Category Archives: Health

OUCH MY ARMS

So remember last summer when I told you that I’d been diagnosed with polymorphous light eruption, but I was a bit skeptical of this because the eruptions stopped sometime mid-July and I didn’t think I actually had the condition?

Yeah, I now I’m pretty sure I have the condition.

It’s finally, finally warm enough up here to walk without a coat on, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the past several days. This is the first time my arms have been uncovered and in the sunlight since…man, I don’t know, September?* Yesterday night I noticed a few bumps on my upper arms that very quickly started to itch once I poked and prodded them a bit.

And today, after walking another 15 miles in sunny weather, my arms were really looking roughed up. They were getting that same rash-like landscape of red bumps that I was getting last year when I started exposing them to the sun. And they itched like crazy. These were the symptoms that led to the diagnosis last year.

I’ll be curious to see if my skin “toughens up” to the UV rays like it did last year, which is apparently a thing that happens for a lot of people with this condition. It flares up when skin is first exposed to the stronger UV lights in the spring/summer, but starts to calm down once the skin gets acclimated to the light.

Who knows? All I know right now is ITCH and BURN and WHY DOES MY SKIN HAVE THE TEXTURE OF A BASKETBALL

*We actually just tied the record of the most consecutive days without reaching 68 degrees. We reached that temperature today; we hadn’t reached it since the end of September last year. What the hell, Calgary.

TREADMILL OMFG

So it didn’t end up coming yesterday, but IT’S HERE NOW!

AND IT’S HUGE!

AND IT’S DOWN IN THE MAIN LOBBY, MEANING NATE AND I WILL HAVE TO HAUL IT UP A FEW FLIGHTS OF STAIRS TONIGHT!

EDIT: Turns out the first workout involving the treadmill was an arm workout. There was no way I could have done that without Nate. But here’s the ‘mill all set up (from a few days later):

04-07-2020

Do the Covid-19 Panic

So is anyone else experiencing some serious COVID-19 symptoms that are completely psychosomatic in nature?

I sure as hell feel like I am.

I feel like I’m coughing more, even though I know I’m not.

I feel feverish, even though I’m not. I take my temperature like seven times a day and half the time my temp is below 96 degrees (I’m a lizard).

I feel like I’m having trouble breathing, even though I’m not. I can take deep breaths without struggling, I’m not wheezing or feeling a rattle or anything like that. And I’m pretty sure I couldn’t run seven miles if I was having actual breathing problems. I think part of this “symptom” is that when I’m working at home at my desk, I hunch over way more than I do at my office desk, which makes my lungs feel a bit more compressed.

But yeah, fun times. I’m pretty sure I’d actually be someone who showed no symptoms if I ever did get the virus, ‘cause that’s just how it would be.

FFFFFFFF RUNNING FEELS SO GOOD

I forgot how nice it feels to run outside.

Like, running on a treadmill is fine and dandy and a great way to deal with the urge of “NEED TO RUN” when it’s in the negative Fahrenheits outside.

But holy hell, running outside is a completely different experience. It’s so…relaxing? Natural? Calming?

I love it.

Today’s run was probably the easiest run I’ve had in a long while. I set a new fastest 10k time which I’m not going to post on here ‘cause it’s embarrassing how slow it still is and is nothing to be proud of.

But hey, I’m all about the distance more than the speed, right? And now that I can run outside and have more free time due to working from home/the semester starting to wrap up, I can start increasing my distances.

Hopefully.

YAY!

Well this has never happened before.

I had not one, not two, but THREE migraines today.

THREE. WHAT THE HELL.

The first one happened in SCIE 301 around 11, which was the first time I’ve ever had one while lecturing. The scintillating scotoma started about 20 minutes before class was supposed to end. The scotoma is actually a good thing, because once it starts, I know I have about a five-minute window to take some Excedrin before it’s too late for its effects to lessen the migraine pain. Knowing I had office hours later that afternoon and another class to teach at 4, I had to pause the lecture and apologize to my students as I explained the situation and took a few Excedrin in front of them.

Great look.

The Excedrin deadened the actual migraine part, which is always good. But by the time my calculus class was ending at around 5 PM, my vision was starting to go wonky again, indicating another migraine was starting.

