Plagued.

Since February, I have been plagued by one sort of running injury after another.  I’m starting to get annoyed.

First it was the Achilles tendon issue which resulted from too much running in the snow and running hills.  Then, as I tried to address that and started running more on the midfoot strike, I developed a calf/shin/soleus issue on the opposite leg.  I call it a shin splint (or medial tibial stress syndrome) but it also involves the soleus muscle itself and from everything I’m reading, it’s likely caused from too much mid-foot striking when I run.

“X” marks the spot. I’ve had pain right there on both legs now. Ugh.

Great!  (insert sarcastic eye roll here)

So while the Achilles tendon feels much, much better, the left leg felt awful.  So I rested, stretched, ran short distances and thought I was over the hump when I went for a short run the day before I started back to work, on March 31.  I stuck to the most natural foot fall, the heel strike, and to my amazement, not an ache at all when I ran. And more importantly, no pain a few days later.

And then I ran home from the office for the first time since starting back to work and bam! The next day, the RIGHT shin/calf/soleus started acting up.  In the exact same spot as on the LEFT.  Seriously, WTF?????

Okay, so maybe I haven’t been resting as much as I should.  Dammit, I love running and I love how it makes me feel. I don’t want to stop!  Running with my girlfriend last week was amazing!  I took Advil before the run and the leg felt great, but it’s 5 days later and it feels awful.  I totally masked the inflammation by taking the Advil, I know this.  We are supposed to run this week, so today I tried a mini run to the grocery store but had to stop after 50 meters.  50 METERS!  God dammit!

I am part of an online running group and a lot of the women there are having issues – one in particular has just been diagnosed with a tibial stress fracture after being plagued with shin splints for months.  Now, she’s a half-marathoner, so obviously running much longer distances than I am, but I fear if I keep going I may end up in the same boat.

So, I will try to listen to my body and rest up until this Wednesday.  Seven days off should be sufficient time to heal, right?  Right???

In the mean time, these will be close by.

download

Getting Close. (Yes, another running post)

I managed another running milestone today.

I cracked 7km.

7k

After dealing with the Achilles issue, weak stabilizer muscles and the development of a particularly nasty (well, for me) case of shin splints on the opposite leg, I never thought I’d get close to my goal of 10K.

But today I did.

I have to thank a friend of mine – he runs marathons, so I believe his advice wholeheartedly.  I complained about my shins hurting during a run about a week ago and he told me that if I had warmed up the legs longer,  the soreness would likely develop into a dull ache if I kept running.  After 3-4km, I had to stop early. I thought he was crazy.  Run more on sore legs?  Really?  Well, turns out he was right.  On the next run, I slowed down a bit made myself run through the soreness.  Let me be clear, it wasn’t pain.  It was just sore.  To my surprise,  the soreness did indeed develop into a dull ache and nothing more. I also stretched the calves and the shins a lot after that run.  And by a lot, I mean, for at least a half an hour, so much so that the next day my hamstrings were feeling it.

I have to say, I was pretty stoked about the whole thing.  Over the course of the next few days, the shin splint settled down. I didn’t feel it every time I walked down the stairs.  I planned my long run.

I can’t lie.  After the first 3 minutes of running, the soreness came back.  I kept going.   I ran in 10:1 intervals, had to stop a few times at traffic lights and stretched the legs whenever I could.  My route had a few hills.  I worked hard.  About half way, I thought I might throw up; that was something new.  I listened to my body and slowed my pace down.  I got some energy back and ran for home.

7km! And the shin feels good.  Not 100% but definitely on the mend.

Damn, I love running!

Healing.

Heal – to restore or be restored to health

I am on the mend.  After my physiotherapy appointment earlier in the week, I managed to get in two back-to-back runs and one “long” run today.  The first two runs were 3k and 4k, respectively.  Today’s “long” run was 5.25km.  I put long in quotations because it’s hardly what marathon runners would consider their long run, but for this gal, it was a long run.  It felt like a long run.

It’s amazing how fast my endurance decreased after not running for 8 days.  It’s getting better, slowly but surely.  And so is the Achilles tendon.  I have been doing my heel raises religiously and icing it after my runs.  I can still feel that it’s irritated, but much less so than a week ago.

It feels great to be getting back to work on my 10k goal.  Sadly though, I don’t think it’ll happen before April 1.  If I push for it, I will likely get injured again.  So for now, I am not setting the goal but will just take it one run at a time and see how I do.

I see my running as fulfilling two goals.  One is to get physically fit; the other is to stay mentally fit.  Maternity leave has left my brain a bit mushy.  Mostly from the lack of sleep but also from the fact that I haven’t really thought about medicine in the past five months.  It’s been a good mental break but the time has come to exercise my brain.

