When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Friday, May 26, 2006

I am weird, and my disease is alien:)

The results of CT scan had made a few doctors think hard. Arteriovenous fistula. This is an abnormal connection between artery and vein which bypasses capillary bed. In my case it’s located on the very left side under the liver (practically above and to the right of belly button). When comes a time that there is too much blood builds up under pressure, a rapture occurs (BTW, this hemorrhage could be the cause of light anemia I was detected with). There is no specific cause for this. By CT they determined pockets of old blood in various locations, under liver, behind it and around belly button (all places that had pain, and I can palpate a mass near the belly button). The reason for inducing more pain after eating is filling up the stomach/intestines and pressing on those pockets. Exercise and sudden movement do the same. All this blood should eventually be absorbed, but for now it means waiting and having pains. The new rapture can happen at any time or may never happen again. Those blood pockets (encapsulated hematomas) seem to be benign, but the MRI was scheduled for future diagnosis. In theory I can have a surgery to repair/remove the AV fistula, but for now can live as is. And since there is no medical records on how it behaves when a person is an endurance athlete, no recommendations given. The CT radiologist in his 20 years of practice had only seeing this disease in this particular location twice (more often it can be diagnosed in heart, when it’s really dangerous) and asked me to sign a paper where I allow him to follow my case. Oh, on another note, they checked out my other vessels by angiography and said that they are huge, only seeing in Lance Armstrong (who was treated at OHSU). I take it as a complement – how often in life do we get compared to Lance? Even though I am not his fan, still.

So, I am cleared to get back to normal diet, but I kind of like the fact that I lost 4 lbs this week and plan to stick with it for a bit longer – I did the same before SD100 last year, I’ll survive. Angie, you are my hero, that’s some will power to eat rice and broccoli for a month! I am just cutting out fried food and meat.

With all that I am going for my own Black Saturday tomorrow morning, all alone, a tasty imported meal for cougars and bears. Have fun on a long weekend!


  1. Olga,
    Wow! I'm glad they figured it out and that the pain should pass. So if you eat small, frequent meals maybe it won't be so bad? Did the cough and the gall stone cause the rupture?

    On another note, I really enjoyed our conversation today in Craig's comments. I love talking philosophies and grand thoughts. It made my day!

    Go easy on the cougars and bears tomorrow and have a great run!

  2. Glad they figured out what was wrong. And who knew a CT could give you an ego boost, too ? ;)

  3. You know the cougars and bears don't dare mess with you. Have fun on Black Saturday. I need to come up with some theme for my Saturday training sessions.

  4. I'm glad the cause of pain has been traced.

    I bet if they did a chest X-ray they'd find a heart twice the size of a normal human being.

  5. Glad you have a diagnosis, sounds like an alien to me too. Being compared to Lance is pretty cool. Have a good black Saturday - stay away from those bears.

  6. I will just try to imagine that at this very moment you are there in you saturday training...

    Now you have another reason to be studied, it is confirm, you are such a phenomenon, an incredible woman!!
    Hope the pain don't come back as bad as in other days.

  7. Hmm!! Well, at least there is a diagnosis. I hope you don't have a repeat of this episode.

  8. Wow....a rare diagnosis and you find out you're in the same league as Lance. Hope your Black Saturday went well!

  9. Hope training went well despite the pains. Broccoli and Rice...hmmm so healthy...int that case I won't tell you what I had after my training run today. I feel so unhealthy now:)

    I hope this clears up by WS.

  10. oh my god, Olga! that sounds scary, but I'm so glad they figured it out!!!!!! so you are just supposed to live with the pain? and then be watched by the dr?

    cool that your vessels are big like lance's - that's neat.

    and yay, normal diet! see, 4 lbs - that's how I lost 70 lbs, diet is the "miracle pill" everyone wishes for :)

  11. Wow. After reading your blog, it would seem my ironman training is mere "child's play." SHEESH. And to run through the suspected pain of a gall bladder attack (I had mine removed in 2002, also being, at the time, FFF (female, fat, forty-plus))? That kind of pain can get so intense, one can pass out. I know I almost did and I was sitting in a bleacher watching my hubby play softball.

    Good luck with your next big race. I hope the lack of a report after your last training run doesn't mean you became a meal for some cougar or bear!

  12. So... what you are saying is... If it weren't for Lance Armstrong, you'd just be a freak of nature?

    Well, glad they got you diagnosed, anyway...

    Stay safe -- and healthy!

  13. Olgs..glad that the diagnosis was benign...pretty unusual that they have not seen this in an other endurance athletes, but good nonetheless...

    Good luck on black Sat. and happy trails!