Healing Part 4 – Coloring Books & Flower Girls

I am not sure why it’s been a struggle for me to update my blog – things have actually been going great.  2 weeks ago I had an x-ray that confirmed my bone was healed. I have been running for three weeks, perhaps even four (if we are counting the earlier “runs” that were littered with walking breaks), so one would think I would be owning this recovery blogging.

Except for something happened very soon after my last published post –

I got a coloring book.

Just as running has always been my main form of mental therapy, writing has always been a fall back option. However, returning to work at nearly full time capacity (35 hours, if not a few more), has me pretty worn out on the writing front.  After 7 hours of writing at work, it doesn’t hold much appeal on the weekend.  In fact, I rarely turn my laptop out of Sleep mode.  It has been collecting dust.

I bought my coloring book simply as an activity to do with the kids.  I pictured us sitting cross-legged on the floor together, deeply engaged with staying in the lines, and passing around our favorite colors.  Brenna and I would probably fight for the pink so I also bought us 100 markers so we would have multiple shades.

The coloring book I selected was actually quite interesting and intricate. It has a plethora of pages, ranging from fun to frustrating (lots of small lines).  I quickly found myself overly invested, to the point where it was no longer a family activity, but my kids were begging me to “put the coloring book away.”

At the time, my leg was still broken, and I found the coloring to be soothing and stress-relieving.

Now that my leg is not broken, I have found myself coloring a lot less.  Most days, not at all.  But I do like that I have a non-computer and non-athletic yet enjoyable way to deal with anxiety.

Although my leg is not broken, it is not fully recovered. It is still weaker than my other leg.

With my deductible met, I have continued physical therapy.  Now with the pain gone, a session looks like this:

  • 10 minutes of Russian stem
  • 10-15 minutes warm up (usually on the stair mill)
  • 10 minutes drills (similar to running drills)
  • weighted activity (single-leg dead lifts, squats, good mornings…just to name a few.  They keep it interesting)
  • usually some type of treadmill work. Sometimes sprints on the manual (motor-less) treadmill or walking on crazy-capable mill they have at a 28-grade incline. Today I walked uphill at a lesser grade, but backwards.
  • 20 minutes of body work / breaking up scar tissue

I enjoy PT immensely.  It is challenging, yet not competitive, with visible and measurable progress.  The downside though is that it is time consuming.  Theoretically, I could have used this time to improve my swim or dominate my bike.  But, I rarely do either of those things.

It feels overwhelming to try to do it all – and I know that I need to continue my path with PT because abandoned imbalances will inevitably lead to injury.  I know that my focus must be centered on continuing to get strong.  My secondary focus is running.  And of course this is on top of my mandatory focus of work and family. Throw in cooking dinner every night and packing 4 lunches every day, I don’t have much motivation leftover for pumping up bike tires or dragging all my belongings to the pool.

Since I am forever optimistic though, I do tell myself that once it gets hot I will swim during lunch time.

Right now, I am still doing my lovely (and interesting) walks downtown during lunch. Actually, that was how I discovered I could run pain free.  It was around 4 weeks ago and my friend did not wait for me to start his walk.  So, I ran down the street hoping to catch him.  After a minute, it dawned on me that I WAS RUNNING. Probably as odd as I looked running down the street in my work clothing, I took out my phone and called my husband.  “Guess what I am doing?” I asked him.
Of course, running down Jefferson Street was not his first guess.
“I am running!” I squealed.
And then I hung up and called my mother.
I made it all the way to 7th avenue (.75 miles).

I am currently up to 7.1 miles on the trails, and 5 miles on the road.
100% pain free, but also like 20% slower.
Yeah I know……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….patience and all that.

Anyway, within the whirlwind of work and healing, I was also the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. Brenna was the impeccable and quintessential flower girl.  I told myself for the weeks that followed that I would write a commiserative post, covered in pictures, but ultimately, procrastination took over.

