Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm Broken, Again.

Well the fourth doctor I consulted for my leg injury, the specialist, said the same thing the other three did, it's a stress fracture. @#$%

This started after my week in Colorado skiing and climbing. Specifically wearing my Olympus Mons boots with only a pair of compression socks for something like 15+ mile of hiking over a few days, plus I spent time in ski boots. So my lower leg basically on the fibula, has been sore all year, and then two weeks ago it felt especially bad. Bad enough for me to cut a run short. So I started seeing the doctors, first an internist I had never met, Dr. C #1. She did a very nice job, sent me for an x-ray didn't see anything on the x-ray, so sent me to a specialist. I was upset over the seeming run around and call waiting every time I go to the doctor, so I complained to my friend Dr. S. who had told me last year about his daughter's stress reaction (essentially the same as a stress fracture) and suspected I had the same.

Then I went to see my chiropractor Dr. J, although he goes by Dr. D, and he bent and twisted my foot like everyone else to elicit only minor pain. Then he tried this tuning fork thing. He hit the tuning fork and pressed the handle of it against my bone. First he did a fibula, and the whole thing felt like it was tingling or vibrating a little. Then he pressed it against my tibia (the big bone in the lower leg) and it felt like my leg was dampening it. It basically felt the same as just pressing anything against my leg. I dismissed it at that point because one of the bones is huge and the other is small. Then he put it on the knuckle of my middle toe, a tiny little bone, and it felt exactly like my tibia! At this point I almost jumped off the table because the injured bones felt so incredibly different than the healthy bones. He said it was a sure sign it was a bone problem with my fibulas.

Fast forward another 12 days (12 days!) I finally saw the specialist Dr. C #2. I told him where it hurt, he played with my ankle, looked at the x-ray and thought it was still a stress fracture/stress reaction. Then I opened up and told him about the chiropractor visit and that I had the same injury in 2010. He offered to do an MRI, but said we likely wouldn't see anything. So I pushed him, several times, to give me a percentage that he thought it was a stress fracture and he came back with 95%. I went in thinking that any confidence from the specialist more than 80% would be enough for me to skip further expensive testing.

So I guess technically, I have a broken leg, or maybe two broken legs.

Sorry I don't have better pictures to show. I wish that this didn't happen 31 days before I toe the starting line at the 24 hour world championships! I thought about dropping out and letting an alternate take my place, but as of right now, I'm staying in. Sunday I ran 10 miles and the last one was a 6:27 that Strava said was like a 6:02 because of a little hill. So I'm not in bad shape, I'm just injured. Plus, about five weeks after my 2010 diagnosis I set the former 93 mile long and 23,000 feet of elevation gain and loss Wonderland Trail unsupported fastest known time.

I know I have been very snappy with people this year. A lot of that is the 50+ hour weeks in the factory I have been working and feeling that the optimism is just drained out of me because of our, and often my, repeated engineering failures. Plus, all year I have been battling this leg pain, knowing that I am running the 24 hour world championships, that's not a happy thought. People keep bugging me to buy plane tickets for this trip or that, asking me for answers, and I can't do it all!!!!!

I just want to curl up in a ball, cry and drink hot chocolate. I feel so much happiness, experience, or whatever, for other people, depends on me, and I struggle with that. My mom and my sister are going to Italy with me. My family rarely even drives down to Dubuque to see me, but they're paying thousands of dollars to fly to Italy to watch me run slow for a full day. I guarantee that the quality of the products we have been working to launch is much higher because I have been there to catch issues, send the issues back to those people able to actually correct them, and to correct my own design mistakes. When I am not in the factory on a work day I feel like an unproductive zombie, which is to say, the production line = urgency. I have friends that want to take a mountaineering trip, and use me as the guide, and I want to go, but what if I break my fibula in two April 12th? At work sometimes I think of it as decision fatigue. I can't make all of these decisions, and do a decent job of it. I can't make everyone happy, despite my best efforts. I am broken.

My world, at least most of the things I blog about are about failure and failure and failure. Failure is hard. Failure hurts. We live in a world where people see some success (occasionally me) and want to latch onto that. Yet failure is more common than success if you are aiming for something difficult. I think people read this sometimes to hear about motivation and successes, but lately all I have had is failure. I'll show you failure, getting a stress fracture before the longest event that USA Track and Field sends a team to.

If was just a race, I would certainly do excellent, even on broken legs. When you morph it into this family trip to a foreign country, when work is going 60 hours a week, and I'm on an official team for the first time since 2009 (Team USA of all things), it turns into much more than just a race. It turns into an attempt to try to make everyone happy. Just to make sure we're all on the same page, it is quite possible I fly to Italy, run a few laps, a few miles, maybe half an hour, then quit, go back to the hotel and cry for awhile before enjoying a very nice sleep in my Team USA clothing kit. I get to keep all the clothing after I start the race, until then it's just loaned to me. So a DNF is okay, but a DNS is not in this case. Call it a poor attitude, unfair to the first alternate runner, but it's my privilege. I can't live my life trying to please everyone all the time. I fail myself often enough. I don't need the thought of failing you bugging me too.

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