Feb 23, 2012

Tough Decisions...

Physical therapy session #3 wasn't so great today. The ultrasound therapy actually hurt today.  I got this really strong pain in my entire leg and had to tell my PT that is was hurting. I guess he had to change the setting because he said the waves sometimes bounce off of your bones. I also did the elliptical for 10 minutes on this super slow speed.  I burned a whole 30 calories and my distance was .50 miles!  I have three more sessions to go and then will see if all of this has paid off. The sucky thing about it is that while I am on the elliptical, I face a window. My view from the window faces a really nice fitness facility.....not so cool! 

Throughout the course of this physical therapy I have been permitted to do other forms of cardio such as the stationary bike, elliptical and other strengthening exercises for my hamstring. Although I have been able to do all of these things with little or no pain, it always seem to hurt the next day.  The pain seems to return just when I feel like things are starting to get better.  It's pretty depressing and I feel like it's never going to get better until I just completely stop everything! I think the strengthening exercises that are part of the physical therapy are beneficial but the other forms of cardio are probably dragging the healing process out. So what do I do?  Do I stop all of the cardio and stick to the exercises that are part of the physical therapy plan??? This is a tough decision for me!

Life could be worse and I could be facing much harder decisions. I definitely know that.  I am not sure if I ever mentioned this topic before but my Dad has been battling cancer for a while now.  He has been undergoing chemotherapy for close to a year now and he just had a PET/CT scan last week. The information from the PET/CT scan allows his doctor to monitor the effectiveness of the cancer therapy and provides his doctor with the opportunity to change the treatment strategy if it is not working.  The results revealed that the cancer has not improved but has not spread to any other parts of his body either. It has basically remained the same. Although that is not the best news to hear, it is also good news because his condition has not worsened. The doctor asked my Dad is he wants to continue with the treatment or if he wants to stop.  Now that is a tough decision!  

My Dad doing what he loves-fishing!
The doctor is still hopeful but he wanted my Dad to make the decision to continue with the treatment since he is the one who suffers through all of the pain, discomfort and all of the other horrible side effects that come along with chemotherapy. My Dad is incredibly brave and strong to say the least.  He drives himself to and from his chemo treatments and has continued to work to keep his mind off of the cancer. He tries to maintain a normal life as much as he possibly can by continuing to do the things he loves most, like fishing.

Life is tough for him but he never leads me to believe that. Things that we all take for granted are everyday struggles for him but he never complains and maintains a positive outlook on life. He really wants to live. I think that is what has brought him this far and has convinced me that he is going to kick cancer in the ass! Excuse my language but I don't know any other way to say it because cancer is a beast.

My Dad and I last Christmas
If anything positive has come out of this, my relationship with my Dad is so much stronger.  We talk on the phone for hours about things that we never talked about before. I have gotten to know a side of my Dad that I never knew before. I guess the message that I am sending to you, as well as myself, today is to be thankful for what you have and the life that you have. More importantly be thankful for your health. Things could be much worse and you could be facing much harder decisions...life changing decisions.

Feb 22, 2012

DNS#2 and Thoughts on Not Running...

Life has been pretty stressful lately since I have not been able to run.  My last run was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on January 29th.  Since then, I have missed the Surf City Marathon and the Pasadena R&R Half Marathon. Pretty depressing...

To put it mildly...I really miss running!  I feel as though something I love has been taken away from me.  I can't begin to tell how many times I have wanted to just ignore the doctor's orders and just go for a run....just a short run and not tell anyone about it.  I would keep it between the pavement and me.  It would be our little secret.

It's difficult to go on Twitter, Facebook or even read all of my favorite blogs because it's all good news.  Please don't get me wrong. I love to read about all of the great tempo runs, the challenging long runs and all of the PR's that all of you are knocking out.  I just wish it was me so maybe I am insanely a little jealous.  I had big plans for 2012 and now I am not quite certain what this year has in store for me. Those familiar routes that I was getting tired of running now seem so desirable to me these days. 

I can hardly wait to get back out there and have a decent run.  I can't wait to feel my Garmin on my wrist again.  I can hardly wait to break one of those awesome sweats that lets you know you accomplished something.  I can't wait to feel my running shoes back on my feet again. I can hardly wait to be sore again after a marathon.  I can't wait to get home from a great run and share it on DailyMile. I can hardly wait to wake up early on a Sunday morning to go for a long run. I can't wait to run with my buddies again. I can hardly wait to feel those butterflies in my stomach right before the start of a marathon. I just want my life to go back to "normal" again.