So although it is no longer topical, I will still share a few pics:
First off, the most precious flower girl in the world:
die

She did an amazing job, which included navigating the (equally adorable) ring barrier:wrong way

And (my personal favorite), she continued to throw flowers AFTER the final kiss, as we retraced our steps down the aisle and into cocktail hour.  As the serious look shown on her face suggests, she was super committed to her roll.
still throwing, me laughing for blog

As the maid of honor, I had the most important task of single-handling the candy table.
(I am not claiming that no one offered to help, but sometimes too many crayons in the coloring book can make a mess).
***If you are curious, there is everything from yogurt-covered pretzels to lime-flavored marshmallows, to rock-candy lollipops planted in beds of colored balls of chocolate.***

candy buffet
If there was a market for it, I would consider becoming an independent candy table making contractor.

And just a quick picture of David dancing, because if I don’t post it, it is like it never happened. 

dancing  my babe

And finally, the beautiful bride…and most amazing best friend!

k and me

Healing, Part 3.5 (aka Long roads or emergency truck ramps)

It’s been an up and down week, as far as healing goes.

On the plus side, I am done with crutches.
On the down side, I still have a limp.

It is frustrating because my leg does not hurt, but my brain still acknowledges that it has been injured. So it sends signals to my left extremity to protect itself.  This results in a weird walk, which may look a little awkward, but it feels incredibly awkward.  A few weeks ago, I would have been thrilled to just be outside walking again.  A few weeks ago, that seemed insurmountable.

But now that it is within reason, I miss my normal step. And, as my physical therapist put it, “You cannot run until you can walk.”

I didn’t actually miss running until recently. It was too far out of the picture to even start considering.
But this weekend, as I was cycling in my bedroom, I just really wanted to go outside.
It doesn’t really matter how many doors I shut, the kids can still open them.  And it doesn’t really matter how many walls separate us, their high-pitched screams slice right through.

Maybe it’s because I have been needing to give so much to myself, in regards to healing,  that the demands of my kids seem….so much more demanding.

David and Hayden had a grand idea that we needed to go look at runaway truck ramps.  This made little sense to me because it is just a road, usually one by a mountain that is really really far away.  Most things about Hayden make little sense to me, like his fear of emergency exit doors, love for escalators, or his relentless dedication to taste the sand at every single park.  I went along with this plan anyway because I had nothing better to do.

We drove on the highway to the mountains, and then over the mountains, and down the other side. 30 minutes passed…40 minutes passed…50 minutes passed…..we lost radio reception…..not a single runaway truck ramp.  Hayden, who had been subsisting on his excitement, started asking to turn around.  I was relieved to end this pointless mission.

And then, nearly 70 minutes into the drive to nowhere, David gasped and said, “THERE IT IS!  THERE IT IS!!!”  He pointed to a long dirt road next to us.
Hayden squealed, “The emergency truck ramp!!!!!!!!!!!!
Brenna said, “Huh?

And then we drove past.
We couldn’t even stop because the ramp was “under construction.”  It was not even a viable emergency option yet.

Not my photo
Not my photo

Instead we stopped a few miles down the road, at the next available exit.

There was not much to see or do.
We did some yoga:
3

And those without broken legs explored the surrounding area.

2
And bushes.

1

Healing Part 3

Three weeks since the “incident”… I am actually writing at “Ground Zero” while the kids are at swim lessons. It’s loud and distracting, not the best writing environment, but I’ve had a hard time writing at home. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of having a broken leg has been the extreme fatigue.  I thought I would be itching to run, and frustrated by my boundless energy. Instead, I feel frustrated by my boundless lethargy.

I guess this is because it takes a lot of energy to repair a bone, especially the largest bone in your body. I am pretty perky in the beginning of the day (which is usually PT), and feel relatively reasonable for the first few hours of work.  But after lunch, it goes downhill and by the time dinner is over, I am done.  Well, after I wash dishes. I hate dirty dishes.

PT is interesting – it involves 30 minutes of therapies (stem, ultrasound, etc.), 10 minutes of cardio to warm up, 30+ minutes of weights (until it hurts), and then muscle massage. No crutches. No coddling. And certainly no crying. (Not suggesting that I would cry, but sometimes it is tempting because I don’t like pain). So far the routine goes as such: stretch and balance, leg press w/ calf raises, single-leg press, hamstring curls, quad lifts, abductor raises, manual treadmill and a weird vibrating machine. Literally, you stand on it and it vibrates.

