Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Bionic Babe - Chapter One

Who am I? An existential question, to be sure.
Age 52
135 pounds (need to lose 10 pounds)
Two beautiful daughters (nobody admits to the ugly ones)
Married to my surfer boyfriend for 3 1/2 years

This blog is going to be more of a tell all journal of what's going on in my life.  Previously, Angela and I, before she started working so much, shared fitness tips and it was all so positive.

Mama told me there would be days like this.

When I was 15, I got a book through the book of the month club which gave detailed instructions along with artists conceptions of yoga postures.  I started practicing the postures in my 90 degree, humid Miami, Florida bedroom every morning.  Sometimes after a few tokes of the good stuff.  It was the 70's.  I was making my own yogurt, reading books like Be Here Now by Ram Dass and going bra less.  I refused, however, to wear Birkenstocks because they're just flat out ugly.

As the years went on, I put the bong away, went into corporate America, became a top salesperson, a mother of two, a step mother of three and have had more husbands than I care to admit.  Okay, three. Most of the time, however, I've lived on my own and became fiercely independent.

Enter ultramarathoning.  I found the perfect sport that combined my love of nature, trail running, God, Goddess, runners high, in short, the perfect stress relief and my church.  It was through the many thousands of hours on the trail that I discovered how independent I can be and at the same time, a wonderful sense of community through my fellow ultra runners.  Even dated a fit body or two.

A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and underwent surgery to correct the issue. The doctor made it sound so routine.  Long story short, I have not run in a year and a half because it's just too darn painful.

Me?  Perfect me, who never had a sick day in her life?  No!!!

After doing all the voodoo stuff, meeting with at least ten doctors, including the specialists at UCLA, I finally found a surgeon, Dr. William Bugbee, who specializes in osteochondral grafts.  In English please?  There's a hole in my knee. We wait for a suitable donor to expire (the next Kobe Bryant)  The graft is harvested and must be used within seven days.  The procedure involves cutting the defective portion of my knee out and replacing it with living bone and cartilage.  The body then gets to work re-stitching and reintegrating the new material as one cohesive whole.  If you were 20 years old, they'd give you a 100% success rate.  At my advanced age of 52, they offer me a 75% success rate.  I've been on the donor waiting list for exactly 21 days now.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  A waiting list.  There's no chance of not waiting - that's the name of the list.

Meanwhile, hormones are going out of control.  I haven't had my period since May.  All the usual symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, itchy, bitchy, sleepless nights.  I sought relief with my husbands doctor, who specializes in anti-aging and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  Evidently, once a person is no longer fertile, the brain signals the body that it's time to be eliminated from the planet, hence all the symptoms of aging.  Once I started researching what happens when hormones start plummeting, OMG, it's not a pretty picture.  Bone loss, heart problems, hair loss, loss of libido, dry skin, the list goes on and I, for one, am not going to take it!!!!!  I'm currently taking bio identical estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA in the form of a cream that gets rubbed onto the skin.  You don't want to mess with taking synthetic hormones.  They're made from horse urine and have been linked to cancer.  I am starting to feel better.  Sex, and sleep, blessed sleep!  It's still a work in progress.  I've decided to take it a step further by going to Dr. Prudence Hall who specializes in "cycling" BHRT.  They vary the dose based on the time of the month, thus tricking your brain into thinking you're 25 again.  Her center also focuses on anti-aging medicine.  How exciting!

I am amazingly grateful for all the great things I can do: Surf (mostly paddling) yoga, mountain biking, but all workouts are accompanied by my good friend, pain.

Being retired at such a young age brings another set of challenges.  Who am I?  What's my purpose?  I love my family, friends, people.  In the past, I visualized that when I finally had the time, I would spend it doing all the athletic endeavors I love.  It seems like life has other plans at the moment.

When Kerry (age 62) and I sat down to our heart healthy glass of red wine last night, I told him "Our life is not going to become about sitting in rocking chairs talking about doctors, insurance coverage, back aches, joint problems and hormone loss" (even though it has)  No!  We've decided to jump out of our rocking chairs!  Just make sure you don't spill the wine when you jump up!

My goal with the blog is to inspire others and help someone who may be going through some of the same stuff I'm dealing with.  I will tell you everything I'm learning, how it's working, answer questions.  Together, we all help each other along this path called life.

P.S. Yes. I do color my hair.


  1. Girlfriend, you are gorgeous and if you need to lose 10lbs I am Jaba the Hut ;)

    I am VERY excited to hear about your knee surgery, as I am dealing with my own knee garbage(starting Synvisc injections this week)
    Yay to not growing old without a fight! Rock on!!! :)

  2. Girlfriend!!! Have I told you lately that I love you?

    Yes, I am excited about the surgery too. I've yet to meet one person to have a living bone/cartilage transplant. The Dr. I found teaches other doctor's this "cutting edge" procedure. Technology can be pretty amazing these days xoxo