The Elephant in the Room Who Couldn't Breath

I started running to help with stress and it turned into a passion. For the last five months, the passion is gone. At times, I've hinted with the obtuse photo of the 50's classic film, "Breathless." Breathless indeed as I've had health issues including serious shortness of breath since January. The elephant in the room is beyond the breathing issues, (and as of this writing,) I've had twenty two straight days with a fever and four (two swab, and two antibody) negative COVID-19 tests; without answers.

I spent the first couple of months in a bit of denial and continued training as I was supposed to race with Liam on March 15th. That race like many were cancelled as COVID shut things down. My last trip (Montreal) for work was Valentines Day. My previous trip was Cape Town, South Africa via Munich. Ironically, symptoms showed up BEFORE that trip which makes no sense. None of this makes sense.

Probably easier to talk about what I don't have vs what I do have. I've had two CT scans of the lungs, x-rays, and an echo cardiogram. There is no "mass" in my lungs. My white blood cells are normal. My symptoms are Abby Normal. I've had sweats; not daily, but once a week throughout dating back to January. I didn't worry about COVID until 23 days ago, as I haven't had a fever. Twenty two days with a fever; that's gotta be some kinda record. A PR for high temps.

As my son, Jesse used to say, "mmm, no fanks." My feet are burning under the sheets at night, and sometimes twitch awkwardly. I often run cold water over them in the tub to try and calm down to get to sleep. I have had fatigue throughout. Running is out of the question as I get winded by talking (which is a conundrum for a salesperson) or walking the garbage bins to the curb. I've had two runs since March 15th. As I was scheduled to race with Liam on the 15th, out of stubbornness or stupidity, I wanted to log the race for Liam. I had a 24 hour window of energy and logged my fastest half in nearly two years. It was (pun intended) all downhill from there.

The only other time I ran was when my wife and I were stir crazy and I wanted to log 2.23 miles for Ahmaud Arbery. This was before the powder keg really exploded on the #blacklivesmatter movement. I could only run a minute, then take a break. Since then, I knew I had to put my running on a full pause. So for those keeping count. Two runs in three months. I am able to ride my cruiser bike the .6 miles to the Trader Joes, or to the french bakery on the weekends to get croissants. On a flat neighborhood, that still takes everything I've got.

Among the sixteen plus doctor visits have been specialists including an allergist, pulmonologist, auto-immune disease doc, and infectious disease doc. The closest I came to a diagnosis was "asthma-like conditions." My allergist (Dr. Ebati who's the Best in Denver) noted that while he wouldn't disagree professionally, "you don't just wake up with asthma at your age." That combined with the fact that all the inhalers and prednisone I've taken should have provided some relief or benefit for an asthma patient but have done absolutely nothing.

While I don't wrangle cattle for a living or something else that drains me physically, talking on the phone all day flat out exhausts me. My daughter loves to call me at the end of her day, and I try to show love and interest, but my tank is empty. She finally commented, "you don't sound very excited dad." "I'm sorry Nikki, I just don't feel well," is my often response. My aging father calls and wonders what I've taken to get "rid of it," and I have to explain, "I'm working on it."

Working on it brings me to the latest chapter. With my allergist and sister (who's a nurse,) recommendation, I've booked an appointment with National Jewish Health. They are like the "Mayo Clinic" for lungs and their main campus is a couple of miles from my house. They will likely perform my fifth COVID-19 test before running through a battery of other tests to try and explain what's been going on.

With that are my apologies to Liam especially as I can't log my normal sweaty selfies to the I Run For Michael Facebook page. Liam's parents are pure gold and know that I can't run, but I still feel bad that I can't run. Liam and I were also recently selected to be part of the #RADrabbit team; that's along with veteran ambassadorships for Pro Compression, Simple Hydration, and Nuun Hydration. I feel like I've let my sponsors down. That sounds badass, like we're actually sponsored, but nevertheless, there's guilt. I miss sweating. I miss the weight machine "clanking" at the gym, I miss running. My belly misses running as I'm up a good 15-20 pounds (as my appetite didn't disappear.) As always, my wife has been my rock, but I'm not the funnest patient to be around. #suckstobeher

Given all that, I am a marathoner. I am the triathlete that got back on a mangled bike after crashing to complete the first loop of a bike leg before dropping out and spending 11 days in the hospital. This has me down, but not out.

Epilogue: For all the mask haters out there. I don't know why this became a left vs. right issue. I'm wearing one because I've had a fever for 22 days, would you rather I didn't? Just as a child mimics a parent, many in our country have followed the lead of a child.  This is why with what should be the best pandemic (hospitals and CDC) response in the world, we are heaped in with third world countries in our ability to contain. For those that think only the elderly matter, F*CK you. I have aging parents, a wife with auto-immune diseases, and a 21 year old special needs kid who can get sick by looking at a cold medicine commercial. It's not about you, it's about everyone else. You can be asymptomatic or come into contact with someone that's asymptomatic. You're one step away from infecting someone you love.

#peaceout #wearamask
#peace #love #namaste


  1. Love you bro ! Glad to get you into National Jewish. I love my MD connections and cell numbers ! Take care ! We got this !♥️��♥️��♥️

  2. Hang in there, my brutha. With you all the way!

  3. Love your art work! It's awesome seeing original running art. Can't wait to see you here in Boston!

    1. Thanks coach. I've raced five Boston Marathons and for now focused on getting healthy then back to racing with Liam.


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