To backtrack slightly since I skipped last week, here is Healing Part 2.1:
Back on the bike (but stuck indoors):
LEG2
Cycling feels great, no weight = no pain, and the blood circulation feels good enough to justify the boredom.

I also resumed taking walks at lunch with my best work-friend. This usually gets me through the rest of the day (although I still sometimes leave early).  We usually walk two miles, sometimes three.  The sun makes  me happy and the  normalcy makes me sane.  This is a perk to working downtown – many go walking during their breaks so the streets are filled with people in business suits and tennis shoes. And there is always something to see:
BIGYTRUCK

Back to the present, this weekend I went swimming. This was my first time back into the pool.  I invited a few friends. Swimming did not feel as natural as cycling. It did not hurt, but it felt awkward.  I am not sure why this surprised me, since I generally feel awkward in the pool anyway.

Speaking of swimming, swim lessons are going superbly:

mmm

SWIM2

Healing Part 2: Going Places

When I was in high school, I managed to chew my lip in my sleep. When I woke up, it was a painful, bloody mess. A few hours later, my lip had swollen to the size of a fist. It was freakish looking and freakishly heavy, I could not do anything except lay in bed all day, drooling, while watching Save by the Bell episodes.

After my  current accident, I was “walking” with my mother down the hospital hallway (using a walker). Every step was excruciating and I could only do a few before I would have to stop and rest. At one point I turned to my Mom and said, “Remember when I chewed my lip and I was jealous of everyone on TV because they could close their mouth? That is how I feel now. I am jealous of everyone just because they can stand up.”

It was only a few days until my mouth returned normal. Likewise, it was only a few days until I was striding, instead of slithering, down the hallway.  It is still a work in process, but I have proudly reunited with society.

The reunion started Saturday: I took the kids to swim lessons.
Seven days ago, this is where the “incident” occurred.

Scene of crimeThe kids were able to lead to be to the exact location (although to be honest, I remember it happening closer to the bike racks).

I sat in the cafe while the kids swam. A young employee accosted me and asked how I was doing. I told him that I was fine, although last week I broke my femur.
I know!” He said, “I saw it.”
His eyes narrowed. “I mean, I really saw it. I saw the bone sticking through your skin.”

There was silence as we both shuddered.

I felt a little guilty that my bone probably haunts that poor kid in his sleep but I did not stop there – I went on a date!
Some would not dare to drag a big broken leg into public, but aside from running, dating is my absolute favorite thing to do.
date
And yes, …yes I did make my own necklace.
See, most people under the age of 80 do not know this factoid: When you fall and cannot get up, the hospital classifies you as a FALL RISK and slaps a yellow bracelet on your arm.
kissyWhen I walked into our dinner-date destination, our table was next to Daymond John (a la Shark Tank). We had a good 10 seconds of eye contact….either he was checking me out, or wondering if I stole my necklace from my grandma.

Moving onto Superbowl Sunday, I took Brenna to brunch.
We wore matching shirts.
us

I also braved Costco.
It was full of other prior FALL RISKS that turn savages at the sight of free samples.
It was intense.
I survived.

Back to work tomorrow, at least for part of the day.
I am the type of excited that most people get before they go on vacation.

Good News, Bad News, & Healing (Part 1)

It is one month into the New Year, and I have more to report than I did regarding the entire six months of last year.  Some of the updates are good, and some of the updates are not good. But, there is one thing that ties them together: They make me realize how fortunate I am.

So should we start with the good news or the bad news?

I will start with the good news because that is simpler.
After 10 years of working for my former employer, I finally gathered some guts and got a new job!  My previous job was good for the era – but towards the end, it was unfulfilling. I was not encouraged nor appreciated, and my self-esteem was mostly influenced by my athletic performance.  But you know what?  That sucked because my body is not a consistent machine and it is certainly not getting any younger.  It is stressful to put a lot of stock in something that you have little control over . So, I started looking for a new job.  After 10 years, the prospect of starting over some place new was scary.

