Saturday, June 4, 2011

This Spartan came home WITH her shield!

(and a lot of mud!)
The purpose of the blog was to mark the journey with Panic & Anxiety to the Spartan and Tough Mudder events. 1 challenge is complete; I competed in and completed the Spartan Race in Tuxedo NY.

I did have pre-race jitters... hard core... it was the waiting that was killing me. Once I was at the starting line I was honed in on the objective of going up an extremely steep hill for an extremely long distance not knowing what was to come after that.

I had to climb, crawl, and strategically maneuver my way through rocks and boulders on the side of a ski resort; I saw spiders i never knew existed! OH and I'm sure poison ivy is just a short way away  from showing it's ugly wrath as well.

I had to crawl through a make-shift mine which had brush, bugs, reptiles, cramped space, and barbed wire just above my head for about 100 feet... with no way out.. You had no choice but to go forward. I got stuck on barbed wire 1/4 of the way through, hind-sight my heart flutters, but at the time i was determined to get through that obstacle, and I did and made friends with a frog too!

I had to climb through and over boulders with a car tire, climb a 20 foot high net and come back down, climb walls, crawl under walls, pull cinder-blocks attached to a rope the height of a 2-story house, cross monkey bars ( I fell 2 bars from the end because my shoulder gave out, and they wanted me to do 30 burpees but I told them to go scratch and went back to the bars and did 4 more for good measure).

I had to carry an orange Home Depot bucket 3/4 full of gravel up a hill for .25 a mile, then back down dump my gravel on TOP of the pile and bring back my bucket. At this point I was exhausted, I was in near tears because I was so mad because I wanted to be done! So I chucked the bucket on top of the gravel pile, flipped it over and off (yes, I gave an inanimate object the double bird) and tossed it to the pile of other buckets and flipped it off again. THEN I had to pull a boulder on skis up-hill and around a small course which ended on hot coals, then back uphill and hike over and through boulders AGAIN. This was where I was on E. I started to get light-headed, and had to stop for a break. 

Back down the hill to a soap soaked wall that I had to climb over. I was smart and used my upper body and pulled myself up with the ropes... Flipping off the bottle of soap as I was going to the next obstacle... totally owned that one!

I fell 1/2 way across the Spiderman wall and had to do 30 burpees... thank goodness that I do those a lot in bootcamp! I totally failed on the spear throw and had to do another 30 burpees. I won't be doing burpees for a while needless-to-say!

I had to crawl through cold mud on my belly under barbed wire going uphill for the length of a football field. Admittedly, the mud crawl was the best part of the event. Though gross as heck seeing worms, grubs, ants, spiders, the blood of other Spartans, and getting cut up by rocks and other sharp objects, the camaraderie with the other Spartans through this obstacle was beyond reproach. My hair and shirt got stuck on barbs on the last string; everyone stopped so as not to tug further or spring it back to the Spartans coming up the rear while 2 other Spartans untangled me from the mess. Then for a long boulder hike before a steep downhill trek full of loose rock and dirt.

That ended us up at the ice crawl; yes, the name implies the same as the mud crawl, but it was downhill for about 50 feet under barbed wire and over ice cubes... TONS of ice cubes... it was cold... very cold... but at the bottom of the hill from that we had to jump through a much appreciated firewall! It ended with the gladiators at the end that I, and my awesome sense of humor, made them and the spectators laugh! lol
When I arrived at my first gladiator (that wanted to pummel me with these huge padded paddles) I stopped short, looked him in the eye and said like a mouse "really? Do i have to? Can i just get into the fetal position?" lol so we bumped to make it look good. The next guy was busy with someone else, but the very last guy wanted to kick my butt so as I ran really fast passed him shouting "please, please, please don't hit me!" everyone erupted in laughter!
Then i got my banana, water, free beer and shower lol...

I'm sure I missed an obstacle here or there, but those are the ones that I remember.

Minus the scraped up elbows and knees, twisted ankle, bruises, and that it took me 3 hours to go 3 miles... it was a blast!!!

I have a new found appreciation and utmost respect for the men and women of our armed forces. While i had 3+ miles of torture, they do this in foreign countries carrying tons of gear in not-so-forgiving clothing and conditions. I was able to carry a camelbak (backpack filled with water) and wear anti-skid socks so i didn't get blisters, and wear gloves to protect my little hands from blisters, in order to get me through this. I was able to quit if i wanted and go home. They get to have some of those things, but I was able to shower after my event, they usually have to stay all yucky for days on end, and they can't just say "F this" and go home whenever they want.  They have to do it on the side of a mountain, in a desert or jungle with heavy equipment, sometimes being shot at, and even worse- not knowing where the enemy is. Not to mention the spiders!

If they are lucky though, they will find a frog to hang with.

I hope to post pictures or video in the future so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When the Ebb ends the Flow begins

Riding the Ebb ended 3 days ago. Back on riding the Flow.

It started Friday night into Saturday with Night Sweats (that I'm still suffering from) and yesterday the panic train made a stop.

I have now come to the realization that this is completely hormonal. I don't have generalized anxiety disorder like i once thought and was diagnosed with. These attacks come in certain situations but are completely revolving around my menstrual cycle. They typically make a presence 1/2 way through my cycle and get progressively worse when my period arrives. My period arrived Monday and since then it's been panic city! At home, the car, in public, it doesn't matter.. it's there and it's all fired up!