I have been doing other forms of cardio like the elliptical, stationary bike and I even cheat and take a spin class once in a while but it's not the same as a run.  I know that I should be using this time to work on strength training and flexibility since I seem to ignore these things. I have been wanting to try a yoga class but it just doesn't appeal to me like a  15 mile run does! I did make progress and actually bought a yoga video but I have yet to pop it in the DVD player and try it out. 

My shopping habits have also spiraled out of control.  Lululemon and Nike.com are loving me right now!!  I have bought like three pairs of shoes, a few more running skirts, a few pairs of Tempo shorts and you don't know how many times I have been tempted to sign up for a race or two. I hope my husband isn't reading this post but I am sure he has clued in on all the UPS deliveries we have been receiving lately!!

I know I sound like a big whiner but if you are a runner you can probably relate. It is going to be a while before you hear the words, "I don't feel like running today" come out of my mouth. I know that I have to be smart and take the time to let my body heal.  Thank you to everyone who reminds me of the need to take this break and listen to the doctor. I do appreciate it because it stops me from putting on my running shoes and secretly flying out the front door. I promise to never take a single run for granted again even if it's a less than wonderful one.

Tomorrow will be physical therapy session #3.  The pain is still there but seems to be getting a little bit better. Thanks for listening to me vent!

Feb 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

About 14 years ago I met a man who has really shown me what unconditional love is really all about!  He puts up with me when I am in less than a good mood and loves me even in spite of all my faults.

He is a great father and he always puts our needs and wants before his own.  He wants to give me everything that I want and is always concerned about my happiness.  He finds a way to like everything that I do because he wants to spend time with me. Even though he is not a runner he comes to every single one of my races and is my personal photographer.  

He even cleans the house and gets up at all hours of the night to take the dogs to the bathroom so that I don't have to get up to do it. He tells me how beautiful I am even when I know that I look horrible.  He is intelligent, multi-talented and is successful at whatever he puts his mind to.  He has an endless amount of patience which is necessary to deal me with and somewhat dysfunctional family!

Thank you Honey for loving me so much and for being such a good example to our son. Happy Valentines Day!

Feb 13, 2012

My First Day of PT

Last Thursday was my first day of physical therapy.  Of course my physical therapist is also a runner and was telling me all about running the LA Marathon this year. She just had a baby six months ago via C-Section and is already  tackling the big 26.2!  Good for her, right? I have to admit that I didn't like her for about five minutes while she talked about running the LA Marathon, which I will have to sit out this year. I started to like her again when she told me that if I get better that I might still be able to run LA, but with minimal training I don't think I want to risk another injury.  Just as I convinced myself that I would sit it out, LA Marathon sends out an email with the 6-Week Marathon Training Plan!  Very tempting..let me tell you!!

In addition to several strengthening exercises, I will also be given ultrasound therapy which is supposed to reduce the healing time of certain soft tissue injuries. and has many benefits (Source):
  • Ultrasound is thought to accelerate the normal resolution time of the inflammatory process by attracting more mast cells to the site of injury. This may cause an increase in blood flow which can be beneficial in the sub-acute phase of tissue injury. As blood flow may be increased it is not advised to use ultrasound immediately after injury
  • Ultrasound may also stimulate the production of more collagen- the main protein component in soft tissue such as tendons and ligaments. Hence ultrasound may accelerate the the proliferative phase of tissue healing.
  • Ultrasound is thought to improve the extensibility of mature collagen and so can have a positive effect to on fibrous scar tissue which may form after an injury.

Then I just laid in the bed and did some exercises to strengthen my hamstring. I have to do the exercises at home on a daily basis and have the ultrasound therapy for the next five weeks. I am supposed to rest for 4-6 weeks and it has already been two weeks and a day! I will stick to the stationary bike for now and slip in a treadmill workout once in a while. All I can say is that I am dying to go on a run!

Feb 8, 2012

Here's the Verdict

Prior to having the MRI done on my knee, the orthopedist suspected several different scenarios but without the MRI he could not pin point the problem.  He mentioned several possibilities.

a) I tore my meniscus because the pain was on the side and back of my knee. This would require surgery and I would not be running for quite some time.  This scared me the most!

b)  I had fluid in my knee from the nasty fall I took on Christmas Eve. When the knee experiences trauma this is it's way of trying to fight back and heal. I watched some videos on YouTube of how fluid is drained from a knee and it was not pretty.  I freaked myself out but prepared to have the procedure done if that was what it would take to get me back to running again.

c)  A muscle tear/muscle strain

I took the  CD of the MRI to the doctor yesterday and sat patiently in the room while he hunted down my MRI report.  When he came into the room he wanted to exam my knee again and did not mention what was wrong with my knee so I was really nervous.  He finally started talking and said "the good news is that you do not need surgery and your meniscus is not torn."  Thank You Jesus!  I was relieved to hear that but then he went on to tell me that I did have some fluid in my knee but it was not enough to drain!  Thank You Jesus again!!

