Thursday, September 27, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I know, this is getting old, but...

I keep focusing on the movement of my foot and I'm almost positive that at least one of the muscles is little to no work... like I can't feel contraction within the muscle when I try to move my foot. I was all excited because the numbness at the top of my foot and toes is decreased a little, but the numbness in the lateral compartment is present.

I can't wait to see the neurosurgeon!!!!

I can honestly say that I never, ever, EVER would have thought I would say those words. I also am a little annoyed with myself because I dragged this out longer than I had to ALREADY! I should have demanded an x-ray at the initial visit and THEN I SHOULDN'T have REFUSED the MRI on the second visit. By the 3rd visit, I thought I was improving but at least got the MRI ordered and then finally, the next visit I had them schedule the appoint with neuro... and supposedly Physical Therapy, but I haven't heard anything back from them about that.

I know this whole situation is boring the crap out of most people who visited before, and the numbers keep going down, but I have a couple of reasons to post this stuff...

1. It's cathartic... so I get it out and believe it or not, it helps my stress a little.
2. It helps me keep track of progress and changes.
3. It keeps people informed because soooo many people ask me how I'm doing and if things are getting better.

Today, I finally dealt with some housework that I've been putting off because it required bending. I just made sure to do a lunge (I can't really squat because it puts too much pressure on my back and with the lack of sensation on the right side, it's tough to balance anyway). Then I lifted a little and put it on the bed. Tried out, folded and sorted. They either went into my drawer, got bagged up for charity or went into a box for a little later when I lose a little more weight and they will be more flattering.

I haven't dealt with the kids clothes yet. That might be next weekend (or maybe throughout the week) I'll play by ear.

I have so much stuff to do and such little motivation to do it. I don't want to fall into a slump. I am trying to stay positive. I am trying to continue to do as much as I can. I am really, truly, trying to maintain as much normalcy (if that's how you spell it!!) as possible. You know, without being able to lift, bend, run, or move quickly! lol

Anyway, as I continue to tell myself. I am a very blessed person. My family and friends are amazing and I do not take that for granted... EVER!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Working out!

Ok, so I haven't really been "working out" REALLY... just working an area of significant weakness.

A few weeks ago I got freaked out BIG time because I all of a sudden couldn't pick up my foot. It happened shortly after I covered a football game for a coworker and carried my medkit, sling pack, AED and stupid screwdriver... you know, the charged ones. Even though I use shears if I ever had an issue, but it was there, so I grabbed it.

Anyway, with the additional compression, I apparently compressed the nerve even more and suddenly I had Drop Foot. It's never a good thing btw. If left untreated, there can be permanent nerve damage. I was a little freaked out!

Well, since I was attempting to avoid any further medical involvement, mainly because I was in denial of my situation, I started trying to do some exercises. I was doing the alphabet with my toe... which was pretty humor since I couldn't move my foot up or out AT ALL!!! But I kept trying.

I started doing some myofascial release stuff on my lower leg using a lacrosse ball. I was still having pain and numbness and technically, I shouldn't be putting more pressure if I can't feel it, but what the hell do I have to lose?? I was trying to walk REALLY slowly to get a normal gait since the PT referral the doctor told me was scheduling still hasn't gone anywhere and I've been too busy lazy to call myself, since I actually work for the damn place, per diem anyway!

So, as I was saying... I started doing more exercises. Anytime I would sit down, I would "will" my foot to move! It wouldn't. I told the doctor, he was concerned and scheduled an appointment with a neurosurgeon. I got the call to confirm my "important, necessary appointment" for October 17th!?! Yeah, a month away!!!

I made a call... a friend who works there helped me cuz apparently, super doc didn't info Neuro I couldn't feel or move my damn foot! She informed Neuro guy and my appointment was moved to the 1st!! woohoo...

Now the kicker...

Either the meds, or the exercises and stretches and lacrosse ball worked! I can move my foot a little!!!

It's definitely not the same range of motion and I can't do ANYTHING against resistance, BUT that means I probably won't have permanent damage!! This is huge!! This is awesome!! This means I have to be really, really careful not to squish my damn disc again so this doesn't go away.

To tell you the truth. I still can't move it by the end of the night so I think I might still be doing too much at work but I can't help that. I can't reduce the walking, etc. I'm a damn Phys. Ed teacher! I wish the pain, burning and numbness in my foot and ankle would go away though... especially in the morning :(

I'm not a morning person anyway and lately, I have to admit... I've been a BEAR!! It hurts a LOT. Putting my shoe on in the morning is the worst part of my ENTIRE day. I mean, It hurts a LOT if I bend over. I can't bring my foot up and cross my leg. I refuse to ask my hubby to tie my shoe every morning... OH and then there's the whole thing about not being sure if it's tied too tight. That happened one day and I noticed like 3 hrs later which just caused more pain later. I'm a freaking mess!!

