I know that in the coming weeks and months, despite my best intentions, I’m going to have days of gloominess, frustration, and downright despondency. Even at the best of times, I’m a little prone to melancholy, and I’m definitely not one to hold things in and pretend that all is fine. I feel confident that future posts will contain a litany of all that is wrong in my world, but while I’m still ambulatory and pain free, there’s no time like the present to focus on a five really, really good things.
Modern Sports Medicine: While I cringe somewhat at the details of the surgery (tendon split, bone shaved, ugh), I’m grateful that a surgical solution exists. It’s a pretty simple one (at least, in my case), has a good success rate, and is common enough that I didn’t have to look far for someone with the right experience. Some ailments aren’t so lucky. Hip dysplasia, anyone? Even good ol’ knee arthritis doesn’t have such favorable options. Before the heel got to this point, modern sports medicine fixed me up in other ways and kept me running. ESWT is a rather painful treatment (and not covered by insurance) but, man, it is good for making recalcitrant tendons rejuvenate themselves. I’ll be forever grateful to my sports podiatrist and his torture machine for fixing the heel (and my posterior tibial tendon) several years ago. After only a couple of months back running, I enjoyed a wonderful streak of training and racing. I may never run that well again. I’m actually ok with this because I had enough insight by then to appreciate the experiences knowing they might not come around again.
The Resources to Do This: This one’s a biggie. First off, there’s my health insurance which many people don’t have or — more frequently — don’t have enough of. Even with decent insurance, this ain’t a cheap endeavor once you add up the (very sigificant) co-pays, accoutrement to get around, and all the money I’ll end up spending on Uber.
My Job: Obviously where the Resources to Do This come from, but also a fortuitous aspect of my current situation. One of the great things about lawyering (and there are quite a few) is that your primary work tools are the ability to think and the ability to communicate. Modern technology makes this doable from almost anywhere. (Of course, a firm that is supportive of this arrangement is key too.) I’m going to end up somewhat behind on my billable hours for this month, but the surgery and its aftermath won’t affect my ability to work the way it would someone who needs to be able to be able to walk or drive to run their business or do their job.
My Husband: (This list is not in order otherwise he would obviously be at the top!) Having a supportive, loving spouse makes just about everything in life easier and better. Heel surgery is no exception. The Husband is going to have to shoulder quite a bit during the next two months: The practical stuff like taking me home from surgery, helping me get around, scooping the (my) cat’s litter box, and doing 100% of the driving. And the very important intangible stuff like having the same reassuring conversation about how I really will get better over and over again, and fielding my tearful phone calls while he’s busy at work. We will get on each other’s nerves and I’ll probably end up misdirecting some of my anxiety in his direction, but we’ll still have laughs and fun moments, and hopefully remain each other’s favorite person when all this is in the rear view mirror.
All The Other Stuff I Can Do: The first couple of weeks I won’t be able do much in the way of exercise. A person can only do so many Pilates and upper body weights workouts. Even those might not be a great idea the first few days when I am supposed to have my foot elevated above my heart 90% of the time.
I’ve always been an endurance monster. I’m rarely so blissed out as when I’m in the magical 45 minutes-to-2 hours part of a run and everything feels effortless and my mind feels clear and free. I haven’t actually been able to do that for months though. The last time I ran for longer than an hour was February 2018 right around the time things started to unravel. The silver lining of 2018 being a bad year for running, however, was that I spent so much time swimming and cycling that at some point I started to really love doing those things (especially swimming) as activities in their own right and not just as cross training. It’s a significant mental shift that I’m glad I made because I’m going to be able to get back to both within weeks rather than months, and long before I’m going to be able to run. The next few months would be exponentially harder if running was the only thing to look forward to.