So here's the verdict..c) I tore my hamstring.  It is not too serious and will probably heal on it's own if I listen to the doctor's orders.   So here are the doctor's orders so that I can get back to running soon:

1) Physical Therapy for the next 4 weeks-FUN!

2) No Running-DAMN!

3) Stationary Bike-BORING!

4) Ice It-COOL!

5) Ibuprofen-DRUGS!

I really tried to get a time frame from the doctor as to when I can run again but he wasn't having it. I think I was irritating him with the "when can I run again" questions so I stopped! I go for a follow-up in four weeks to see how I am doing and hopefully I can run again! Until then, I will be on the stationary bike hating life patiently waiting until I can get back out there! I guess I should be thankful that it wasn't anything serious that requires surgery!

Feb 6, 2012

The Tunnel of Love!

My MRI was finally approved (yes, I have an HMO) and I had it done this afternoon.  The technician explained to me how the process worked, gave me a set of ear plugs, explained how noisy it would be, put some headphones on my head and then finally handed me a little device to squeeze in case I needed him (AKA:the panic button.) It seemed like a pretty simple process so I wasn't nervous at all.

I hate hospitals and most of all I hate needles so if it doesn't involve any of those two things, I am good. Today was an exception and I almost had a panic attack! I was laying on the bed all ready to go and it was moving further and further into the tunnel!  I almost has a panic attack thinking that I was going all the way in. I was just about to ask the technician how far he was sending me into the tunnel of love and then it stopped. Thank You Jesus! The top of that tunnel is about two inches from your face and there is just no way I could endure that for more than two minutes.

The MRI lasted about twenty minutes and was very, very noisy. First it sounded like someone was hammering away in my ears and then it switched to the sound of a car alarm going off endlessly!! It was the longest and noisiest twenty minutes of my life and I was very glad/relieved when it was done. I was getting pretty thirsty and bored staring at the word "SIEMENS" and listening to elevator music.

I have an appointment to see the orthopedic doctor in the morning and I am hoping that nothing is seriously wrong! Until then, only this guys knows what is really going on!

Wish me luck!  I hope that I have good news to report back to everyone tomorrow!

Everything Happens for a Reason

If you follow my blog you already know that I was not able to run the Surf City Marathon yesterday.  I thought about it all week and just got more and more depressed about it.  I am dealing with some knee pain right now and made the decision to put the run off and give myself some time to heal.  The pain is still the same and I finally saw an orthopedic doctor last week and he ordered an MRI of my left knee. I am scheduled to have the MRI done this week so I am hoping for good news.  He has given me a number of possible scenarios of which none are good but as long as I don't have to go under the knife I am good! I am hoping it is not joint related but I have started drinking this stuff to keep my joints greased since I am not getting any younger! My friend Maura swears by it and has advised me to try it out.

God works in mysterious ways and I am now kind of glad that Surf City did not happen for me. I woke up on Saturday morning and decided that I would get my Starbucks and start taking care of some things on my To Do List. When I opened the door of my car, I smelled a really bad odor..like rotten eggs!  It was pretty nasty.  I started searching all over the car trying the figure out where the smell was coming from but nothing in the car was causing the smell.  My son is notorious for leaving food among other things in the car but it wasn't him this time.  I gave up looking for the smell and pushed the Start button on my car and then I saw this warning light....CHECK BATTERY!

I drive a hybrid and the battery in a Toyota Prius is not the same as a battery in a non-hybrid so you can't just run down to the auto part store and buy a new one. The hybrid is pretty new so most mechanics don't even want to touch it! I know that the car has two batteries but I wasn't even sure where to find them!  Had I not decided to run the Surf City Marathon I would have gotten in my car to drive to the Expo and ended up with this nightmare.  I would have had a massive panic attack so maybe it wasn't meant to be! So I was forced to stay home for most of the day on Saturday until my car was fixed.

Thank God for AAA because the first 7 miles are free and any miles after that are on you. The dealership was 5 miles away so I didn't have to pay anything to have the car towed. I guess it could have been worse but $400 later I have my car again. The service department was so busy so it  took the entire day to fix my car. The rotten egg smell was coming from the battery because it was not only dead, but also leaking. All I can think about now is how much $400 could have bought me at Lululemon versus buying a hybrid battery!

WISH ME LUCK ON MY MRI!!  I miss running so much that I just wear my new running shoes around the house and just stare at them!  Really...I do!! I can't wait to break them in!!