But a runner should never become too complacent, right? For fear of awakening that sleeping giant in my feet, I am diligent about using my Spenco Insoles**, rotating my shoes regularly, doing my foot exercises, and backing off on my miles when needed. It's been a recipe for success.
Until it hasn't.
After our girls' trip to Florida, Marcia and I arrived back in Chicago late Sunday night. My oldest son was at the airport and he whisked me home. I wondered where he learned to drive like that. As I lay in bed, reminiscing about the weekend, I had trouble falling asleep. I had taken Monday off work and had planned to go to Megan's yoga class, but I was just exhausted. Me, skip yoga? I did go to Wednesday's class with my new instructor, and we did some long, slow poses that stretched everything out.
On Tuesday, I got in 4 miles before work. There was snow on the ground. Florida, I miss you. I also got in another cold, 6 mile snowy run on Thursday. That run was brutal, cold temps with 25 mph winds. I pushed through it and went to see Becky for my weekly cross training session. We're working on some preliminary stuff for my next strength session, which we are starting in January. She had me do some cleans to squats and other assorted glute and hammy strengtheners. As I usually do when I see Becky, I left feeling badass and strong.
Without warning, that sleeping giant in my right big toe woke me up in the middle of that night. Imagine waking up to the sensation of something hot and fiery stabbing you in the big toe. It was so painful, in fact, that even the sheet touching my toe caused me to cringe. My foot was throbbing. The burning sensation reminded me of those ridiculously dramatic shingles commercials. You know, the ones where Terry Bradshaw describe the pain like "someone dropped a bag of hot coals" on his back?
Terry, I felt you that night.
I laid there for a while, thinking about what I did to anger my foot so much. For the life of me, I couldn't recall any pain during my run or workout. Finally, that hot coal sensation got the best of me and I hobbled down to the kitchen to take some ibuprofen and make some coffee. My husband was up. He's had gout, so he was sure that's what I had. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to go to work, but I had a full schedule of patients and needed to suck it up and get there. I got ready for work, stuffed my pincushion foot into my Danskos and prayed for the ibuprofen to give me some relief.
I also called Dr V to tell her about my latest development. When I saw her on Wednesday for my Baker's cyst, she ordered a bunch of blood work and an x-ray. At the time, she was concerned more about rheumatoid arthritis than she was about my Baker's cyst. Although I played down her concerns, in the back of my mind, I was worried too. With this latest development, she recommended a short "burst" of prednisone (a steroid) but I said no.
I run marathons! I just ran a half marathon! I'm strong! I can do this!
|Post PCB flex!|
My foot felt better on Saturday but was still so swollen I had trouble getting my shoe on. When I got to work, I called the lab and asked them to fax me my blood test results--ah, the privilege of working as a health care provider. Only a few of the tests were back, but I learned what I needed to know. What I already knew. The rheumatoid factor was off the charts. I fought back tears.
Yep. And now the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. I have rheumatoid arthritis.
I think back over the past couple of years. The "stress fracture" in my big toe that wasn't a stress fracture at all, but diagnosed as "arthritis". Plantar fasciitis multiple times. Being told by a massage therapist several years ago that something "bad" was going on in my big toe joint.
It all makes sense now.
I plan to approach this just like I train for a race. I will gladly continue the steroids for a couple more days. I'm going to set something up with a rheumatologist and make a game plan. Dr V told me that I'm lucky to be so active. That I'm already ahead of the game. That this won't limit me.
Oh hell no, it won't. I've got my bike loaded in the trainer and I'll ride until I can run again. My bike missed me. The road misses me too, though. There's fresh snow on the ground and I love nothing more than a snow run.
You know what I really think? It's not great news, yes, I'm sad, but it could always be worse. I've got a marathon to run in June. I plan to crush expectations. I'm not ready to hang it up. I've got a lot of running to do! Heck, I've got a lot of living to do!
Oh, and that x-ray? According to the radiologist, I have the "knees of a 20 year old". So I've got that going for me. Running is bad for your knees? I don't think so...
Feet don't fail me now...
This is a hell of a weekly wrap, isn't it? I hope your week was better. Tell me something good.
*with apologies to Mark Haddon
I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap. And with Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup.