Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Comeback Kinda Athlete

We are really looking forward to our upcoming family weekend in Ottawa since last going together in 2012 and 2010. It was so kind when Manny, elite athlete coordinator, contacted me shortly after my accident, informing me that we were still more than welcome to go (if I was up to it). He also offered me the opportunity to commentate the 10 km race that I was supposed to run. I had a great time commentating the marathon last year so look forward to doing both races this year. Additionally, the boys are racing the 5 km, Leah and I will have our first ride on the Amphibus, and we will get to see several relatives.

For anyone who is interested in saying hello, here is my schedule for the expo at the Ottawa Race Weekend:

Thursday, May 23
6:00-7:00 pm tRANscend
7:00-8:00 pm Saucony

Friday, May 24
3:00-4:00 pm iRun
4:00-5:00 pm Saucony

Saturday, May 25
10:00-11:00 am iRun
11:00-12:00 pm Saucony

May 17, 2014 Three Weeks Post Surgery

Since last writing, a week after my surgery involving placement of a plate, 1 large and 2 small screws due to a fractured femur (after running a 1/2 marathon with an undiagnosed stress fracture)*, I've gradually transitioned from being barely capable to do much of anything, to establishing a safe routine, including most housework, various rehab exercises and normal living activities. I've categorized my progress as a way to summarize the last few weeks.

Orthopaedic Surgeon 
Friday, May 9 was my 2 week post-op appointment with my orthopaedic surgeon and good running friend, Dr. James Dill. Coach Rick took me to the 7:45 am appointment and Josie stayed with the kids since Jonathan had to work. The appointment started with an x-ray at the Brantford General Hospital Fracture Clinic. It was my first x-ray since the accident where a transfer board and extra assistance was not necessary, which was somewhat of a milestone.
As a local dietitian who often sees patients needing to lose weight to better their chances of success for hip or knee replacements, I've always known of James' excellent reputation. His sister is a speedy marathon mom from the east coast and they are incredibly caring and lovely people. Thank you, Jen and PEI friends, for your support over the years.
James was involved from the day of my accident, including viewing the x-ray and CT scans, and we've been running together for several years so he obviously had a great understanding of my history.  It was no surprise that he conducted a very thorough appointment in which I think I caught him off guard when to his first question, "So, where do we start?" I replied, "When can I run my first marathon?". A sense of humour is a good thing. We decided to cover the basics then eventually got to it later. From the appointment I learned that I could start showering because the incision was healed (never did have staples or stitches), begin warm water classes in the hydrotherapy pool at the gym at 3 weeks, begin driving at 5 weeks, resume taking my routine supplements (iron, multi-vitamin/mineral), and make the family trip to Ottawa at 4 weeks as I would still be taking Fragmin (to prevent blood clotting). One of the best pieces of news was when James explained that I wouldn't necessarily have to get the plate and screws removed. We will cross that bridge if we come to it but unless there is an infection, discomfort, or arthritis, my hardware is there to stay. One less surgery the better! The other great piece of news was our discussion about my return to running. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but I'm trusting James who is optimistic for a full recovery, and I am listening to my heart, which tells me that I will return to travel down that Road to Rio. I am realistic that God may have other plans, and that is fine, yet do strongly believe that with each and every day, I feel my marathon return is that much closer. After 3 babies and collapsing in the heat at World Champs, and other minor injuries, I have proven to be a comeback kinda athlete; one tough momma.

*I think I have this right - I had a stable, garden I, non-displaced intertrochanteric fracture. Fortunately with my fracture, the femoral neck area, with the really good blood supply, was not harmed so there remains good healing potential. I am blessed that it was 80%, not 100%, fractured.

Physiotherapy and Massage
At my first appointment at home because I can't yet drive, Sherri and I basically talked about everything that happened. From the "why" to "Rio", we covered it all. She gave me some basic exercises and reviewed the safety of my daily activities, explaining that she would continue to see me weekly at home, and follow up with James and Ron for my treatment plan.
Thankful for an elevator in the massage therapy building that is close to home, I was able to get David booked to give me a gentle massage. My left knee has been bruised, the last few days, which is  normal after surgery. We too had a good discussion about everything, looking back and looking forward.

