Today marked the start of my transition across the US. From Vancouver my goal was to reach the Arctic Ocean. Check.
Then I transitioned by riding to Itasca Park to start my ride of the Great River Road along the Mississippi River. Check.
Now I am transitioning to San Diego where I will start a new phase of riding Mexico for 6 months. Transitions are a time for seeing unplanned or un-thought of things. It should be good.
I left my hostel sick. My lungs were filling with fluid. Hence no pictures today except when I left 🙁 OK … this is my health story that has some effect on my travels.
About 15 years ago I was hospitalized with a rare form of pneumonia and lung disorder called Bronchiolitis Obliterans Organizing Pneumonia, or BOOP for short. At the time, the only cure was high dose prednisone for a year. While this cured my BOOP, it suppressed my adrenal glands from producing cortisol.
Cortisol is sometimes referred to as the stress hormone. It is a life sustaining adrenal hormone essential to the maintenance of homeostasis. It regulates or modulates many of the changes that occur in the body in response to stress including, but not limited to:
- blood sugar (glucose) levels,
- protein and carbohydrate metabolism to maintain blood glucose (gluconeogenesis),
- immune responses,
- anti-inflammatory actions,
- blood pressure,
- heart and blood vessel tone and contraction, and
- central nervous system activation.
Because my body no longer produces cortisol, I have to replace it orally with prednisone. Prednisone is a wonder drug. But it also has bad side effects such as:
- blurred vision,
- decrease in the amount of urine,
- fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse,
- mental depression,
- mood changes,
- numbness or tingling in the arms or legs,
- pounding in the ears,
- swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs,
- visceral fat,
- cataracts, and
- weight gain.
Compounding these problems is that in the body, cortisol levels normally fluctuate throughout the day and night in a circadian rhythm that peaks at about 8 AM and reaches it lowest around 4 AM. Of course you can’t mimic this with medication. So the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency arise throughout the day.
If that wasn’t enough, while my BOOP was cured, my lungs were left a mess. Soooo I have to take asthma medications to keep them operating right.
I rarely feel 100% healthy.
Usually about twice a year my lungs will start to fill with fluid. When this happens, like now, I have to significantly increase my prednisone and then taper down to get rid of it.
These conditions have adversely effected my life. BUT … I know many people suffer from a lot worse than me. I take inspiration from them that I won’t let my ailments get in the way of what I want to accomplish. As a result, I won’t let what I have get in the way of what I want to do. I have traveled extensively in China, lived in Namibia, worked and lived Macedonia, and now riding around the world on a motorcycle.
Ok … back to my trip. It was a short ride today. I took a few back roads just because they are more enjoyable.
Some of the towns were so nice. I especially liked Franklin. The city did a great job fixing up their historic downtown and a lot of the old homes.
What really caught my attention was a sign saying there use to be a WWII Prisoner of War Camp located there.
I looked for it but couldn’t find it. Perhaps it has been built over.
It was early and I made it to the Motel 6 in Lafayette to rest.