Why I Registered for TBR Dream Marathon

When I announced that I registered for TBR Dream Marathon, I got several reactions from my family and friends.  Some were happy and cheered for me, some were surprised, others were worried, while one gave a violent reaction.

Let me share to you a story.  A story that pains me to remember and write.

During a routine medical examination shortly after the birth of my second child, my blood pressure reading was 180/100 (normal is 120/80 mmHg).  I didn’t feel anything, I actually felt fine.  I even went up 8 flights of stairs to the doctor’s office.  My cardiologist prescribed me anti-hypertension tablets which I took every single day for the next 7 years.

By chance I met with a nephrologist who was also my high school classmate.  She couldn’t believe that I was hypertensive and said that it might be secondary to something else.  We did some tests but didn’t find anything.

Three years later my muscles began twitching…very mild and far apart at first then became more frequent later on.  My cardiologist knew that my potassium level was low but he just gave me potassium tablets.

Then 4 years later, I was rushed to the emergency room.  My arms and legs were stiff.  I was vomiting and my heartbeat was very irregular.  My blood potassium (K+) level was at a very low 1.9 (normal value is 3.7 – 5.2 mEq/L).  My doctor was surprised that I could still walk! Blood potassium levels below 2.5 mEq/L were considered severe and life-threatening.  They gave me potassium intravenously but I lost it all in my urine.  From my room, they transferred me to the hospital’s telemetry and gave me the concentrated form.  Oh my!  My arm felt like it was burning.  I could feel the potassium through my veins.  It was really painful.  I felt like I was dying.

When my potassium level went up to 4.2 mEq/L, I was sent home with the advise to limit my movement and to try not to sweat because I can lose potassium via perspiration.  Really?  I live in a humid, tropical country!  But as an obedient patient, I just stayed in my room with the air-condition on.  Boring!  😦

More tests were made including MRI with contrast dye.  They found out that I had a tumor in my right adrenal gland.  They tested the tumor and found out it was positive.  It meant that the tumor was secreting high amounts of aldosterone, a hormone that regulates the amount of sodium (Na) in the body.  It was the cause of my hypertension and potassium loss…in other words, the cause of all my misery.

My doctors told me that it was good that the tumor came out positive.  It meant that they can take it out through surgery and everything will be back to normal.  Some patients whose tumor tests turned out negative may have to live with the syndrome for the rest of their lives. 😦

Surgery was scheduled.  I had 4 doctors: urologist, nephrologist (my high school classmate), endocrinologist, and hematologist.  My hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen, was very low which made the situation even more difficult.  Anyway, to make the long story short, I underwent surgery and it was a success.  The tumor was benign and my blood potassium level went back to normal.  The only problem left was the anemia.  There were times when I felt dizzy and very, very tired.  The dizzy spells went for about 3 years post-surgery.

I’m so grateful to my family and friends who were very supportive of me during those times.  They prayed for me, brought me food, and 2 of my doctors didn’t charge me a single Peso.  God bless you!

That was 5 years ago.  My blood pressure and blood test results are all normal now…potassium, sodium, hemoglobin…everything!  By the grace of God I am a new person.  I now have more energy.  My doctor advised me to start exercising to lose weight.

Last year I started running and to say that I liked it would be an understatement.  I loved it!  I slowly increased my distance from 5K, to 10K, to 16K, then to 21K.  To date, I have already finished 3 half marathons.

I am an overweight 44-year old mother of 2, formerly sick, weak and fatigued.   I took on the 42km challenge and registered for my 1st marathon.  Am I out of my mind?  I don’t think so.  I will run the distance as my thanksgiving to the Lord for healing me.  This will be my testimony.

I have 22 weeks to train.  I will do it!  🙂

More readings:
What is the Normal Potassium Level? (livestrong.com)
Low Potassium Levels and Fatigue (livestrong.com)
Conn’s Syndrome
TBR Dream Marathon

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