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Looking Back-11/15/2016

It’s been a year since the bike accident at Ironman Arizona. A lot of things have happened and a lot has stayed the same. The biggest change has been learning about how much I depend on and take for granted my body and being able to move when and how I wanted. I went from being very confident to scared in a matter of seconds. My injury was very minor in comparison to what a lot of other people have had to deal with. I was lucky in that I was able to recover fully and can function normally again. It could have been very different and I know that.

To be able to move forward I need to look back at last year and process through the last year. This will be a long post and is more for my personal needs than anything else.

A year ago, I was having a great day at IMAZ at mile 80 on the bike when I went through a wet corner and my wheel came out from under the bike and I landed on my left side. I looked at my bloody and numb hands and thought- I wonder if I can ride 32 more miles this way. Most of the skin was gone from my palms and I didn’t know that I had broken fingers at that time. The policeman came and tried to lift me up so I could get out of the intersection. When I tried to put pressure on my left leg it hurt really bad. I told them to put me down and I sat back in the intersection with other racers riding around me. I finally told them that I could scoot out of the intersection on my butt and then did so to get out of the way. It was raining and I was very cold and going into shock at this point. The policeman took off his jacket and covered my head and shoulders with it while I waited for the ambulance. Then the Ironman staff  were there and they started asking the can you continue with the race questions? Are you sure you want to quit? You know if you stop you can’t finish the race and won’t be an Ironman.  At that point I was pretty sure as my hands were useless and not going to be able to shift gears and my hip hurt really bad. I’ve done several other Ironman races and the “being an Ironman” thing isn’t important to me anymore.I told them I was sure and they put me in the ambulance and took me to the hospital. On the ride over I just remember how bad my hip hurt and had them prop pillows under it. I was also shaking and dripping blood every where.

Meanwhile Brian and Buffy were just sitting down for a nice lunch in Tempe. Brian later told me that he’d seen my splits not changing on the Ironman tracker and knew something was wrong. They’d just ordered lunch when I called from the hospital. I told Brian what had happened and he asked me about how the bike was. I had no idea how the bike was nor did I care at that point. Later when I asked the nurse why it was taking my husband so long to get to the hospital she said he probably figured I was okay when I started yelling and and cussing at him when he asked about the bike that I was okay.

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3 bags of morphine

After the accident we flew home and I went back to work heavily bandaged and walking without crutches. My hip hurt but it was manageable with pain medication. I took my post two weeks of recover  and  also went to visit Chandler in San Jose for Thanksgiving. When it was time to  try running I  was unable to get 1/8 of a mile before knowing something was very very wrong. I knew that my hip wasn’t broken from the x-rays taken in the ER. I turned into Dr. Google and started researching what could be wrong.

I sent my coach this email-

Steve, Do you know or coach anyone who has
 torn their labrum/FAI and had
 surgery? R

No. I’m  going to suggest staying off the Internet and wait until
 your doctor gives you a diagnosis.
 On Dec 7, 2015 6:20 AM

The diagnosis and what happened next can be found over the last year on my blog. After several contrast MRI’s and doctor visits we learned that my labrum was torn and would require surgery.

Music is something that I’ve always used to express my feelings when I couldn’t find the right words. Also if you haven’t already noticed writing isn’t exactly my strength.

The entire month of December after my diagnosis was spent feeling like I was living in a nightmare. I was barely functioning at work and very depressed. I was also in a lot of pain and came home every day and went to bed at 5. When your labrum is torn it throws off  everything in your entire body. Add in trying to teach PE to that and just intensifies the pain.

I’m normally a very upbeat and positive person but the possibility that I would never be able to run or move normally let alone participate in races was more than I could handle at the time. I also had no idea how I would be able to continue to work until I was able to get surgery or if the surgery wasn’t successful. Everything that I read on the internet was basically a nightmare story of labrum/FAI surgery failures and ruined lives. The only good thing about reading all of those posts was they brought out how important it was having an expert in the field perform the surgery.

The month of December was spent feeling like this:

 

 

Here are some songs that were important to me at different times of the year. I think they do a good job of expressing my feelings. Surprisingly the Foo Fighters are pretty prominent in my year.

January- Starting the new year and going into surgery

 

Stay tuned for PART 2 in a few days as I wrap up 2016.