Which it did. And I had to text my mom and ask her if she could look up the drug info on Excedrin to see if it was safe to take an additional dose so close to the first one. It wasn’t, so that was fun.

And then my brain was like ONE MORE TIIIIIIIIIME! and I had yet another scotoma around 7 or so, followed by another surge in headache pain.

So yeah. Super fun. Also kind of worrying, because I’ve never had more than two migraines in a week’s span, let alone three in a single day. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Edit: I guess that was a one-time thing? Haven’t had a migraine since and it’s now April.

Medals!!!!

Yo, check out this website.

Basically, you find a challenge with a distance you want to complete, set a goal date, log your miles, and if you succeed in your goal, you get a shiny medal!

I wanna do one. ‘Cause we all know I like shiny things.

I’m going to try for the longest distance one (of course I am): The Route 66 Virtual Challenge. I want a pretty medal!

Edit: hahahaha I completely forgot I signed up for this. I logged a grand total of 30.9 miles and it’s May now. Oops. I wonder if they’ll let me do a mega-update?

This is why I exercise

Article.

I actually used to really hate exercising. I did it because it was a “good” thing to do but I never really enjoyed it.

Now, though, I really truly enjoy it. I look forward to walking and (when I get the chance) running. There is no dread or “ugh god I don’t want to do this.” It’s excitement. I’m not sure when that changed for me, but exercise is definitely the highlight of my day now.

Maybe that just means the rest of my life has lost meaning, who knows.

Well, hell.

YOOOOOOOOOOOO so I botched up my leg again.

Or rather, my ankle/heel?

I think I must have pulled/strained something down there while walking on the treadmill these past few days. I suspect I take much wider/longer strides on the treadmill than I do when I’m outside. Thus, since I’ve had to spend every freaking day this past week on the treadmill (due to the fact that the outside temp = death), I think I just messed it up through the repetitive unnatural stride.

So that’s great.

It’s not nearly as bad pain-wise as whatever I did to my leg/knee in 2017, but it definitely hurts. Now that I’m able to walk outside, maybe if I go slow(er) with my natural stride, it’ll just kind of self-correct and get back to normal on its own.

I’ve already been to the doctor once in the past year; my quota has been used up.

Edit: I got coolio prescription sunglasses now, though, so at least that’s snazzy. How do I look?

01-18-2020

Walking 2019

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! Let’s do the annual madness that is my review of last year’s walking stats.

Here they are for January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

Total number of walks: 348
Total mileage: 4,836.81
Total number of steps: 11,813,295
Total calories burned: 304,776
Total walking time (minutes): 80,420.25 [that’s about 55.84 days]
Average speed (mph) per walk: 3.64

4,836.81 miles is approximately the great circle distance between Seattle, WA and London, England or between Constantine, Algeria and Cape Town, South Africa.

01-01-2020-a01-01-2020-b

Let’s do as well (or better!) this year.

I Ran a 10k for the First Time Since 2017 and It was Glorious

I wasn’t planning on doing it.

I’d already walked 12 miles and was just planning to do two running miles on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness.

But I got to two miles and nothing was hurting, so I figured “hey, let’s try three.” No pain. So I figured “hey, let’s try four.”

Since I got hurt back in 2017, I have not run more than four miles in a stretch. But today, once I hit four, I was still feeling fine.

The next step? Seeing if I could do a 10K.

Which I could.

12-15-2019.png

No pain, no issues…everything seemed fine.

So that’s freaking awesome. Now I’m going to have to try my hardest not to a) do a 10K every day or b) try to do even more tomorrow, ‘cause I have a bad history of doing that kind of crap (which is why I ended up with runner’s knee in 2017 after doing two half-marathons in two days after never having run more than a 10K at a time).

YAY!

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BODY BODY BODY BODY

Hi.

So I found this place in Calgary that does resting metabolic testing, V02 max testing, and body composition testing. The prices are actually quite reasonable and the office is actually not too far from where we live, so I think I’m going to sign up and get at least a body comp done.

Edit: there’s a package for a body comp + resting metabolic rate testing. Totally going to do that. I’m already nervous about it ‘cause my body is an embarrassment, but it’d be cool to know this info. Maybe it’ll be a birthday present for myself.

