Some people…

In the past couple weeks, I’ve had a lot of people who have messaged me to let me know that they are thinking about me or praying for me.  People have shared their own stories of depression and how running is their ‘cure.’  Last week, I got an email from a friend who offered to come and help me clean my house.  I was humbled by her offer.  And, immediately my pride stepped in the way and said no.  Fortunately, we have known each other for 30 years (I still don’t believe that) and she gently and persistently let me know that she wanted to do this for me.

I think it was because we’ve known each other for so long, that I was able to let down my guard and allow her to help me.  She came over after work and while I very slowly vacuumed (taking breaks to rest), she cleaned my kitchen. 

In the grand scheme of things, a couple hours of her time wasn’t a huge deal.  But the fact that she was willing to step out and do something so practical to help me out, absolutely meant the world to me.

I am so grateful that there are people in the world who are willing to scrub my stove, or take my kids for an hour, or drop off a meal.  While I am trying my best to get through this rough season, I am encouraged by the people who have stepped up to help me out.  Seriously, I couldn’t do it without you.  Thank you so much. 

I can’t wait to feel better so that I can pay it forward.

Hub City Days Duathlon

Last weekend I got to volunteer at another local race.  The Hub Cities Duathlon is in it’s fourth year and I have competed each of the previous three years.  I was really disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to participate this year because I love the idea of ‘streaking’ and participating in an event every year from its inception.  Since I couldn’t participate, the only way to keep the streak alive was to volunteer!

And I had a blast!  Because it is a local race, I knew a lot of people who were participating.  From my volunteer positions, I was able to get a lot of pictures and cheer for a ton of people.  Naturally, I brought my cow bell.  People love the cowbell.

The race consists of two 2-mile runs with a 14 mile bike ride sandwiched in between.  I was stationed on each of the run courses.  The first run, I was about a half mile from the end.  It was great to see the leaders and be amazed at how incredibly fast they were.  There were three waves of start times, about 2 minutes apart, so there wasn’t too much of a time difference between the leaders and the last run/walkers to come through.  That gave me plenty of time to get to my second run station. 

I almost missed seeing the winner come through the second run.  He was so speedy!  He finished the course in one hour and eleven seconds.  He was almost 3 minutes ahead of the second place finisher.  At my second station, I was able to see the runners twice, since they were heading into an out-and-back section of the course.  On the ‘out’ I would let them know that they were heading straight onto a trail section.  On the ‘back’ I would encourage them to push hard because the finish was only a few more blocks.

It was great seeing the different athletes.  Some looked so relaxed and focused.  Others really seemed to be struggling.  I can certainly understand their struggles.  While it is a relatively short course, the bike section does have a couple hills.  And the weather was quite warm and very humid. 

The organizers were great about getting information out to the volunteers.  I wasn’t able to attend the info session on the evening before the race, and they emailed me all the things I needed to know.  I showed up the morning of the event, they gave me my T-shirt and a map with my volunteer stations on it.  They invited me to come back after the event and join in the party and eat the food.  I didn’t because I had to get home.

I had a blast volunteering.  I have enjoyed seeing things from a different perspective this year.  I have always appreciated the volunteers at all the events I have participated in and now that I have been on that end of things, I appreciate them even more. 

But I still hope I can participate next year.

Pain management follow up appointment

Monday morning, I trekked back to Bone and Joint to meet with the pain management doctor.  We discussed the relief I experienced after the first and second sets of injections.  After that conversation, she believes that going forward with the nerve ablation would be the most beneficial for me.  She said she was hopeful.  She asked me if I was hopeful.  I told her I was desperate.  I don’t think that is the same as hopeful.

We went over the procedure.  I will report to the surgery center just like I did for the injections.  Nothing to eat or drink before.  This time, I will get an IV.  This procedure can be more painful, so the IV offers easy access for medications.

She will start by injecting a local anesthesia then inserting the needles into the nerves in my back (L3-L5).  I’ll be awake for the entire procedure, lying on my stomach.  She will use xray guidance to make sure the needles are properly positioned.  Then comes the testing phase.  This is the most time consuming part.  She needs to make sure that the needles are in the sensory nerves and nowhere near the motor nerves.  Sensory nerves transmit pain impulses.  Motor nerves allow me to walk.  If she gets too close to the motor nerve during the testing phase, my leg will start twitching like crazy.  It is good to know this prior to burning off the nerve.  She assures me she has never been to close to the motor nerve.