Pain
I've been very blessed to be relatively pain-free from the beginning, when I am not moving. That is why I'm smiling in some pictures and grimacing in others. When in hospital I was often asked about my pain level, which was 9/10 with movement. Childbirth remained at 10/10 and broken ribs moved down to 8/10.
Since returning home, I had a few small sudden movements and sneezes, which resulted in a decent amount of throbbing pain in the upper leg area. It often lasted about 10-15 minutes but subsided on its own. And other than taking 2 tylenols last week after my first busy day, I haven't taken anything since. I will sometimes feel a dull ache in the leg while sitting but I think that can be expected at this point.
Check out my "Pain will not prevail" for a few of my thoughts on the subject.

Sleep

Daily Activities 
On Thursday, eleven days after my surgery, and after one week at home, I made my first trip upstairs to sleep in my own bed and enjoy my first shower. I didn't mind sleeping on the couch or bathing with a laundry tub but after being in my own bed and shower, I knew there would be no turning back.
I'm not overly confident using my crutches on the stairs so have been safely bum-scootching my way up and down, once or twice a day.
After Jonathan's parents left, I was on my own for the before school routine. Of course Jonathan was more than willing to do the work but I insisted that I learn to do it. When the first morning came where I had to make our weekly batch of pancakes, it was exhausting. Seemed like it took nearly twice as long as normal. I can easily stand at the sink to wash dishes or chop vegetables but back n' forth, from one counter to the fridge to another counter, is incredibly slow with crutches. I have learned to ask for help and the kids have been great to fetch things from the fridge, grab things I can't reach and pick up dropped items from the floor.
Thankfully I had two friends from church come to help me with some cooking and cleaning. Let me tell you, it was hard to say yes to their generous offer but when the alternative is to ask Jonathan, I decided to take them up on it. Cleaning floors is likely the most difficult job with crutches. The kids can vacuum but mopping is something that only an adult, or much older child, can do.

Back to the Gym!
Friday, May 16 was a big, big day for me as I was able to return to my normal routine. I got myself and the kids ready and out the door for Jonathan to do drop-off at the school and gym. I must admit that it was pretty emotional for me. I remember it was one of the first thoughts I had while in hospital. I knew that as soon as I made my return to the gym, I was on the road to recovery. While dropping off Leah at the childcare, I had some tears of joy as I was so glad to be back. Poor Leah started crying as a result but quickly cheered up again when I reminded her of all the stories she wanted to share.
I safely made my way to the hydrotherapy pool and joined the older folks under the great instruction of Tia for a warm water workout. For years I've admired people's dedication to improving their health in these classes, often using walkers or canes to get there. I knew if they could do it after illness or surgery, I could too. The heat and gentle movement felt great, and because of the buoyancy and 50% weight bearing, I could almost walk while in the water. Folks double my age were lapping me in the warm up but it was a great session where I was able to move comfortably and easily increase my range of motion and strength. Because the first half of the 1 hr class is lower body, I think I will move over to do some pool running for the second half, next week. After carefully drying off, changing and making my way to the weight room, while chatting with my gym buddies I hadn't seen in a few weeks, I got on the recumbent bike for 15 minutes of easy, low-resistance biking. Again, it was great to easily move the leg with no pain or discomfort. I finished up the morning with some upper body weights then gave myself twice as long to shower before heading down to get Leah.

We just returned from opening our cabin for the summer where we will now spend more time with me not training for the Commonwealth Games Marathon(Glasgow, Scotland in July). With a pool and plenty of paths, I’ll have lots of opportunity to continue healing while slowly returning to training. I’ll likely post again at the end of May, after our Ottawa weekend and my 5 week post-op appointment, which will hopefully show some serious bone healing! Thanks for your continued prayers and support. 
#KristaStrong . God is Good. The Glass is Half Full.

Back at the gym. What a great feeling.



