Das boot

Just when you think things can’t get worse… they do. I am a walking limping example of Murphy’s Law.

Things were progressing well with my ankle. The swelling was down, the lump of scar tissue/fluid was barely there. Then, as I was walking to the car Sunday afternoon, my ankle gave out on me and I fell… hard. I felt something “go” in my ankle. Not sure if it was a snap, rip or whatever. But something happened that shouldn’t have happened.

I stayed off my foot the rest of the night and have been nursing it with ibuprofen, ice and continued to wear my brace.

But as each day passed, it got worse. The pain intensified. There’s a constant pain, just varying in intensity. Walking hurts. Sitting hurts. Everything hurts.

So I went back to my ortho today. Another set of x-rays showed a couple new spurs, but thankfully no fractures. In order to stabilize my ankle, I was given a fancy aircast boot. It’s huge. But it’s keeping things in place, so I guess there’s that.

My ortho guy (he’s a PA – so he’s not a doctor, but I don’t really know how to refer to him except for as my ortho guy) said that if things don’t get better in the next 2-3 weeks, he will order an MRI and refer me to an ankle/foot specialist where we will discuss the next steps. There’s a possibility I have a torn tendon. AWESOME.

I thought I had hit a low earlier this month, but I’ve hit an even lower low.

Will I ever run again? I HAVEN’T RAN SINCE JULY 22. That’s more than three months. I feel like I’ve lost my identity. I’ve lost three months of my life to the never-healing ankle.

I don’t know what comes next, but I do know that today, I will eat (and drink) some feelings. And maybe, just maybe, some of yours as well.

Recipe: Squash Pizza

Tonight, I posted a photo on Instagram of my dinner – a squash pizza. I got so many comments on Facebook and Twitter asking for a recipe. So, I decided to post it here on the ol’ blog. This is an adaptation of a pizza I had at a bridal shower a couple of weeks ago.

You should know, I don’t measure anything. So the quantities listed below are guestimates.

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Grapeseed oil (EVOO would work, too)
  • Your favorite pizza crust (I used a piece of Naan bread)
  • White onion
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Gorgonzola Cheese

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Wash, peel and slice the squash (see note below). Line a baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray (I use canola oil spray). Place sliced squash on pan. Drizzle or brush a little oil on the squash and sprinkle sea salt and pepper on top. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  • While the squash is baking, it’s time for onions and garlic. I caramelized the onions with some freshly pressed garlic and some grapeseed oil (see note below)
  • Once you remove the squash from the oven, increase the temperature to about 450F.
  • Prepare your favorite pizza crust (I went the easy route and used a piece of Naan bread). You could brush a little oil on it, but I found that there was enough oil from the squash and onions, so the extra wasn’t needed.
  • Top your crust with the squash, onions, a sprinkle of mozzarella and gorgonzola and bake for 5-6 minutes. (I used approx. 1/8 – 1/4 cup of each cheese)
  • Enjoy.

NOTES:

  • I live alone, so I make a lot of meals for one (or two if I want lunch the next day).
  • I halved the squash, peeled it and scooped out the seeds. I cut half of it up into cubes, blanched and froze the cubes for later use. The remaining half I sliced thin (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick) for this recipe. If you were making this for a family or some type of gathering, you might use the entire squash.
  • I caramelized three small onions along with about five garlic cloves. I only used a small amount for the pizza and have the rest for leftovers.

We’re helping our dear friend, Sara

Hello Friends!

If there’s one thing we know about the people of Wisconsin, it’s that they have some of the biggest hearts of anyone anywhere. This is especially true of Milwaukee.Milwaukeeans have hearts the size of Texas (and, let’s be honest, better beer).

You know her. You love her.

We know you want to help. And she could use a little right now.

After several months with increasing epileptic episodes and the continued weakness, incapacitating pain, and mobility challenges due to her related neurological conditions, our dear friend, @sarasantiago, was encouraged to apply to a service dog training and placement organization. After completing the application process, Sara and her extended family participated in an interview with the organization, and she was accepted into the program.

A Seizure and Mobility Assistance Dog will keep Sara safe both during and after a seizure. It will be trained to alert someone nearby or to use a specialized “phone” to dial a pre-programmed number if she is alone, and bring her its special vest that may hold a prepaid cell phone, medication and anything else Sara might need. The dog will also be trained to keep Sara from physically putting herself in an unsafe situation. (It is possible for Sara to continue walking during certain types of seizures, albeit in an altered state of consciousness.) It will be able to assist her in getting up from a lying down or seated position, help to stabilize her when she is having a bad balance day, and will be trained to retrieve things for her, should she be too weak to do it on her own.

For her safety, we want Sara to receive this incredible dog as soon as possible.

This is where you come in.

Seizure and Mobility Assistance Dogs are highly trained and expensive. They go through up to two years of specialized training before they are able to be placed with someone in need.

It is the goal of the organization providing Sara’s service dog is that all dogs are placed at no cost to the disabled handler. “We understand the importance of adding a service dog to your life. We would never want finances to be the deciding factor. Each dog’s training, medical, and boarding comes to an average of $10,000.00, which is covered through fundraising efforts for the organization.”