But first I must rid myself of this awful migraine.  This is one of my favorite photos depicting what its like to suffer from migraine headaches.

migraine

A Small Victory.

I did it.  I ran today.

And I feel great!!!

As I was having my coffee this morning, I did two sets of heel raises. I ate a good breakfast of fruit, yogurt and granola.  I went out at noon for the run.  I won’t lie, the Achilles started to ache five minutes into the run.  I had to stop at a street light and did some heel raises for about 30 seconds to engage those weak stabilizers and when the light turned green, off I went.  By the end of the 3rd interval (I was running 5s and 1s), the pain was gone and the legs felt good.

I really wanted to keep going but I promised Sarah I would keep it short, and when I got home I ended up running 3.2 km in 25 minutes.

I stretched and now I’m icing my foot.  In a few hours, I’ll do more heel raises.

I am so encouraged!!  The shins didn’t even hurt today either!!

I really want to go out again tomorrow, but I know I should rest, so reluctantly, I will.

 

A Little Worried.

I fear I may have overdone it with the running.

This week I did two runs, each 4km. The first was a steady run for 30 minutes and the second was mainly hills that I ran for a steady 25 minutes.

I’ve been have some discomfort in my Achilles’ tendon since the run in the snow two weeks ago. I felt it bother me near the end of the 6km run last weekend. After the first 4km run this week it was feeling good; a bit sore but not painful. A different story after the hills run. It’s been aching for two days. I have iced and taken anti-inflammatories. I’ve taken two days off running and have planned another 6km run on the weekend.

I really hope I haven’t developed tendonitis and a repetitive strain injury.

That would really suck.

Sulkeminen

Day 27 – January Daily Blog Posting Month

Sulkeminen

It’s hard to say goodbye in this age
Out of sight yet not out of mind
Our footprints echo for eternity
And I continue to feel watched.
 
I cause my own discomfort
News filters from the grapevine
Cigarette burns continue to smolder
They hurt and bleed still.
 
The time has come and gone
Words not spoken, more thoughts are written
Today I turn the page
And close the door for good.

5k baby!!

Day 16 – January Daily Blog Posting Month

5k

Yes!!!

My first post-partum run was 2.73 km on November 13, 2013.  Nine weeks and 12 runs later and I cracked the 5 km mark. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was not easy. In fact, it was probably the toughest run I’ve ever done.  Tough because it was cold, tough because I didn’t want to keep going after 2.5 km, tough because my shins, ankles, and right SI joint were on fire.

But I did it and I’m so glad I did.

“What did you say? I can’t hear you!”

Day 8 – January Daily Blog Posting month

I almost blew my daily blog challenge!! I write today’s post from my phone as I struggle to stay awake.

Today was a busy day. I spent the morning at the office getting our receptionist’s new computer up and running. Thank goodness husband decided to stick around. I ran into a bit of trouble getting a piece of hardware to install but he came to my rescue.

Daughter had a doctors’s appointment this afternoon, a follow up for an ear infection she had over the holidays. She’s been complaining of pain in her ears and appears to be having issues with her hearing. She is always asking us to repeat what we are saying, and is constantly saying “What?”. Husband was concerned about her hearing so off we went to her doctor. Turns out she just has a lot of fluid buildup from the infection and it needs time to drain. In the meantime it looks like we will have to speak more loudly around her.

I wonder how long it will take for her to figure out she can just ignore us and pretend it’s still her ear causing the problem? Are five-year-olds that smart? I think mine might be.

The Day After.

Day 9.

I hurt everywhere.

Neck, upper back, lower back, abdomen, thighs, calves, even my feet. Everything is stiff today.  Muscles I haven’t used in 10 months are screaming at me, “What have you done to us???”

I know it’ll get better.  I also know tomorrow will be worse. It always hurts more on the second day.  It’s all worth it though, right?  Right?

I am probably deluding myself, but I feel a millimeter more toned today than I did yesterday.  Seriously.

The next step on this path to a righteous body (lol!) is to cut out the chocolate.  I’ll let you know how I do on that front in another post.

Now then, where is that bottle of Advil?

A Birth Story – Part Two.

Okay, so where was I?

Right  – husband brought the kids to the hospital, they met their new little brother, my parents arrived and the entire family met the new little man.  Then, my nurse came in to check on me and ushered everyone out of recovery.  This is when it got interesting.