My resume was well received but when most people reached out, I retracted.  It just didn’t feel worth the risk of change.  And then, the right job knocked.

I love my new job. It is challenging, but interesting and important. I feel encouraged, excited, and inspired.  On the first day, my husband and I accidentally wore matching outfits…which was reassuring and awesome.
first work

My new job left me feeling on top of the world….and then came the bad news.
This news is still fresh.  But my friends at Coeur encouraged me to write about it.  Not only will writing about this help me, but hopefully it will help others because I know I am not the only who has felt the other shoe drop.

In my case, the “other shoe” was literal (a blue, old-school Saucony) and before it dropped, it was walking to my car after my kids’ Saturday one-hour swim lesson.  The day had been great: It started with a bike ride, which was followed by a massage. Next, I sat in the hot tub and talked to a dear friend from high school while the kids swam.  I did a few laps that finished with the kids.  We took a shower and the kids dried their bathing suits in the very loud locker room dryer. They love that dryer. Then, we left.

Hayden led the way to the car, walking zigzag on the sidewalk (as he normally does, and as I assume a lot of five-year olds do).  Brenna walked next to me.  In a lack of attention and coordination, I found myself tripping on Hayden. My immediate thought was, “Don’t smush your kid!!!!!!!!” which was immediately followed by the most intense pain and the thought, “OMG you will never walk again!!!

Prior to this, the most painful moment of my life was when I measured at 9cm right before birthing. It felt like a rocket was in my belly and that it was going to burst through my butt (Sorry future moms, but that is what labor feels like).  However, at the last minute I was given an epidural that numbed me from the neck down.  Epidurals are a great thing.

Anyway, This pain was double that of 9cm.  I couldn’t see much, but everything I did see I saw in sets of four.  And finally, I saw dozens of firemen at my side. Unfortunately, they did not come with an epidural.  They pretty much confirmed the fact that I did, indeed, break my femur. They could see it protruding though my skin.

How does someone 33 years old break a femur? I do not have bone density issues or lack vitamin D. Many days later, this is still a question that goes unanswered….was it just a freak accident?  Did the massage + hot tub relax my muscles too much to protect the bone?

But as a lay on the ground in agony, I couldn’t wonder that. I couldn’t wonder anything except if I would ever stop hurting.  After what felt like an eternity, the ambulance arrived…yet, they too could not offer me an epidural. The largest surge of pain was the actual moment they lifted me from the ground to the gurney.  The second-largest surge of pain was when the ambulance went over a bump on the road.

At the hospital, I continued to beg for an epidural.  I was continuously denied.

But, finally at surgery, I was put to sleep.

legs
Much less swollen compared to the previous days, where it resembled an elephant leg

So – you may expect me to be in a cast and/or traction, or bed-ridden, or in a wheelchair – because that is what I expected.  But modern majestic medicine has saved me by placing a titanium rod in my leg, from the top of the femur, to the bottom of my femur.  I guess this makes me part robot?

Initially, I thought such a devastating injury would leave me depressed. Sure, there have been short spurts of sadness.  But it has been MUCH easier to feel happy, rather than sad, and focus on the small successes instead of a flat-line failure.   Because if I focus on the bigger picture that is what this is: failure. I have lost so much in my life.

But, I know I am going to get it all back, so instead of dwelling on what I cannot fix, it is natural instinct to tackle it piece by piece, one day at a time.  It is like training for a marathon – no one goes from running a few miles, to running 26.2 miles, without an 8-12 week training plan, taking it week by week.

Coeur Sports suggested doing a series of blog posts documenting my healing.  Consider this Part 1. Of Many.  Because this will be a marathon.

The first week

During the first days of an acute injury, every day equates to a new accomplishment. The body heals incredibly fast. I’ve always said that I wished my body was a machine.  Now I realize that it is a machine after all. On Sunday morning I woke up, unable to move, to see my mother sitting by my side. Both my parents have been instinctively nurturing this week, which is neat because it’s what I needed.  I’ve really enjoyed spending time with parents, I love them so much.

