31st July 09:15
Woman gets fibromyalgia after ruptured breast implants (fibromyalgia stress psychiatric down tubal ligation)
FDA article on fibro and ruptured breast implants
As in life, quitting is no option in her first triathlon
The fibromyalgia, a musculoskeletal and fatigue disorder, she believes
is a result of ruptured silicone breast implants when she was 42.
While many of the top athletes on the planet seized center stage
during the Olympic Games in Greece, a nice reminder to the rest of us
emerged this month from the warm waters of Turtle Lake in Shoreview
that people of any age and level of athleticism can achieve a
greatness that is measured only by the heart.
Probably every one of the nearly 750 participants at the annual
Turtleman Triathlon had a story of perseverance and accomplishment.
As well, most of them finished in front of Becky Zuckweiler of
But Zuckweiler, who at age 53 was taking part in the first athletic
competition of her life, certainly deserves some kind of medal for
making her way through the mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and 5-mile
run. She suffers from fibromyalgia, a debilitating condition that
forces many to go on disability.
Disability was not for her.
"I want to feel better," she said. "I want more out of my life."
It has not been an easy path for Zuckweiler, who has a family history
of breast cancer and underwent a tubal ligation when she was 26, then
a bilateral mastectomy when she was 30. The fibromyalgia, a
musculoskeletal and fatigue disorder, she believes is a result of
ruptured silicone breast implants when she was 42.
For nearly 10 years, she struggled with symptoms that included chronic
fatigue syndrome plus doctors who, she said, "were busy treating the
bloodwork rather than the person." A psychiatric nurse, Zuckweiler
devoured literature about fibromyalgia and convinced internist Dr.
Chris Foley of Vadnais Heights to "think outside the box."
At her insistence, Foley treated her for thyroid resistance, even
though blood tests showed thyroid values in the normal range.
"My body secretes enough of the hormone but doesn't use it well," she
It didn't cure the problem, but through supplements, stress
management, thyroid replacement, an antidepressant and nearly an hour
of stretching and light weight lifting daily, she began feeling
better. A lifeguard when she was in nursing school, she was able to
start swimming again. As she became more fit, her local triathlon
beckoned, although biking and running were so foreign to her that she
trained on the bike for weeks before she figured out how to properly
shift gears on an old 10-speed.
She showed up at Turtle Lake on Aug. 7 feeling a bit like a dandelion
in a field of sunflowers as she noticed most of the entrants were
wearing wet suits for the swim and riding fancy bicycles. It didn't
help that she plunged into the water and, although she couldn't grasp
the crawl and went with the breaststroke, she soon got disoriented and
veered way off course.
"When I realized how far I'd gone off track, I was tired and had to
flip over on my back to rest for a minute," she said. It was
discouraging enough to warrant an internal debate.
"Well, forget it," she told herself at the time. "You've already
screwed up the whole thing."
That message, however, was quickly replaced by another: "Quitting is
not an option!"
Halfway through the bike ride, she looked down and spotted an ugly
leech attached to her leg, "and I'm not a leech person." By then,
however, Zuckweiler was determined to get though her own personal
"fear factor." She sc****d it off and kept going.
She had been told that the slowest Turtleman entrants require nearly 4
hours, so her goal was 3½. She finished in 3 hours, 21 minutes, 44
seconds, and "I was just elated," she said.
Then, as she was embraced by her husband and daughter, "all the
frustration of the swim came out, and I just started to bawl."
It probably didn't help that she arrived at the finish line just one
place after the available medals ran out. She got "a really cool
T-shirt," but no medal.
"They're mailing me one," she said.
She deserves a ceremony, but Zuckweiler has no need of a podium or an
anthem with her medal. Besides the message of hope she believes it
will send to others with similar problems, her achievement brought
with it a flood of feelings and emotions.
"I'm still amazed. I'm still like, 'That must be about somebody else,'
" she said. "I feel humbled by it."
Bruce Brothers' recreation notebook appears Sundays. He can be reached
at bbrothers@ pioneerpress.com.