Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nature's Balance

Zen Story: Cause and effect – Nature's Balance

There lived an old farmer who had worked on his fields for many, many years. One day, his horse bolted away. His neighbors dropped in to commiserate with him. “What awful luck,” they tut-tutted sympathetically, to which the farmer only replied, “We’ll see.”

Next morning, to everyone’s surprise, the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How amazing is that!” they exclaimed in excitement. The old man replied, “We’ll see.”

A day later, the farmer’s son tried to mount one of the wild horses. He was thrown on the ground and broke his leg. Once more, the neighbors came by to express their sympathies for this stroke of bad luck. “We’ll see,” said the farmer politely.

The next day, the village had some visitors – military officers who had come with the purpose of drafting young men into the army. They passed over the farmer’s son, thanks to his broken leg. The neighbors patted the farmer on his back – how lucky he was to not have his son join the army!

“We’ll see,” was all that the farmer said!

For the last 7 days I have been unable to work out or train.  I've excercised only twice in the last 14 days, the Bolder Boulder and a bike ride the following day.   I am going nuts!!!

Let's back up about 8 years.....Snowboarding in Sunday River, ME.  My favorite resort to ride in the east.  Full day of riding followed by some hot tubbing.  Oh yeah....this is the life.  ouch..what the hell is that rash under my arms and on my legs??

Doctor called it Hot Tub Fungus...or hot tub folliculitis..pretty common in shared hot tubs.

Fast forward 2 years later, Steamboat, CO.......Snowboarding all day long followed by a prelonged period in the hot tub with some cocktails as my Cousin Will visits from NY.  Damn....not again, this time it's worse.  A lathering of steroid cream and some antihistamine and a few days later it's gone.

Fast forward 2 years later, Cabo, Mexico......enjoying the beach and sun and of course the hot tub with my ex fiancee....DOH!  Maybe I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  To the drug store for antihistamine and some lotion.  It subsides.  A few days later I am still slightly itchy but not too bad. We decide to take a run on the beach.    By the time I am at the end of my run add my chest, back, neck and stomach to the list of areas that break out with these massive hives and welts.

How come this occurs sometimes in hot tubs but not all the time?  I call all three places of attack and learn that Bromine is the common denominator.  I guess I have a Bromine allergy as I don't break out in my chlorine hot tub in Steamboat at my house.

Fast forward April 2013...I decide I am going to do the Ironman in Cozumel in December.  That means pool followed by hot tub followed by....can someone please smack me upside the head......Hives.

"Um hi, do you have bromine in your hot tub?"  No huh? umm ok.  Do you have bromine in your pool? No huh  ok thanks."

Hello dermatologist......
DR: "Here take this steroid cream and rub it on the spots and stay out of the pool/hot tub."  
ME: "But you see I am training for an Ironman and it is impossible for me not to swim.  I need to learn how to swim."
 DR: "Put the cream on when you get them and it'll go away."
ME: "Ok thanks"

Dr. Bronner's Magic Pure Castile Classic Soap Unlike any you’ve ever used. A combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils, creates a unique soap that cleans effectively without being aggressive and produces a velvety-lather that leaves the skin silky-smooth and refreshed.
Neutrogena....Burts Bees....Aquaphor......Aubrey Organic.....Pangea......lip balms.

As another layer of skin peels off of my cracked lips daily as I continue to swim.
no more hot tubs and immediate cold showers after swimming and making sure every nook and 
cranny gets cleaned by Dr. Bronner's magic Soap.

layers upon layers of moisturizing cream two or three times a day
Friday May 24th about 2pm when my revenue manager walks into my office and says...
"Oh my God Marty, are you ok?""
Ummmm define ok.

My eyes are almost swollen shut, my face feels like it is 1000 degrees and my fingers are starting to resemble sausages.  But it's Bolder Boulder weekend and the hotel is packed and I have to get the Capital Project paper done...and....and...and...and...it's time to go home.

