Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knee improving - wish it were faster

Tried to run today for the first time in a while and just didn't have it. Maybe tomorrow. It feels like my stride is shifting again as my leg muscles up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Celiac Race had 130 entrants

This year's Celiac Awareness 5k Run/Walk in Houston had 130 entrants. The numbers keep improving. See you all next year!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Training going fine. Celiac Run soon...

This morning I was up early and went for a 55 minute walk/run. My knee walks fine now, and I can run on it a bit. I still have a 'hitch in my giddy-yup' as they say, but it irons out more and more as I work on it.

A week ago I was in Wisconsin for a family reunion. I was able to hold the bronze medal one of my relatives won in Beijing. That was inspiring, and it helped me through my 2 1/2 hour workout (mostly walking) there. The cooler weather didn't hurt either.

The Celiac Awareness Run/Walk is coming up soon, soon, soon. I'm looking forward to spreading the word.

Friday, July 16, 2010

UFC athlete benefits from Celiac diagnosis

I never, ever tire of seeing stories where an athlete is diagnosed with Celiac, and their training program immediately improves.

Here's a story of an athlete from the UFC. (There are some inaccuracies about Celiac in the article). I wish Dennis Hallman the best of luck. (And get your kids tested, Dennis!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Three Sport Day

The doctor cleared me to run (just on the treadmill) yesterday! I made it a goal to run today. Pretty funny. Day started at the pool, because my son wanted to go swimming. After we came back and had lunch, I cleared out the garage, dug out the treadmill, and plugged it in.

I honestly didn't know how it was going to go. I "ran" one mile in 19:10. I thought my knee was pretty tired at that point, so I stopped. Long way to go.

Then I realized I could make it a three sport day, so I went upstairs and rode a bit.

It feels so good to be back in the swing of things. It's been so long.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lows and Highs - Independence Day for Celiacs...

With marathon training season upon us in Houston, this Celiac was feeling a little down as I tried to schedule my July 20 appointment for post operation review. Every time I had, the scheduling screen did not show up, leading to delays while the clinic staff consulted with the tech support, etc. I told them that not running was absolutely killing me (see my post on the Ironman).

Finally, the answer was that the doctor was going on vacation, until the 29th. Three hours of "Oh no..." and then - "If you can come in tommorrow, he'll see you." Sweet - please pray I get cleared for at least jogging.

In other big developments - The rumor is that Jason's Deli will roll out gluten free bread system wide! This weekend! I'm so excited - the only thing is that you have to ask for the special prep area. Happy July 4th.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not signing up for Ironman, Texas (yet)

It's absolutely killing me to not sign up for this race. I was actually on the registration page with credit card in hand, when my brain kicked in and said, "It's less than a year away and you haven't run step one since February, and your doc won't let you run for another three weeks." I just couldn't do it.

Maybe the race won't close (ha ha).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Knee exercises for physical therapy

This list is what I have been doing 3 times a week (not everything every time). If you have knee issues, there's probably an exercise in here for you.

All of these exercises should be done fluidly and reasonably slowly, in control.

  • Prone TKE
  • T-Band Stand TKE
  • Standing Hamstring Curl
  • Leg Press
  • Heel-Toe walk
  • Single leg balance
  • LAQ
  • Ball bridge
  • Ball hamstring curl
  • NMES SAQ (isometrically sqeeze quad)
  • NMES SLR (isometrically squeeze quad while raising leg straight)
  • NMES Quad Set (put something under knee and isometrically squeeze quad while raising leg straight)
  • Stool scoots
  • Sideways-hip abduct
  • Mini Squats
  • Step up – forward and lateral
  • Standing calf – raise single leg
  • Lunges
  • Elliptical machine forward and back
  • Bike machine

…and don’t hold your breath while you do them…

Other things I have found helpful:

  • Epsom salt bath at night
  • Ice, ice and more ice
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Carbonated apple juice to combat nausea
  • Early bedtime and lots of sleep

I found a lot of these exercises (but not all) explained at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Progress and measurement

Well, yesterday was good news and new news for my recovery. I actually spiked out a 140 rpm on the recumbent bicycle they have at the PT place. That's faster than I have ever spun a crankshaft. The new news was that they measured my quads and calves. I've lost an inch and a half of muscle around my right quad, which they say extrapolates to about 25 weeks before my legs 'even out' -- almost 6 months.

It is a very humbling experience.

I think I'm wired to always be looking at the area that needs improvement. Friends who see me occasionally say that I'm doing much better, that I'm moving around better and that I look "normal." Those are nice comments to have, because they remind me of the progress I am making.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Probiotics good for Celiac

Back in March 2009, I posted about probiotics being a good idea for traveling Celiacs. Now comes Science Daily reporting a study in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology explained in more common terms by Dr. Michelle Sullivan. She recommends a daily probiotic. There doesn't seem to be much downside except the expense, and the upside could be pretty dramatic.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Almost Straight...