Still some swelling in the (left) leg but at least there is some definition again.

The scar won't be too bad at all. Nothing a little Vitamin E can't help.
Looking even better a week later.

Talk about inspiration. Returning to surfing after a shark takes her arm?! Wow! I had always wanted to watch, "Soul Surfer" about Bethany Hamilton. So glad the kids let me pick the family movie the other night. Makes a return to running, after a busted leg with some hardware installed, seem not so bad! A great quote from Bethany in the movie when hoping to return to surfing, "I don't need easy. I need possible". 

Spending more time with Leah at home allows me to work on my artistic skills. Clifford looks pretty good, if I say so myself. She has enjoyed more time with mom, reading books, learning numbers and letters, and listening to nursery songs (thank you, youtube!).

In great hands with my running friend and orthopaedic surgeon!


Love the personal cards, pictures and letters from the kids for Mother's Day.

Making things work. I sit on my walker to fold laundry with my #1 helper, Leah. 

Thanks for the kind words, Sam, Daivd, and NYRR. You bet I'll "come back stronger than ever"! 
Just had to take this picture. There are times I am bummed but looking at my short 2014 season is certainly something to be proud of. I still managed to race 7 events this year, from a 3,000 m on the track in early February to the half marathon in late April.  And my NYC half marathon time of 72:26 in March was technically a (2 second!) PB because it was on a certified course.
My 70:52 from 2013 was from Vancouver Scotiabank, a non record-eligible course (point-to-point).
My 32:41 from the 2014 Yonge St 10 km was 11 seconds faster than my 10 km PB from 2013 in Ottawa but it was also a non-record eligible course (downhill).


Walking to and from the mailbox, twice that day, was a big accomplishment. I'm now up to about 1 km per day, which takes about 24 minutes. Leah and I enjoy little games along the way and the mailbox never has more the one day of mail in it at a time now. 

Grammy and Grampa with Leah, opening a beautiful Edible Arrangement from my friend Jody and her family. Their care for our family during this tough time was amazing.  We sure loved having them around and I was sad to see them go.

I'm able to easily stand on both legs with weight evenly distributed. I can do calf raises and not-so-deep squats. But raising the leg, using the hip flexor is nearly impossible. I know it will come.
Thanks so much for this, Hugh Cameron. Speaks volumes!

What a wonderful Mother's Day with my #TeamDuChene. I was able to return to church (very thankful for the elevator), spend most of the day outside in the beautiful weather, enjoy a late lunch at the Blue Dog, and watch a movie with snacks later in the evening.






Mark 11:22-24 "Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

3 comments:

  1. Krista,

    I can't tell you how heart warming it is to read your story. A blogging friend from Canada shared your story with me after I wrote about suffering a displaced hip fracture. On April 30th, I also got some new hardware.... a titanium rod and two screws. (Apparently I also had an undiagnosed stress fracture and then screwed myself over during the Boston Marathon.) I consider myself a lifelong runner and fully intend to return to the sport. I've been walking on my own for a week and can start biking and swimming next week, provided there is no pain. I miss working out. :( We all suffer setbacks in our lives and it's up to us to decide what to do with them. You are very determined and I have no doubt you will be back out there running sooner than you think. I wish you all the best and will be following along with your progress. I also have written quite a bit about my recovery process over at iruninspired.com in case you want to check it out. :) Sending you so many recovery and get well thoughts!!!
    -Tracie

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  2. Great update, Krista. I'm so happy to hear you are back at the gym and staying so positive! Also, yay for your Waterloo Refridgee-Eighter medal in your 2014 collection :) That one caught my eye right away. Sending prayers your way.

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  3. An injury is the least we expect from happening, especially for you as an athlete, since you train to avoid such things from happening while engaging in your sport. It’s terrifying, but you still managed to see the good in life. Well who wouldn’t? With a beautiful family, supportive friends, and great specialists on your side, your problems will surely be lighter. And I hope one day you’ll regain your full strength and go back in running. Have a good day!

    Kristopher Edwards @ Chiropractic Wellness and Rehabilitation

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