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Homeward Bound

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Dad’s workbench

December 10, 2017

Today we took my dad back home to Garrison, Texas to be surrounded by his family, friends and the community he grew up in. Hospice is the next step on his journey. The chemotherapy wasn’t able to slow down the brain tumor and our family and the doctors made the difficult decision that it was time to stop treatment. The last two months in Houston have been extremely difficult for my parents as they battled this  aggressive Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma with everything that they had. It was time for them to go back home so they can be loved and supported through the next phase.

My dad is still able to speak some and knows what is going on. He has a great appetite and mom is going to start cooking his favorite foods now that she is home and able to do so.  He is at the nursing home where my Nana lived for a few years which is just a few miles from my parents house. Mom was already decorating his room yesterday and putting up a little Christmas tree when I left. They may have to put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door once more people in the community find out he is back in town and start visiting.  My dad grew up in Garrison and my parents moved back when they retired. Dad was very involved in the community and many of their friends and family still live there.

I  am so glad that they are home where they can be taken care of. Being away from home through all of this  was so stressful for my mom in so many different ways. I tried to help her by spending the weekends with my dad so she could go home and rest but it wasn’t the same as being home. I wouldn’t trade any moment that I spent with my Dad these last two months. We had a lot of  really good and interesting conversations as brain tumors can bring out all kinds of strange subject matter and discussions.

We have experienced the love, prayers and kindness of friends and strangers in so many different ways over the last few months. It shouldn’t amaze me by now how God always places the right people in your path exactly when you need them. I was also reminded of how every life experience is there for a reason. Twenty eight years ago, I worked with brain injured patients at the VA as a CTRS. This has helped me immensely through out this whole process to be able to understand what my dad is going through.

Since the diagnosis I have been thinking and telling myself- Rene, you are a rock. You are the rock of the family now that your dad can’t be. You have to be the strong one and hold everything together. This is what your dad would want you to do. He knows you are the strong one and will make the right decisions.

I have now come to realize that I am not the rock.  I am a tree that is being held in place by roots that are my  faith, family, friends and co-workers. As each one of these roots are what is holding me into the ground and keeping me going right now as they have been my whole life.

Yesterday before we left  Brian told dad again that he was going to take care of  me, mom, Wendy and the homestead property for him. He said dad looked him in the eye and said okay. I married a geologist and our house if full of rocks and fossils that Brian has collected over the years. Brian is my rock as he always has and will be. I tried but it is hard trying to be a rock when you are really a tree.  I’ve cried enough tears these last two months to water the rain forest. The roots of my tree are strong and will  continue to help me weather the storms of life.

My parents are back in their hometown where they can be loved and taken care of by the people that are their roots. They were born in Garrison and Nacogdoches and we lived there until I was in second grade. We lived in Georgia, Minnesota and Plano, Texas during mine and Wendy’s childhood. When they retired they moved back home to the land that has been in my dad’s family since the late 1800’s and built a beautiful lakefront home and life there.

slay

I am thankful that our parents  have a small town to go back to where people know and love them.  It was hard leaving them yesterday and coming back to my home. But there was also an immense sense of relief knowing that they would now be surrounded and taken care of by their family and friends when we can’t be there. The next steps aren’t going to be easy but it is going to be a special time to cherish and be with the man that I love and call my dad.

 

 

Journey

There are many things in life that you can train and prepare for. There is  a natural progression of what  logically comes next. I’ve always liked knowing what to expect and having a detailed plan which is probably why long course triathlon training has always given a feeling of peace and stability to my world. Then there are the other things that you know are coming but you can’t prepare for. This is one of those times that the journey isn’t anything that anyone is ever prepared for.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast during the final build for Ironman Louisville . I evacuated to my parents house in Nacogdoches for 10 days. While there I had unlimited time to train and relax. I spent a lot of time with my parents going out to dinner with them and their friends. Swam at the local pool and got to see my Aunt Judy (moms sister) who was at there doing  water aerobics. Hung out with my other Aunt Judy (Dads sister), Uncle Butch and their dog Maddie. It almost felt like being a kid again as I had uninterrupted time with my family and to run, bike and swim. It was a wonderful trip that I will cherish forever.

While I was there I noticed some different things  going on with my dad that weren’t quite right. Small behavioral changes but I just thought it was just him getting older or dementia. When you only see someone for a weekend its easy to miss  signs that something is off. But when you stay with someone for 10 days it becomes harder to hide.Before I left I urged my mom to get the Dr to order  an MRI of his brain to see what was going on.

