Beep....Beep....Beep.... I awoke gasping for air, oxygen tubes in my nose, hooked up to machines. Trying to make sense of it all, I realized that I was in the hospital. I started repeating over and over, " Do I have a pacemaker? Hello! Do I have a pacemaker?!!!" A nurse quickly hushed me and said no, you don't have a pacemaker but things took a little longer than expected. For those who don't know, I have a heart condition. Wolf Parkinson's Syndrome White. I had a heart ablation done in 2003. The scariest time in my life. Flashback two weeks earlier. I went down on the track after a hard workout. I could not control my heart rate or catch my breath. My UNLV medical team quickly took me into the hospital where I would later find out about my condition. A condition in which (at the time) had a 50% chance of having a pacemaker (you cannot compete at an elite level with a pacemaker) .. well and actually a 5% chance of death. It's also not a completely successful procedure. It typically takes two heart ablations ( "melt together extra pathways in your heart) to be 100% effective. God was challenging me here, but I still had faith. Some athletic medical staff and directors told me I was done. I would not return to running. 2 weeks later, I proved them wrong. I competed in the steeplechase at the Mountain West Conference Championships- clearing every steeple. I refused to quit. To be put down. To be shut down. Although my heart still may not be as efficient as everyone else's, it gets the job done and to this day I do not regret proving them wrong or EARNING my scholarships. Today, I write this wondering if I should continue to push. Diagnosed with Thyroid Disease while pregnant seemed to be no big deal. I take a pill daily (which sucks to be dependent on something like that), and I'm all better right? Hardly :( As some of you watched my miserable bomb at Western States, all of us wondered what the heck was going on. I immediately saw my doctor of Boulder Sports Medicine when I returned home. We found that my TPO antibodies were in the 500's, supposed to be BELOW 9! :( .. I also had some other levels that were off, but one reassurance was that my adrenal glands were doing okay. I left his office with his encouragement that things would be fine with adjusted medication. NOPE. Not the case. I am still battling. What's the big deal you say? With levels this high 1. My thyroid is destroying itself, it is a severe infection- the thyroid is responsible for all sorts of things especially hormones. 2. Levels this high are typically indicative of other autoimmune diseases, cancers, anemia, RA, etc... The week or so after Western States was my husband and I's inaugural Colorado 200 race. As race directors, the week was stressful but well worth it. Unfortunately, this took a tremendous tole on my body. I found myself in bed most of the next few weeks. I had such severe muscle weakness I could not even pick up my daughter. I felt bruised, sore and not from any type of training (in which I was totally taking off from because for the few times I had to course sweep). Confused, and trying to grasp understanding.. I was back at the doctors. This past week I heard back on some results. I am still high with my TPO's. I am now anemic and have other levels off. No news on the million other things we tested for that could be causing the severe muscle state. SO WHAT NOW?... My doctor has already mentioned that it's a 50/50 chance anytime I go to race that I will perform, so how is one at this elite level supposed to try to keep pushing through and train as hard as she does with only having a 50% chance of doing what she loves? And, if that isn't enough, how about the real importance in life.. how about have a high chance at NOT being able to have another baby? With levels this high, and my age.. the chances of the baby coming out healthy and normal are very minimal. A very HARD HARD bullet to bite. Honestly, I don't know how or if I should keep pushing... EXCEPT try everything possible and exhaust all avenues before changing directions. Yes, I said changing directions. If the good Lord doesn't want me to run ultras, I will try shorter races, if he doesn't bless those efforts, then I will try barrel racing and so on! No doubt, Ultra's will become more minimal for me in the upcoming years if my health is at stake, but again.. I will find other ways to enjoy my passion. I will hike to my hearts content if need be :) Although I sound so positive (and I'm trying to be), make no mistake, I have battled those depression demons in the past month. As tough as this is on my body physically, it certainly is mentally and emotionally as well (remember the thyroid controls all of this and even when I want to be positive, I can become a crazy lady in seconds with no control- poor wyatt, what a very loving and supportive husband!). So the things I'm trying... I'm laying it all out there.. 1. I had already, but even more so now, am on a very strict diet ( things trigger the thyroid, like soy- in 2014 I ran Rocky Raccoon and went down with a crazy dizzy spell- the culprit, soy in my soy based bars I was eating while running.. not to mention my pre race dinner that made me so sick due to "triggers/intolerances" I didn't know about ... this is when I was diagnosed with my disease). 2. With a healthy diet comes supplements. FLORA HEALTHY has been my saving grace with this. They make the best supplements for any ailments. I take their high potency probiotic, iron,multivitamin,calcium magnesium,algae, and enzyme. I look forward to increasing my iron levels quickly with taking the iron consistently :) now!!! 3. Training is minimal and concentrated on the most important workouts that I feel I need to achieve my goals and stay healthy. I take more days off now and work on accepting that mentally. 4. Essential oils. One of the things suggested by one of the many supporters who emailed me after my Western States bomb. 5. Massage therapy with other techniques like "cupping" etc.. Some of the problem with not getting my levels down MAYBE due to restricted blood flow to the area. So as I try to pursue my goals, I recognize that I maybe disappointed, that I may need to change directions, and IT WILL BE HARD. ... but without goals, one is lost and unsuccessful in my opinion. So yes, I will continue ultras, the next up is Run Rabbit Run 100 miler. I will be confident with the training I have done, I will be happy to be on the trails, and I will understand that this may be my last ultra for a long time. So you can bet that I will run it in true Michele Yates fashion....as hard as I can to my potential! I'd like to thank: all of the people who I hardly even know that contacted me in regards to my condition for their support. As well as all my sponsors: ULTIMATE DIRECTION, FLORA, ICESPIKE, DORK BROTHERS, ELDORADO SPRINGS WATER, and GU ENERGY and BARNES CHIROPRACTIC!
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