Injury Timeline

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pushing Limits

I finally got back to doing some hiking these past couple of weekends!  And I'm really trying to find out where my foot limit is.  I can push it further and further every week, as long as I keep challenging myself.

The last hike I did was in the beginning of June, and it was about a 6 mile round trip hike, and I was almost in tears by the end because of my foot pain.  I got myself back out there again, this time to Red Pine Lake.  This hike ended up being about 7 miles....and guess what?  It felt awesome!  Sure, by the end of the hike, I was pretty sore.  But, I felt so much more confident with my foot!  Especially with the descent.  Going up the trail, it was so steep and rocky, I was dreading coming back down.  It usually takes me a lot longer to go down on hikes than it is to go up!  But, I tackled the descent like a boss, and I descended about 1000 feet in maybe 15 or 20 minutes.  I definitely surprised the hubby.  We had a blast on our hike and I was so happy with my improvement.  It goes to show that I'm still making lots of progress.

There were also some demons tackled last weekend as well.  The Spartan Super returned to Utah, and it just so happened to occur on our 13th anniversary on August 13th.  I felt that the race was somehow doomed.  I didn't run in the race, but my hubby ran with some of his friends.  I cheered on from the sidelines, but this time I had my own group of friends.  I think that helped for sure with the depression and remorse I was feeling not being out there running.  I tried to bounce around the course, but this time there was lots of elevation gain so I wasn't able to hit as many obstacles as I would have liked.  Everyone survived and finished the race!  I was super proud of my hubby.  And I felt genuinely happy.  We are going to try doing a Spartan Race together next year in Phoenix.  I won't do any obstacles that I am not comfortable doing.  But I will be ready and it will be time.

I also managed to squeeze another hike in on Sunday.  It was a bit of a shit show, but I survived :)  We'd planned on doing a hike to Wasatch Mine.  Each hike available in the valley is charted out on my spreadsheet, complete with ratings, which include things like total roundtrip miles, elevation gain, maximum ascent, and special considerations.  I have been gradually increasing the difficulty week to week and trying not to do too much too fast.  So, this hike was carefully selected as the next step in progression and I'd mentally prepared for it all week.  We got all of the gear and food together that we would need the night before, and got up at the ass crack of dawn to head up the canyon.  We drank our coffee and pre-workout on the way, so that when we arrived at the trailhead, we were ready to crush it!  However, the US National Park Service had other plans.  On the way up the canyon, we saw a ton of smoke and a raging fire.  Upon arriving at the trailhead, we discovered that it was closed due to a "managed fire".  Are you kidding me?  We had to improvise and change plans.  Another hike close to the area was Lake Blanche, so we decided to head there.  It was a lot more difficulty and elevation than I had planned for.  I've done the hike before, and I thought that by the beginning of fall, my foot might be ready to tackle it.  But, those plans were thrust out the window and I plunged feet first (see what I did there?) onto the Lake Blanche trail.  It ended up being at least half a mile more, 600 more feet of elevation gain (with a different of 600 feet per mile to 913 per mile!!), and a lot steeper and rockier than planned.  I was scared.  Nate even said "We don't have to go the whole way, don't worry!"  Did he really ask that?  Does he know who he is talking to?  No.  We were going the whole way.

By the end of the hike, I was sore.  But not like OMG I need to ice and elevate and rest kind of sore.  I took it fairly easy for the rest of the day.  It was my other muscles like my quads and calves that were paying the price.  So, needless to say, I was super pleased with how the day turned out, because I felt like it had the set up for a disastrous, tear-filled morning.  We made it to a quiet, beautiful lake, except for the huge ass moose that was just hanging out...

I feel like I'm getting mostly back to my normal level of activity.  Between my two hikes and my weekly walk/jog, I managed to clock about 18 miles this week.  Yay!

I've got some serious training to do before a commitment I made in November!  Stay tuned...   Time to get my ass into gear!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

1 Year Post-Op Visit

This day has finally come!

I had my one year post-op visit with Dr. Van Boeurm at TOSH this week.  I got really positive news and I am feeling so relieved after the appointment.  I have to admit, I was really nervous/anxious in the days leading up to the visit.  Was everything healing like it was supposed to?  Do I have arthritis already?  Is he going to tell me I need another surgery to re-align a bone that has gotten out of whack?  Have I been pushing it too hard with my workouts causing damage?  What's next?

It felt really weird to be back at TOSH, because I think my last visit was in February?  4 months is the longest I've gone without seeing the doctor and his staff.  I guess they trusted me not to screw my foot up too much in that amount of time.  I laughed because while I was waiting to see the doctor, I checked in on Facebook from my phone, it asked a couple of questions about TOSH so Facebook could learn more about it.  "Does this place have Wi-Fi available?"  "Are you at a restaurant?"  "Is this a good place for dancing?"  Dancing?!  If you are at TOSH, you are probably not doing any dancing.  In fact, it's probably an anti-dance establishment.

