Tag Archives: CICU

Back in the Pool

MLH and I haven’t done anything big for New Year’s Eve (NYE) since 2003.  We spent last  NYE with Noah in the CICU.  So, for me this weekend is just like any normal weekend; well as normal as we’ve been able to get since Noah died.  I know our lives will never return to our old normal but I’m not sure if we’ve found our new normal yet.

You may have heard about Ben Breedlove by now.  Sadly I just learned about him when he passed away.  His Youtube videos have been circulating quite a bit within the congenital heart defect (CHD) community.  His description of the vision/dream he experienced when his heart and breathing stopped for three minutes comforted me some.  What Ben describes in his Part 2 video sounds beautiful.  I hope Noah felt something similar as he passed way.  But it was the eulogy Ben’s sister, Ally, gave that really helped me yesterday and today.  She tells everyone Ben wasn’t sure he’s glad he came back.  Where he went during the last time he cheated death seemed so peaceful.  I now wonder if Noah is glad he’s in heaven and not down here with me and MLH.

Yesterday I started swimming for the first time since October.  In the pool I felt the tenderness of my injured ankle.  I also began to feel a stronger sense of awareness with my body and thoughts.  I had not experienced this since training for Nation’s.  I remembered the first time I pushed myself during a pool workout causing my heart rate to increase drastically and my breathing to become labored.  It was early May.  At that time I realized my high heart rate and need for oxygen connected me to Noah on a deeply meaningful level.  Heterotaxy Syndrome always impacts the heart, (which is why I’m now somewhat connected to the CHD community).  Noah’s heart had to work really hard while he was alive.  Just drinking a small amount of milk out of a bottle shot his heart rate up to the same level one hits after climbing a set of stairs.  He was so tired after such a short feeding.

I admit swimming is not my favorite discipline.  However, as I thought about Ben and reconnected with Noah in the pool I realized I actually like swimming once I’m in the water.  It’s everything leading up to getting in the pool that bothers me:  worrying about the number of people who will be in the pool with me, sharing a lane with someone who swims all over the place, (especially given my current injury) and the jolt I feel from initially hitting the cold water.

Thank you, Ben Breedlove, for the comfort you’ve given me.  I hope you meet my son up there. Thank you, Ally, for sharing the conversation you had with Ben.  May you and your family begin to heal.  And as always, thank you, beautiful Noah, for helping me once again with my training.

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December: My Most Intense Roller Coaster Ride Yet

About two weeks ago I began firming up my 2012 triathlon season.  My key races will be Ironman 70.3 Hawaii in June and USA Triathlon (USAT) Age Group (AG) Nationals in August.  (As a warm up for Hawaii I’ll compete in at least one other race earlier in the season.)  I’m really excited about both races.  Hawaii will be my first Half Ironman, and for the first time I qualified for AG Nationals.

I now have two concrete goals.  To achieve my goals I have to create a plan.  I’m so much more productive when I map out how I’ll achieve a goal.  For December I’m focused on building a strong base so I can really push myself when I officially begin my Half Ironman training.  (I’m also focused on creating the Half Ironman training program, itself.)  I’m now running 16 miles a week and spending 45 minutes in the spin studio a couple times a week.  I’m also doing strength training 3 times a week.  I’m feeling stronger every day.  That is until this past Sunday, December 25th, when I twisted my ankle.

A few weeks ago, MLH and I decided not to celebrate Christmas.  We spent our previous Christmas with Noah in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU).  We actually have relatively fond memories of that time because Noah was doing well then.  However, dealing with Noah’s first birthday, knowing we’d celebrate Christmas without him and feeling the date of his death quickly approaching, I became increasingly anxious, upset and sad as Christmas grew closer and closer.  So after obtaining advice from a grief support group, we made the decision to skip Christmas this year.  On December 25th, we went for a long run outside instead. Well right when MLH and I hit our turnaround point a couple cyclists caught me off guard by passing us and I fell and twisted my ankle.

Now I’m trying to stay off my feet so the ankle can heal.  I haven’t worked out in 3 days and probably won’t be able to do any training for the rest of the week.

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