I probably would have been more upset on Sunday had they not given me morphine.  I stood up three times to use the restroom. The first time, I fainted. The second time, I almost fainted. The third time was successful!

Monday was a huge healing day since I went from being completely immobile to walking with a walker.  I also stopped morphine. They were actually considering releasing me on Monday, but I begged to stay. I couldn’t fathom being well enough to leave.  Plus, the hospital had perks.  Sure, the food was mostly unpalatable, and sometimes questionable, but it was delivered bedside, like clockwork. You never had to think about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat….I decided that despite the slimy oatmeal, I liked it. I also liked the little coffee cups that came with a lid and a straw. Genius.

By Tuesday afternoon, not only did I feel well enough to leave the hospital, I was sick of the icky food. Tuesday was obviously a huge step because I returned home. I also was able to make it from Point A to Point B (with a walker).  And, most importantly, I saw sunshine, fabulous sunshine!

On Wednesday, I switched over to crutches, began in-home PT, and tried to resume work.  Work denied me because they said I needed to “rest”….and I am sure they are right, but resting has never been my forte.  I also spilled my first cup of non-hospital coffee all over my PT instructions:
IMG_0386

Getting past the lack of lid on my coffee cup, perhaps the highlight of this day is that I was able to take care of my kids. I prepared breakfast, packed lunches, and plated their (pre-cooked) dinner.

My kids have exceeded all expectations during this entire time. They are so independent, helpful, and delightful. Not to toot my horn, but not only have I kept them alive and healthy for nearly six years, I seemed to have created really amazing little people!

On Thursday, my shower chair arrived via Amazon 2-Day Prime. I have always thought that it would be awesome to have a chair in my shower, and turns out, I was right.  I also walked outside, did laundry, and wrote this blog entry (which I realized was published on a different day, but I got distracted making videos of the cat…hence why I need to return to work ASAP).

A week ago, these were menial tasks, but today I perceive it as productivity (minus the cat videos). And to think that I went from being bed-ridden on Sunday to walking to down the street today, blows my mind to pieces.

I know that not every week in the healing process will be so generous, but I am starting to get a glimpse of my former life and I am grateful.  It is funny that how sometimes the most unfortunate events can make us realize how fortunate we really are.

The Last 6 Months

So it has been forever and a day since I last updated my blog. I didn’t intend to let THAT much time slip past me, but a few weeks somehow turn into a few months. Now there is a gaping hole in my chronology, and since this is my baby book turned running log turned scrapbook, this is unacceptable.

As a kid, I was an avid diary writer. When I was about 10 years old, I decided that my handwriting in the beginning of my journal was too sloppy so I ripped out the pages.  Of course I kept them, and when I  got older, I tried to re-insert them with double-sided scotch tape, but I’ve been left with a mess of pink, torn, paper.

diary
See?

Anyway, this should be easier to fix.
So, starting where I left off:

JUNE

The month of June was hot, and I was probably whiny.
The kids took swimming lessons, which many months later, is still a work in progress.
june brenna swim David and I did escape for a few days and went to Six Flags (although it was pretty hot there, too). We got one of those flash passes so that we barely had to wait in line. We rode every coaster.
We also played on the beach. I think in a second life, I was a blond surfer.
Since June was many months ago, I cannot remember if I David granted permission to post a beach picture. So just in case, I will post it very small.
june beach

JULY

The month of July was hot, and I was probably whiny.
We continued to work on swimming, and even took the kids to a water park.  Hayden was not a fan:
july first water park

The kids developed a fondness for pennies. This has been great because now they will do anything for a few pennies.
I tried to take advantage of this by offering them 100 pennies to clean the grout.
Hayden was not a fan.
july grout And, according to photos, Brenna and I had a matching outfit or two. Old habits die hard.
july matching outfits, still do that

August

The month of August was hot, and I was probably whiny.

I don’t really have any photos though. My guess is that I was busy doing loads of sweaty laundry.