Anyway, finally I got called back, sat in the Dr's office for a few minutes and then got called for x-rays.  I've had.. I don't know.. 5 x-rays at least on my foot here, so the first thing I did when I got into the x-ray room was announce that I was not pregnant, just to clear that up.  Because she asks every single time.  I know she has to.  I got my normal set of x-rays taken; three pictures, all weight bearing with my foot in different positions.  I remember getting x-rays was always kind of painful, because I would be barefoot putting weight on my foot.  It would always ache afterwards.  But this time, it was just totally normal, and I didn't have any pain at all.  It was hard for me to believe that this was actually painful and stressful at one time.

I was told the doctor would be in to see me next.  However, while I was waiting, a surgeon ran back into Dr. Van Boerum's office looking for him.  He had a trauma patient that was just in a rollover car accident and needed his help.  I don't know exactly what happened to the poor guy who was in the accident, only that his blood pressure was dangerously high and that it was a bad accident.  There was a large projection screen in the front room where they quickly loaded up his x-rays and CT scans, and the two surgeons were talking it over.  I couldn't really hear anything but I could see the x-ray and the scans, and there were obvious serious fractures, bones going in all kinds of wonky ways.  It was scary.  I actually kind of felt comforted that Dr. Van Boerum was helping.  He is for sure amazing.  I don't know the fate of the gentleman in the accident, but I hope he's OK.

Finally, Dr. Van Boerum came to see me, and I reminded him that I was the Spartan girl.  He was so pleased with how my foot has healed!  He tested range of motion for my navicular fracture and was genuinely surprised at how much range I had.  He said that normally people with navicular fractures, especially like how bad mine ended up being, never get this level of motion back.  All my other bones in my Lisfranc joint have healed wonderfully and are all lined up like they are supposed to.    I don't really have any signs of arthritis yet, except for a small space between my navicular (in the above, the bone that has the bright metal plate over it) and talus bones.  He also confirmed that the plate and screws over my navicular bone will stay in place permanently.  The navicular just does not get enough blood supply to be able to heal on it's own the way it should, and it is risky to remove the hardware.  It doesn't bother me too much, other than I can feel it when I poke around my foot, and I can visibly see the bump where the plate is.  The only time it ever bothers me is when a storm is coming.  I'm more accurate than a meteorologist by most standards.  Hey... I always wanted to be a meteorologist !

He also cleared me to RUN SHORT DISTANCES!!!  Like a 5K.  In moderation.  No marathons.  I'm just fine with that news!  It is better than his firm stance of "NO RUNNING EVER UNLESS YOU ARE GOING TO BE HIT BY A BUS" in the past.  He recommended that I still take up biking, hiking, or swimming as kind of my main exercise and to steer clear of any hard impacts/jumping still.  

I still do have some pain in my big toe area (he referred to it as 1st MTP Joint) when coming up or pushing off on my toes.  He recommended that a stiff-soled shoe, or even a trail running shoe would help out with that.  And arch supports will still help, like my Superfeet.  Then our conversation kind of drifted off into talking about his hiking/climbing trip to the Grand Tetons, and I told him about Nate and I's trip to King's Peak.

He said that typically the one year mark is where most of my improvements will be, and that's kind of where my foot is going to be, as far as healing goes.  It will most likely plateau between 12-18 months post-op, and then I might see some minor improvements after that.  Then, he just shook our hands and told me that the foot is looking good.  And bye!

So... that was it?  No follow-up appointments to schedule.  No more check-ups.  Just to come in if something changes or if I start getting a lot of pain.  I guess I'm kind of an adult now.

I do have some fitness goals.  I will do a Spartan race again.  It will most likely be heavily modified, and there will be some skipped obstacles.  Anyone scoffing at that or any of you Spartan purists can very nicely go EAD.  You have no idea what I've been through this year.

I will summit King's Peak.

I will do Ragnar.  Someday.

I still blubber sometimes, mainly when I'm watching sports-y team things.  Or seeing someone getting injured and the team rallying around them (Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge, anyone?).  I wish the injury wouldn't have happened.  But there are no regrets.  I went through a year of hell and here I am on the other side.  

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about my injury.  I have some sort of pain or discomfort everyday.  Whether that is feeling stiff in the mornings, or trying to go down a set of stairs, or feeling like my foot is some alien otherworldly being from "Stranger Things"...But really it is not that big of deal, not anything I can't tolerate, and it doesn't stop me or even slow me down on doing a lot of the things I want to do.

My promise though is that I will keep updating, and checking in with everyone who has followed me for this last year!

Lots of love, and thank you all for your support,