I think at this point, I just want to have the back pain back.

OK... maybe not.

I'm going to be positive. This could still be worse! I could not be able to work. I could not be to walk. I could have really, really big problems. I could not have the amazing people surrounding me. I mean seriously, my family and friends are amazing... I love them all... and it's not the drugs talking! Honest :)

I'm going to bed now. That's the second worst part of my day but I refuse to sleep in the recliner on the couch. good night!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Competitive Side

As I've mentioned... I've pretty competitive.

At this point, I'm not allowed to do much. I'm actually having increased pain because I walked around Target with my kids for an hour while pushing an empty carriage and then carried a 9pk of wet wipes up the stairs to the house. Yup, I'm going BACK to the doctor's AGAIN tomorrow and telling him I need to see a neuro specialist, no more bull shit. No more drugs!!!

I know. I'm going to upset some people with this post... sorry.

Anyway, my husband got his License to Carry a few months ago. I was supposed to go to the class and I decided to skip it because I didn't feel comfortable with the whole idea of having the gun in the house and potentially killing someone if they came in. I know, stupid, since if they are in my house I'm probably going to be the one to die...

Well, now we have a gun. Now, even though I haven't taken the class I still have the pressure of protecting my family if my husband isn't home.

Now, I want to take to the class. I want to get my own license and I want to be completely prepared. BUT... until then, I get to practice shooting. Henry joined the Shooting Range and he can take one person with him. That means I will be getting used to actually handling a gun. Thankfully he got a revolver. That means that nothing can be left in the chamber. I like that.

We've started discussing it with the kids, but as responsible gun owners, they have NO access to the equipment... even if they tried. We have friends who are police officers and one couple have a daughter who is a pro at what to do when there is a gun around... Don't touch it. Get away from it. Tell an adult immediately.

I've actually even picked out the gun that I want, because I'm not all that thrilled with the one Henry chose. I can't wait to go to the range. I told him I can out shoot him :) I'm really excited because it will give me a competitive outlet without causing any pain. Actually, right now, I don't even think excited is the right word. I'm downright giddy :)

Anyway, I'm setting up the goals that I need to discuss with my doctor. Until then, I actually have something to look forward to. Wish me luck!!




Mixed Emotions

The pain hasn't changed much at all this entire week.

This basically means that after 3 weeks of being heavily medicated (for me), doing pretty much nothing other than walking, sleeping anywhere from 8-13hrs a night because I'm always exhausted and visiting the doctor 3 times in less than that many weeks, I haven't progressed at all!!!

I was scheduled for an MRI on Thursday and was terrified of the results. Part of me was afraid that it would show I was being a wimp and there was nothing wrong. The other part of me was afraid that it would show I needed surgery right away! I wasn't afraid of surgery. Just the unknown.

I got a call from the doctor stating that the MRI showed a bulge, but that it doesn't appear to be surgical. He was "hopeful" that it would improve and that I would have a comfortable weekend. I am supposed to call him if the symptoms continue and/or worsen.

Guess what... I get to call him TOMORROW!!! I've been waiting all weekend to call him.

I am in a LOT of pain at my ankle and still have the decreased sensation in my foot and lower leg. I'm even starting to have pain in my calf (probably because of the change in gait secondary pain and decreased sensation).

I am an athletic person. I am a Physical Education Teacher. I am a Track and Field Coach. I am an Athletic Trainer!! How the hell does this doctor think I can just let this continue like this?? Why would he want me to continue to take meds??? Isn't that a bad thing??

I'm trying to stay positive. I keep telling myself that this is temporary and that it will get resolved. I can't keep doing this. I can't wake up in pain every morning. I can't physically, mentally or emotionally maintain this level of activity. UGH!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

OK... More than a little support needed

I had to go back to the doctor's office AGAIN today...

The thing is, I knew what she was going to tell me.

I've been avoiding it.

I mean, seriously, when you have back pain and some serious numbness and decreased strength in the extremities, is there really any denying that there is disc and nerve involvement? Of course not. BUT, as you have seen, I've been trying to look at it on the positive side.

It'll get better!
It's not too bad... if I'm wearing the appropriate shoes :)
I feel great... when medicated!

But, then I started to skip taking the meds. I have this intense fear of taking too many meds. It's irrational really. I mean, if I didn't need them, I would quite frankly FORGET to take them! I forget vitamins, antibiotics, supplements... you name it. I just don't have the attention span or motivation to remember them. Yet, the idea of getting "hooked" on meds scares me.