I went home, back to work and continued to train for Ironman Lou. Then we got the phone call that they’d found a mass on the frontal lobe my dads brain and it wasn’t Alzheimer’s  but something else. Looking back now it is easy to see that some of the subtle changes in personality and physical symptoms have been there for  while.

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. Fast forward to today and I’m sitting in the neurology unit at Memorial Herman Medical Center  Houston waiting for testing next week to determine if it is cancer on my dads brain and spine  or something else. Dad was admitted on Thursday and I anticipate him being here for a while. After the MRI results they’ll be performing a brain biopsy, In the last two weeks my dads health has rapidly deteriorated. We are all in shock and in survival mode.

My gifts of being assertive and able to discuss any topic for hours on end are paying off well in a hospital setting as far as getting things done. Also keeping a few changes of clothes, makeup and contacts in my car as emergency backup for getting dressed at the Rec  was also helpful when I ended up spending the night in Houston and driving back to Freeport to work the next morning.

Today Dad and I  watched TV  had a lot of time to talk. Most of what he says is mixed with 2 different trains of thought from what has happened in real life and what we’ve just seen on TV. Which makes it interesting and time goes by quickly. I’m just going with the flow and accepting what he says  and not asking a lot of questions.

We found out right before I went to Ironman Louisville what the possibilities were for my dads diagnosis and prognosis. I left town with advice  from my friend Karen who’d just gone through all of this during the summer caring for her precious dad before he passed away. My friend Kris  also gave the same advice to enjoy this time in Louisville as things were going to probably be really bad for a long time when I returned home. Heather is also going through something similiar with her dad and has been a great source of support.

The one thing that keeps repeating itself  is I really though we  had at least 10-15 more years before we went through all of this with our parents. We have young parents in their 70s-80s. This wasn’t supposed to happen until a lot later and certainly not like this.

Brian and I left for Louisville with conflicting feelings. On one hand being able to race at IMLou was the celebration of 2 long years of work to get back to this point. It was hard to be happy and fully engaged knowing what my parents were facing at home. Brian and I   pretended it was like any other IM race week. I did a pretty good job of focusing on the task at hand during the race. It was a good race with its own challenges getting to this point. But I learned and worked through each one and made the best decisions that I could at the time.

The race was also an opportunity to face some of the fears that we’ve been working on  after wrecking in cold, wet weather on the Bike at IMAZ15 . Learning to go  with the flow and not worrying about things out of my control is probably something I will always work on. Brian seemed convinced after AZ that I’d wrecked because I went into the race too thin, hadn’t been riding outside enough and it was cold and wet. To help alleviate some of his fears I went to Lou way over my normal weight, had ridden my bike outside more than on the trainer and couldn’t control the weather. I did everything that I could do to assure him it was going to be okay and to not worry about me on the bike.

Every half Ironman race I’ve done this year has given me the opportunity to race in rainy and windy conditions which I could have done without. IMLou  was no different with the temperature dropping 22 degrees, rain  and cross winds gusting  from 35-40mph the last 30 miles of the bike. I took extra time in transition to put on  warm clothes. I stopped right before the storm blew in and pulled up my arm warmers and put nutrition in my BTA bottle as I knew I wouldn’t be taking my hands off to drink once the storm came through. I controlled as many of the controllable things that I could and tried to let go of the rest.

When the winds and rain kicked up it was scary. I’m more cautious on the bike now than I was a few years ago. It was hard to predict when the gusts would hit and my bike would blow a few feet to the left. Instead of fighting the bike I tried to relax into the wind and go with it.

Then a funny thing happened as when the weather got  really scary – I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt before. At times I was laughing and thinking this it is totally crazy to be out here riding in this weather. I was happy to be out on the bike and feeling the wind and rain on my body. I rode a lot slower and more cautiously but I made it through the storm and didn’t crash, Maybe now that I raced successfully in bad weather again  Brian won’t worry so much.  I went into the run and worked my plan to deal with my glucose issues and learned that most of my nutrition/hydration prep while running in Texas 90-100 heat/humidity didn’t translate over very well to running in cooler weather. I’d prepared as best as I could for the race but obviously I wasn’t able to anticipate everything that might happen.  I worked through each thing that came up during the race and focused on what I needed to do to take care of myself at that moment.

