May 192011
 

Earlier this year I made the decision to get back into running. I had never officially gotten out of it, to be honest, but my routine had seriously fallen by the wayside. I made the commitment to re-start the Couch to 5k program from CoolRunning.com, and with the exception of one run managed to do so. While I never got really good at it as far as speed or distance were concerned, I love running and it made me very happy to think that I would be back to doing so again several times a week.

Right around the time I finished the program, though, I noticed that my left foot had some weird swelling issues going on. The longer I wore shoes the more swollen my foot got. It wasn’t ever horribly painful, but it was very annoying and uncomfortable. I backed off the running for a bit to see if that helped the situation, but there wasn’t any significant improvement. I went to an urgent care clinic to have it checked out and they gave me some anti-inflammatory pills but the situation did not improve. I eventually went to see a foot specialist who took an MRI of my left foot and pointed out that I had inflamed tendons. He made me wear a god-awful brace for two weeks and had me get some blood work drawn. When I went back a few weeks later the swelling was still there, although it had gone down a bit. The blood work was back, though, and the initial results seemed to indicate that I had gout.

I just had my follow up appointment. After a month of being on daily medication to treat gout and a week of giving up alcohol and animal proteins (I spent two weeks in NYC and Vegas right after my initial diagnosis…not the best way to start healthy living), my uric acid levels have barely moved. There is no question. I have gout. I am in the middle of a flare-up right now on my right foot. During my visit today the doctor says that the gout has resulted in a level of arthritis in both of my feet, and that it has also done permanent damage to the joints on both of my big toes (the right being the worst one…my range of motion is minimal on that toe). I have had my medication dosage doubled, and I’ve ordered a $300 orthotic shoe insert to help alleviate the pain and any future damage that this condition may do to my joints.

To say that I am feeling frustrated, angry, and depressed over this situation would be a huge understatement. I have done my best to lead a healthy life for over 10 years now. I exercise on a regular basis, I don’t drink often, I eat my fruits and vegetables…hell, I even quit smoking back in November. Still, my body continues to betray me with conditions that are incurable. First Roseacea, now Gout. Not fatal conditions, but not shit I can fix either. Both of them conditions commonly associated with alcoholics as well, and while I enjoy a good drink as much as the next person my family will attest that I am FAR from an alcoholic.

I’m not gonna lie…There’ sa part of me that just wants to say “fuck it” and give up this whole healthy living thing. If I’m going to be in pain and miserable I may as well be enjoying myself, right?

I don’t mean that…but it’s how I feel. I’ll get over it soon enough, but right now I’m kinda having a first world pity party.

May 172011
 
Love the trees!

Image courtesy of mendhak via flickr

Back in the Summer of 1992 I was working my one, and only, renaissance festival. What is amusing about this is that the show was not, in fact, the one I had grown up around. Despite being closely tied to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival for many years, the only gig I’ve ever actually been an official cast member at was Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, Texas.

Like many folks who traveled and worked with the renaissance festival circuit, I set up a tent in the woods back behind the festival grounds to live in during the time I was employed at the show. The small section I “lived” in during that time was populated by myself, my friends Holly and Donnie, and a Rainbow Hippie.

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May 082011
 

If I told you I was going to send you on a trip that would involve spending a week in New York City followed by a week in Las Vegas you’d probably think that was going to be pretty cool. I sure did. For a while there it was. I can honestly say, though, that after two weeks I’m ready to go home.

I’ve been taking part in some pretty intensive training to help me get up to speed on some of the technologies that we’re adapting at work. I spent five days in New York learning about C# and 7 days in Vegas learning about accessing data and building web applications in Visual Studio 2010 with .NET. The New York leg of the journey was pretty awesome, both from a learning and playing perspective. Vegas, however, has completely kicked my ass. 10 hour days on stuff that’s either really difficult to wrap your head around or mind-numbingly easy mixed with the insanity that is the Las Vegas strip. The resort we are staying at is right behind the Hooters hotel on the South end of the main strip, and the whole environment outside of our little resort is just nuts. Hell, it’s a little crazy here. I’m sitting right next to a window that is looking out over the pool in the resort, and as the week went on the parties our there got progressively louder and more raucous (I note with no small amount of amusement, however, that so far it’s pretty dead out there on this lovely Sunday morning…I guess everyone is still recovering from the parties of the previous evening).

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