I’ve been walking on a broken ankle for months

Yesterday, my mom commented on how surprised she was at how I’ve been tolerating the pain during recovery. I haven’t been complaining (of course, the drugs have been helping). She is just amazed, especially since in the past week, I’ve made amazing progress and made it yesterday with only taking 4 pain pills all day!

I told her that this weekend I realized that the spot in my ankle that had been giving me the most pain over the past 8+ months is the exact spot where my surgeon found a surprise fracture (and fixed it with a screw).

Basically, I’ve been walking around since July on a broken ankle.

I am such a badass.

I guess I’ve just gotten used to the pain.

I can’t wait to finally walk around without pain or discomfort!

Easing back into work today (part-time, from home). My assistants are taking good care of me.
Easing back into work today (part-time, from home). My assistants are taking good care of me.

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.

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.

DNSx3

And the award for most pissed off, in pain race photo goes to…

Did not start. Times three.

It was in the second half of a horrible half marathon last month that I began to wonder if something was wrong.

Horrible pain in the center of my left ankle, shooting up my leg.

Limping.

Hurting.

Mental anguish.

And now, more mental anguish.

Today one of my fears became reality.

  • I won’t be running the Lakefront Marathon.
  • I won’t be running the Madison Mini Marathon.
  • I won’t be running the Brewers Mini Marathon.

This was supposed to be my year. No injuries. Smart training. Life goals accomplished. Complete a marathon before I turn 30 in November. Run four half marathons plus Ragnar as training runs for the marathon.

First, I slipped on the ice and threw out my back. Then I nursed a strained quad muscle. And just as that injury was healed, my ankle decided to be a little bitch.

The day after the Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon, I went to see my doctor. I wasn’t having the normal post race pain. I was afraid it was serious. Perhaps a stress fracture. X-rays showed inflammation and the start of arthritis. Lovely, but something I could deal with. Doctor’s orders were to rest (i.e. NO RUNNING for two weeks), ice, brace, etc. As much as it killed me, I obliged.

I’ve been going stir crazy. Besides a few short walks with my dog I haven’t done ANYTHING since that race. Two weeks later, the pain is still there. Nothing had changed. Dr. H. referred me to an orthopedic specialist this week. I saw Dr. B. late this afternoon. After an exam and closer look at my x-rays from two weeks ago, Dr. B. concluded that inflammation, tendonitis and a tiny bone spur were to blame for the pain. Besides the tendonitis on the front of my ankle, the inflammation and bone spur are in the middle of my ankle. Like the exact middle/inside of my ankle. That’s why it doesn’t matter how I move or walk on it, it hurts. He also explained that repeated pressure (i.e. running) and inclines would continue to aggravate my ankle.

Dr. B. said the good news is, it isn’t serious. The bad news is, the recovery will take months.

  • Absolutely no running.
  • No walking, beyond normal, daily stuff until the pain is gone. Then, only short walks with short strides on flat surfaces, working up to walking longer distances on flat surfaces.
  • Ice daily.
  • Major anti-inflammatory meds for the next 3-4 weeks (or longer).
  • Continue to wear a brace daily.
  • Wear athletic shoes for the next 3 weeks (which means I’ll be rocking the dresses and running shoes look at work).
  • Stretching 3-4 times a day.

Yeah. It fucking sucks.

Dr. B. told me I could bike, as long as I use the heel of my left foot on the pedal.

I’m so lost right now. I’m heartbroken.

I’m going to have a pity party for a few days, including eating all the feelings. Yes. Even yours.

Then, I’m going to force myself to live with the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ll bike. I’ll swim. I’ll do upper body strength training.

But first, fuck you ankle.

I’ll be so stylish at work in my dresses and running shoes.

Trying to stay positive in a sea of setbacks

Knee. Ankle. Knee. Foot. Ankle. Foot. Shoulder. Foot. Knee. Foot. Foot. Rib. Foot.

I have had so many setbacks in my training and journey to health. It seems like each time I take one step forward, something sets me two steps back.

I have worked hard to not let this affect me but, to be honest, it tears me up. I’ve tried to put up a strong front. I’ve tried to be nonchalant about it all. I’ve had some moments of public disappointment about my injuries and setbacks. Mostly, I’ve tried to convince myself it was ok.

Truthfully, it’s been blow after blow after blow, both physically and mentally.

It’s draining to stay positive when all you want to do is ask God, “Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I keep having injuries? Why do I have to be so freaking cautious in my training? Why is it easy for everyone else to train without setbacks?”

