless of my energy issues, since I'm about to start marathon training and it would feel great to start off with a clean bill of health. I've been on the verge of getting a cold for what feels like months now, so hopefully that's all it is.

Questions, questions, questions:
  • Have you ever been anemic? Did you have any of the faintness/fast-beating heart issues I seem to be having? Or was it just an energy level thing?
  • Have doctors been pretty successful in treating you in the past? Or have they gotten it wrong every single time like mine have? That's not to say that doctors are useless, of course not, just that I've had extremely bad luck with them.
  • Chubby childhood pictures are awesome, right? Funny story: I didn't even realize I was a large child until a good ten years later when I happened to see this picture.


  1. Sorry to hear you are feeling that way =(. I have low-average B12 levels, which makes me really exhausted sometimes, but my sister has severe anaemia and b12 deficiencies. She can't bind B12 or iron in her diet, so she has to get B12 shots like every 3 months for four weeks and she has to get iron infusions about every year or half year. It just started, too, a few years ago. She was always anemic as a kid, but just took vitamins and everything was fine, and a few years ago it just got really weird and no one knows why. Anyways, so you should have your B12 levels tested, too, as well as homcysteine and methylmalonic acid tests (in some scientific speak my sister tries to explain to me basically those just help confirm/deny B12 deficiency).

    My sister's doctors still have no idea what's wrong with her and it's getting worse, so that's a big fail for her. I got a parasite in Africa a few years ago (2008) and came back and the doctors could not figure it out for the life of them...and eventually they were just like "well you had a parasite, but we can't find it now, so it's gone...but you'll probably have IBS-like symptoms for the rest of your life" awesome. thanks, guys! This was of course after they tested me for like a bajillion diseases/viruses/parasites, including HIV and Hepatitis!

    Hope you start feeling better soon!

    1. Good suggestion! I'll write down those fancy words you mentioned and see if I can pronounce them well enough to make the doc understand. I don't think I'm anywhere near as bad as your sister, which is good because that sounds awful! I hate, HATE going to the doctor so the idea of getting shots all the time is just terrible. Your poor sister!

      I had a pretty awful sickness a year and a half ago (104+ temps for a week straight and a fever of 105.2 one night which prompted a visit to the E.R. All this during 100+ NYC weather. Ugh) and the various doctors I saw couldn't diagnose it correctly either. At one point it was mono, at another just the flu, and then it was strep throat minus 90% of the symptoms someone with strep usually has. Finally, after a week of torture, I was put on antibiotics and felt better almost immediately. It was so ridiculous!!

  2. I went a few rounds with anemia a few years back. I'm generally a pretty upbeat person, but suddenly didn't really want to do anything (especially workout). I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning, climbing stairs left me winded, and I actually ended up with a heart murmur. <--- For a short time. While they were investigating it, I did anti-anemia things (iron, no blood donation, cast iron skillet, spinach, etc.). After awhile, there was nothing left to investigate any more. Weird, but very relieving.

    Eh, pretty good luck with doctors, but all this moving lately has been a pain in the bootie, in terms of developing a long-term relationship with a doctor. Mostly, I get anxious that I'm in the office for "no good reason"...thus why I let my iron drop so low before getting it tested!

    I would definitely recommend a blood test...and that you keep trying until you find a doc you like. Good luck! And don't panic - there are certainly anemia horror stories, but lots of times, it's easily treatable. I'm full of iron these days. :)

    1. So you DID have "heart symptoms" as well as general lethargy. Interesting.

      I'm also one of those people who doesn't go to the doctor until things are kind of out of control. The fact that I decided to go as quickly as I did this time is pretty remarkable and honestly, largely motivated by the fact that I'm about to embark on a new training plan. Normally I would wait until someone physically forced me to go! I guess it's people like me (those who don't bother with any sort of preventive care) that drive those pesky medical costs up...

    2. But so do the people who are in the office at the merest sign of the sniffle... I usually trust time, and consultation with a friend (or Facebook), to tell me whether I should go. Or, I try to figure out what I'd advise someone in my position. :) Anyway, hope it gets sorted quickly...

  3. Going to the doctor before training for a marathon is a great idea. It's always good to make sure your body is ready to take on such a large challenge. I've had good and bad luck with doctors in the past. I find that being overly clear and writing everything unusual down to report is important. When I was injured, I made sure I had a doctor who understood my love for running, and he's been great.

    1. I agree. I seem to have an issue describing symptoms ("You know, I just don't FEEL good. You know what I mean, right?") so I'm making an effort this time to document exactly what's going on. It will be nice to know I'm completely healthy (or, at least, know if there's something wrong) instead of just hoping that I am!