The training and race day at IMLOU has a lot in common with what we’re going through right now with my dad. We’re taking things day by day and trying to make the best decisions that we can with what the day brings and the information we have at the time. We have help and support from friends who have walked this path before and can tell us what to expect.I’m trying to go with the flow and trust that things are going to be okay. Right now I’m taking each moment and challenge as it come up.  I’m enjoying the time spent with my parents at the hospital. I”m also taking the time to focus on making sure I’m taking care of what I need to get through this.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

 

 

adversity

One would think that after 41 years of friendship I would have learned to listen to my  friend Heather. In my last blog post I had recently started on a clean nutrition plan in an attempt to lose surgery weight and eat better. Heather reminded me that things always go to shit when I clean up my diet and I was better off eating what I’d always eaten. Perhaps  I should have listened to her.

In June I started on a nutrition plan which removed all processed sugar and junk food  I spent the entire month basically sick, bitchy and didn’t lose any weight. As a matter of fact I gained weight (3 pounds every week) when I ate my 1 free meal of the week. I worked with my nutritionist and each week we would tweak the plan to see if something different would work. Nothing worked and nothing changed. I still took in processed sugar during my workouts but ate balanced the rest of the time. The normal person would have great success and feel really good eating like this. I should have known that normal wasn’t an option by this time in my life. It is one thing to remove all sugar, alcohol and eating out and lose weight at least that is worth it. It is another to not have any weight changes and feel like death 98% percent of the time. In hindsight at least all of this showed me something was not working right.

After 2 months of this I went in to see my endocrinologist. We originally thought I had a “sluggish” metabolism from having been so active before surgery and then being bedridden for so many months. She started out by ordering a 2 hour glucose test. During which my numbers dropped into the 40’s after consuming the glucose. Okay, I’ve always gotten a little bitchy without eating every 2-3 hours so that was no surprise. Now I know why I felt so bad all summer. Removing sugar from someone who is hypoglycemic is a recipe for disaster.

Things progressed from there and in August  I’m at Baylor having a 6 hour Mixed Meal Test. During this test you go in fasting, after 30 minutes eat a mixed meal and then proceed to have 25 vials of blood taken over the next 6 hours. Which isn’t that bad you just feel like a pin cushion afterwards and are really hungry with a nasty headache. I didn’t have any food in my purse during this test in fear that I would break down in a moment of weakness and eat something and ruin the test. Instead I made it to the lobby and inhaled as many quick simple carbs as I could get in before attempting to drive home. I also felt pleased that I made it through the entire 6 hours as the lab tech told me most people have to stop. Hey, if I can do anything well it is endurance events. I may not be winning any races this year but I can “win” the Mixed Meal test.

Fast forward  the next thing I know I am on a trial with a Dexcom or continuous glucose monitor – in addition to testing my blood glucose several times a day. This made me hyper aware of the carbohydrate content of every food on the planet. I also decided that the entire world was diabetic and would judge people’s shopping carts at the grocery store.

After the first week with the trial Dexcom the doctor called. It seems that they get a little/ LOT concerned when you are hypoglycemic for up to 5 hours at night while you are asleep. They don’t seem too cool with something called hypoglycemic unawareness. As a matter of fact this seems to bother them so much that I got a permanent Dexcom which was  covered through insurance.  I just thought I had good management and HTFU abilities and could deal with being hypoglycemic. No problem here let me just keep doing what I’m doing and we will be fine.

My problem isn’t diabetes. In fact it is my understanding that I  basically have the opposite of diabetes as I may release too much insulin and lower my glucose levels until I am hypoglycemic. Now at first this information was pretty exciting. FINALLY I had an answer to why all of my Ironman races and some long training days went to hell. Maybe this was why I had to have IV’s at a few races. Maybe instead of being dehydrated I was hypoglycemic which has a lot of the same symptoms. I started to get excited thinking this would solve my problems with races and next year would be awesome once we got it all figured out.

For data purposes I track my glucose levels, intensity and carbohydrate intake during workouts .  I thought I could be my own science project and figure out what was wrong with my nutrition. Then I started testing and  saw what happened.  I can’t do a workout without my meter freaking out, sending alarms and acting as if I will die soon if I did not stop working out ASAP. Of course I just turn down the alarm and keep going on. Which makes it hard to get any work in as I’m worried if I’m going to do damage to my body.

 

All of this  explains a hell of a lot of what would happen at races. Or all of those emails to my coach during long IM bike training rides where I had to stop and eat or die. This was so weird as I was taking in a LOT of sugars and my levels should be going up and not down.