I’ve tried to be strong. I’ve tried to set a good example for others who say they are inspired by me. I don’t want to let them down. I don’t want to let you down.

But it’s all a lie.

It sucks.

From knee problems and a sprained foot/ankle to plantar fasciitis and a subluxated rib, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it all.

I am sick of being excited about an accomplishment, only to a short time later have to pull back.

I want to run. I want to run far. I want to run fast. I want to be the best. I want to compete. I want to race.

I don’t want to be the last to finish. In fact, I don’t want to be anywhere near the back of the pack.

But that’s where I am.

Why can’t I be happy with where I’m at? Why am I constantly comparing myself to others who’ve been at this so much longer than I have? Why can’t I be happy, knowing that I have completed a half marathon, instead of being disappointed I walked more than 10 miles of it?

Why does it kill me to know — that despite my hopes, my prayers, my careful and smart training post Napa and during training for Vegas — that there’s no way I will be able to run a full 13.1 miles in 11 weeks? That was the plan all along. Just finish the race in Napa. Then run the hell outta Vegas. I’m 11 weeks from the race and the furthest I’ve gone is 3.8 miles, and that was mostly walking. Yesterday I ran for a mile without walking, and while I’m so freaking happy about that, the accomplishment is clouded by the knowledge that I can’t keep that pace going for more than a mile.

I know I need to focus on the positive, but I’m tired of focusing on that. I need to vent. I need to cry.

I’m trying to be smart. I’m trying not to push myself too hard. I’m trying to listen to my body. I’m trying to listen to my trainer. I’m trying to listen to my coaches. I’m trying to be positive.

I’m trying.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

First it was good. Then it was really good. Then it was ok. Then it was meh. Then it was bad. Then it was really bad. Then it was oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die. Then it was over.

My left foot/ankle bothered me quite a bit yesterday. I’m not sure what happened. I iced it on and off all afternoon and evening, hoping it would feel better.

When I woke up today it was a little bit better, but not great. I did not have high expectations for today’s run/walk. I was completely prepared to do a couple of miles and go home.

Around the first half mile mark, Coach Anne asked if I was going to run down the hill (I like to run down the hill at Lincoln Memorial Drive cuz it makes me feel fast). I told her that I would probably run down the hill and how I felt at the end would determine if I’d run any more today.

Well I started running. And I kept running. Before I knew it, I was by the Northpoint custard stand which is the 2mi mark of the route. And I was running. woah. I walked for the next 3/4 of a mile. Then I started running again. And I kept running. My pace was slowing considerably but I just kept going because I was afraid of what would happen when I stopped. I continued running til I got to Lake Shore State Park and then walked the first half to 3/4 mi of the loop. Then I started running again. I continued running (ok at this point it was more like a shuffle) to Discovery World. Then I realized that the route I thought was 10 miles was actually going to be more like 9 and I got mad and I went up Michigan past Discovery World out onto the pier to add some mileage. It was about half a mile but whatever. It was some additional mileage.

By this point my foot was starting to hurt more, but I kept alternating between walking and running for a bit longer. As I passed the lagoon the pain started getting worse. My pace was slowing. And slowing. And slowing. I ran out of water and bought a bottle from a vendor at the entrance to Veterans Park. I kept going even though the pain was getting worse. I was determined to show the lakefront who’s boss. As I reached McKinley Marina, I knew there was no way I would be running any more. The pain was getting worse. I was glad I had sunglasses on because I’m pretty sure I was crying a bit.

I’ll be honest. There were times during the last couple of miles that all I wanted to do was sit down and cry and call someone to come pick me up. But I didn’t. I kept going, despite the pain.

When I got to the Lake Park Bistro stairs and stared up Lincoln Memorial I knew there was no way I was going to make the last mile of our normal loop. So I cut it short and practically crawled up the stairs. No joke. It was so painful going up those stairs. My knees were aching. My ankle/foot was throbbing. I made it to the top and collapsed near the picnic bench Becky was sitting at. I almost lost it then but managed to keep my shiz together as I talked about what happened.

The rest of the day I was really depressed about what happened today. I focused on the bad so much I forgot that I RAN 1.5 miles today. And then another mile. And then a half mile. And then another mile or so.

I’m going to spend the next couple of days resting my foot and hoping that some RICE action will get it better so I don’t throw off my training. Here’s hoping my workouts at the beginning of the week are more strength-focused than cardio. Cuz the treadmill and eliptical aren’t happening.

SPLITS: 15:51, 15:13, 18:08, 16:17, 18:03, 17:33, 18:10, 19:39