Good News.

In the spirit of my new determination to say something positive once a month, I do have something good to report.
  
A month ago I went into see my doctor. I hadn't been feeling good. Power was way off. Heart rate was high. I was tired all of the time. Stuff like that. You could say it's because I'm old and am still trying to deny it, and you'd probably be right. Problem was, these symptoms hit me in a relatively short period of time (a month and a half). At my advanced age, you need to pay attention to these things, especially when stuff happens relatively quickly.
 
The doctor ordered all sorts of blood tests, then started talking about what it could be. What smacked me in the face the hardest was when he casually mentioned hormone replacement therapy (HRT), specifically human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone. This is like USPS/SoCal Masters-level shit, and something I want no part of unless it's absolutely medically necessary (life-threatening). He rattled off all sorts of other horrible stuff that might be wrong with me, but my mind was already going into overdrive.
 
Fuck.
 
They took slightly less than half of my total blood volume in an array of test tubes. Some were covered with foil to prevent UV radiation from damaging the skin of the tiny vampires that resided within. That's my guess. At any rate, it was a lot of blood, and my weigh-in that day was pretty good.
 
The first thing I did when I got home was to consult the most reliable source of information on the planet for diagnosing complex physiological problems- Google. For some reason, this only made me absolutely terrified that I was going to die within the next few days, or at least join the not-so-exclusive club of old amateur bike racer dopers.
 
I've read enough doping literature over the years to know enough about HRT to be less than thrilled about the prospect. I've known enough people with thyroid problems and how it completely hosed their lives for quite a while until they got the levels balanced. Cancers? Don't get me started there. The more I read, the more I was convinced I was going to diagnosed with one of each. Not a great mindset to be, especially when you're trying to train for super-important non-sanctioned crits.
 
Fortunately, I had the cold and flu to take my mind off of all of this crap while I was waiting for my follow-up appointment to find out what the lab results said. Nothing like getting sick when you're already feeling off your game.
 
When the next appointment rolled around, I braced myself for the worst. I hadn't talked with my wife much about it, other than I was talking to the doctor. No need to worry her with all of the useful information I found on the internet. All of the downward trends had continued since the first appointment. Strange, you'd think additional mental strain and biological infection would lead to peak performance, but apparently that's not the case.
 
The doctor said I was in really good shape. Hormone levels at or above average levels for a guy my age (despite having just finished a hard training week at the time of the blood draw). Good cholesterol well above excellent range, bad cholesterol well below. That was weird, given my diet. Every marker that was tested indicated excellent health and extremely low risk for heart disease and stroke. Chances are, I'm going to live right up to the point I don't. The only thing wrong with this outcome is that the VA is going to point to this baseline when I retire if I try to make any sort of claim based on decades of asbestos exposure and all of those years of playing with toxic chemicals. It doesn't tell me what's wrong with me, but at least it told me what wasn't. 
 
His best guess? Stress.
 
I've been giving this empathy thing a try lately because I understand it's all the rage with the kids, and apparently it's overtaxing my system. I might just have to give less of a shit (if that's even possible). I am extremely happy this will require no prescribed medication at this time, especially those that are found in Spanish beef and vanishing twins. All I have to do is say, "fuck that shit" and my symptoms could possibly resolve themselves on their own.
 
I am 100% behind this course of treatment.
  
So, I just want all of my competition to know that my sub-par performances this year will be achieved completely free and clear of any performance enhancing drugs that aren't present in gas station hot dogs. That isn't to say I won't be drugged, because nobody really knows what's in those things, but any affect on my performance will likely be negative. 
 
That's a load off my mind.

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