Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Race that Shouldn't Have Been

If you have been reading my blog since February, you will recall appointments with PT and purple leg syndrome. Meaning, I was going to PT for the treatment of my Plantar Fasciitis, which was getting relief finally, but bilaterally by legs and feet were turning purple, which led to the discharge from Physical Therapy earlier and strict restrictions of NO running. SEE how well I followed those instructions...

Months later and a diagnosis. We are finally figuring out that by not following those directions; I did myself kinda a favor. Now, I trust my PT, and I am not bashing his advice or my physician in any way, but running is the thing that helps me make sense of life when nothing else does. I made the decision to stick with my original plan and start training for Cincinnati Flying Pigs Half Marathon. Training always has many bumps and bruises along the way. The flu caught my body for the first time ever, and we are talking the full bug, which took at least three weeks to rid itself completely. I ran through crazy extreme weather conditions from snowing to losing full feeling in my fingers, to wearing shorts a week. 

If extreme weather patterns weren't enough, my body was also going through its issues without having a full picture of what was really going on. I just keep running. 
We often noticed when I came home from my runs how cold I would be or how splotchy my skin was. I often complained my arms would be incredibly painful, and my husband would blame the pain on me sleeping on them funny. My legs always felt like dead weights. I would run really well and shave 10 minutes off one run and the next run I would gain that time back and more. I couldn't figure it out. It was frustrating. 

Finally, after a month of waiting for testing results, because they were misplaced by the office, I was told both legs have vein deficiencies, which means the blood travels down and pools, but doesn't return back up. Running and staying active actually HELPS reduce any risk of further health problems like blood clots, keeping my body warm and keeps blood circulating. The nurse was so kind to remind me that I don't have many options on this one. They typically like people to wear compression socks for three months and stay active. They also have to counsel you on your weight. If you are overweight, the insurance considers it an elective surgery, so you have to jump through a bunch of hoops before you can have it done. Each thing has to be done before your insurance will consider it. On the phone, she had to "counsel" me about weight. I essentially had to ask her if I lost another 10lbs would that help anything? Her answer, "no you're healthy, I just have to say that I did." Me- "Thank goodness, I'd be nothing, and I feel comfortable in my skin." However, she said, "we don't recommend this if you haven't had kids and plan on it someday. I'm not sure where you are on that continuum, but you are young, so think about."  That is where the conversation when straight down hill and made me feel like a deflated balloon. Thank you for reminding we don't have children. We don't get enough of those messages daily. And it got better, "so your options with this are limited, but you can always come talk to our surgeon." Me- "great, can I have your number for when I want to call you back?" Click. 

Runner- Check
Socks- Check
Weight- Check
Children- Childless
Options- Limited

This is the world I live in. It seems hopeless sometimes, but then I run and everything looks better. Running is the place where I see everything clear.  Flying Pigs shouldn't have happened in medical terms, but I say NEVER. It isn't in my language. Now we know why my legs feel like dead weight and why some runs are awesome, and others aren't. When your blood pools in both legs and doesn't return, your heart works extra hard to move blood in other places. I'd be lying to say that this doesn't bother me. My heart has to work overtime right now, especially with long runs. I haven't figured out what is the best course of action next.  

For now, I thankful for finishing the Flying Pigs Half Marathon because it is a race that I probably shouldn't have been running, but I did. Not for a lack of training, but because sometimes I wonder if I live a little recklessly, and then I think, live in today, not tomorrow because it might not be here. More thoughts on the expo and the race coming the rest of the week.

Q: Do you live reckless? Have you ever gone against medical advice or do you follow it? 


Aurelia said...

I'm sorry Sarah. As a nurse myself, it's good to be reminded to always use compassion when delivering tough news.

Karen Seal said...

((Hugs)) I am sorry, Sarah. Its not easy, especially when the reminders are always there. I'm glad you have an answer and found out that you're doing the right thing by running!

Two Runners Travel said...

It's amazing how some medical professionals handle tough things. Sorry you had to go through that conversation, but good for you for completing the Flying Pig Half and having a fun weekend. I love your medal and shirt....very cute.