Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Off the NSAIDs for a bit

This past weekend I went on a long and very ambitious hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, called a Presidential Traverse. It involved nearly 20 miles of mountain climbing in one day. Unfortunately, while hiking, my stomach began to hurt very badly (on top of the expected head pain and shortness of breath associated with the Chiari). After the hike, when I was able to rest, things started getting better.

I saw the doctor on Monday after I got back. My stomach had started bleeding during the hike. He thinks it has stopped now, but he's ordered an endoscopy for early next week just to be safe. It'll be my first procedure under anaesthesia, which has me kind of nervous, though I suppose it'll be a good warm up for things that are surely to come in the next few years.

As a result of all of this I've had to stop the 500mg of naproxen that I had been taking twice a day. As I've mentioned before, Naproxen helped to manage the pain in the back of my head, and more significantly it reduced the fatigue, dizziness, and blurred vision that can sometimes persist all day. After the endoscopy I can start talking with the doctor about trying Celebrex as a replacement, as it has the same anti-inflammatory affects but it's not quite so hard on the stomach.

In the meantime, I'm looking at the hike as a blessing. I've been taking the naproxen for months and knew I needed to take a break from it soon anyway. The hike forced my hand in that, with a silver lining. I was working out pretty hard leading up to the hike, and obviously the hike itself was a big chunk of physical training. I'm keeping it up. As soon as my muscles were strong enough to work out again, yesterday afternoon, I was on the elliptical. I know that the medicine is still on its way out of my system, so the symptoms are likely to intensify further, but I'm going to use all of my discipline and diligence to keep myself very fit. So far it seems to be helping quite a bit. I feel the fatigue and the dizziness, but it's dampened by the energy I feel from healthy eating and exercise. Let's hope that continues to be the case.

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