Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Life’s many twist and turns can interupt good health

Dr. Leah Ridge

Eating right, exercising regularly and living a clean and healthy lifestyle are key components in having a long and productive life.

But sometimes, even when you follow the rules set up by the American Medical Association, unexpected things can still spin out of control.

About two years ago I began having visions of being in my own motion picture during some of my runs.

Mid way through a long endurance run an old fashion movie projector would go off in my brain and I would see myself reliving some of my past in a full color motion picture. 

The movie was so real that as I ran I would find myself talking out loud to the people in the movie.  I would get so wrapped up in the movie that I forgot I was running. 

As cars drove past me I was totally oblivious to what was going on in reality and was fully engulfed in my ‘déjà vou’, as I called it.

There were occasions that I would be watching television, the Colbert Report for example, where the colorful American eagle would appear at the beginning of the show, and I’d find myself wrapped up in my own déjà vu movie.

Scary indeed!  And no, I have never taken any mind altering drugs in my entire life.

During these hallucinatory episodes my wife thought that I was having mini strokes and she prodded me to go see my doctor.

Finally, after dozens of déjà vus I went to see several doctors in Hilo who all explained to me that I was severely dehydrated and needed to consume more water before, during and after my long distance runs.

Following their advice I began to increase my daily intake of liquids, but there was no change as the motion picture episodes would continue on some of my long distance runs and I would become extremely disoriented and confused.

In the summer of 2010, during my East Coast travels, the déjà vus continued and even increased during some of the distance runs in the dry heat of central Florida.

While riding in the car in Florida, I was having a phone conversation with my neighbor in Paradise Park when my brain went blank and I slipped into one of my déjà vus and needed to hand the phone to my wife as I was no longer able to continue the phone conversation.

My wife, thinking I was having a stroke, immediately told me to smile – which I did and shortly thereafter was able to speak again. (We learned that if a person cannot smile then they could be having a stroke.)

It was during a visit to upstate New York that things took a turn for the worse. 

Someone had told me that when I felt my mind going into another world to immediately lie on the floor and elevate my feet in order to get the blood circulating to my brain.

Following that advice, while getting out of bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I felt another déjà vu coming on and that is the last thing I remember.

My wife came into the bathroom looking for me and I was lying on the floor, groggy and disoriented.  She asked what I was doing and I said elevating my feet.

She helped me up, took me back to bed, while unbeknownst to her, I had blood coming from the side of my head and under my ear.  (Apparently I had hit my head on the sink in my attempt to get to the floor.)

A few minutes later I suffered my first of what was to be three major seizures.

After being hospitalized for several days in a Corning, New York hospital and given numerous tests, including a spinal tap, no one seemed to know what brought on the seizures.

A few days later I was given 1000 mg’s of a drug called Keppra and flew back home. During the entire flight I needed to place my head on my wife’s lap as it was too painful to sit up straight after enduring the painful spinal tap.

Fortunately, I was sent to Oahu to see a great neurologist by the name of Dr. Leah Ridge. 

According to Dr. Ridge I had suffered possibly as many as a hundred mini seizures which led up to the three grand seizures.

Dr. Ridge advises people to seek medical help whenever there are intermittent neurological changes such as emotion, memory loss, a feeling like you have been somewhere before or experienced something before, or double vision.

“Speech, movement or feeling changes, these could represent seizure or stroke and need to be taken seriously,” Dr. Ridge said.

Unfortunately no one was able to diagnose the symptoms sooner, which could have prevented the final outcome.

It was while I was sitting in Dr. Ridge’s office that my wife picked up a brochure on seizes and it explained that one of the common things that seizure patients have reported about the onset of their seizures is a feeling of déjà vu.

The reason I’m telling this story now is because on June 30, 2011 I have gone one year seizure free and I am no longer in the motion picture industry!

The chances of ever having another seizure are much less now and I am grateful.

If this story helps just one person in avoiding the onset of a grand seizure than it is worth the time and print.

As healthy and fit as I’ve been most of my life it hasn’t made me immune from the electrical system within my body.

I continue to listen to my body and have found a doctor that listens to me in Dr. Leah Ridge.

Life is so much more fun when you are healthy and fit and in your right frame of mind.

