Life, Triathlon

Oh, Snap!

Sometimes after a fresh start, the light changes and you have to stop.  That’s what I felt like the other day.  Literally a couple of hours after I wrote that last post, I found out that I would not be running for at least 4-8 weeks.  Why?  Well, I have a broken bone in my foot.  Yeah, I was just as surprised as you are, but I guess I should not have been, given the pain was pretty bad here and there.  I think I just had too much going on to really pay attention to it.

Months ago, I had foot pain.  Since I have my Google Doctorate and can self diagnose like a boss, I chalked it up to something called sesamoiditis.  There are these small bones in your feet called sesamoid bones and sometimes the area around them gets angry and inflamed because of overuse.  I iced, I rolled I did warm foot baths, etc.  It seemed to help, which matched up pretty good to the symptoms and treatments.  I knew I would be resting for a few weeks after surgery, so I figured I’d be killing two birds with one stone.

When I started back to full training, the first day was an intense one hour strength session.  While doing my 60 walking lunges, my foot hurt again.  Dang, I thought.  Maybe I should have stretched it better or warmed up more.  When it came to do single leg calf raises, I had to stop and rest every 5 because the pain came back.  In hindsight, of course, I should have stopped completely, but hey in the moment, I was trying to be a badass!

The next day it ached and ached, but didn’t actually hurt when I was on the bike trainer.  I rubbed it out and told Darin I needed to get it checked.  It really hurt but I was so excited to be back to training that I think I kind of tried to ignore it.  When I went for my short run, there was a dull ache but I think I was so focused on making sure my boob didn’t feel weird or ache, that I didn’t give the foot too much thought.  The following strength day, it hurt again.  It was always when I pushed the big toe up, like in a lunge or whatever.  At work that day, I searched for a local walk in center that had x-ray capabilities and told myself I would go over the weekend.

Weekend came and went and while my foot ached and I complained about it, I didn’t go.  Looking back, I think I knew it was worse than I had hoped.  Monday was strength again, and I could not do my lunges properly.  I had to twist my knee in so that the brunt of the weight was on my smaller toes and the ball of my foot just was not having it.  When it came to calf raises, I foolishly did most of them and then stopped because the pain was too much.  I knew I needed to go in, so I left work and headed over to the local urgent care center.  The nurse took all my info and blood pressure, which she said was a bit high at the moment.  I knew why.  The same thing happened when I went to see the surgeon for the first time.  My nerves had me, I knew it was not going to be the news I wanted but just didn’t know what it would be.  I spoke to the doctor, who ordered x-rays and I waited on pins and needles for her to come back into the room once we were done.

She came in and started with a question.  “How long ago did you say you noticed the pain?”  My response was a month or more, but it seemed to subside.  She took me over to view the x-ray with her.  She showed me the sesamoid bones, one of which was cracked open pretty good.  She pointed out that it had began to heal, so it had been a while.  I explained that I rested it after surgery and that seemed to make sense to her.  Her next words were “I know you don’t want to hear this, but you can’t run for a while.”  What’s a while?  Somewhere around 4 to 8 weeks depending on how it heals and how good I am about wearing a restrictive shoe or boot during that time.  In my mind I was like my kid when I take away video games.  I was desperate for something.  I needed to think quick, yeah, negotiate something,  “I have a question,” I said.  “When I ride my bike on the trainer, it doesn’t hurt at all.  Can I keep doing that?”  Her response was something along the lines of “you desperate fool!”  Just kidding, she was kind, but I think that’s what she wanted to say.  She said she certainly could not recommend that, but I could talk to a podiatrist if I wanted to.  She said that she has seen others with similar issues, and that there is a pad that can be placed under the foot that takes the pressure off that particular bone and if worn with a very stiff soled shoe, it could be ok to do certain things.  She threw me a bone, and I loved her for it.  She told me the pads were available on Amazon and even printed a picture out for me.  She gave me a prescription for a strong anti-inflammatory and a boot, and sent me on my way.

I headed home and was trying to digest things.  I’m not going to lie, I had a split second of watery eyes when I was telling Darin what happened, but I was quick to also inform him that I genuinely was ok.  Did you know that you cannot find a walking boot locally?  Amazon it is.   I called Darin over when I was looking for the right one.  I only needed the basic most ugly clunker out there, but there was a pretty sharp storm trooper looking one for a couple bucks more.  Heck, if I am wearing it for a month or two, may as well like it.

It seemed surprising to the doctor that I could not recall when I actually broke it.  She said that it was likely a small fracture that at some point I ran too hard on or did something to push it over the edge and have it split if I could not recall a trauma to it.  Darin and I started to try to think about when I first felt the foot pain.  It was so weird because I remember feeling it for a while but never in a million years would I have thought it was a break or even a hairline fracture.  The pain got bad only at a couple of points, otherwise it was very tolerable.  I went back over my training notes and the morning after a long run in January, I told my coach that I stepped out of bed and my foot really hurt.  I assumed it was a cramp or tightness and rubbed it out and did my bike workout.  It was fine on the bike but ached some after.  I iced it, rolled it and stayed off it a day or so and it seemed ok.  There was always a dull ache, but nothing to be concerned about.  That’s also right when I got the word that I needed to start having all these breast cancer screens and tests.  I think I just focused on the bigger demon and let the little one lie.  My best guess is that I probably had a hairline fracture at that time.