Since the first Mixed meal test did not take certain blood tests the Dr. wanted to see what the results of these tests would be when I was hypoglycemic. No problem this is something I can do!  I can make myself hypo at least 2X a day working out. I took a day off from work, had my coach plan a workout to induce hypoglycemia and got to work. But my levels didn’t go down per the glucose meter.

Okay, no problem I’ll do it again- got myself hypo and drove over to Quest. All of the power was out on that side of town-no test.

Email sent to coach-

I got 1:30 into bike. With many stops and starts. Get my glucose to 51. Feel like shit
Drive to quest and they are closed due to power outage. Fuck
I’m gonna drink a real Dr Pepper and eat some candy.

A week later I make  myself hypo again during Quest lab hours. The lady made me wait my turn even though I showed her my monitor and told her the tests needed to be completed ASAP. By the time I waited my turn my glucose numbers were UP and not below 60.

I completed my workout today (which was easy btw) and got my glucose down to 55. Drove like a maniac to Quest Diagnostics. There were quite a few people in line. Got there and showed the lady my Dexcom Meter that said- 55 URGENT LOW and told her I was hypoglycemic and needed to have the test taken right then. She told me I would have to wait as there were people in front of me. I told her I had to have it taken now. Bitch.

IF they want me to do it again I’m going to take my trainer to Quest and set it up in the parking lot. Which I honestly have no problem doing. I could care less who see’s me out there on my bike or what they think. I may hire a neighbor kid to sit in Quest and put my name on the list when my levels drop. Then the kid can call me when it is my turn, give them my information and then I will get off the bike and walk in and get it done asap.

The results of that test came back and I spoke to my Dr. this week. They are going to rule out an  Insulinoma which is a rare tumor on your pancreas. So rare that 1-4 people in a million get it. WTF? Seriously, as if I hadn’t already gone through enough this year and now this? 

The next step is another 6 hour Mixed Meal Test, a CT scan. And then lucky me the Gold  standard test for this rare tumor- a 72 hour fasting hospital stay at MD Anderson. Where they don’t give you anything but water for 72 hours and wait for you to become hypo and take you blood very frequently. Sorry but I will have to write a blog post or live updates when I’m there for that test.

The weird thing is I don’t feel bad. I don’t feel like I have a tumor or anything wrong with me. Actually I’ve decided most of the time -okay about 70% of the time that this is all a weird joke and nothing is wrong with me. There is still that lingering  SCREAMING doubt in my head that makes me really worried. I still think something is wrong with the meters and not me. My Dr. said we have to rule out the possibility of an insulinoma . I am not supposed to be worried about that as we are just making sure. Brian did not agree with my initial plan of pretending like nothing was wrong and just going back to our daily lives. I think ignorance is bliss.

I really thought that this last year of recovery from hip arthroscopy was as much as I needed to deal with this year. Figured I had passed the patience and mental strength test and was ready to get back with my life. But I guess there is another plan that I was not aware of.

This  hasn’t been easy to deal with as my recovery has been going very well despite all of this glucose stuff.

I AM finally starting to feel normal.  I don’t think twice about my hip or being able to do anything. There are times that I do simple things like walk down the stairs and give thanks for being able to do that. I am very thankful for what I have and can do.

I can run for 6 minutes at a time now. I’d planned out my race schedule for next year and signed up for some races. Hell I’d even been cocky enough to sign up for an Ironman for next fall. Which was a a whole other conversation as Brian told me I needed to be able to run to do an Ironman. At the time I signed up  I was running 3 minutes. I told him that everyone had to start somewhere and proceeded to pay my entry fee.

I guess until I know differently I’m just going to keep moving forward with my plans for next year. That is the only choice that I’m willing to accept.

Next time I will listen to Heather and continue to eat my normal unhealthy diet. None of this would have  never happened if I’d listened to her and kept eating Whataburger.

 

 

Whatburger Withdrawal

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Whataburger #1 with cheese, dry with pickles only and a large Diet Dr. Pepper has been my staple meal for my life and the last 5 Ironman’s that I’ve trained for. Sometimes I would switch things up and have a single pattie melt meal with no onions. One of my favorites was the Bacon, Avocado Burger that only comes out for limited times. Add some spicy ketchup and my day was perfect. If you don’t live in Texas and haven’t had Whataburger you don’t know what you are missing.

Surgery/Recovery+ minimal training+old female= 14+ pound weight gain.

