Transplant Team Ireland

Keep up-to-date with me on This Limbo - a blog about dialysis & other curiosities

Saturday, June 26, 2010

EPO magic

In the past few days (in addition, it has to be said to three bouts of training), I read a book on the history of the Tour de France.

It was for work purposes and while it was filled with amusing anedcotes and some unbelievable tales of spectacular cheating, I zoned in on the chapter that dealt with the coming of age of EPO.

Those of you who are on, or have been on dialysis know the saving graces of synthetic Erythropoietin with its addictive red-blood-cell boosting charms. One dose to the leg every few weeks and for a few glorious days, everything feels a little bit easier.

In sporting terms however, according to this book, the brilliance of EPO has the ability to "turn a donkey into a racehorse".

When my CKD reached Stage 5, I was granted some help in the form of NeoRecormon. Loved it. However, it loved me a little too much and ended up pushing my haemoglobin to levels which the doctors claimed could be damaging to my heart.

Now I'm on Arenesp and while in theory it is still a form of EPO, I no longer feel the same benefit. The buzz of NeoRecormon has been replaced by a half-baked whimper from 30mgs of this new stuff every three weeks.

I think the forthcoming Games is grounds for me to once again petition my doctors to put me back on the former. The whole donkey into racehorse argument is reason enough to revisit this old ground and the fear of coming last in every possible race is swaying me towards taking my chances with a dodgy ticker.

I know there are some who would say that I could have read a book on one of the most epic sporting challenges in the world and come away with a heightened sense of the potential of the human being rather than a whetted appetite for performance enhacing drugs...hmmmm....nah.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Motivation problems


I have developed a serious case of 'avoision' (it is a word apparently). Not sure how it happened, but it started slowly - a reluctance to throw on the runners and do the funky gazelle up the street - and has developed into a monster. A giant, lazy, morbidly obese monster who insists I do a lot more sitting and a lot less moving.

I believe this same monster is a regular visitor to households of all modern children, but at least he brings them presents like an x box.

It hasn't been an entirely inactive fortnight. There was a game of badminton with the brother and when I was holidays last weekend, there was a good long walk on the beach in conditions I can only liken to a hurricane, which must have earned some kudos for my lung capacity.

But generally, it's been avoision. I have locked the runners in the wardrobe lest the sight of them make me feel guilty and I have grasped for solid excuses for my lack of effort.

There's work to do, I'm tired, I think I may have hurt my cruciate ligament (wherever that is), if I go out now I'll miss Home & Away, it looks like it may rain...

If anyone has any cures for avoision, you may let me know...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The regime begins

It seemed obvious really, to start a training regime with this, the arrival of June.

In the peculiar order I like to apply to certain areas of life, starting projects at the rollover to a new month seems to hold a degree of promise and optimism - a sense of there being about 30 days ahead in which to stick to some sort of resolution or routine.

Coincidentally, I also pay my rent and a lot of bills on the same day, so exercise is about the only activity I can afford by close of business on the 1st.

But where and how to begin.

Three of the events I have signed up for in the Games involve running, so I impressed the kids outside by doing some very serious looking stretches and decided to set off and 'go for a run'.

It is, after all what any self-respecting, all-round, work-hard-play-hard rugrat of my generation is meant - nay, required - to do at the end of the working day.

I like to compare my movements to that of a gazelle, but in truth, halfway down the block I probably had more in common with an ancient dingo, injured in the wild, a creature that David Attenborough would in his narration of the scene lament as being a goner.

I distract myself from the sudden lack of oxygen in the atmosphere by working out where I could lay the blame for this lack of fitness. It's the anaemia. It's the 2 litres of dialysis fluid I'm carrying. It's the tube in my tummy that somehow impedes my legs and lungs, despite being nowhere near either.

Distractions don't work for long though. I think at one point I was manically singing along to the song on my ipod in an attempt to ensure I was still breathing, but even that didn't do it.

After setting a more realistic target of a bus stop at the top of the road rather than the entire block, I allowed myself to slow down to a walk once I reached the modest finish line.

Once upon a more stubborn time, pride may have pushed me to keep running, but for the sake of my vital organs that are still working, on this occasion, I conceded the battle lost and strolled home.

It wasn't gazelle, but it was a good attempt. Next time I'll do better and next time will be tomorrow.