And someday should you happen to see a happy jogger paying attention to the traffic around him, remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

August 22, 2011 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wineglass Marathon & Hilo Marathon Directors Meet

Wineglass director, Mark Landin, exchages t-shirts with Hilo Marathon director

CORNING, NEW YORK – One of the most challenging distances in racing is being able to finish a full marathon, 26.2-miles.

   In 1986 it became the crown jewel in my running accomplishments when I finished my first 26.2-mile race, the Honolulu Marathon.  During the months of preparation I continued to tell myself that this would be my first and the last marathon, as the preparation was taking its toll.

   When I crossed the finish line on that beautiful Honolulu December morning I realized that this marathon was going to be the first of many more to come.

   While the world has seen a fluctuation in the infatuation of marathon running we don’t have to look hard to find a 26.2-mile race somewhere on the planet today.

   According to Marathon Guide writer, John Elliot, there are 800 marathon races in the world in 2010 and half of them are found here in the U.S.A.

   It didn’t take me long while on vacation in upstate New York to bump into the race director of the Wineglass Marathon in Corning.

  Mark Landin is an avid runner himself and has spent years on the road either running in races or in hosting them.

   When I met Landin he was just recovering from putting together a first time race for the City of Corning, an 8K (just short of 5-miles) that coincided with a Glass Festival.

   “First time events are always difficult to coordinate,” Landin said.  “The City wanted to find something to replace the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) which had their final event last year due to financial reason.  That’s why they came up with the idea to host a Glass Festival and have a road race to go along with it.”

Mark Landin

Landin, like most race organizers around the country, is relied upon by the community to use his knowledge and expertise to put on events that attract outside residents and promote tourism.

   Coming up later this year is the 29th Annual Wineglass Marathon which attract close to 800 marathoners each year.  If you’re wondering why the Corning Marathon is called the “Wine Glass” it’s because Corning Ware and Corning Glass come from this part of the country.

   Corning also host the world largest glass museum and is famous worldwide for its elegant work.

   Recently voters in a Runners World survey selected the Wineglass Marathon as the “speediest” 26.2-mile race in the nation.

  “Our cool fall temperatures, and relatively flat course, makes for fast times by most people,” Landin said.  The event is held during the first week in October (Oct. 3, this year) and is considered one of the most spectacular as all the trees leaves are turning colors.

   Landin was the director of the Wineglass Marathon from 1993 to ’97 before moving to Asia.  “My job with Corning, Inc sent me to Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai from 1998 to 2001,” Landin said.

   Once Landin got back from Asia he was quickly recruited back to organizing the Wineglass event.  It was Landin who redesigned the course to its “speediest” status.  “We had previously had a course that started at the bottom of a long hill, about 4-miles from where we start today,” he said.

   By changing the course Landin was able to get the finish line moved to downtown Corning which made it relatively flat with a slight downhill net elevation drop making for a super fast qualifying course for those interested in trying to make the Boston Marathon.

   “I expect that with the positive articles from Runner’s World over the past few years we will continue to grow as we are considered by many to be a “best kept secret” in terms of a race in this part of the country,” Landin said.

   Hilo’s own, David Hammes, a professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii – Hilo was in Corning this past October and had rave reviews for the fast course and the many amenities that went with finishing the race.

  “I found the mementos quite unique in that finishers were given a half split bottle of champagne, a nice finisher’s shirt with Wineglass motif and a glass finisher’s medal,” Hammes said.  “If I’m ever in the area again I would definitely do this race a second time.”

   “We usually get one or two marathoners from Hawaii each year,” Landin said.  “Most of our runners come from states where the driving time to Corning is five hours or less.”

   Landin is the type of race director that most runners appreciate having, as he is a runner himself.  Runners make the best race directors as they know what other runners like and appreciate about doing their event.  Landin can even brag about having a sub-par 3 hour marathon time under his belt.

   “I’ve been a runner since high school, so I have 35 plus years and an estimated 30,000 plus miles on my legs,” Landin said. 

   If you’re looking to do a fast, well organized 26.2-mile marathon, that is certified and a Boston qualifier, then take a look at making a trip to upstate New York in October.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Marathon Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment