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Giardia- my parasite « Lisbeth Kristensen's Blog

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Giardia- my parasite

When I get to the end of this year and I look back at my results, I’ll definately say, that this was the worst year ever of my career…Most of the year has just been one, long struggle and now I finally know why. For the last 6 months, I’ve been sharing my body, or rather my small intestine, with a parasite called Giardia Lamblia.
I did a race in Abu Dhabi in March. When I came back from the race, I got really sick with diarrhea, I felt very nauseous, I lost my appetite, I was extremely tired and therefore had no motivating to go and train. I thought that it was all in my head, and still tried to get the training done but it was really a struggle and because I didn’t eat much, it all became a vicious circle.
In April, we came back to Europe after a few months in Australia. In the beginning, I was the only one from the squad who was here and I still struggled to train properly but I thought, it’s just because I’m a bit lonely and everything will get better when the squad comes back. By then, I’d lost 6 kg. I didn’t really need to loose any weight, I’ve always been a member of Doc’s cheese cake club, and not the salade one…But this just meant that my legs were even skinnier than before which meant no strength on the bike. It did help to have the squad here and I sort of got back into the training again. I did a few races and they all went terrible. My bike power was gone and I felt very tired whenever I was racing. At the end of Juin, I raced the European Champs where I came 6st, my worst result ever in an ITU Championship and I was so far behind the leader. This really got to me, I simply didn’t know what to do anymore.
Then a very smart friend of mine, Brennan, suggested that I have Giardia which I’ve never heard of. But i looked up a lot of information about it and I remember thinking, this is exactly what I have!!!
Giardia is a parasite that colonises and reproduces in the small intestine. Giardia can be found in water systems but fecal- oral transmission can also occur for example in day care centers. So parents with toddlers can be at risk!!
So I finally saw the doctor and had a sample done. AJ had had problems as well and already back in April, he had a few tests done but they all come up negative but he wasn’t tested for Giardia. So I got tested. My doctor went away on holiday, another doctor had to call to give me the results but I never talked to him and therefore I presumed that the result had been negative. Besides, my training finally started to go better, especially the running, probably because of the weight loss but also my swimming and biking got a lot better so I thought that things are finally going in the right direction.
Then I went up to Denmark to do The Challenge Copenhagen which I’d been excited about for 2 years and then flatted twice…It really brought me down, finally I was feeling fit and then I wasn’t even able to finish the race. So a quick, too quick decision was made about racing IM Louisville where it was stinking hot and humid!!! After the race, I got extremely bloated, like a very pregnant woman and I had the worst time travelling back home. When I came home, the bloating went away but I was so nauseaus, tired and couldn’t do much. After 5 days like this, I decided to see the doctor. She looked in my papers and asked my if I ever got my results from the Giardia test. They’d been positive.
So now I’m on antibiotics that make you nauseaus!! Not for much longer though and hopefully it’ll get rid off my parasite, the nausea and the tiredness, I can’t wait to feel better again.

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