In every patient post-delivery, it is common practice for the nursing staff to check the woman’s bleeding and status of the uterus – firm or boggy.  The nurse checking me said I was “oozing”.  The next thing I know, my OB is at my bedside ordering IM (intramuscular) Ergot, PR (per-rectal) misoprostol and IV (intravenous) oxytocin.  Then my OB starts massaging my uterus, and not in that “ah, what a nice massage” kind of way, she is pushing down on my uterus with such force that I cried out in pain.  Remember, this is only 1 hour post-operatively and I was still pretty much frozen from the upper abdomen down to my legs from the spinal anesthetic.  Frozen yes, but oh my, I could feel that “massage”.  It was awful.  No one said anything, but it was obvious to me that I had just had a postpartum hemorrhage.  Caught very early, mind you, but a hemorrhage nonetheless. Thankfully, no one in the family knew what was going on as my husband had taken the baby to the waiting room while the nurses worked on me.

Eventually it was time to head up to the postpartum/maternity ward.  I had requested a private room and got one, thankfully.  Once I was settled, it was almost 6pm, maybe a bit later, and the kids were getting super antsy, so husband took them home. My brother stayed behind to visit for while and bonded with his new nephew.  About an hour later, my best friend came and spent a few hours with me and new baby which was so nice.  Although I was pretty tired, I was still bedridden and admittedly a bit lonely after everyone left, so it was so nice to have her there.

That first night was pretty good.  Baby latched, nursed on an off most of the night, and the post-op pain was relatively well controlled until about 4am when I started noticing I was passing gas and the pain started.  I asked for pain relief and was given SC (subcutaneous) morphine which helped.  A few hours later, the nurse had me getting up to the bathroom, she removed the catheter and I was encouraged to start walking around as much as I could.  The OB resident came in to see me and dropped the not-so-subtle hint that I might be released the next day.  Only 48 hours post-op?  Seemed a bit soon to me, but apparently the “rules” had changed since having my son 2.5 years ago.  It used to be women were discharged 72 hours after c-section.  Now it’s 48 hours.  Too soon, in my books.  Too soon.

Later that day, another girlfriend came to visit.  She is due in a few weeks with her first child.  It was lovely to have her come visit.  She brought me an ice-cold lemonade and some aromatherapy for my sore neck.  But by the end of that visit,  I was noticing some new pain starting.  Under my rib cage, on the right side.  Kind of like a muscle spasm.  After she left,  I asked for some pain medication.  For some reason, I wasn’t allowed to have any SC morphine, so instead I was given 2 mg of hydromorphone. It did nothing.

Around 10pm, the pain was escalating and I was starting to get really emotional about it.  It hurt to take a deep breath, and of course, crying didn’t make it any better.  It was probably the worse “stitch” I ever had – you know, those pains in the chest wall you can get when you run too fast?  Well, now that I think about it, it’s exactly what it felt like but 100 times worse.  I called my husband and cried on the phone to him.  I hadn’t slept all day, baby was cluster feeding that night since about 7pm and I was exhausted.  When I was on the phone with him, my nurse came in and saw me crying.  I hung up the phone and just let it all out with the nurse.  She said she would page the OB resident on call and see about getting me more pain meds.  About 20-30 minutes later, the nurse returned and told me that the OB was too busy to come see me, but had ordered 10 mg of oxycodone.

The last thing I remember was texting my husband an hour later, telling him that I could feel the meds working and the pain was better.  Then, nothing.  I woke up at 4am with the baby on my chest, asleep.  I have to admit something here, I felt good!  Not just pain-free good, but “I’m kind of high – good”.  Wow.  Suddenly I understood how easy it can be for some patients to get addicted to Oxycodone.  It’s a very dangerous narcotic, one not to be taken lightly – pardon the pun.

That morning, the OB resident came in and told me I could be released that day.  I explained my pain from the previous night and that I was not comfortable leaving.  My concerns were heard and I stayed an extra day/night.  The rest of the recovery went pretty smoothly.  That horrendous muscle spasm pain never returned, and I later discovered from my med school colleague (and good friend) that the manipulation of my fallopian tubes likely caused the pain – referred pain to the diaphragm.   It was great just to have an explanation for it.  It was awful pain and at that moment the physician in me took a backseat and I was just a patient.  In retrospect, I’m not sure knowing the origin of the pain would have helped at all at the time.  I am just glad that it was short-lived.

I was released on the third post-operative day (72 hours after delivery).  The kids hadn’t seen me or the baby in two days so our reunion was wonderful.  In the last 2.5 weeks, life has slowly returned to our new normal.  Husband gets the kids ready for school in the morning.  The baby and I are camped out in the basement as he sleeps on my chest at nighttime still.  It’s the only way both of us get any sleep.  Eventually, I will move him to the bassinet, but likely not for a few more weeks.

The decision to have a third child was a difficult one.  We went back and forth for almost 6 months.  Despite the sleep deprivation and the generally chaotic nature of our life right now, I cannot imagine not having had my new son.  I can’t put it into words, but I truly feel complete now that I have had him.  My family of four was perfect – but my family of five is so much more.  I can’t wait to see who this new little person is and how he’ll fit into our lives.

Thank you for reading.