As some of you already know, today I found out that my Achilles is separated from the bone in the my left heel. The good news is that it is not torn or ruptured. I’m taking bets on how long before I will “rock a boot” as my friend Mary Beth said on my Facebook page. (I’m betting at about 8:45 on Tuesday morning. I have had three physical therapists, one trainer, and one group exercise instructor ask me why I wasn’t in one when I told them what happened. Really, Dr. L., though, if I don’t have to wear one it’s ok with me. But I will do whatever it takes. )
In August I injured my hamstring at the Mountain Lakes Triathlon. It just popped. I already wrote about this and I have been in physical therapy since it happened. On Monday of this week I was released from physical therapy because I was doing much better and really have not had pain in the hamstring for a few weeks. I started having some pain in my left calf but it was kind of coming and going. My doctor and the physical therapists thought I might be compensating and were watching it. This week the Achilles flared up. Tuesday was a really difficult run and I should have stopped but I didn’t. I walked part of it and ran part of it. I thought I was just stiff. Nope. Wednesday was a difficult workout. Sam did not let me give in though and he didn’t let me have a pity party. We adjusted and I did upper body work instead of lower body but I still worked. I thanked him for not letting me give up.
This morning I saw a rheumatologist. I have had the appointment for several months after some blood work that showed an abnormal level for something. It’s good I didn’t really know what they were looking for because it would have worried me all summer. I don’t have what they thought I might have but they did spend most of the morning looking at my feet. (No Lupus and no rheumatoid arthritis.) This injury flared up after the appointment was made so it wasn’t what they planned on looking at this morning. They did a series of x-rays and ultrasounds, however. It was rather fascinating to watch the ultrasound even if I did have to crane my neck upside down and I was not exactly sure what I was looking at most of the time. The man who did those told me all kinds of things and none of them sounded very good. When I finally saw the doctor, he said I was a mess but he had seen worse. He thinks I probably broke my toe (or toes) at some point but didn’t realize it. That is entirely possible. This is all related, by the way. He and the man who did the ultrasound also said my Achilles injury really looks like it has been over years. Also true. I don’t understand how that know that. I’m sure someone can explain it to me. They asked me if I remembered injuring my foot. It took me awhile but I have thought about a number of injuries as the day has gone on. Like I told some friends, my brother didn’t nickname me “Grace” for nothing – with that tone of voice that only a loving brother can conjure. I can trip on thin air and have over the years. The major injuries were in high school when I was crowded out in a track meet, in college when I hopped off a step and split the bone lengthwise in my foot, the fall when I was learning Viennese Waltz, several falls down stairs, and the fall in November 2009 that resulted in my leg surgery. Most of these were treated in some way except the fall during the dance lesson because I didn’t have health insurance at the time.
The only thing I can really do right now is rest. I cannot run or bike for another month. I can swim though and that is fine with me. I will have to give up my spots in the Baltimore Half and the Savannah Rock n Roll Half. Both are sold out so I am looking at as giving someone a spot who would not have had one this year. Two people will be happy. I will still go to Baltimore since I am going to be there anyway. I’ll cheer for my She Does Tri buddies who will be running. I’m looking forward to seeing all of them over the weekend.
One of the things I have missed the most through this recovery is spin class. I love the challenge of spin and I do hope to teach spin at some point in the future. I’ll get there but it will just be slower than I thought it would be, like some other things that have been delayed.
I am grateful for the support I have (and am ignoring those who are just seeming to take delight in my injury). After reminding me of one of our mantras, “when in doubt, swim,” Sam reminded me that I am still accountable for making progress on my goals. It just may be in a differenet way than we anticipated. I appreciate these reminders and that he does not let me give up just because I am injured. I am grateful for my doctors and for all of my friends and fellow bikers, runners and triathletes who are also supportive. Many of you understand the frustrations that come with injuries and not being able to do what you love to do. It’s all part of being an athlete though. I’ll take time to recover now and will readjust my routines. My next race probably won’t be until the end of January. I can live with that though. My goals are really to improve my health so I can live longer and better. I love the races but there is much more to my journey than adding t-shirts to my collection. My quality of life has improved tremendously over the past year to year and a half which I owe to a dedication to exercise and to eating better. Both of these can and will continue while I recover.
I’ll write more about this topic and about my physical therapy. And I will let you know if I have to “rock a boot.” It better be glittery if I do.