It's been exactly a month since the surgery and my knee is almost back to being able to be straight. That's important, because if my knee can be straight, it can lock and support my weight through the skeleton instead of using my weak muscles.

The trend is generally very good. Tiredness is no longer a general concept. There's upper body (rare), lower body (more frequent), hurt leg (pretty frequent) and supporting muscles (very frequent). Bicycling seems to help a lot

The surgeon cleared me Friday to be in the pool (yay) and do aquajogging (yay, but he did give me a funny look on that question). I have just six little cuts/holes around my knee, and all the steri-strips are off now. The worst thing on Friday was that he reiterated the four months to jogging on the street/trails. That would have me waiting to be on the road until July 25.

I've really eased off the Tylenol - none so far today in fact.

My body has put on a few pounds, which I anticipated because of my solution to the nausea, but now would like to see melt away. Of course, nothing "melts away" - so it's diet and exercise for me. I really miss exercising outdoors. I was built to move, and this approach lacks camaraderie and actual moving through space. Maybe that yearning will ease up when I start swimming again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mass Celiac Screening Cost Effective

Screening young adults for Celiac is cost effective, says an Israeli study. It would be an excellent use of CDC money to do the same analysis for the US, especially since it appears it takes longer here to get a diagnosis (11 years?) than in Israel (6 years).

Friday, April 9, 2010

M Resort doing great job with Celiac diet

The Celiac diet is always a concern when traveling. I've been at the M Resort in Las Vegas for a conference, and they are doing a great job taking care of my meal needs. Usually, I give a report on the athletic facilities and so on. I can say that the ice machine always seems to be full enough for me to take the provided shoe bag and make really big ice packs for my knee. Usually, I don't like to be close to the ice machine or elevators, but this trip I made an exception. It's worked out pretty well.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Still moving slow

It's been about 10 days, and my knee is doing very well, in my opinion. Most of the swelling has gone, and I have been walking on it for nearly a week now and I've been off prescription painkillers for a week. It is not back to "pre-operation" mobility or strength yet.

It can turn revolutions on the bicycle stand now, but the right toe needs to be pointed down for it to work.

I have ups and downs. Usually lying down for a half hour will revive me. I'm sleeping about an hour past the tail end of my meds. When I'm awake, I started "feeling it" about two hours before the end, but now it's closer to an hour/forty-five minutes.

Still having issues with nausea. Coke and peanut M&Ms help, but those are not long-term solutions.

I have a business trip and have ordered a wheelchair. I just can't see myself walking through an airport yet.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Out of Surgery today, still a bit groggy

Well, it doesn't appear that being a Celiac affects surgery for an ACL much, but I did find out quite a bit about the medical process. Every step of the way, I've told every medical professional and coordinator about my vitamins/supplements and that I was a Celiac. (. I wore my Awareness run t-shirt more than once). It must have been at least 10-15 people. Low and behold, I'm being prepped for surgery, I am doing one last review and Celiac is not in my surgery records! We fixed that.

Probably all well and good as things went fine, but what if they had to transfer me to a hospital?

Anyway, at least my anesthesiologist had a sense of humor and said, "I promise I won't feed you bread while you're asleep."

I wanted to publicly thank all those who prayed for me and had me in your thoughts. Given the amount of damage my surgeon saw in my MRIs that first week, I am doing much better than average. Please keep it up, maybe these nerve blockers will wear off and I will be able to feel my leg again soon!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Another two weeks of wait and see

I went to the orthopedist today. The swelling, while much better, is not to a point where it makes sense to operate yet. Of course, one big question was about whether being a Celiac affects this at all. Celiac doesn't seem to bear much on the issue, as there isn't much to worry about from a donor tendon in the way of rejection for the autoimmune side. On the medication side, I will need to talk to the anesthesiologist, but again, no expected issues there. I was really glad for my wife's moral support and for writing my questions down.

I did leave the surgeon with the first few pages of the Celiac medical package from our local support group, which he scanned with some interest.

He did authorize me to again try to gently cycle on my computrainer, so I may try some of that again this weekend to see how it goes. He suggested mucking with the seat height to give some gentle encouragement to the knee flexibility. At first I thought it would mess up my setup, but upon reflection I think the move would be for the greater good.

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments as I work through this.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I tore my ACL

Well, no posts for a while usually means things are going really well, or really poorly. This time around it is really poorly.

I was out playing "driveway tennis" with my son when my foot caught up in the tree roots at the back of the driveway. Man, did that hurt. I have never wanted to get away from a body part so badly. Thing is, the part (and the pain) comes with you.

Well, an xray and MRI told me what I already knew from the popping noise. I've spent the last two weeks trying to keep up at work (not so successful), and manage the swelling (not so successful).