I managed to avoid facing my weight gain for 4 months by not getting on the scale. Note to self do not wear leggings post op in the future. While they are very comfortable and work with the CPM machine and don’t catch on crutches they also manage to give the false sense of security that your clothes fit. I can’t imagine how much weight I would have gained if I’d hung out in a snuggie.

I remember waking up in the hotel room the day after surgery in Vail . Brian being the good husband that he is had gone to the store and  bought some of my favorite foods. These are also basically off limits in our house normally. He’d proudly lined up directly in my field of vision next to the TV these treats- Pop Tarts and several assortments of dark chocolate. Now I absolutely love pop tarts. Like love them in the cannot have them around or I will eat the entire box right now love them. I also grew up having a pop tart and coke for breakfast every day. I ate Strawberry and my sister Wendy had the Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pop tarts. Brian knows that pop tarts are my weakness but he knew they were my comfort food and he had them ready. Yes, I ate every one of those pop tarts. He gets several points in the good husband book for buying those pop tarts.

pop-tarts

When we came home from Vail he was in charge of cooking as I wasn’t able to walk or carry things. This meant we ate a lot of fast food and Ted got to ride in the car a lot. He also went grocery shopping and brought things into our house that haven’t been here in years. One day he came home with bags of food and started unloading his bounty of treats  like a kid at Christmas. I looked at all of these treats and said something to the effect of -WTF is  all of this?

There was no need for us to have 3 kinds of cookies and 6 boxes of cereal in the pantry. I think he was stocking up for the future . He was thrilled to have discovered all of these new items at the store that had never been in our house before. Now don’t get me wrong our diet is not clean nor is it free of fast food. But we’ve never had 6 boxes of cereal in our small pantry at one time before.

I can’t blame my weight gain on anyone else but myself and some pesky hormones. Being told by my doctor that my ovaries were having a “going out of business sale” and dumping as much estrogen into my system as possible wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. This added one more challenge/obstacle to getting the weight off like I’ve been able to do in the past.

going-out-of-business

If I was going to take the year off to recover from surgery it was also the time to get my nutrition cleaned up. I’ve always had the excuse that I was training for X race and couldn’t change my nutrition or Whataburger habit. Well this year I’m not training for any races and there aren’t any excuses to not clean things up. Now that I currently weigh more than I have in 10 years is also a high motivation to make some significant changes.

The month of May was spent trying to lose weight by my normal semi-clean eating habits. Still eating some Whataburger’s just not as many as usual. It didn’t work and nothing was budging (except my stomach and new boobs) and none of my clothes fit. As I refuse to buy an entire new wardrobe there was only one choice left and that was to hand over my nutrition planning to a dietitian. Come to find out my semi-clean eating habits weren’t even close to eating what I was supposed to be eating and when. All of the kale/spinach/green/chia smoothies in the world  aren’t going to offset non-nutritional food choices.

It’s been a few weeks and we’re still fine tuning the new changes and my ability to cope/accept them. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve been as Brian would call it “hangry” more often than normal.

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I’ve had cycled between moments of thinking I can do this for life to I’m going to kill someone if I don’t eat junk food right now.

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At low points I’ve even entertained the thought of just giving up and not ever  exercising again and becoming a person of Walmart. Hey, I’ve already got the leggings might as well get the booty to match and go shopping with my thong hanging out.

One thing that I am confident of is the changes that I am making will add years to my life, health and sport. Nutrition has always been the missing link in my racing and training. I’m excited about using this year to address all of my limiters and turning them into strengths. Whataburger hamburgers will probably always be a part of my life. It just won’t be it’s own food group in my daily diet.

 

 

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time- Otis Redding

I’ve spent a lot of time sitting these last few months. The progression from where I was a few weeks ago to now has been amazing and exciting to experience. Three weeks ago, I was excited to be walking down the hall at Dr. Phillipon’s office. Now I’m able to walk outside for 18 minutes. Walking is something that I will never take for granted again.

Each week different milestones are checked off of the list. A lot of the items on my list are pretty basic for the average person.  I’ve learned a lot of different lessons throughout this process. The biggest thing is that I will never take for granted being healthy and able to move my body. It also reminds me that time is short and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Live life the fullest that you can each day within your ability level and resources.

I’ve tried to focus on what I can do today. Some days that has been easier than others. I won’t lie and say that there hasn’t been a lot of frustration, tears and cussing. Brian has been very patient and has also given me a lot of space when needed. Although that might be for his own self preservation and knowing when to leave me alone.