I do, however, have ravishing video of the overpopulated turtle/fish pond that is behind Sweet Tomatoes.

September

The month of September was less hot, and I was hopefully less whiny?

In September, David and I went to Flagstaff where we had this really great idea to do a ropes course. Although I have no fear when it comes to roller coasters, I shrivel up into a shrieking ball of terror when forced to climb anything from a tree to a fence. So WHY climbing 90 feet in the air and dangling from a rope seemed like a “great” idea, is beyond me. But I survived.
Sept Ropes Course

October

I started racing again in October. First, I won an Xterra race, which is not a big deal but it was my first race after a long hiatus.
Oct Won Xterra

I followed that up by winning the Soma Quarterman (which was really an Olympic distance). Finally, for the first time this year, I saw a PR (2:23). The race was not perfect: I got stuck in my wetsuit after the swim when the stripper struggled to pull it over my ankles. When she finally did, my timing chip went flying in the air. That added a minute to my already-not-so-practiced swim time. I also left my shoes on the bike, which terribly backfired and added another solid 30 seconds.
soma2

I took the lead during the run (which started fast but quickly fizzled). This was my first experience having a lead bicycle – which was a bucket list item.  I always thought the lead bike would be good company, but in reality, they are very quiet and its quite lonely.
Oct Soma
October also marks the month that Hayden also lost a tooth. One day it was just missing, unbeknownst to him. We speculate that he ate during lunch.
Oct Hayden lost tooth

November

I don’t have pictures of November, which was filled with family, friends and food.  It also included my birthday, which is just not as fun as it used to be.  Plus my birthday cake had MOLD. Unacceptable!

Frys

December

December has been a delightful month. For the second year in a row I put up our Christmas lights. Even though I am Jewish, and my lights look amateurish, they make me smile every night.
Dec Lights

*****I especially enjoy my random purple lights embracing the tree.

My homemade menorah was even less successful. Just because Google says you can make a menorah out of Legos, does not mean that you should.
1 However, it was a test for smoke alarms, and they failed.
So we bought new ones at home depot.

Summer Time!

Usually in my summer time posts, I am moaning and groaning about the summer heat (like here and here and here). I know it’s still only June, and that in a month a may eat my words, but this year I am taking a new approach to the summer’s extreme heat. Instead of waking up early and  trying to beat it, I am embracing it by starting my workouts later in the day.   And you know what, it’s not that bad.
*BANGS ON WOOD*
One new  method I have explored is running the kids to preschool. They love it, maybe too much, because we are literally merely pounds away from the BOB maximum weight limit. After I drop them off, I finish my run as the temps rise through the 90s.

IMG_20140520_084132
on our way!
IMG_0165
Arriving in style

We were doing picnics in the last days of sub-100 weather….but now we have succumbed to Costco and the mall food court.
20140522_123832

20140529_120947
Eh, I have never bragged about their manners.

 

Brenna and I also cut our shirts into tank tops.  I  attempted to do this for Hayden, but my skills are limited and I only know how to make one style: feminine.  It was not a good look on him.

Also, I only know how to make them with small shirts.  Brenna’s tank tops turn out really cute!  I mean, considering I have zero artistic ability.  But, when I work with a larger shirt, I can’t seem to stop cutting away the backside.
IMG_0073

sigh

I am not going to confess how many shirts I have ruined.

Luckily, Coeur Sports saved me from myself,  with this tank top.  It looks like my attempts, had they’d been successful.  See, this one has a back and is appropriate to wear in public.  And cute.
14 - 2

 

Now, I have a pattern.
And something to wear en lieu of new collection of self-made tattered rags.  I blame Youtube for this tank top obsession, they make it look sooooo easy.

</Rambling>

And that is a rundown about our summer thus far.  I know it’s not terribly exciting….but I have started to train again (well, for one week, but it’s been a good week!) and I starting to motivated.  I mean, I am running in 100-degree weather – that has to be some form of motivation?

I keep reminding myself to patient.

Until then, we will just keep cutting up our shirts.

So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.