The night sweats started 3 days before my period came. Waking up soaking wet in the middle of the night. I don't mean a little sweat. I mean A LOT, as though I took a shower. Being an Elite-Trainer on the network, I decided to put my resources to work for me and looked to my colleagues for answers, and I found this great clip from Dr. Oz

I have felt this way about this condition since 2005 when I had my first full-blown attack that put me in the emergency room. I looked up Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder and the symptoms fit to the T. None of the anti-depressants the doctors put me on helped. I wasn't depressed - at least not consistently it would just be for a week or two before my period!

After reading books, articles, and everything in between they all suggested a hormone panel be done to pin point any and all ebbs and flows with marked data against how I was feeling. My regular doctor referred me to my Gyno/OBGYN and every doctor at the OBGYN office (there were 9 of them) said I'm too young to have a hormone panel, that it's anxiety disorder. No one would listen because I wasn't in the proper age category to be pre-menstrual or peri-menopausal, BUT all my symptoms revolved around my menstrual cycle. How is it that other women get these panels done, but I can't??

I have to switch to a new OBGYN because I now live way to far away from my current OBGYN. I'm hoping that this new doctor will listen to me this time. I'm tired of feeling this way, and it is clearly affecting my work, my lifestyle and everything else I have to deal with on a day to day basis.

Sometimes you need to be your own doctor; if anything to make sure you are getting the full picture of what's going on. 
I found this great article regarding PMDD, if you think you might suffer from this please consult with your doctor(s). I know I will be as everything I put in BOLD is what I suffer from. I also put an APP on my phone called iperiod; it allows you to mark EVERYTHING. This APP will come in very handy when I see the doctor.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
PMDD; Severe PMS

Last reviewed: December 22, 2010.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those seen with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

PMS refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5 to 11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle. The symptoms usually stop when or shortly after her period begins.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The causes of PMS and PMDD have not been found.

Hormone changes that occur during a woman's menstrual cycle appear to play a role.
PMDD affects between 3% and 8% of women during the years when they are having menstrual periods.

Many women with this condition have:
    Major depression
    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Other factors that may play a role include:
    Alcohol abuse
    Being overweight
    Drinking large amounts of caffeine
    Having a mother with a history of the disorder
    Lack of exercise


The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS. However, they are generally more severe and debilitating and include a least one mood-related symptom. Symptoms occur during the week just before menstrual bleeding and usually improve within a few days after the period starts.

Five or more of the following symptoms must be present to diagnose PMDD, including one mood-related symptom:
    Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
    Fatigue or low energy
    Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
    Feelings of tension or anxiety
    Feeling out of control
    Food cravings or binge eating
    Mood swings marked by periods of teariness
    Panic attacks
    Persistent irritability or anger that affects other people
    Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or  muscle pain
    Problems sleeping
    Trouble concentrating

Signs and tests

No physical examination or lab tests can diagnose PMDD. A complete history, physical examination (including a pelvic exam), and psychiatric evaluation should be done to rule out other conditions.

Keeping a calendar or diary of symptoms can help women identify the most troublesome symptoms and the times when they are likely to occur. This information may help the health care provider diagnose PMDD and determine the best treatment.

A healthy lifestyle is the first step to managing PMDD.
    Eat a balanced diet (with more whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and little or no salt, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine)
    Get regular aerobic exercise throughout the month to redue the severity of PMS symptoms
    Try changing your sleep habits before taking drugs for insomnia (See also: Sleeping difficulty)

Keep a diary or calendar to record:
    The type of symptoms you are having
    How severe they are
    How long they last

Antidepressants may be helpful.

The first option is usually an antidepressant known as a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). You can take SSRIs in the second part of your cycle up until your period starts, or for the whole month. Ask your doctor.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used either with or instead of antidepressants. During CBT, you have about 10 visits with a mental health professional over several weeks.

Other treatments that may help include:

    Birth control pills may decrease or increase PMS symptoms, including depression
    Diuretics may be useful for women who gain a lot of weight from fluid retention
    Nutritional supplements -- such as vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium -- may be recommended
    Other medicines (such as Depo-Lupron) suppress the ovaries and ovulation
    Pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen may be prescribed for headache, backache, menstrual cramping and breast tenderness

Expectations (prognosis)

After proper diagnosis and treatment, most women with PMDD find that their symptoms go away or drop to tolerable levels.


PMDD symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with a woman's daily life. Women with depression may have worse symptoms during the second half of their cycle and may need changes in their medication.

As many as 10% of women who report PMS symptoms, especially those with PMDD, have had suicidal thoughts. Suicide in women with depression is much more likely to occur during the second half of the menstrual cycle.

PMDD may be associated with eating disorders and smoking.
Calling your health care provider
Call 911 or a local crisis line immediately if you are having suicidal thoughts.

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
    Symptoms do not improve with self-treatment
    Symptoms interfere with your daily life


    Vigod SN. Understanding and treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder: an update for the women's health practitioner. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2009;36:907-924, xii. [PubMed]
    Lentz GM. Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder: etiology, diagnosis, management. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 36.

    Review Date: 12/22/2010.

    Reviewed by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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