After 2 days of taking them only "as needed" I haven't slept more than 2hrs at a time and I'm pretty exhausted. I finally went in to the talk to the doctor again. She's awesome btw... She understands my concerns. Has similar views and has actually been through this exact situation... only she let it go too far and ended up requiring emergency surgery.

Today, she wrote out a script for an MRI. She said that based on my symptoms insurance CAN'T deny it. AWESOME! That's how screwed up I am!! Anyway, so when I get the MRI, I get to follow-up with a neurosurgeon. She told me that because of the decreased sensation and motor function in my foot and lower leg, surgery will more than likely be the recommended course of action.

I know, I know... get a second opinion. I don't care!! I trust the doctor she is referring me to because he is the one who treated her. I have worked in athletics for a long time and to be honest, I'm all for the aggressive, fix it and move on approach. Am I scared? Hell yeah!!

I'm most frightened of missing time at work after only just beginning the school year. After only being a teacher at the school for a year. I'm frightened that I'm going to be a burden on my hubby, who already takes care of so much while I'm injured but still hobbling around.

I'm confident in the medical community. I'm confident in my ability to overcome this challenge. I'm confident in my faith. This is a setback that will in the end make me stronger. I refuse to let it derail my progress to continue to improve my health and I'm looking forward to returning to the activities that I have grown to love!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

I need some support

I've had to change some of my goals lately.

Earlier this summer, I was aiming to run a 10K in October for the first time ever, begin sparring at the martial arts center that I've become quite fond of, continue to improve my physical conditioning at the same place through their Mixed Martial Arts fitness program, and just plain, get healthy.

It didn't seem to be an overwhelming list.

Actually, I thought it was pretty freaking reasonable.

Well, today my goals have changed. They need to be SMART goals... lol (Sorry, at work we need to start doing S.M.A.R.T. goals and they are insane... so that is an inside joke that most won't get and others won't really care about). Anyway, they need to be specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.

In the medical world, this is what all short and long term goals are broken into. I've created thousands of these for athletes and patients and occasionally pretended to create them for myself. BUT today I realized that I need to start being more specific.

It's the beginning of the year and like most kids going back to school, I needed to get some new "kicks". I wanted to get the Asics Noosa running shoes...

I have last seasons' (they have pink instead of purple at the forefoot) and they glow in the dark. BTW... I HATED them when I bought them. I thought they were hideous, but they felt like slippers!! AND they glow in the dark :) I've fallen in love with them...

But, since my follow-up with the doctor yesterday I've come to the realization that I won't be needing them for a while :(

I'm not allowed to do anything more than cycling, swimming and possibly the elliptical for at least 2 weeks. THEN, I get to return to Kenpo, on a self-limited basis... yes, I had to talk her into allowing this part too. Basically, this means that running is out for a while and that means no 10K, and well, no real reason for the really cool, glow in the dark shoes, right??

I'm having increased sensation in my lower leg and foot, but still have a serious sense of instability when I walk on an unstable surface or try to walk quickly. Being a Physical Education teacher makes this whole thing seem very discouraging. I am trying to get the kids pumped and moving. I am attempting to show them how to do functional training for the Fitness Testing we will be administering, including agilities, jumps, and sprints... without actually being ABLE to perform ANY of that!!! 

I decided that I needed to get some additional support and headed to the store. I did some research and although they have walking shoes with the cushioning I need, even those are seriously lacking in the lateral stabilization I wanted. New Balance has some heavier shoes with wider "heel cups", but me and NB sneakers DON'T get along... at all! 

I tried them twice and both times I ended up with a serious case of plantar fasciitis within only a few days of wear. The last thing I need is ANOTHER source of pain. 

I looked at some soccer turf shoes and although they are pretty cool to look at, and as much as I love adidas products, I still gravitate to Asics. So... I grabbed some pretty cool Volleyball sneakers with an athletic insert to give me the cushion I need with the comfort and support of the shoes I love...
These are similar to the ones I got, but mine are PINK and silver... lol!
The lady at the store looked at me like I had 8 heads, but hell, she doesn't have to worry about falling over when she puts her damn foot down... I do!! These felt awesome! Besides, I figured the only other option I really had was a high-top shoe, and I'm NOT going there! 

Tonight, I think I'm going to lace them up and head downstairs to the elliptical for 10mins or so. I just want to start doing something again. I'm also doing some core stuff to help stabilize the area and prevent more inflammation. 

The doctor seemed hopeful that with some additional weight-loss, progressive exercise program, and ice I should be able to make a relatively safe return to normal. I'm a pretty controlling person and the fact that I can't make this better any quicker is frustrating. I'm just trying to focus on not making it worse and keeping the symptoms down. 

