Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Awaiting the 23andMe results

It's a new week and I have shown no improvement.  If anything, I am getting worse.  Lately, a good day is 3 miles at a pace just south of 8 minutes. If I don't think I can do that, I'll just skip the workout without any guilt. It is clear to me that methylation is the source.  It seems that I just cannot tolerate more than about 100 mcg of Folate per day but if I don't take any, I will have anxiety and panic attacks.  The methyl donors do indeed solve the crazy Zinc/copper sensitivity in which I need neither more nor less than a 20:1 ratio but the fatigue and malaise makes it worse.  Oh yeah, as soon as I go back off the methyl donors, the sensitivity kicks back in with a vengeance.  Until I get the test results, I don't see any improvement on the horizon and I may get worse.  It's just too depressing to log so many D and F workouts so I am suspending the training updates until further notice.  This does NOT mean that I am giving up just yet.  I've already tried low dose methyl B-vitamins.  After 2 days, I've seen enough to know it's not the answer.  The next option is a supplement called All In One, which is a multivitamin which very gently addresses methylation and the doses are so small that among thousands of patients, it almost never causes any physical symptoms.

It is possible that I can improve with the All In One but highly unlikely that it is the key to success.  I will have to wait another 3-5 weeks until I get the raw data. Then I need to do a consult with a health coach who is qualified to interpret the results.  There are 2 genetic mutations in particular in which I expect to test positive.  They are COMT, which likely explains the zinc and copper issues as well as MTHFR, which explains the issues with folic acid and methyl folate.

I will also get some ancestry information, which might be interesting.  I expect to have nearly 100% northern European DNA as I have known ancestors from Germany, Poland and Scotland.  Many people have 2-3% Neanderthal DNA.  I would not be too surprised to see a trace of Asian DNA but it's highly unlikely that I have any African or Native American ancestry.

I have listed 4 possible outcomes from this test:
Worst case scenario:
1. Nothing wrong with my genes at all.
The chances of that are almost nill.  Everybody in support groups on Facebook tells me that my symptoms strongly suggest mutations.  Unlike standard serum tests, this one is likely to reveal problems at least based on everything I've heard.  If nothing comes out of this test, there will be NO explanation as to why I feel so bad and why I cannot even tolerate even minute amounts of certain minerals.  Back in '05, some people were pleased to see that my thyroid and adrenal hormones were normal in the blood.  To me, that was the worst nightmare scenario.  If everything was normal, why did I feel so bad?  I want answers and don't try to tell me that it's all in my head or just my imagination.  Stopwatches don't lie.  If I was capable of running faster on those horrible days, I would have done it.

2. Degenerative disease that will leave me disabled or unable to tolerate exercise.
Fortunately, I believe that the chances of this are very slim.  Yes, I will be devastated but in some ways, I think I'd actually prefer it to scenario #1 because it will give me closure.  I will be able to walk away from all of this knowing that I did everything in my power to fight the disease or slow the progression.  The DNA test will also show what types of exercise I should be doing.  Some people are not supposed to do more than gentle aerobic exercise.  If I have to stop running to solve this instability, it is a price that I am willing to pay.  That said, I believe that is also unlikely.  I've taken many breaks over the years and regardless of whether the break was planned or unplanned, I never felt well during the break and could not wait to get back out there.  I've never liked going slow and feel invigorated by hard interval sessions at the track.  I expect that short and intense exercise will be recommended based on my DNA results.

3.  Multiple serious and conflicting mutations that are treatable.
This is the most likely scenario.  I expect to have at least 2 mutations, probably more.  I also expect that treating one issue will cause other symptoms to flare up just like in the past.  There will be 2 front wars and it could be a life long battle but I will improve.  Mutations will always be there but they can be "turned off" or "inactivated", which I take it means that symptoms will no longer be present or at least reduced.  Eventually, I will get back to "winning" more often than "losing."  I'll probably never get back to PR form again but will be able to enjoy racing, travel and the running community.  I'd love to do group runs again without fear of a collapse 4 miles into a long run followed by the walk of shame back to the start.  With PR chances gone, I may broaden my horizons to include triathlons.

4. Easily treatable mutation pattern
I've been consistent with my Thym-Adren so I expect that my mineral balance is pretty good right now.  If it is indeed easily treatable, I can be better than I ever was during my PR streak without any difference in training.  I suppose it's possible but it's a dream scenario and probably too good to be true.

How do I feel about all this?
  Take a guess.  Since I don't know anything yet, it is premature to reveal everything that I have been feeling.  Suffice it to say that I have been crushed by my umpteenth false hope.  I thought I had a path to balance back in 2009 when my neurotransmitters came in line.  6 years later and after a glorious period in which I felt best on NO pills, I am still fighting for balance.  Even if I am healed in about 2 years, I'm afraid it will be too late.  The damage has been done and I may never be the same again.

Race plans:
Nothing local at least until I get better.  I don't want to run a 22 minute 5K and have to answer all the questions about what is wrong with me.  Even under scenario 1 and 2, I am going to finish the 10K and half marathon state challenge.  I don't care if it takes me 3 hours and I have to walk most of it.  I am only 3 states away from the Half 2 Run Challenge and I am going to finish it.

3/28- Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington, KY- I expect to suck.
April and May- Take a break to rule out genetic intolerance to exercise.
6/5- Asheville 10K-  This will knock out North Carolina and finish out the 10K in 10 states.
7/4- Peachtree- This is a question mark.  By this time, I should know one way or the other how this plays out.  I'll bow out if I can't break 45.
7/19- Erie Presque Isle half-  This could be a nice summer getaway to NW Pennsylvania and I've never done a half marathon in the northeast region of the U.S though I have done Nova Scotia.
10/25- Greenville Sphinx Run Fest- If this is my last race, it's a good place for it.  I used to live here and my first 10K race was in upstate South Carolina.

Under scenario 1 and 2, I will officially retire at the end of 2015.

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