For the past few years I have dealt with a severe and indescribable pain in my the area where my foot was amputated. It didn’t start until about 2009 which is roughly 5 years post-cancer and amputation so it was a bit odd. It wasn’t phantom limb pain and it wasn’t constant. But when it came on (normally during the middle of the night), it was brutal. I’ll describe the pain to you: Sharp pains up my leg that would wake me out of my sleep. No pain-killer could touch it which resulted in a sleepless night and me having to call in sick to work the next day. Because I couldn’t function. NOT OKAY.
I saw several doctors for it who conducted X-Rays, MRIs, etc. to see what was going on. One doctor prescribed pain pills (didn’t work), another recommended a revision surgery. I felt frustrated because I was in pain and without answers. But I tried to look at it on the Bright Side: I was only having this pain one or two nights out of every two or three months. So I could deal.
In early November, the pain hit and it hit hard. It stopped being sporadic and was constant. I think I probably made the pain worse with all of my training. So I visited a new orthopedic oncologist who did another MRI. He found two neuromas and decided we should remove them because they were a.) probably the source of the pain and b.) with my medical history why not take them out and biopsy them to be on the safe side?
So I went for it. I scheduled the surgery but of course started freaking out. Having another surgery inevitably makes me feel uneasy. I’m mainly uneasy because I haven’t started planning my race season and I need to. But I scheduled the surgery for early enough in the year that I figured I had enough time to recover and get back to training before Nationals in May.
These were a few of the thoughts running through my head for the past month:
-How long will I be out of work?
-How long will I be off my feet?
-WHAT ABOUT MY TRAINING?!
-What about my triathlon season? Will I recover fast enough to be able to race?
-See ya social life. It’s been nice knowing you. (Don’t roll your eyes. I may be confident and comfortable in my skin but I definitely don’t enjoy being social when I can’t wear my leg. DUH. It’s awkward for you AND me. Plus some people don’t know that I’m an amputee. I know- shocking.)
I was also a little worried about how I might be feeling mentally after the surgery. I’m very independent and like it that way. Plus I’m busy. I’m not used to downtime and I was pretty sure I was going to hate it.
I worked out like a maniac and I went out like a maniac. Hah! But seriously, I was running and spinning a ton since I knew I wouldn’t be doing this for a while. And I kept myself busy, going out a lot more than usual.
So last Wednesday, I had surgery. SURPRISE!!!! Going into the surgery I was anxious. I knew I wasn’t going to be walking for AT LEAST two weeks. Running? WHO KNEW. There was no magical number to answer that question and that worried me. As you all know, running is my religion these days. It keeps me calm and also brings me a lot of happiness. But I needed to have the surgery and get it out-of-the-way.
My aunt, Bridget, took me (LIFESAVER as usual. So thankful for her!) to the USC Keck Medical Center. Let me tell you, I had the best nurses! EVER. They were great and I felt so comfortable and that’s huge before and after a surgery.
My pain has been minimal but not being able to do ANYTHING is brutal. Working out really does keep me sane and right now I don’t feel like myself. I’m antsy and fidgety which are two things that I am not normally.
I came back to work yesterday to add some normalcy to my life. But I’m still a little bit depleted in the energy department so a full day is taking a ton out of me!
In terms of training, I’ve been doing some upper body work. Mainly with dumb bells. I’m over it already.
I’m staying with Bridget and she has been so helpful with everything. Lucky to have her!
But I miss my apartment and I miss going out and being able to carry my own bags in. Several times I have said and thought, “I miss my life!” I’m a tool. I know. It’s tough not being able to wear my prosthetic. It makes me uncomfortable being out and about because people stare and I want to scream, “HEY! STOP STARING. I COMPETE IN TRIATHLONS, I’M JUST DOING A LITTLE OFF-SEASON TUNE UP!”
I had a check up yesterday and I’ll get my stitches out next week. When the stitches come out and if there is no sign of infection, it’s likely they will clear me to swim. Oh please, oh please. I need to get in that pool! And from there they may clear me to start wearing my leg and gradually working towards adding more weight on that side. But still, who knows when my next run will be!
But, I’m being good I swear! I’m trying to take the conservative approach and have been keeping my leg elevated ALL day and not getting it wet.
So that’s that. I had surgery and I’m trying not to go crazy. If you are a runner, RUN AN EXTRA MILE FOR ME TODAY. Same goes for you if you cycle, swim or do any other type of activity. Just remember how lucky you are that you can do it! Because I miss it!