My hubby told me to go buy the Noosa's and put them aside for my return. I might end up doing that. I would really like to continue on the journey I started again this summer... and I even had hopes of eventually completing a 1/2 marathon. I'm not counting myself out right now, but I am going to say that I will allow myself the time and patience to achieve it safely. 

I'm putting one foot in front of the other in my brand new, shiny Pink and Silver Volleyball sneakers :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Oh, the pain!!

I consider myself a pretty tolerant person, as far as pain. OK... it's all relative, but you know what I mean. I was having the back pain and that was bad. It hurt to twist, move, run, etc. I went to the doctor and got the meds to relief that. I was hoping it was going to be muscular and that it would all be ok.

While I was working out I could feel the tightness in my IT Band and my butt. I thought that my SI Joint... where the hip meets up with the spine was irritated again since I'm running at almost 20lbs more than I ever was before. The pain was dull at first and continued to get worse. 

So this week I have been taking the steriod to reduce the inflammation and was told that by this time I should know if it's muscular or not. Guess what??

It's not! If it was the muscle, the pain would be relieving and I could potentially be running and returning to martial arts... but NO!!!  Instead of the annoying, burning pain of this...




Now I get to deal with this...



 Help, I have Sciatica!



http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/fitness/help-i-have-sciatica.html





See that dark line of pain down to the foot??? Yup, that may as well be a freaking knife!!! Especially right at my ankle and lateral compartment of the my lower leg!

Basically, this means that I get to call my doctor again and see what she says. The only thing I don't want... Physical Therapy.

Yeah, I've worked in a PT clinic. I've worked with people with these issues. I HATE trying to make time for this crap, for me! I have continued to add new stretches. I stopped foam rolling because it HURT!! I tried to stop taking all of the meds except for the steriods because I was told that I was required to finish those.

That lasted all of 2hrs yesterday... lol.

Wish me luck!!

I was supposed to be running my first 10K October 28th and I'm not ready to throw this plan away YET.

I've pretty much maintained my weight at this point, which is good because last week when I was taking the steriod 6,5, and 4 times are a day I gained almost 7lbs instantly! OMG... I was freaked out!!

Today I got onto the scale and it was 175.2 which is still 10+ lbs down from vacation last month :) I'm telling myself that I'm happy as long as I continue to maintain and lose slowly. I actually even bought these little salt and pepper shakers at Pier 1 a few weeks ago to keep me grounded. It's a tortoise and the hare... slow and steady wins the race, right?!?!

Keeping positive, keeping active and most importantly... eating yummy, healthy food. I mean, hell, at this point, it's just about the only thing I can control!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

On my way...

Today I actually did a little activity!! Actually, yesterday I reached 125% of my daily activity, based on the Active Link for Weight Watchers.

This is AWESOME!!!

I mean, last week I actually stopped wearing the stupid thing because I was in so much pain I could barely get it to 50%.

That's a BIG, HUGE, GINORMOUS improvement :)

I even got my yellow belt last night. That's me on the left...


We are like the three amigos... lol! Carolyn, in the middle is an advanced yellow belt now and Jen is a yellow belt along with me :) We are all on the PTO and are pretty much inseparable. It's cool. All of our daughters are friends... and husbands, and heck even our dogs get along. Can you beat that???

I think I need to be part of the BBC (the black belt club) just so that I can get to wear the cooler, way flattering black Gi... lol!! The only issue is that I'm not quite sure I want to learn how to handle the weapons. They seem big and awkward and a little intimidating. I don't know.

I was terrified to promote just because at the end of the ceremony the instructor (Lance Soares... in the middle of us, in the back) gets to kick you in the chest. The night before, it took me a good 10-20 mins to get off the floor after deciding to lay down and stretch out a little. So the thought of getting kicked in the chest, even if he did promise to just tap me, scared the daylights out of me!

Anyway, I got to show a few of my skills with the rest of the class... None of the kicks, which also eliminated many of the forms, but the punches and blocks were doable. I made sure to take ALL of the meds available to me prior, just in case :)

Today, I was the medical coverage for a high school football game and didn't have any increase in pain. I wore my slingpack to the front so that it wasn't forcing me into a susceptible position, but I was still wearing it for almost 3hrs, without increased pain... that's HUGE! See, big progress!!

I will be buying new running shoes this week and hopefully at least starting on the elliptical to get the intensity increased a little. We went for a walk with the kids and their scooters and bikes today for over an hour and it felt sooo good!!

I think that I'm on the up and up and I am excited about possibly signing up for a 10k for the end of October. If this whole thing is just muscular, as it appears at this point, I should be perfectly OK to pull it off!!

Wow, the jump back into activity is so much fun :)

Watch me go!