Instead of having fun on Spring Break this week, we’ve spent 5 days in the hospital with Jessica. She had to have surgery to repair a problem with her bladder. The surgery went very well and she is recovering quickly. The reason for the lengthy hospital stay was due to them using a piece of small intestine for the procedure which mandated that she go without food for 2 days before the operation, and 2+ days after. She was able to subsist on a clear liquid diet and an IV, but couldn’t have been happier when she was allowed to eat again. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger smile than when she was given that news.
We had incredible family support in taking care of the other kids and that played a huge part in us being able to focus 100% on the task at hand. Jessica’s doctors and nurses have been great and have taken good care of her. They all love to be around her. She is such a happy little girl despite all of the challenges she has lived through. I stand in awe of her sweet disposition and patience. Whenever I am hurting or having a hard time I just get grumpy and want to withdraw. There is a lot I have learned from observing her during trying times this week.
Speaking of hurting. I was supposed to race a 50 miler in Utah today. Jessica’s hospital stay took that option off the table, but I doubt if I could have run anyway. I’ve had a pretty bad pain in my heel since December 1st and finally went to an orthopedic podiatrist to get it checked out. The pain is right on the very back of my heel and started after running a half marathon. I felt fine after the race, but when I got home after the two hour drive I could barely walk – I had to employ a VERY pronounced limp to get around for several days.
After x-rays plus an examination the verdict is equinus retrocalcaneal exostosis, retrocalcaneus bursitis, and maybe a dash of insertional achilles tendonitis. It basically means I have super tight calves along with a bony growth on the back of my heel (spur), and an inflamed bursa. I’ve been running with pain every day for almost 4 months now and while manageable after some time off following the initial injury, it finally broke me. What really drove me into trying to get it resolved was that I was starting to have pain in my knee and knew almost immediately that it was from my stride compensating for the heel pain.
I ran an 18 miler last weekend on some of my favorite trails on earth. I was miserable for the most part and ended up walking the last mile or so back to my car. If I can’t even enjoy running on trails that I love, what’s the point? The really tough part about it is that everything else feels as good or better than ever. I’m in the best running shape I’ve ever been in, which makes it that much harder to put on the brakes for a while.
I’m now on a month-long anti-inflammatory prescription, PT a couple times a week, and go back in 3 weeks for more x-rays to see how things look. Time to dust off the bikes and start pedaling. Fortunately that doesn’t make my heel hurt.
I’m optimistic that I can get healed up fairly soon, although reading people’s stories after a google search yesterday had me just about ready to toss all of my running shoes and order a wheelchair. Yikes!! Scary stuff. The one thing that really gives me hope is my IT Band problem 2 years ago when I started running. The pain from that was so intense! It felt like an ice pick was being jammed into the side of my knee. Eventually it healed, and has felt totally bomb-proof ever since. I’m hoping for the same result with this.
For the first time in a couple of years, I’m not currently registered for any races. I’m reluctant to sign up for anything until I can tell how my recovery is going. Several of my plan-A races look suspect, but I do have a few plan-B ones in mind that I should be able to register for closer to the event itself. I’m tired of sending a check weeks/months in advance and then not being able to run. I’m out 200 bucks over the past 6 months from missed races due to sickness and injury. That’s a lotta scratch with nothing to show for it! I know other people have had it much worse with WS being canceled last year by fire and now MdS getting dumped on by water, but it’s still a little bit of a salt-in-the-wound kind of feeling. I am in no way, shape, or form saying I want a refund for anything, that’s not the issue – I’m just lamenting not being able to participate in something I had been training hard for and looking forward to.
Maybe it’s time to start looking into doing runs like crossing the Grand Canyon where I can set my own timetable and don’t have to pay a registration fee. That said, if this sucker gets better fairly soon, I’ll be the first one in line for the great races like Jemez, Bighorn, Speedgoat, and Leadville. I just want to run without flinching every step of the way.