Medical and Race Updates

Hey everyone, lots going on medically and on races!  I continue to update for many reasons:

  1. Everyone seems to think they know what’s going on with me, most don’t
  2. If one person can benefit from my process of dealing with things and the information, it’s totally worth all the judgement I get from people on the daily.

Soooo, I am now 8 and 9 months post hallux rigdus and sesamoid bone removal on both feet.  So far I’ve made some adjustments as to the shoes I can wear to “dress up” in and they require 2 inch or less heals and also need to be super comfy.  Running is going okay with the feet, I’ve swapped out some of my Hoka’s for more stable ones, but now I’m back to wearing the Cavu’s without issue.  I have had some bunions form due to the surgery, however I’ve yet to experience issues from them.

I’m 6 months post L5-S1 discectomy and L4 spinal stenosis back surgery.  This surgery was a godsend.  I followed the rules on the multiple walks a day and was able to start walk jogging 2 months post surgery, and consistently build up my mileage with no major issues (one setback was due to pelvis, not back).  This was exhilarating, I’d spent 8 months with no running AT ALL, no lifting anything, just losing all kinds of muscle and fitness.  I was honestly shocked at the positive result of the run being a reality, but had always remained cautiously optimistic that’d be the outcome. 

Even before surgery docs and pt assumed I had multiple issues, and that we’d have to address these once we saw what surgery actually fixed.  So once I was able to run, I really never thought that the bike was going to hold me back.  I was wrong.  I could do easy stuff for short periods but the moment I was aero too long (15 minutes) or added power the pain would come back.  PT kept “testing” certain things to see if they’d make a difference on the bike, so I kept doing the mileage to attempt Mountains 2 Main just in case I was able to go the distance prior to race day (this was 12 weeks post starting to jog, bike, and run).   Long story short, none of it really worked.  My pelvis would no longer stay in place, and the pain was in SI Joint AND Facet Joint.  It shoots b/w the two so deciding which is the cause is the tough part.  What I will say is that I know the SI Joint needs to be addressed at some point, but I’ve been dealing with that for YEARS.  The facet joint issue seemed to make more sense to me b/c it could be caused by a traumatic injury which the carrying of the washer caused all this in the first place so…..How do you move forward?  You stress A LOT!  Nerve ablation on the facet joint, or prolotherapy (which I KNOW I will need eventually), and where does all this endless money come from, and again…which is the ultimate cause?  If one fails, I have to do the other.  It’s a gamble.  Everything with this has been a gamble.  Today I chose to have the nerve ablation b/c if anything, I can hopefully get some relief even if it is SI.

Why do I share all this?  B/c day after day I get messages of people asking me certain things about past health concerns or injuries and I realize people aren’t taking charge of their health and may see something on my blog that indicates they might find new info by reaching out to me.  I have a team of doctors/pt, I don’t listen to just one of them, I run things by all of them, I reach out to people I know who have connections or are in a related field, and then ultimately go with my gut.  I no longer blindly take an answer and assume it’s right.  Lastly, I share this b/c once you make a decision to go one way you have to be all in.  Cautiously optimistic, thinking it’s going to work, doing everything they ask to make sure that recovery and process is on point.

Longer blog I know, but the last thing I want to address is people with long term injuries or chronic conditions, please don’t judge.  I love my friends and family, and I welcome any questions people have, and then if a concern should be presented I try to take it in and be understanding.  What I can’t stand, or anyone else in my position, is someone who has been watching from afar and thinks they know what you should be doing or that you should take a break just because cycling hurts (do they even know that is the only thing that hurts?).  I can swim and run just fine people, no need to worry about me there.  I appreciate concern (really!), but think twice before you judge, b/c people in my position have enough stress deciding what procedure to do next, and what activity is within limits, staying positive, and that fine line of staying active but not overdoing it.  Be understanding, and ask if we’ve checked with our drs to see if our activity we are doing is ok if you’re that concerned.  I’ve not done one race this year that hasn’t been ran by my docs.  NOT. ONE.  I used to be a different person who threw rules out the window, last years injury changed me for life.  My bestie has seen the difference in my decision making, but I think others remember the old me.  

Mountains 2 Main Half, so why did I put my body through this when a few weeks before we realized it might be an issue?  To know if I could complete it.  I’d not had my 2nd procedure done yet, IMFL looming in the background, and the timing was when some major decisions were needing to be made.  Doing this race was the best call.  It made me realize I was miserable with most workouts b/c the bike hurt so bad that soreness would remain for a day which would go into next workout.  I realized there was no way MENTALLY I could hit that suffer zone for a full again.  I decided to take next month off bike completely, swim and run only, and have some DAMN FUN.  I’ve done that.  I’ve also decided this past week to forgo Ironman Florida (hard to do after all that $$!!), and give my body some rest, and do Augusta 70.3 instead.  I’ll save the full for Kona next year.  

There are more back issues, but hopefully after today’s nerve ablation we can start addressing the others as needed and not have to look at prolotherapy.  I appreciate everyone always trying to keep me in check and thinking and praying for me.  Just know it’s a fine line.  It’s hard to remain positive, or know if you will get back to 100% or close to it, and in the meantime if people don’t agree with or are concerned it can send you into a downward spiral.  My suggestion is to just stop and ask questions before you make judgements, assumptions, or god forbid flat out say you shouldn’t be doing that.  I caught myself saying it about someone else, and immediately thought, shame on you Nicole.  You’d be so pissed if someone did that to you.  I’ll end this with lots of people are suffering right now with longterm injuries, and all will agree that it’s tough to stay positive and even tougher when your close people around you second guess your decisions WITHOUT asking the proper questions before doing that.  Be kind, think before you speak to them, and understand that even with improvements, someone like me and others never know when we could take 10 steps back.

Truly, thanks for taking time to read this.  I’m sure there are a few that might feel like this was harsh, there are a few others that probably wish I’d been more harsh, haha!  Major thanks for Atlanta Bread, they never give up on me, and Frigid Cryotherapy… are my godsend!!!!

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