Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm still here

It's been a little over a month since my last blog. I had a small case of writer's block and then I was battling an illness that made even the slightest movements very painful. The last thing I wanted to do was type away on a computer. But I am much better now and I thought this would be a good time to catch you up to what I've been up to.

My June race was the women's fitness festival again this year. I really like this race. the 2010 race was my first event back into running after six years of laziness. Last year at this race I met Jaime and Scott from riseSUP.com. I won their raffle and took my first stand up paddleboard class from them and now, as you know, I'm hooked on SUP. This year wasn't as great as the past two years. I was not in the best shape and my time was a little disappointing (41:59, last year I ran it in 35:09) and there was a LOT of runners this year. However, this year was made special by my sister-in-law. She ran this year for the first time and she had a really good race. I have inspired her to start running and this was her third event, I think. The idea that I have inspired someone else to get active and healthy is kind of crazy to me but I'm truly honored. I must be doing something right. 
June 2010 37:06
June 2011 35:09
June 2012 41:59
This year has been a tough running year. I've been dealing with some odd foot issues since my first race of the year in January and that has lead to calf and hip pain due to over compensation on the part of my other leg and muscle groups. In addition to my injuries I've been sick a lot this year and it's been a horrible allergy season too. My most recent illness was another outbreak of my mystery pox. If you are a regular reader you might remember a blog I wrote back in February about my "I'm-sick-pox" (I also refer to them as "mystery pox" because no one knows what they really are). This time the medication I normally take to make the pox go away didn't work so I went to see my dermatologist. She's my newest doctor (I collect them apparently) and had never seen one of my flair ups. At first, like all of the doctors before her, she was very confused but she had a few theories. She brought in another doctor to collaborate with and the verdict is in. I have Eczema Herpeticum. To confirm this diagnoses she took a few culture samples and a biopsy from my back and prescribed some stronger medication. Here's some additional info on my condition: 

Eczema herpeticum, initially described by Moriz Kaposi in 1887, is a potentially life-threatening herpetic super infection of a pre-existing skin disease. Eczema Herpeticum occurs as a result of the eczema being infected with the herpes simplex virus, the virus that produces cold sores. It is important to avoid skin contact with anyone who has cold sores.
Normally, herpes simplex will be confined to cold sores around the mouth and is a routine condition. However, in a person with eczema the virus can appear anywhere on the skin. In rare cases, it can prove fatal. Despite the availability of antiviral therapies, eczema herpeticum remains a dermatological emergency today.

Eczema herpeticum appears in small clusters and looks like blisters or ulcers. These are initially filled with a clear fluid but this turns to pus. The blisters are scratched and become raw and weepy. The symptoms of eczema herpeticum may include a high temperature; an extensive rash with small skin blisters filled with yellow pus and you may generally feel unwell. The rash can cover the whole of the skin surface. Eczema herpeticum can occur when anyone with eczema, especially if it is sore and open has skin-to-skin contact with someone who has active facial (cold sores) or genital herpes. The cause of eczema herpeticum is always HSV type I. The exact patho-physiology is unknown, but it is thought to involve HSV entering the skin when skin barrier function is compromised due to dermatitis. Defective cytokine secretion in the affected skin also plays an important role. The severity of pre-existing eczema does not seem to dictate the severity of eczema herpeticum. Secondary bacterial skin infections are very common. A mixture of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria are commonly isolated, the most common being S aureus, Group A ß-hemolytic Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, and Peptostreptococcus.
If your eczema becomes worse for no apparent reason or you see blisters on the surface, medical advice is required. With eczema herpeticum the sufferer may have a high temperature and feel very ill. Be sure to explain all your symptoms to your doctor because this is not a straightforward condition to diagnose. 
The first indication of infection occurs 5 to 12 days after exposure to the virus and typically appears as multiple itchy, watery blisters that occur on skin previously affected by atopic dermatitis. If these blisters are not treated, they can become progressively worse as illustrated by these four stages of Eczema herpeticum: In stage one, multiple itchy, watery blisters over an area of skin, usually where atopic dermatitis lesions were present (5 to 12 days after exposure). Stage two begins as the blisters begin to disseminate or "crop" into adjacent areas of skin. In stage three, the blisters may bleed, become encrusted, and erode - at this stage the condition becomes extremely painful. At stage four, the viral infection spreads to cover the entire body, with associated fever and swollen lymph nodes. Secondary bacterial infection frequently develops in large, eroded areas of skin.
During all stages, fever is usually present and the person feels ill. The first episode of eczema herpeticum usually runs its course in 2 to 6 weeks if left untreated. However, letting the disease run its course is not recommended as eczema herpeticum can be life threatening. Subsequent outbreaks tend to be milder, unless the patient has an underlying immunodeficiency condition. 
Sometimes a hospital treatment may be required with Eczema Herpeticum. This type of infected eczema is usually treated with an anti-viral drug acyclovir, which is given by injection, by mouth or as an ointment. 

July 2010 38:09
I'm feeling much better now and yesterday I went for my first workout in weeks. I'm preparing for my next 5K on July 14th, the Fab 40's 5K and because I'm basically starting over I'm taking things very slow. This week I'll run a total of six miles and I'm keeping my pace slow and relaxed. The last time I ran this race I finished in 38:09. I don't know how close to that I'll get this year but as long as I finish in a sub 40:00 I'll be happy. I know that's a really slow 5K and especially for someone who's been running for years but it's about fun, not time, right? I keep telling myself that but I don't think it's working


P.S. I don't know why parts of this blog are highlighted. I didn't to that and I don't know how to make it go away...

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