Sunday, August 26, 2007

Feeling a bit better.

Today, I was able to do a few minutes on the elliptical with my aircast boot on. I will have to work up very, very slowly so as not to stress my foot or pull part of my legs from wearing the boot. But, it's something. Now, I am feeling a little better.

I did some ab work last night and am just about to do some more.

Also, I tried on a pair of pants that my Mom had. They are a size 18. I usually wear an 18W and haven't been able to get into a regular pair of 18s. They fit. So, I am feeling a bit inspired again.

Run Forrest, run.

Sorry to have been out of touch for so long, but I have been battling a situation that I really haven't felt up to blogging about. Right after I returned home from vacation, I apparently (on my very first post-vacation training walk) managed to develop a stress fracture in the 4th metatarsal in my left foot. It was discolored and swollen and a little sore, but I could walk okay, so I took a few days off from walking. I soaked in hot water with epsom salts, alternated that with soaking in a bucket of ice water, and took alleve for swelling. I could get the swelling somewhat down, but never all the way gone and it would come back easily.

After a few days, I strapped on my shoes and went out and managed to complete the first 8 miles of a planned 14 mile walk. My foot didn't really hurt, but I could feel it swelling in my shoe, so I stopped and went to the walk in side of my doctor's office. At this point, I had been walking on it for a week.

The doctor explained how difficult it is to diagnose a stress fracture vs. metatarsalgia and that it often won't show up on an x-ray at all for several weeks. Nevertheless, insurance insists on an x-ray being the first test done in these situations. Since it was the weekend and since I could walk on it, I was instructed to come back on Monday after work to get my x-ray and start the process.

I returned Monday to find that their x-ray machine was down and they scrambled to find a local radiologist that could fit me in that late in the day. I arrived at the chosen one with paperwork in hand at 4:45 pm. I was x-rayed and stayed to talk to the radiologist to find out if he thought that the foot was broken. He did not. At least we could rule out acute fracture (where the bone was broken all the way through).

I played phone tag with the doctor's office for a couple of days and couldn't get a straight answer from anyone I talked to. How ridiculous! Finally, a nurse calls and tells me that I have a referral to an orthopedist and tells me who to call to make my appt.

So, the following Monday (now 3 weeks since I first hurt my foot) I see my new orthopedist foot specialist. After a review of my x-ray under an especially bright bulb, he sees the tell-tale signs of a stress fracture. Actually, he sees more of the side effects of what happens to the bone in the presence of a stress fracture instead of the actual fracture. The good news is that it is a very small break, the fraction of the size of a human hair.

The bad news got a bit more emotional. He hung up my x-rays to explain to me what was going on. Even I could see that there was a big problem with my foot. Then he asked the magic question: Were you completely club footed at birth or just partially? I explained that I wore braces (in the shoes, no, not the Forrest Gump kind) as a child, but that it was because I had some bones in the wrong places, but that it had been fixed and that I had never had club foot--my uncle had, but I had not. He picked up my foot and showed me the tell-tale signs of corrected club foot. They were all there.

I knew I had weird feet. Always had them. But, corrected club foot was serious, the kind of thing that required careful and constant care to prevent things like broken bones in the foot! The doctor explained that I was in a generation of kids that they didn't use the term "club foot" with unless surgery was the only option. Because of surgeries that were only partially successful in the past, there was a stigma attached to the term club foot. Club foot meant crippled to many people and often people felt that there was no use in treating it. Hence, I had a genetic mutation in my feet and braces would straighten the bones. My ankles were always straight, so surgery wasn't necessary at all. Just special orthotics in my ugly, orthopedic shoes. I wore this lovely combo from kindergarten through my seventh grade year.

I can remember being so happy to get out of the special shoes and to go with my Mom to Fayva (blast from the past, huh?) for the express purpose of buying cute shoes like everyone else had. I was a kid in a candy store. But, I digress.

Unfortunately, while my feet were relatively straight, the bones inside were still angled, some of which ran almost 45 degrees across my foot before connecting at a bizarre angle to my toes, leaving significant areas of my feet without any real support. The doctor said that it was no wonder that I am clumsy. I have absolutely no side to side stability.

But, there are some nasty realities to having corrected club feet. One is that I should have always been wearing orthopedic shoes. Now, I will have to wear them forever. Perhaps that is not a good thing, ultimately, but it feels like a horrible curse after having to wear them for years when I was a kid and wanted so desperately to fit in. I must admit, that this is the part that has been the most difficult for me. Also, I shouldn't have ever been training for a distance walking event at all. The doctor thinks that I should be able to eventually resume some walking for fitness, but no more than an hour or two--tops, ever.

So that is the end of my dream of the 3-day. I am crushed. It is over. I feel as if I have let down my team, my walking partner, and worst of all, myself.

Now, I am in an aircast and am at sixes and sevens with myself. I miss getting up early to walk. I feel sluggish and useless. Oh well. I can't change it.

Now, I struggle to accept it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Back from vacation--bummer!

Well, we spent a wonderful week on Jekyll Island, Georgia this past week. We met my best friend from Tennessee and her two beautiful daughters. It was a lot of fun and it's always cool that when we get together that life is all about the kids. It's laid back and relaxed and noisy and chaotic. By the end of the week, the adults are pulling their hair out and the kids are exhausted. It's a good thing.

The best part is that the kids need absolutely no time to get back into the swing of things. Even though they haven't seen each other or spoken in a year, they picked back up as if they had been together the day before. They just never miss a beat. Of course, it's like that for me and Karen also, but it's fun to watch how well the kids get along. It made going back home (and to reality) hard for all of us. But, we'll see each other in October, as she is coming down to be at the closing ceremonies for the 3-day with us. I'm so excited that she would even consider coming down to support me in this. It's cool.

Unfortunately, on the way back home, my car picked up a horrible noise and we had to limp it back home. But, we made it home safe and hubby is working hard to get it back up and running so I can return to work tomorrow. It wasn't a great time to have another expense to take care of, but at least it appears that he can do the work himself, which helps.