Hello Steroid cream as I begin to rub you everywhere.  Amazing how you can empty and entire tube of cream in one shot.  I guess no workout today.....or Saturday....or Sunday.  Benadryl you are my friend and although you might make me drowzy, you allow me to continue my daily routine as I eat you like candy every 2 hours.

Hello Monday...no hives.  A bit sleepy and such but what's 6.2 miles?? 
Hello Bolder Boulder.
Hello Tuesay and a nice 1.5 hr bike ride on my new beautiful TT Cannondal Slice named Bella Nera. Ahhhhhh
Hello Tuesday night at 2am the last time I will get at least 3 hours of sleep for the next 5 days.  Severe break out and welts all on my head, neck and waist.  I am itchy as all hell and can't do anything about it.  I start eating Benadryl...watch the sunrise and head off to work.

Hello Fat lips....looks like you just went 3 rounds with Mike Tyson.  Not to mention you right eye is now swollen shut.  oh yeah, your neck, shoulders, waists, back, legs, arms, fingers...perhaps it is time to go home turn the AC on high and try to relax because otherwise I am going to go through the walls.

Hello 7pm and urgent care
Hello Steroid Shot in the Ass and a prescription for more drugs.  Start this prescription tomorrow when you wake up and it'll last for 6 days.  Take as directed.

Hello 11pm and waking up completely nuts.  The hives all over my head and face, feet toes.  To hell with waiting for tomorrow to start the prescription.  I'm starting now.  
Hello Up all night and watching the sunrise and listening to Rugger's breathing and his little yelps as I envision him dreaming of chasing rabbits.

Hello Doctor's office and 2 more prescriptions.  That now makes 4 drugs
(lorazepam, hydroxyz, methylprednisolone, cetirizine)  to take and over the counter Benadryl and Pepcid AC and an oatmeal soak, a steroid cream fluocinonide and some gel to put on my skin.

Have I mentioned that I don't even take an aspirin when I get a headache??

Hello unable to wear socks for 4 days because they are too tight and the welts on the bottom of your feet don't care for them too much.

Hello Bouts all weekend long of hives and the jitters and no sleep and being exhausted, and going to work and wondering how far behind I am falling for my Ironman training and driving up to Steamboat to do some work on my house and turning around and coming right back.  Oh by the way you might as well cancel your San Diego trip and race this weekend that you have been training for months for.

Hello Monday and more doctor's.... Allergist and tests and being the human pin cushion and being visited by Dracula as 4 viles of blood are being extracted to test what the heck is making this happen.

Hello my first night of full sleep and 24 hours of no hives.

What gives??

Not a clue, hopefully the blood tests will come back and tell me exactly what.  Though I doubt it.

I think the allergist was trying to be funny when she suggested 

Exercise-induced Urticaria

Not a very exciting blog today and tons of reasons perhaps to be mad or angry or to throw my fists at the gods and question why.  Could I possibly be allergic to working out and sweating?  Does my body react when it heats up and now form hives?  What kind of sick trick would that be on me??

If you know me, you know that I believe that everything happens for a reason and there is some reason I was meant to go through this, this past week.

Like the old farmer said in the begining story....We'll see.......is all that I can say to that.


  1. Oh No Marty! There is no worse torture than being itchy! Building up your fortitude for the IM, are you?

    1. LOL....if that is the case, I will take it!

  2. I think an appropriate nickname is "Itchy"

  3. that's awful! Sorry you're going through all this.
    All the medications you are on are stressing your systems and making your adrenals go into overtime without resting them. Acute stress increases the sympathetic nervous function, decreasing stomach and digestive function, increasing your metabolism, so you need more protein, essential fatty acids, vit a, c, e , b complex, cholesterol,and essential minerals. The steroids are suppressing your immune system and the lack of sleep and working are adding to your body already in stress mode.

    Take off work, get lots of rest, increase the above nutrients, and calm your adrenals. See if you can taper off the meds to allow your hormones to get re-adjusted and heal itself ~

    1. Take off work, get lots of rest.....Ha!
      Thanks for the good advice though!


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