I was sidelined in my training for about two weeks by a severe sinus infection. I was used to having sinus infections because I got them a lot as a kid, so I postponed seeing the doctor about it. I controlled the symptoms with Alka-Seltzer and stayed hydrated with sports drinks, not realizing how bad it was until I ended up with a fever of 105°F. I went to Naval Hospital and was prescribed strong antibiotics, nasal spray, neti rinse, and decongestants. They suggested I undergo allergy testing but for several reasons, they were unable to perform the tests and then I switched doctors and the testing fell by the wayside. My body was so physically weak, it took me a while to get back to my training and my mileage suffered.
I completed my first (and only to date) half marathon on Labor Day of 2013. I finished my race in 2 hours 44 minutes (which is respectable considering the obstacles I faced in training) and I did it without the use of my inhaler.
I remember feeling so free that weekend. My husband was on a long field operation and wasn’t able to be with me. That is the only thing that would have made the experience even better. I celebrated with P.F. Chang’s and chocolate milk and a couple Michelob Ultras. Life was good. I was so proud and my training had paid off. What I didn’t know was the intense strain the race had put on my immune system.
About a week after my race I noticed that I wasn’t spending as much time in the bathroom. I got really bloated and constipated and I thought, “well, my body has been through a lot. This is probably just typical post-race recovery stuff.” Wrong. Weeks passed, and still nothing. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I increased my fiber intake and tried every OTC remedy I could get my hands on with little success.
Mentally, I was depressed and feeling bouts of anxiety wondering what was going on with my body. I experienced intense mood swings and was unable to control my emotions. One of my students commented on my sudden outbreak of acne and it caused me to cry over my entire twenty minute lunch break. What in the world was wrong with me? What happened to the empowered, independent woman I had uncovered?
4 weeks. No movement. The migraines I had been accustomed to returned with a vengeance. Not only that but it seemed I couldn’t beat sinus infections. Spiritually, I experienced a lot of doubt. Not getting immediate answers to my prayers and being in such physical pain led me to a dark place of apathy. I ignored and neglected my Bible study instead of running to God with my sickness and trusting in him as the Great Physician. I had “…beaten my body and made it my slave” (1 Corinthians 9:27) to a fault and now I was broken, and I didn’t know how to fix it.