 

SNIFF SNIFF BITCHES

Hey, I wrote about something like this in a short story like six years ago, haha.

As you might expect, there has been a lot fewer studies and a lot less research done into smell and fixing smell issues than any of the other senses. That’s one issue why there really hasn’t been any development of this type of technology yet.

Another issue is that smelling is a lot more complicated, physically, than things like hearing or even seeing, just because it is a chemical sense and is a lot more “fine-tuned” in terms of its various components compared to vision or hearing.

But the idea that the concept is “on the radar” now, though, is pretty cool!

Maybe one day…

 

MY BUTT RUNNETH OUTSIDE

Today’s original plan was to stay home all day.

I DID NOT

The weather was too nice to stay inside, but by the time I decided to drag my lazy butt out of the house, it was already like 11 AM. That’s too late to do a full walk and still get some time to myself at home in the afternoon, so instead I put on my gear, walked down to the river path, and did a 4-mile run.

IT
FELT
SO
DAMN
GOOD

No pain in my leg at all.

This makes me really want to start running more frequently. Of course, I pick the worse season to pick up running again, but I suppose I can go to Anytime Fitness and use the treadmills there until it warms up enough and I can consistently go running outside.

Yayzorz.

Body Check

Dang, it’s too bad this is super expensive, ‘cause I’ve always wanted to do something like this.

I mean, look at all this:

  • Personalized health risk assessment
  • Advanced laboratory and diagnostic screening based on personal risk profile
  • Full physical examination
  • Comprehensive medical history and intake
  • Full one-hour fitness and functional movement assessment with a kinesiologist
  • Full one-hour nutritional assessment and consultation with a registered dietitian
  • Immunization review and flu shots
  • Comprehensive multi-disciplinary health report and review of recommendations
  • Online health management system (Carebook™)
  • Post-assessment 30-minute follow-up consultation

C O M P R E H E N S I V E

Every health assessment-related thing I’ve ever done has suggested that everything is perfectly fine, but I’d love the fitness/nutritional assessments and a more detailed health investigation. Most doctors I’ve gone to are from Gritman anyway, and we all know how much Gritman sucks.*

*They suck a lot.

Who Nose?

Woah, Perrie Edwards has anosmia? Coolness. I like her.

I can relate to those *confused and lost* faces she makes when others are talking about scents.

20,000 Miles!

Hello, nerd bombs! To everyone’s shock, today will be a walking-related blog.

Why? Because counting today’s walk, I have walked a total of 20,000 miles since living in Calgary!

Here are some stats (as always, haha):
Total walks: 1,610
Total distance: 20,002.96 miles
Total steps: 44,913,637
Total time: 307,098.13 minutes (that’s 5,118.30 hours, or 213.26 days, or 0.584 years)
Total calories burned: 1,341,926.0

The median* distance per walk was 15.02 miles; median steps per walk was 33,055; median time per walk was 214.98 minutes (3.583 hours).

Here are boxplots of distance by year. Notice how my walking distances become dramatically more consistent as we move from 2014 to 2019.

10-05-2019

*Medians are used instead of means, as all of the distributions of the above variables are highly skewed

GEEEEEEEEENES

Hey, nerds!

I’ve mentioned my 23andMe results on here a few times now, and since I first got the testing done in 2012, they’ve refined some of their ancestry algorithms, causing some small changes to my results. Here’s what’s changed per region:

European: still 87.6%

  • French and German went from 15.4% to 28.7%, with strongest evidence of ancestry in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria (both Germany), and Friesland (Netherlands)
  • British and Irish went from 13.2% to 4.2%
  • Ashkenazi Jewish went from 0.7% to 0.5%

East Asian and Native American: went from 9.2% to 9.0%

  • Native American went from 8.3% to 8.8%, with strongest evidence of ancestry in Sonora (Mexico)

Sub-Saharan African: went from 2.1% to 2.2%

So that’s kinda cool.

I was actually thinking of getting my mom and myself a kit from Ancestry.com, since that’s what my dad used for his ancestry a while back and then we could all compare each other based on one company’s results. It’d also be curious to see how different Ancestry.com would be from 23andMe as far as the results go.