About a week before we did the Star Wars runs, Darin and I went on a training run together.  My notes say that about a mile into the run, I felt a really sharp pain and had to stop a second.  He and I instantly remembered.  I landed funky on a bad sidewalk and made one of those gasps right away.  I am pretty sure that’s what did it.  That was the straw that broke the sesamoid’s back.  (That’s the saying, right?)  That is my best guess as to when it finally split.  I rested it after that, knowing we had the event the next weekend.  I am kind of glad I didn’t know then, what I know now.  I ran a 10k and a half marathon the weekend after it happened.  Had I known, I would have been told not to run and experiencing that with D2 made me so happy!  Yeah, it probably wasn’t good for my foot, but with everything going on, it was good for my spirit!

Over the past several months, I have learned a lot and am still learning.  I am learning to control the things I can, and react the best possible way to the things I can’t control.  There’s a quote by Marcus Aurelius that says “Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”   I try to think of that now whenever I react to something.  The word “harmed” is interchangeable with so many things, sad, mad, frustrated, etc.  The first  thought in my head when she said it was broken was, “really?, Could anything else go wrong?” and then I realized….. YES, a lot more could go wrong!   So, I choose not to be bummed or feel sorry for myself.  I choose to love my fate, and do my best to learn from the struggles it presents me.  I cant’ run for 4-8 weeks and I have to wear a boot.  There are so many people out there that have so much more to overcome.  I still have my health, there are so many things I can still do, even with a boot!


Fresh Start

The big day finally came.  I wasn’t sure it was going to happen at first.  The cough I had was still very apparent and I was really scared they would postpone.  Thankfully, after some questions and the anesthesiologist looking at my throat, I was given the green light!!!  I was glad that I would finally get it over with.

I was put into pre-op where they took vitals and started an IV.  They explained that I would have to be taken to the women’s center for the first procedure.  They wheeled me over there and went over all the necessary information and asked if I had any questions.  I asked the nurse if the procedure was done in the same type of chair I was in for the biopsy, already knowing that the answer was probably yes.  Much to my dismay, she confirmed.  A few minutes later, I was loaded up and they explained that I would be given local anesthetic and then they would take a mammogram photo so they could confirm the location of the clip and the doctor would insert a wire.  They got started and once the wire was in, they took another photo to ensure the wire was over the clip.  Then, they took another photo from the side this time to see how much further in it needed to be pushed.  Thankfully, they got everything on the first shot and the procedure was pretty quick.  They taped the wire to me and put some gauze over the site.  I took a look afterward and the wire looked no different than something I’d buy at Michael’s to make jewelry.  It made me chuckle to think that it will probably be billed at hundreds of dollars when I could have gotten a whole roll for them for five bucks.  They wheeled me back to pre-op to await my partial mastectomy.

The anesthesiologist told me that they’d give me a sedative and that most people are out before they see the hallway, but that on occasion they see the operating room and might remember being in there but that was about it.  Not long after, they administered the sedative and I started feeling the effects.  I remember the whole ride over and the operating room.  They put warm blankets over me and started to strap my legs down.  “I’m still awake,” I said.  They joked they needed to strap me down so I didn’t run away.  They then moved my arms outward and put blankets on those and began to strap them down.  “I’m still awake,” I said again.  They put the mask over my face and told me to breathe and they knew I was awake but would not be soon.  I think I said it a couple more times just to make sure they knew, and then I was out.

I woke up in recovery with a pounding headache and just wanted to go home.  Darin told me to sleep a bit more.  I did and they brought in some juice and crackers, which I was very grateful for!  They took out the IV and I got dressed to head home.  I remember being wheeled out and getting in the car, but I can’t say I remember the ride home.  I do remember texting some people that all went well.  We got home and I got dressed in comfy clothes and took a nap.  I felt pretty good considering.  I took the pain meds to make sure that I kept the major pain at bay, if there was any.  Sleep that night was very uncomfortable.  Ladies can attest to the fact that gravity works in weird ways with that kind of tissue and it really didn’t do good things for it after surgery.  The more time went on, the more uncomfortable I became.  I ended up propping into a seated like position to be as comfortable as I could.

Day two seems to be when the pain always kicks in.  Work out too hard, and you feel it day 2.  Have a fender bender and your neck hurts day 2.  This was no different.  I went to take a shower in the morning and gravity was once again against me.  I made it quick and took my pain meds.  I’ve been ordered to wear a sports bra 24/7 for at least one week, I can see why.  I told myself to accept and embrace the healing process, and I did.  The days that followed were full of ups and downs.  I had a great day where I went for a short walk and really felt like myself again, but then had a bad day right after.  I would say that Thursday, almost a week after surgery, was the first day I really felt on the mend.  I was able to ride in the car without wincing and didn’t really sleep during the day.  I was off pain meds and on my way in recovery.

I went back to work the following week and tried to walk in the mornings to get myself back on my old schedule.  I was really looking forward to getting the clearance to start training again.  About two and a half weeks after surgery, I got the all clear!  It came with a warning that I was still very much healing and that it would take a good while before I was really 100%.

I was excited to get back to training but knew running would be the challenge.  What happens is, the body fills the void with fluid which then hardens to become scar tissue.  There’s all kinds of little pains and niggles during the healing process as nerves reconnect, etc.  My first run went ok, but I had to cut it short and walk some.  I began to ache about 15-20 minutes in, and knew it was not a good idea to continue.  With the help of my coach, I made some modifications to my training to focus more on the bike and strength and ease into the running over the next few weeks.

I’m excited for this fresh start and was really proud of myself for the effort I put in that firs real full week of training.  Now, if only I could get myself to go to the pool….