Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Taking my Training to the Pool

I’m 11 weeks into my journey with Team in Training and I’m taking to the water for good reasons.  I have commented several times over the last few weeks about how much pain I’m in.  It didn’t always seem like running aggravated it, but any time on my foot definitely did.  So, I listened to my body and took my running to wetter pastures.  It is helping even if I miss running.

Still, I’ve questioned is this pain the inevitable result of running on a largely de-innervated foot or will it get better?  As a Type A personality, I can withstand anything when I have an endpoint or a goal, so again what is the recovery potential?  No one knows for sure, but I’m seeking several opinions…

My foot and ankle surgeon remains less than optimistic, and recommended some new palliation treatments that were sadly not helpful.  So then we assessed the rate of nerve regeneration and lo and behold a simple Tinel’s sign says that my nerve has continued to grow right on target and has reached the metarsal heads (AKA the ball of the foot, AKA the site of my excruciating shooting pain.  This all makes logical sense, the raw nerve endings are exactly at the point of maximal impact during running.  Light Bulb goes off in my head, no wonder it hurts SO MUCH.

So, to decrease the impact on my foot, but continue building my endurance for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon I have turned to aqua-jogging which could be a mind numbingly boring exercise except for the amazing support of my Team in Training Teammates.  Last weekend a few of us aqua-jogged for just short of two hours, this weekend will be longer. I’ll be in the pool during the week too.  We’ll see how long I have to stick to the pool, but it may be a few weeks.  However, as long as there is an endpoint I can do it.  I know I can.

I remain as committed as ever to complete my first half marathon just short of the one year anniversary of my surgery.  I continue to feel incredibly fortunate to be on this journey with some of the most amazing and inspirational people I’ve ever met.  I appreciate everyone’s support more than you know.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Its been 9 months since they cut cancer out of my ankle.  9 months since my 14 hour surgery.  9 months.... I can't believe it.  Sometimes I stop and am awed by this fact, by how much time has gone by, by how little time has gone by.  Yet still its been 9 months.  Physically, I'm healing.  I'm proud of having been able to complete 2/3 of a triathlon.  I'm amazed that I am training to run a half marathon less than a year after my surgery.  These facts make me smile, but I hurt.

For 9 months I have been in pain all day every day, and I'm tired.  My surgeon yesterday said this is the harder part of my recooperation.  Geez, I figured out months ago.  I can power through the physical part, sheer will and determination is getting me back into shape, but this pain is something else.  There are mornings that I realize I'm awake when the pain kicks in, nights it wakes me up, evenings that I sit on the couch and won't move because I don't want to take a step.  Yet...

My foot hurting means that I have a foot.  The shooting pain in my foot and ankle means that the nerve graft took, and the nerve is regrowing.  The aching pain in my arch may mean that some of my foot intrinsic muscles are coming back.  My foot hurting means there is a chance that it'll recover completely, a chance that this will all become just a memory.

Still I can run again on this foot.  I can ride my bike.  I can do most of what I want to do.  I can make this be OK.  I just have to keep reminding myself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Today I ran the furthest I’ve ever run.  I ran 9 miles less than 9 months after my radical ankle resection and nerve graft.  My ankle is still healing, my nerve is still regrowing, I still have no muscles in the sole of my foot, yet I run.  Every step I take hurts, yet I run. Then I pause and remember how blessed I am to be running.

I am blessed to be on the road to recovery. I am blessed to have dear friends who have picked me up when I’ve fallen over the last 9 months.  I am blessed to have parents who dropped everything to spend a month with me in New York while I had my surgery.  I am blessed to have remembered that I love my profession.  I am blessed to have a friend who’d help me finish a triathlon less than 8 months after my surgery.  I am blessed to still have this leg.  I am so blessed!

Today, while I was running, I mostly felt blessed to have joined Team in Training, to have met these incredible people who are helping me run further than I ever thought I could. Who are helping me to achieve this goal I have set for myself to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon a few weeks shy of one year after my surgery.   Along the way, I have pledged to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Along the way I’ve met a group of amazing people, for that I am blessed.

Every Sunday before our runs, someone shares their story of what Team in Training or LLS has done for them, a few weeks ago one of our coaches described joining Team after his mom was diagnosed with an untreatable form of chronic leukemia.  He described Team as “saving his life.”  I get this, I feel the same way, or maybe just similarly,  I get it nonetheless. 

I am blessed.  I ran further today than I ever have.  I was supported every step, every painful step, by my teammates.  I feel strengthened by these people who all have amazing stories.  I run because I want fewer lives affected by cancer.  I run because I need to.

I am so grateful to so many for your generous support. Yes, I am blessed!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Its D- Day...

..As in D for Doctor!

I last assumed responsibility for the care and lives of critically ill babies on January 10, 2011, nearly 9 months ago.  Since that time, I have had a 14 hour surgery, spent weeks in the hospital, months in a wheelchair, months at rehab, and spent 8 months on pain meds due to the constant, constant pain in my foot.  I have also completed 2/3 of the Malibu Tri and completed my first 10K run, committed to Team in Training to train for a half marathon.

Some may not understand how i could return to athletic endeavors before work, to those I ask "would you want your baby's doctor on pain meds?"  The answer is easy, no way!  I committed early on this process this time to not rush my return to work, to not renege on my Promise.  I have tried to stay true to these promises.

So, today, I'll put my green scrubs back on and assume care at our smaller hospital to ease me back in.  I'd be lying if I tried to deny that I am deeply nervous about this.  What if I'm rusty?  What if I'm in too much pain?  What if my foot doesn't hold up?  I could make myself crazy with the "What If's."  The truth is I think I'm ready, my partners have given me the support I need in case I need an extra hand.  It is time.  Even if I feel a little like I am graduating from medical school all over again, except for the fact that I actually know what I'm doing. Still....

Wish me luck, please!