This week, three things happened.
I went for the first run on the C25K programme, a gentle run-walk-run exercise covering 3.5k. A good start, as far as I was concerned, and something I will tell you about in more detail later.
I accepted and started a new job, a three-month contract working for a business-to-business start-up website. Yay!
I also received an email from a doctor.
Dr Seema Shrivastava assessed me when I was in A&E and admitted me to St George’s hospital. I contacted him about a month ago, to ask his medical opinion as to whether it was wise for me to start running again. I explained the plan, gave him a bit of an update on how I was doing and basically just asked him what he thought.
Just before I sent the email, I had read a comment on an online forum suggesting that people with extremely high CK counts are more likely to contract rhabdo a second time. The commenter wasn’t a medical professional or anything, but the idea concerned me, so I set out to get a second opinion. One with a tad more integrity, perhaps.
Dr Shrivastava didn’t respond for a while, so I sent a chaser email. I know first-hand just how busy these doctors are, so I didn’t want to be too pushy. Over the following few weeks I gave the whole thing a bit more thought, weighed up the risks against the knowledge I now have of the symptoms of rhabdo and, even though I hadn’t heard from Dr Shrivastava, I decided to go ahead anyway.
Maybe it was coincidence or maybe Dr Shrivastava found my blog and is now an avid follower. Either way, yesterday, five days after my first post, he got in touch. Apparently, he remembers me well.
I’ll be honest. I was hoping for validation. And in some ways I got that, but his message wasn’t at all what I had expected.
Apparently, a little while after my stint in St George’s, there was a clinical meeting in which a neurologist suggested that young people with rhabdo should be assessed to rule out any underlying neuromuscular disorder. As my CK levels were so high – unusually so – he suggested that before I start exercising again, I should seek out the opinion of a neurologist, just to be sure.
“I would suggest that you are seen by a neurologist to exclude an underlying neuromuscular disorder before you start running again. Obviously the advice about exercise would depend on the outcome of the review.” – Dr Seema Shrivastava
However, his email went on to say: “If you do not have an underlying muscular disorder then returning to exercise as you outline below sounds reasonable.”
Then he said (and this is more along the lines of what I expected): “Also, ensure you are well hydrated and do not exercise in extreme heat. If you develop muscle pain, weakness or swelling then please stop and consult a physician.”
In my original email to Dr Shrivastava, I told him that I don’t want to do anything that would threaten my health instead of improving it, and that’s still true. I’ve waited over a year before going on my first run, I’m sure I can wait a little longer. I’m certainly not about to go against doctor’s orders.
That said, his response has kind of taken the wind out of my sails. My first run went well. I was feeling confident and energetic, and I have been receiving so much encouragement and positive comments so far, both from all my friends and family and from complete strangers. But, I never expected to get through this without a stumbling block or two.
For now, this is just a pause. If a neuromuscular disorder means that pause turns into a total halt, I guess I’ll deal with that as it happens. I will, of course, keep you posted.
For now, though, does anyone know a friendly Neurologist based in Melbourne?