I’ve got rhabdo…don’t be jealous.

September 23, 2011

in CrossFit

Here’s what you’re missing.

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle tissue breaks down rapidly. Breakdown products of damaged muscle cells are released into the bloodstream; some of these, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure. The severity of the symptoms, which may include muscle pains, vomiting and confusion, depends on the extent of muscle damage and whether kidney failure develops.

Since I’ve had 4 of these


And my hand looks like this because it’s holding an IV port…….


…..I’m having a hard time typing.

So what happened?? I did too many pull-ups and freaked out my arm muscles and they started breaking down and sending me on the express train to renal failure. Most cases are found in NEW CrossFit members, not experienced people like me. What did i do wrong? Tried to improve my pull ups by using a less supportive band while putting a lot of extra stress on my body with marathon training. As my dr put it…”you can’t ride two horses with one ass”. Yes, he did say that. I can do both—marathon train and CrossFit—but I need to maintain in one while trying to improve/gain in the other. Once the race is over, I can return to basic mileage and then try to knock out some strength goals in CrossFit.

How did i know I had this? My trainer. One of the reasons I love CrossFit is because we have one-on-one training even in a small (1-10 people) class setting. Over the weekend, I did my 13 mile long run. I rested Monday. We did the Fran workout Tuesday which involved 21-15-9 reps of pull ups and thrusters, and I have done this workout a few times over the past year and half.  I was sore Wednesday and knew I had a longer run that afternoon so I skipped 5:30 am CrossFit. I went Thursday and my trainer asked how I was feeling and I just said one arm was still sore. He wanted to see it and check it out. He saw a slight swelling at my elbow and told me to skip all the arm parts of the workout. After class he said to increase my water intake by A LOT and watch for swelling. I did drink but thought nothing of the swelling. It was just sore. Well, by 1pm at school, my arm was swelling by the minute.  I left school early, got to the dr, who took one look and said “rhabdo”. He started an IV and took blood. 2 bags of fluid later, he explained what it was. The saline was to flush out the waste from damaged muscles and dilute them so my kidneys wouldn’t fail. Renal failure happens FAST with rhabdo. When I left, the test was still measuring my CK test. Normal is under 200. When I left at 6pm it was measuring 20,000. He wanted me back this morning early to test again and see if the levels were coming down and get 2 more bags of fluid.

This morning when I got there, he wanted to admit me to the hospital because my ckp test from last night peaked at 46,000. But my liver and kidney tests were elevated, but not near as bad as expected. He would try the fluids and test again. 4 hours later, he sent me home and I have to go back in the morning for the same thing—fluids and test to make sure the saline is working.

So now the question is how long until I can run again. his response: “it will be a long time and I’m not discussing specifics yet. I want you to realize how dangerous this is and how close you came to complete renal failure. People die from this”

So here I am. the only thing really hurting is the arm and port site.

I’m being a big baby about the port. Never mind that i have an arm the size of a rolled up pillow stuff in my armpit, the needle in my hand gives me the heebs and it just hurts :(

So, there’s my adventure. Thanks to a great trainer, I got treatment quickly and avoided the hospital.

EDIT to add: I finished my first marathon 10 weeks later :)

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