When you lose a functional knee and are in constant pain, it is amazing how your focus changes to getting out of pain and figuring out how to do really basic things like putting on a sock and personal hygiene. It's really nice to have two young, homeschooled kids to run around and carry things for me.

Never mind that moving around on crutches is a workout all by itself. I haven't done a proper "workout" since the fateful day. Saturday I said to myself, "It's been two weeks, get on that bicycle and stop feeling sorry for yourself." So I pumped up the tires, laboriously pulled on my cycling shoes, clipped in left foot, gingerly swung my right leg over and clipped in. Success!

Then I tried pedaling. Of course my left foot worked just fine, but my right knee didn't want to bend. So I tried backwards, then forwards. Each time my knee bent a hair more and with heavy exhalations I managed a full rotation. After about 20 I was done. Or so I thought. I couldn't clip out! Laughing at myself, I had to call one of my kids up to loosen my foot strap so I could slide my foot out and escape. Maybe next time I'll bring a crowbar...

Anway, I have some truly spectacular pictures of the swelling and bruising, which I may post at some point. I'll keep intermittent posts on how the rehab progresses.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Foodmakers, beware your labeling...

Now that someone has been arrested for making people sick after knowingly providing gluten-containing food to celiacs while labeling it, "gluten-free," I wonder how far this line of logic would go..

Let's say you make cereal or flour. You test it, and it comes back at 20 ppm or 200 ppm. Then you slap a "gluten free" label on it in, because that is a definition somewhere. So far so good, right?

But then you have some Celiacs get sick from eating the product. Which law would "win"-- the law that defines what you can call gluten free or the law that says you can't sell products that make people ill? Could someone follow the definition and still end up arrested?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Celiacs involve AG in NC suit against "GF" breadmaker.

Well, this time gluten-free/celiac legal action has come to the United States, in the form of a company that sold "gluten-free" bread at the North Carolina State Fair. This blog reported in November 2009 that this a good trend for Celiacs in the long-term.

The facts are unclear. The company says the bread was gluten free when they sold it. The consumers say it was contaminated when they bought it. The state AG has asked a judge to shut the business down.

The message is clear to manufacturers, however. Label something gluten-free when it is not, and you put your entire business at risk.

UPDATE: The gluten-free statement was allegedly fraudulent and the business owner was arrested.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

21st consecutive Houston Marathon 5:16

Short news: I was physically ready to run a 4:15 or so, but it just wasn't my day. This year, I am happy to have made the marathon program for running 20 consecutive Houston Marathons.

Race Recap:
I'd been having trouble staying hydrated all week. Felt great at the start (maybe a bit warm?). I started feeling "weird" at mile 9. I stopped to put some more vaseline on my feet at mile 10 (I had some hotspots, but I was still bang on pace after accounting for stops and visits), and then absolutely spectacularly exploded at mile 11, with nausea, lightheadedness (which just got worse and worse until mile 19) and minor stiffness. I attribute the mess to a combination of electrolyte imbalance and lack of water/something I ate the night before (not gluten)/or a bug I picked up. It was absolutely the fastest "collapse" I had ever experienced in any long race. (Usually, I just see the misery coming for about a 10K or so...) I had medical cut off my pace band as irrelevant just past the half marathon. I ran/walked until mile 17 and then walked until mile 22, when everything suddenly lifted. I ran in the rest of the way, just walking up the hills on Allen Parkway. I probably passed 100 people in the last mile alone. I file this one in the "just not my day" category. (I was already planning my next marathon at mile 16 of this one...) and I may have to do another marathon somewhere else this year just for time and just because.

Couldn't get to sleep the night after... Sore but fine this morning. Handling stairs with relative ease compared to other years. At the end of the day, I'm glad I traded time for a sure finish, and I'm definitely wearing my 20 year veteran shirt every day ;-). Is three days in a row too much?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Houston Celiac Awareness 5K Run/Walk

I braved the cold and the lines this morning to get the park for the Houston Celiac Awareness 5k Run/Walk today. It will be October 9, 2010. See you there.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Resolution Run 5K in 24:23

My wife spotted a midnight 5k on the news that had fireworks, so of course I had to go run in it. Never mind that my legs were not recovered from the 21 miler and I have a marathon coming up. Did I mention fireworks?

A front came through right before 2010 and made its appearance by slightly chilling temps to 52 degrees and then boosting a 25 mph wind out of the North. It was a dark and stormy night... Seriously.

The run was brisk and cold, and I pushed very hard at the end. (Ask me about a funny story there sometime...)

Anyway, the result was 24:23 - not my best time, but there was some speculation that the course was measured to the curb and not to the middle of the road -- some GPS watches had us running 5.5k - a full 10% farther.

Weirdly, there were some really fast runners in the crowd. I eventually figured out they were running to set a time. So I guess that for a few hours at least, I had one of the top ten fastest times in my age group for the state of Texas in 2010. Well - it was good Christmas present while it lasted.