Your contribution will help cover the cost of training, boarding and medical care for Sara’s service dog while it is going through its rigorous preparation to assist Sara, as well as airfare and a hotel room for the family while they work with the professional handlers for two weeks to transfer the service dog into Sara’s care as its new handler.

Please consider opening your hearts (and your wallets, duh).

We can’t do this without you.

In the words of Sara, We’ll eat you up, we love you so.

We know Sara has touched the lives of so many people in this community. It’s time for this community to do whatever it can to support her.

If you have a few (or a lot) of dollars to spare, please consider contributing to this campaign. Every little bit will get Sara one step closer to receiving the incredible gift of this service dog.  Visit http://www.bit.ly/sarassidekick to contribute.

Any and all questions regarding Sara’s Sidekick should go directly through Kate Barrie (kdbarrie@gmail.com) and Amy Kant (amykant@gmail.com).

Now, what are you waiting for? Let’s bring Sara’s Sidekick to Milwaukee!

– Kate Barrie & Amy Kant

The marathon that wasn’t

I has a sad.

Remember when I said I wasn’t running the Lakefront Marathon (or Madison Mini or Brewers Mini) anymore?

Well, back in August I didn’t realize just how hard this weekend would be for me. I thought that, after two months of knowing the marathon wasn’t going to happen, that I would be over it by now. But this wave of emotion took me by surprise. I mean, I knew this weekend would be bittersweet for me, but I’ve missed races before due to injury and figured I would have a twinge of pain, but would be able to get through it without much thought.

So much energy and hope was focused on training for and running this race. I know it would have been hard. I know it would have been painful. I know it would have taken me FOREVER to finish. And I do realize it would have been even harder if my training stopped later than it did. I am lucky that I was taken out of training before the major marathon build-ups began (more than 13.1 miles). That fact doesn’t make this weekend any easier though.

Today was the race expo – one of my favorite things about big races. I love looking at all the gear, trying samples of different products, and experiencing all the excitement from having all those runners in one room. Everyone is happy – nervous – excited.

I experienced none of that.

In all, my first marathon race expo lasted less than 5 minutes. Here’s how it went:

  • Park car
  • Limp to MSOE’s Kern Center (expo location)
  • Get race packet
  • Limp to car
  • Cry
  • Head home

Throw in a teary call to my mom and you have my first marathon experience.

I’m not supposed to be on my feet for extended periods of time. Doctor’s orders are for me to be sitting or elevating my foot whenever possible. I may be off crutches, but I’m still not out of the woods. My doctor said right now it is critical I not do anything that could send me backwards again. Both he, my mom and a couple of close friends have told me NOT to head out to cheer for the race tomorrow (for my physical and mental well-being).

But some of my dearest friends are racing tomorrow. I want to be out there to support them. I want to show them all the love they’ve shown me.  I want to be out along the course to cheer for my friends who are racing for PRs. I just don’t know if I’m strong enough to do so. I hope they’ll understand if I don’t make it out. I’m trying to mend a broken heart, and a fucked up ankle.

An update.

About three weeks ago (after finally being cleared to workout), my ankle started getting worse, instead of better. It was swollen. It hurt like hell.

And there was a weird lump.

Turns out, I tore a muscle on the inside of my ankle, just above the joint. (Chances are, this tear happened back in July/August when the injury first developed. My doc thinks the tear got worse last month, and that’s why I had the increased swelling and pain).

Here’s the gross part:

That lump on my ankle? I later was told it was scar tissue, blood and other fluid pooling at my ankle. Awesome. Super sexy.

I was told that I couldn’t work out (again) and that I had to take it easy. That meant Kinesio tape, ankle brace, icing and anti-inflammatory meds. Of course, did I listen? (you know the answer).

Nope. I spent a good 12+ hours setting up, working and cleaning up at Paxton’s Pablove Fest that weekend. I was in charge of the merchandise tent, so I was able to sit down pretty often. But, not enough. The next morning, my ankle was even more swollen and painful. I wore my calf compression sleeve, the kinesio tape and my brace the next day. And it just kept getting worse. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t have missed out on Paxton’s Pablove Fest for anything. NOTHING would have kept me away. NOTHING. Luckily, my doctor recognized how important it was for me to be there at the event, not only personally, but also to fulfill my commitments to Team Paxton.

That didn’t stop him from scolding me though.

That Monday at work, I was in so much pain – just sitting at my desk. I couldn’t take it any longer and called to get an earlier appointment at the doctor. They did x-rays, e-stim and ultrasound therapy. The x-rays confirmed there was no break (they wanted to make sure), but my doc said there was significant inflammation (duh) along with the aforementioned scar tissue and blood. The doctor said he knew I did what I needed to do that Saturday, but that now I needed to focus on my own health.

So, I’ve been on crutches for two weeks. I *just* got off them yesterday. I’ve worn my calf sleeves more in the past two weeks than in the last year! There’s been a lot of tape, ice, meds, resting, brace wearing and elevating. I’m finally in a place where I’m not in constant, horrible pain. Right now, it’s more like a really bad ache.