Anyway.

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THE LEG: TWO YEARS LATER

Today marks two years since I busted up my leg/quad/knee whatever walking to Pullman. At the one year mark last August, it was still giving me a decent amount of trouble. Twinging on and off and the like. I was still pretty scared to try running.

Now, though? I barely even think about it. I start my walk and head down the hill toward the river without that fear that I’ll somehow mess up my leg on the hill (going downhill had always been the most painful). I’ve spontaneously started to run (with my backpack on) on some of my walks, barely even worrying about the injury. I am seriously considering trying to get back into running enough to be able to do the Calgary Marathon next year. Like I’ve said, the cardiovascular endurance will probably not be the issue—the only issue might be the injury. But I’m feeling so confident in it now that I feel like I can finally stop using that as an excuse.

So that’s pretty awesome.

Hopefully I won’t hurt it again.

Hopefully I won’t hurt anything else.

ZOOM

I’ve been running (okay, jogging) miles 12 and 13 on my walks on and off for the past week or so, and it’s felt FANTASTIC. I don’t feel comfortable running more than that because I have my backpack with me and running with the backpack is super awkward, but I feel like if I were to try it without the backpack, it would feel even better.

I love running, but I’ve been so wary of doing it ever since I hurt my leg (which has been like two years ago now, haha). But these past few little mini-runs? No pain at all. I hardly even think about the injury.

That makes me want to run more.

That makes me feel like if I were to train (VERY SLOWLY) for it, I could do the Calgary Marathon next year. I used to be able to do 10k runs without any real issues (again, the only reason I haven’t run that far lately is ‘cause of TEH LEG), and I’m sure I could build my confidence back up to that and then do some actual training to get to the marathon level.

This is all assuming I don’t hurt my leg again. And that I don’t hurt anything else.

Hopefully I won’t!

ERUPTION

YO, NERDS!

So I finally went to the doctor to see about the crazy arm rashes I’ve been getting, and it sounds like I have polymorphous light eruption.

It sounds super cool, but it basically means I’m allergic/sensitive to UV light. It’s a delayed reaction where you’re fine when you’re out in the sun but after the sun exposure occurs, then your immune system starts going “OH SHIT” and reacts to it, causing rough-looking rashes/blisters and lots and lots of itching.

Here’s more:

So, you know, no big deal.
I’m just out in the sun for four hours to get my 15-mile walk in every day.
N o  p r o b l e m .

And no, sunscreen doesn’t prevent it. I’ll either have to wear long sleeves or suffer the itch/redness. But for some people it seems to “flare” at the beginning of spring/summer when there’s more sun, but if they let it blister up and then heal, it “hardens” the skin against it until next spring/summer. We’ve been having a lot of cloudy/rainy days this week and my rash is almost gone, so maybe my arms will have healed enough by the time it gets super sunny again. WHO KNOWS, IT’S AN ADVENTURE.

Edit: well it’s mid-July now and the “eruptions” have definitely diminished a lot. So I either don’t have this at all and my arms were just being spazzes, or, like some people, I flared up at the first major spring exposures to sunlight and then “got used to it.” Odd news.

MOAR SPEED

Ahoy-hoy!

So guess what? Today was the first time since I’ve gotten injured that I walked a mile in under 14 minutes.*

I actually walked two separate miles in under 14 minutes, so that’s even cooler.

I was so pumped, yo. I’m finally getting some speed back. It’s been almost two years. And now that I’ve got the Garmin, I know that that speed is legitimate and not just due to a miscalculation in my stride length.

*Last year I posted a shot of my speed being 4.50 MPH, but that was WRONG because it was based on an incorrect stride length. I think this time is really the first time I’ve done a sub-14 minute mile.

Also, I still think these out-of-order signs at North Hill Mall are (unintentionally?) hilarious.

06-06-2019

Don’t Be Rash

So for the past half month or so (or longer?) I’ve been getting this weird rash on my upper arms. It started just on one arm, which made me think I was brushing against something I was allergic to while on my walks, but then it started showing up on my other arm. Now it’s starting to spread to my lower arms. It itches like hell (sometimes) and looks pretty terrible.

So that’s awesome. As if I need help looking like complete trash.