Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Disappointing Neuro Visit

I finally got in to see my neurologist last week. My original plan for this year was to train for this Sprint tri at the end of June and then set my sights on an Olympic distance race at the end of September. And maybe even start weaning off the Topamax.

However, after Wildflower, I started to work like crazy and not get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is the enemy of head injuries. Plus we're in the Build phase of our 16 week triathlon training plan, which means less volume but more intensity in the workouts. Intensity is also the enemy of head injuries.

So instead of being able to report that I was working out more than ever and feeling great, I had to say that I was having more headache incidents and my aphasia and short-term memory loss was getting much worse.

The memory loss, in particular, made me really want to wean down to 50 mg of Topamax but the increased headaches made me want to increase my dosage to 100 mg. It was a dilemma. 

The good news is that I did eight hours of working out the week before and the working out itself, as long as it didn't get too intense, didn't really seem to bother me. It was really everything else the was doing me in.

My neurologist was actually pretty good about it. He didn't say "I forbid you from doing Santa Cruz Tri and lowering your meds." Which is good, because that kind of authoritarianism would not have sat well with me. He said that I'm an adult and I have to chose how to balance my meds vs. my headache episodes vs. my working out. However, he said he would play Devil's Advocate and ask me if signing up for the Olympic tri was wise.

Of course it's not wise. I already knew that!

We agreed that we'd just keep things the way they are. I haven't actually signed up for it yet so my options are open. If I get faster and keep doing the Y Tri workouts on Saturdays, I'll probably be biking the Olympic distance soon anyway and I already swim that distance. So it's really just the running. Which means I could maybe do Santa Cruz Triathlon as an AquaBike or maybe do some other race in that time frame that's a Sprint if I want the full monty.

As for the medicine, I'll stay at 75mg for the rest of the season and wait for the off-season to think about trying to wean down.

I'm also supposed to get more sleep. Dr. Brain said that if I get enough sleep that should make a big difference with my aphasia. I have been getting more sleep and it has helped so that's good.

He also said that even though I was disappointed, that overall he's happy with my progress and that I'm in much better shape than I was a year ago. He has a point.

A year ago I was getting ready to do CA Sprint Tri as an AquaBike and was only able to workout one or two times a week and was barely able to work out more than 90 minutes at a time.

It took me 24 minutes to do the swim at that race and almost 75 minutes to do the bike! Plus I felt like I'd done an Ironman afterwards. I was bushwhacked.

This time I plan to do the swim in under 20 minutes and the bike in under 50 and then go out and run a 5k afterwards. And I don't plan to feel like I've climbed Mount Everest and then need sleep for a week either.
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