Thursday, May 8, 2014

How I Got My P.R. -- Part 5

The Aftermath:

But, by the next morning, more bruises on my ankle had appeared. It started to swell, and so I decided to wear flip flops to work instead of squeezing my foot into a shoe. Well, that was just a totally stupid decision. I hobbled around in pain all day, and made an appointment to see the chiropractor on Wednesday. By that afternoon, the hobbling turned into complete immobility and extreme, excruciating pain. I grabbed some old crutches from my parents attic, and figured I could use them until the swelling went down. I ignorantly went to bed that night, hoping the pain would be less by the next day. It was just a sprained ankle, anyway….or so I thought!

Monday night...

I don’t think I slept one consecutive hour that night. I woke up every 45 minutes, wide awake, in SO much excruciating pain. When I woke up that morning, excruciating was an understatement.  But I got up, got ready, and was out the door for another day of work. It was pouring rain, my ankle was blowing up, and I was trying to use crutches for the first time in my life. I’m sure I looked like a complete freak, but I hobbled my way into school. I showed my coworkers what I was dealing with and it was apparent that I needed medical attention and that the chiropractor was not going to be able to help me. After a day of teaching in complete and utter pain, the high school trainer took a look at my foot. He kindly gave me the number of an orthopedic doctor to see, wrapped my ankle, and told me I did not need to go to the ER. It was exactly what I wanted to hear, because the ER is the last place I wanted to be seen. With his advice, I hobbled my way to get my brother’s birthday present after school and made my way to my parent’s house to celebrate his birthday.

Once I made my way into the house, the pain was just unreal. My foot look deformed, and I was praying I could hang on until the  following Monday for my orthopedic doctor appointment. My sister, who is a nurse, immediately looked at my ankle and told me what I did not want to hear. She told me I needed to go to the ER. I was frustrated with her assessment, but I knew she was right and I had to suck up my pride. I promised myself I would NOT end up in the ER this time around, but it was what it was. I got in the car and drove myself to the ER with my Dad along for the ride in the passenger seat.

As soon as we parked the car, I climbed out, grabbed the old crutches I pulled out of my parent’s attic, and hobbled through the parking lot into the ER. I prayed I wouldn’t see any of the doctors or nurses who had seen me before, and I hung up my head low as I moved through the movable doors. The nurse at the door directed me to the registration table. As I walked over, I gave a faint smile to the friendly lady waiting to check me in. Soon thereafter, I was overcome with weakness and pain, my good leg that brought me in gave out, I lost balance, and with a squeal I was on the floor. A sweet man in the waiting room helped pick me up, I checked in, and before I knew it I was back getting an x-ray.

Ankle in the ER...

Almost immediately after they did the x-ray, the nurse came over and told me the unofficial results: I had had a fracture. My face flushed and my stomach sank. What!?!?! How the heck did I break a bone? I don’t know what I expected them to tell me, but a broken bone was not it. Before I could really process the information, the Physician’s Assistant came in and confirmed the unofficial results. I had a fibular fracture that required immediate orthopedic attention. He said that it was going to have to be casted, and there was a good possibility I would need surgery. They wrapped it in a splint, wrote a prescription for the pain, and then I was on my way. I was in such shock I couldn’t even think. I had no emotions. I just wanted to see an orthopedic doctor as fast as I could.

My sister had a great orthopedic recommendation from her nurse connections, Dr. Cohn, who was willing to take me the next day. I was so beyond grateful! I ate a quick breakfast, it was raining once again, and I hobbled my way to the car. Despite getting a little lost in the chaos of the pouring rain, my Mom and I found Dr. Cohn’s office. Once we arrived, I was just overwhelmed, overtired, and sopping wet. As soon as we checked, I turned around to head for an x-ray and ONCE AGAIN my good leg gave out, I lost balance, and BOOM I was on the floor. This time, I howled in pain so loud it echoed through the entire office. Every doctor and nurse ran to pick me up and it was SO SO SO EMBRASSING! But, they got me a wheel chair and then I was good to go.
I had my x-rays and then they unwrapped my splint. My ankle had outgrown my calf. It was hideous. I looked like a Dr. Seuss character! After waiting a bit, Dr. Cohn came in to see me.