Normally we could have used this time to get out and explore or do the things that we never get to do when I’m training a lot. However, being that my stamina is pretty low and I can’t really walk or ride in the car for long periods of time that cuts out a lot of things that we would like to do. I can’t ride in Brian’s airplane because of the possibility of turbulence and bumps which we learned the hard way a few weeks ago. I’m not supposed to drink since it is a “risky” behavior that could lead to my falling. This is probably a good thing as I’ve gained  weight (10 pounds) and alcohol would only put more weight on. All of the hiking, festivals and things that I would like to do when I’m not training are out. Since we can’t really get out the key has been doing things at home. As an extremely extroverted person this has been pretty challenging.

So I’ve been trying to find things that I can do to pass the time. The dog and I sit outside for an hour a day and sunbathe. I started whitening my teeth for 30 minutes a day. That should give you an idea of exactly how desperate I am to find constructive things to do during the day. I’m knitting a scarf. Surfing the internet. Watching TV, but not as much as I was when trapped in the CPM machine 8 hours a day for 8 weeks. It hasn’t been that bad but….

Ted has enjoyed my being home.  He refuses to walk with me. He loves going for our daily rides in the car around the block.

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I entered a contest on Facebook and won a Garden Tower.

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I’m learning  how to vermicompost and am waiting for my worms to arrive. Brian has not been thrilled with my decomposing vegetable and food waste that is waiting in the freezer.

Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast.

One day I decided that I wanted to have a goat rental business. My mother said if I was considering raising goats as a business that perhaps I needed another outlet. My friend Heather reminded me that 1 goat could eat my entire garden tower, herbs and backyard garden in an afternoon. Brian laughed at my business model until we realized that someone else had already started doing this a few years ago with: Rent a Goat

I still think this would be a great business option.  If we had goats I could also expand my mozzarella cheese making into goat cheese. Luckily for Brian we are not allowed to have goats in the city limits.

I joined The Ancient Art of Fermentation group on Facebook. Not that I plan on fermenting anything right now but you never know when it could come in handy. I now know that one can use extra bananas to make banana wine. At this point I think I will feed them to the worms instead.

To increase stamina to be able to return to work I have different assignments from PT. My main goal has been getting ready to return to work in May. Things like: go to the grocery store and push a cart, go to the mall and walk around (gag me), walk X minutes per day. I know I would kill myself if the only thing I had to look forward to was shopping and going to lunch.

After each outing or exercise I have to rest or take a nap. It is incredible how much energy it takes to do basic things. It worries me how I’m going to be able to make it through 8 hours at work next week. Last time I looked at my schedule it didn’t have nap breaks in there. I’ll be up to walking for 20 minutes when I return to work. That should get my PE classes in and out of the gym. We’ll just have to modify and make the rest of the day work. The physical therapist said I’ll probably have to use my crutches at work for a while.

I do my at home Physical Therapy exercises daily. I’ve started back with a very modified training schedule that makes me feel normal again. Every time I do anything physical it strengthens my hip to return to my job and normal lifestyle.  I’m working through the return to sports progression through Howard Head Sports on the swim and bike. I can finally start to kick and use my legs in the pool. We moved the mountain bike off of the trainer and put the tri bike on it. I’m not able to get aero so we made a few modifications:

Before- IMLOU15      

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After: 4/16

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I’m riding at watts so low I didn’t realize they were actually possible unless one was coasting. And the hardest  thing about all of this is while I’m so happy to be swimming and biking the realization that I’m starting from ground zero hurts. There is the fear that things will never be normal again or where they were before the accident. Saying that I am swimming and biking would be a very generous use of those words.

I’m making progress and am stronger than I was a few weeks ago. I now know why some people are just happy to complete instead of being competitive. Being in the water and back on my bike makes me incredibly happy. My outcome for a full recovery is very positive. I’m excited about the plans that my coach and I have for this year. It isn’t often that one gets the opportunity to build a strong body without the distraction of racing. The addition of physical therapy exercises and strength training will add so much more to my future in sport and health.

While all of this has been going on my hip and body have been healing. I’ve found a new level of patience and acceptance with my body that wasn’t there before. My motto through this entire process has been:

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It is going to take a long time for my body to be back to normal. Until then I will sit and waste time. Hey, you never know I might actually learn something new during the process.