Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's All In My Head, I Mean Blood

Yes it is.
It's all there alright.
In my head.
Mostly.
Or at least I thought it was.
Now it turns out it may actually be in my blood.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you may have noticed a drop off in the amount of miles I've been putting in.
Laziness.
Maybe.
Maybe I need more performance enhancing drugs.
Okay, my kidneys don't work so good no more and since the kidneys got something to do with red blood cells, that means trouble.
Red blood cells carry much needed oxygen to the muscles and when you got muscles like me, well you need mucho oxygen.
If you know what I mean.
Well my hemoglobin levels are like really low.
Low as in not human low as normal men folk have like hemoglobin levels around 14-18, me I'm more like around 10-11.
Actually right at 10.5 although I suppose it fluctuates month to month.
To put it in hematocrit levels, like them pro bicycle folks, the doping folks get suspicious when the hematocrit gets around 50, me I'm at around 31.5 or way below the scale.
Women have higher hemoglobin levels than I do.
Which is why I get two shots of Epogen a week:



That is a for real shot of my blood getting my much needed Epogen boost.
Yes, I should be a poster boy for the Amgen Tour of California.
Sort of.
Anyways, I get my two Epogen shots(you can see how little I get) but the FDA folks have decided that a safe hemoglobin level is around 11.
In doping terms, folks that have a hematocrit above 50 have a hemoglobin level of 17 or over, which I suppose is where you want to be if you want to take on some pro riders on the Ventoux.
So what does this all mean.
I got bad blood.
My hemoglobin used to be around 12, which was the old recommended level and around the same for women, but the FDA has changed that to 11.
Or less.
I don't know for sure, but maybe some folks have been uh, having bad side effects with hemoglobin levels above 12, hence the lower recommended level.
I mean Epogen is not something you really want to be fooling around with.
The thing is, I talked with my nephrologist, kidney doctor dude, and he suggested that my lethargy my be linked to my lower hemoglobin levels.
Really?
Could it be my comfy couch is not the reason for my lack of miles this year?
Well it turns out it could be true!
Not that I'm making excuses don't you know.
Still, I have been feeling rather down and out, slow and lumpy like, and I thought it was all in my head.
Well it is.
In my head I mean.
Well I think it's more than in my head, but now that I know about it, I think I can overcome it.
What I mean is, it's easier to get over something physical than something mental, and now that I know part of it is physical, I think I can get over that part.
Which still leaves the mental part.
In my head.
More than anything, I think I need time to readjust to my new lack of red blood cellness, my lack of pep if you will, and a new fear of pushing myself really hard.
At least now I know what I'm up against.
I mean I'll take weak blood over a weak mind anytime.
The hardest part will be setting new limits and breaking old ones.
I used to rely on my body to tell me when I was tired, except now I feel tired all the time so that's something I'll have to keep in mind.
Hopefully I'll find some sort of equilibrium.
We'll see how it goes.
Just another roller in the road of life.
If you know what I mean.
Now if I can only stop yawning.

6 comments:

RANTWICK said...

I get that battling the blood may be easier than battling the brain... good luck, man, but don't be too hard on yourself. I mean, I'm tired and lazy or vice versa with no excuse whatsoever.

limom said...

I'm gonna start eating Wheaties.
Like tomorrow.

Steve A said...

Apparently, the body isn't always a good indicator. Especially if you are depending on the blod to tell the story. My blood led me astray as well. Good luck and I hope Wheaties help.

John Romeo Alpha said...

My sense is that Law and Order is somehow a factor here. Do they check your L&O level?

Trevor said...

I understand where you are coming from in this post....My cycling buddy JD gave a kidney to his daughter about four years ago....recently he has been experiencing extreme tiredness and it appears that his one remaining kidney is malfunctioning..he now has to look forward to more hospital visits etc...
Good luck with this and I hope they can sort it for you.

-Trevor

limom said...

Steve A, gonna try not to let the blood hold me down.

JRA, most times, Law & Order is watching me.

Trevor, hope it's nothing too serious with your friend, especially since he gave his daughter the gift of life twice.