Ankle by Wednesday...eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

He immediately shook my hand and said how amazed he was with my marathon performance. He was not just impressed with my marathon time, but impressed that I ran 26.2 miles on a broken bone! When and where I officially broke it cannot be identified, but what he could confirm is that I did not have a sprain prior to the marathon. The pain I had felt was stress fracture. I had never had any type of injury (with the exception of my migraine/passing out issues) so I simply had no reason to think it was anything besides a sprain. After all, that’s what I was told! It was a complete break, but did not look at that point to need surgery. PHEW! He said the swelling was too much for a cast, so he wrapped my fat little ankle into a splint. He said I needed to come back that Friday, and once a week until it completely heals.  He said that I will be on crutches for a while, and won’t be able to drive for at least the next four weeks. He is hoping by that time he will be able to put me in a boot.

All wrapped up...
I went back for a check up that Friday, and the doctor unfortunately said surgery is not completely ruled out. I need to continue to stay off my ankle, rest it, and hope it will heal correctly. He will be closely monitoring it to ensure it does. If it doesn’t heal correctly, there is a chance for permanent damage and that I could have a pimp walk for the rest of my life. EEEEEEEEEEEK! No, thanks, LL Cool J! I'm doing everything I can to stay off of it and am hobbling around on crutches. It's exhausting. I'm trying to stay positive, but it is not easy.

To best describe how I feel right now would be one word: frustrated. I’m frustrated that I did this to myself. I’m frustrated that I have lost my independence and need everyone to do everything for me for the next few weeks. I’m frustrated that I am getting frustrated with people throughout all of this. I’m frustrated that I can’t drive. I’m frustrated that it hurts. I'm frustrated that I have to resort to hopping around with one leg. I'm frustrated that my hands and arms are sore from the crutches. I’m frustrated that teaching is so difficult.  I’m frustrated that I might have to get surgery. I’m frustrated thinking I could bump my leg wrong and do something to damage the healing process.  I'm frustrated that I'm crabby. I'm frustrated that staying positive takes work. I’m frustrated that I’m frustrated.

But all in all, I know it could be MUCH worse!  Yes, I’m bummed about my ankle and recognize that these next few weeks aren’t going to be in my memory of favorite moments. But words cannot describe the gratitude I have for the lifelong lessons that I gained not just from this marathon P.R., but from the training that got me my P.R. It's hard to put all of the lessons into words, but it was through the acquisition of these eight lessons over the past 16 weeks that I got my PR.:

 (1) Live in the moment, don't dwell on the past, and don't worry too much about the future. You have to force yourself to let go of the past. Life isn't always fair, but that's just how it is. Everything happens for a reason, and things always seem to work out the way they were meant to. Life is much easier to manage if you appreciate the present, focus on each moment, and know that God will guide you where your meant to go.

(2) Mind truly is over matter. Your attitude is everything. Focus your mind on the things that are good. Even when it is really, really hard, stay positive.

(3) Pain is temporary, but the glory in pushing yourself through those insurmountable walls is eternal.

(4) Always keep faith in God and trust in your precious loved ones, because it’s with their support that you can get through anything.

(5) The race is not against anyone else but yourself, so don’t run anyone else’s race but your own. 

(6) The glory is not just in the race, but in the journey that gets your there. Enjoy it. If you don't, change your journey if you can. If you can't change your journey, change your perspective. Accept the things you can't change, and change the things you can. Life is too short. Trust your instincts, choose your journey wisely where you can, and most importantly choose to be happy.

(7) If you really want something, work hard, and believe in yourself, anything is possible.

(8) The heart conquers all battle, so when in doubt live with all your heart and never, ever give up.

As I’m in this healing phase, I’m going to apply my marathon mentality and pray that God gives me the strength to get through this next battle. All I want right now is to get my ankle back to 100%. I’m not worried about running. I’m still not sure if and when I will get back to training. My mind is just not ready to go there yet. For now, I have new goals in mind, and plan to transfer my running into something new. The timing is finally right, and I am pleased to announce that I will be serving as a high school cross country coach this fall! Running is such a huge part of my life, and continuously helps to shape me into the woman I am. I’m SO excited to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and guide my students as they learn all of the lifelong lessons running has to offer!

With that said, I will absolutely NOT be training for any marathons this fall. I got my PR this spring. When all heals and the cross country season is over, maybe I’ll consider training again. But, I just can’t think that far ahead right now. I’m choosing to apply my marathon mentality and just live in the moment. I have faith that God will guide me where I'm meant to go. I just plan to keep hangin' in there and see what happens!

And, well, that’s it. That’s how I got my PR. :-)

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