Source

Once the needles are in the right spots, the actual burning procedure takes about 6 minutes.  There are four 90 second ‘burns’ that travel a set length up the nerve.

After the procedure, they will keep an eye on me for 30-60 minutes.  I’ll need a driver to take me home.  And, in the words of the doctor, I get to be a queen for the rest of the day!  No lifting, no cooking dinner, no bending or working.  Just relaxing.  She said she would make sure to tell my husband!

I may experience some increased pain for the first day or two after the procedure from the area being irritated and swollen (from the needles going in).  Or, the relief might come right away.  Each patient is different.

After talking about the procedure, we discussed what happens after.  I will have a follow up about 3 weeks after the procedure.  She typically likes to do a 2 week follow up, but her schedule was pretty full.  If I’m feeling good at that point, she will get me started with physical therapy.  If I’m still a little sore, I’ll wait until the 6 week follow up.  Everyone starts therapy after the 6 week follow up.

I asked her about activity restrictions after the procedure.  I remembered that I couldn’t do anything strenuous the day of the procedure.  But I wondered about the next day or two.  Would I be able to go swimming or walking?  She said: “You can run.”

And I cried.

Even writing about it now, I’m crying.

The doctor put her hand on my knee and offered me a tissue and gave me a minute to collect myself.  She told me that this was what we were working toward.  She wanted me to get my life back and running is an integral part of my life.  I felt like such an idiot crying, but those three simple words were something I have been waiting to hear for almost 6 months.

Once I had regained my composure, she went on to clarify the conditions of me being able to run.  I can run no more than half a mile, at a very slow pace, no more frequently than every other day.  Until I see her at the follow up appointment.

She went on to talk about how much she enjoys working with athletes.  They are typically very healthy, meaning that they have the potential to heal more quickly.  But, that they often push themselves further and faster than is recommended during their recovery.  A lot of times, she needs to pull back the reins on the athletes so that they don’t overwork themselves and slow their recovery time. 

Message received.

I am optimistically looking forward to the procedure on August 4th.

Please pray that everything goes as planned and that I get some pain relief quickly.

Jamison Kampmeyer Memorial Run

This is the first race I ever ran…5 years ago.  It went by a different name then.  This would have been the 6th time for me to run it.  Instead, I volunteered at race day registration.  Then I hopped on Tim’s bike and cheered Jaden on as he ran the race.  I got to see a lot of friends out on the course and being able to cheer for everyone took away a little bit of the sting of not being able to run it myself.

At the start line with our friend Sarah, who went on to get a 5K PR!

About half a mile in…looking good.

Around 2 1/2 miles. 

Sprint to the finish!

He got 2nd place in his age group.

We live in a fast neighborhood.  These are the trophy winners from our corner (literally).

Jaden had a great time and was thrilled with his trophy.  This was his third 5K of the year.  While it was his slowest race, it is the first time he has run one without me or Tim ‘pacing’ him along the way. 

The race honors a fallen local firefighter and there were several local firefighters and members of the National Guard who participated.  It is amazing to see these guys come out and support our small community.

This is shorter than my usual race recaps.  I guess I’m just a bit bummed that I didn’t get to run this year.  I was glad to be able to volunteer and I hope that next year I will be back, and better than ever.

Thank you

So many of you have said so many nice things since my last post.  I am very grateful to each of you who reached out to me via text, facebook, email and in person.  While I have not responded to the vast majority of those messages, please understand that I read every single one of them and it means the world to me that you would take the time and energy to reach out to me.  I am humbled.  And blessed.

It is my intention to respond to all these messages.  Please forgive me if the follow through isn’t 100%.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means that I don’t have the energy. 

Several people suggested that I find someone to talk to about what I’m going through.  I think that is a very valid suggestion.  As is the suggestion that I may need to revisit the idea of medication to help me get through this period of time.  Other suggestions included essential oils (I know almost nothing about this and would need some help with the details), a weekend away by myself (can’t afford it and it seems isolating), a girl’s night out (I don’t have the energy for social environments right now and I don’t want to depress the people I’m with).

I just pray that I will get through this injury and pain and that I can put this stage of my life behind me.  Until that happens, I will try to smile.  Again, thank you all for your kind words and encouragement.