I started last Friday morning out with a visit to my doctor. After self-diagnosing on WebMD all week and contemplating whether to start Zane Grey, I was hoping to finally get some answers and hopefully make my decision to race an easy one.
It was an uneventful appointment as we went through the motions - vitals, questions, where does it hurt? How long has it hurt? Turn your head and cough.
"Hmmmm", said the doctor. "I don't feel anything like a hernia."
"Perhaps it's a femoral hernia", I said with the confidence of my honorary online WebMD doctorate.
"Possibly. I'm going to send you for an ultra sound just to rule it out", said the doctor.
"In the meantime, I'm going to write you a script for some anti-viral medication called acyclovir. I think you might have shingles."
For some reason, I've always associated shingles with the elderly and leprosy. I'm almost embarrassed to tell people that I have shingles. Turns out, it's a lot more common in folks my age than I believed - people just don't bring it up in casual conversation because (1) you get a rash and (2) the rash can occur in unmentionable places.
Varcella zoster is the virus that causes chicken pox. If you've ever had the chicken pox, you still have the varcella zoster virus in your body. It lays dormant in your nerve roots until stress, age, injury or disease somehow wake it up...
It basically hurts to walk, lay down, cross my legs, stand up, sit down, climb stairs or sneeze. Heat and ice are the only thing that temporarily help reduce the pain. I have a few small bumps from the rash - starting the medication early seems to have limited the effects of the virus...but it still hurts like hell.
As you may have guessed, the ultrasound came back negative for a hernia.
I did take some time on Friday to sulk and feel sorry for myself since I had to formally pull out of the race. While it wasn't an easy decision, I know it was the right decision. I have way too much respect for that distance and trail to attempt it while injured.
I made the decision to head up Friday afternoon and help out where I could supporting friends, taking pictures and crewing when possible. I had a good time and was able to refocus my energy on enjoying the view from the other side of the trail for a change.
Zane Grey will be there next year. And so will I.