Post surgical blues

Leading up to surgery, I was overly optimistic. Four to six weeks off of work? I will get sooo much stuff done. I’ll knit a bunch of hats and scarves, I’ll have time to catch up on my reading, I’ll watch all the documentaries in my Netflix queue and do some design work I’ve been wanting to do.

Boy was I wrong.

When I’m not in a drug-induced nap, I’m watching marathons of “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” or “SpongeBob SquarePants” on Netflix. I’m playing stupid games on my computer or iPad. The only thing I’ve knitted so far was a cover for my cast to keep my toes warm.

photo (2)Speaking of my toes… we have a little situation going on. As you can see (sorry, gross, I know)… my toes are a nice bluish purple. That’s from getting up to go to the bathroom and let the dogs outside. I was up for maybe 10 minutes total and my toes went all cray-cray.

Apparently, I’m now getting into the crazy swelling stage of recovery, where if you don’t have your foot elevated, everything swells and starts to turn colors. This could go on for a couple of months. MONTHS. WHAT THE HELL?

BTW, the orange is from the betadine they put on you to sterilize everything before surgery. At first, my leg and toes looked like I got a bad spray tan. Now it just looks gross. Add in the blue toes, and we’re on the way to getting a rainbow.

Anyways, when my toes swell up and get blue, they also get super tingly and uncomfortable.

So that’s awesome.

And on top of that, I have been feeling lonely. I’ve had a few visitors (thanks, guys!), but I just feel secluded because the couple of times that I have left the house I felt exhausted the entire following day. Life is going on for everyone else and I’m here, sitting alone at my parents’ house. Ok I’m not really alone – I’m just that crazy hermit lady holed up in a house alone, with three dogs.

</pity party>

Day 4

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It’s been three days since my lateral ligament reconstruction, bone spur removal and bone fracture surgery.

Today started out a bit rough. I was in a lot of pain this morning and spent more time sleeping than I did yesterday. I’ve had a really upset stomach (let’s just say  that the narcotics are doing a number on my digestive system).

I was told that today would be the first day I could attempt to shower, but I was feeling so exhausted that I just washed up and threw on a Bondi Band. I may attempt a shower tomorrow, but only if I have the energy to stand up on one leg long enough. My ankle is non-weight bearing for at least three weeks, if not longer.

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And then these beautiful flowers arrived.

My sister and her boyfriend had them delivered from Whole Foods. They are so beautiful and were the ray of sunshine I needed on this rough morning.

Thankfully, mom was home today and answered the door when they arrived. I’m not sure how I would have gotten them in the house otherwise!

Today I napped, watched Netflix, played some games on my computer and designed new business cards for my LLC. I can’t wait to see them!

photoTomorrow, the plan is to do some knitting. I’m working out a pattern for a bootie of sorts over my cast to keep my toes warm! Here’s what I have so far. –>

And, let’s not forget about my adorable nurse.

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I’m alive.

Ligaments fixed. Bone spurs removed. Surprise fracture fixed with a screw.

LOL, I got screwed today.

HAHAHHahahahha.

Shut up, it’s the drugs talking. Very, very powerful drugs.

PS. Apparently, my ligaments were so bad, that the doc could have popped the ankle out of the socket easily. It would have basically slid right out.

 

 

The S word

So it’s been awhile. I turned 30. There were holidays. A wedding. Craziness at work.

Notice what’s missing?

Yeah.

Working out.

www.footsurgeryatlas.com

My foot/ankle situation hasn’t gotten better. In fact, it’s gotten worse.

On February 22, I will be having a lateral ankle ligament reconstruction surgery. It is as crazy as it sounds. If you are crazy like me, you will already have googled what this is. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s a link to a step-by-step photo gallery of the surgery. Oh, and here’s video.

“Surgery involves making an incision on the side of the ankle to allow the surgeon to clearly see the torn tendons/ligaments and perform surgical repair. ” (Source: Ortho Foot and Ankle Center)

Basically, the surgery involves cutting ligaments in half, overlapping them, and sewing them back together. My surgeon is also going in to clean out the ankle joint and will remove the spurs.

I have three weeks to get my affairs in order – prep everything at work so that my coworkers can cover for me for however long I’m out of work and figure out what I need to bring to my parents’ house, where I’ll be staying during recovery.

I know I’m going to go crazy during recovery. I will need things to keep me busy. I figure I’ll sleep quite a bit the first few days, but after that, I will probably do a lot of knitting, crocheting, iPad gaming, documentary watching and reading. (So if you’re interested in one of my hats, place your orders soon!)

And, if you’re in the MKE area, please feel free to come visit. I will go stir crazy. And I’ve heard I’m fun when I’m on painkillers.

 

30.

Tonight marks the last day of my 20s. I’ll be honest. It’s bittersweet.

Part of me is FREAKING OUT. The other part is asking, “DOES THIS MEAN I’M A GROWN UP NOW?”

I don’t know who to listen to.

In true big girl style, my last meal of my 20s went like this: peanut butter straight out of the jar with chocolate chips, water and a late night trip for froyo.

This past year has not gone as I planned/wished/hoped. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve just been re-evaluating my priorities and need to figure out where all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

Where do I focus my time? Efforts? Energy? This is big time grown up shit, people!

Oh, and my ankle gave me a birthday present: an MRI appointment next week. Lovely.

__

Before I bid my twenties adieu, let’s review my 29 things to do before 30:

  • Continue to work out, eat better, get healthy. – meh. kinda sorta. See every post I’ve written about injuries in the past year.
  • Run a marathon. Shit.
  • Run a half marathon without walking. Shit.
  • Run 100 miles in a month. See above.
  • Run/walk/bike/elliptical/etc 1000 miles in 2012. See above.
  • Run a race in at least 3 different states – check. check. check.
  • Do a duathlon, triathlon or “extreme” race.
  • Complete my work’s Get Well Incentive Program. Holler! I’ll be getting a HSA bonus!
  • Go vegetarian or vegan at least once a week.
  • Write more.Yes. And No.
  • Take a class (or attend a conference). Checkity Check!
  • Network with education professionals- YES!
  • Complete a 365 project. Ha. That’s funny.
  • Document 2012 weekly using my Instax. See above.
  • Make pretty thingsI’ve been knitting/crocheting up a storm!
  • Pay down debt. Making some progress. Still not great, but ok.
  • Create a budget. Ummm…
  • Support local and/or small businessesI could do better.
  • Family time. 
  • Help people. 
  • Friends. Make time for those who truly matter. Reconnect.
  • Faith. Pray. Worship. Devotion. But I should do better.
  • De-Clutter.
  • Find and settle in to an amazing apartment.
  • Get a tattoo… JANUARY!
  • Read. Catch up on RSS feeds. Read books. Read the paper. Read blogs. Avoid JSOnline comments. Those bitches be nasty. And I can’t stay away.
  • Travel. Bonus points if travel involves any of the following: Road trip, Besties, Running, Airplanes, Booze. Wish there were more trips.
  • Make time for me. 
  • Laugh. It’s the best medicine.

Ok, now that I look at the list, I did ok. But I know I could do better.

Where’s the 30 things to do before 31? I’m not ready to look forward to the first year of my 30s just yet. I feel like I’m still finding myself. I need to do more reflection before I plot out the next few years of my life!

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.