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Immobilized. September 28, 2009

IMG_0641I went to the doctor this morning, our family podiatrist whom I really like. He trims my mother’s claw-like toenails, and he fitted me for my awesome orthotics which allow me to run without pain. So I really like him.

When I made the appointment, I told the receptionist (who happens to be his wife), “I sprained my ankle,” and she said “Oh!” in a way that *I* interpreted to mean, and you’re coming in for THAT? But who knows, I have been known to misinterpret one-syllabled utterances before. So I felt kind of sheepish going in there, feeling like, I’m overreacting, this is dumb, I shoulda just stayed home and put more ice on it…

His face said it all. He moved both my ankles around, the skinny one and the big fat one. The fat one moved a LOT further than the skinny one. He said, “This is bad. This is very bad.” OH.  He then went on to say that all of my ligaments were probably completely ruptured, and it was possible that I had a bit of a fracture as well.

I was pretty stunned. He said that it was really unfortunate that I didn’t come in when I had my first bad sprain back in August. Because basically I probably had a partial tear then, but then I’ve been running on it (and it became noticeably worse after the 5k over Labor Day weekend), not immobilizing it, and my ankle was just getting more and more unstable and compromised, and yesterday it just gave way completely. I could see that when he moved my ankle, there wasn’t any pain (bad sign!) it just was completely floppy and loose.

So now I am in this cast boot for a minimum of two weeks. I am not sure what is going to happen with the Nia Jam. I am GOING, for sure, and I will see what I can do within the confines of this boot. Swimming? Not yet. Running? NO WAY.

He said that I would have to wear the boot for weeks, and then a brace thing “forever” unless I get ankle surgery. He likened the ligaments to a nylon band and said that these things do not just mend like new, it’s not like bone or even muscle. I have to admit that after the appointment I went out to my car and cried for a while. (and if you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that that has become my M.O. after certain medical appointments)

The thing is, if this had happened last year (well, last year I would never have injured myself running!) I would have been secretly thrilled to have an excuse to not exercise. I would be like, OH DARN I can’t work out! and instantly take it as license to sit around and eat cupcakes. This year, I am devastated. Sure, I know it could be worse. I could have some dreadful diagnosis (yeah, more dreadful than diabetes!) — but the thing is, y’all KNOW how much it has meant to me to be working out this year. I have come to love it and rely on it and need it.

I know that my great trainer will keep me reasonably fit and busy. I can do a ton of upper body stuff (go, Michelle Obama arms!) with weights, sitting on the ball etc. and there’s all that fun CORE stuff. I can do a lot. But it’s not the same as Nia and running, which were both really important to me.

I’m lying on the bed with my boot on now. I have to say, this boot feels really good. Last night as I was trying to sleep, I could feel my ankle flip-flopping around all loose like, and that felt terrible. The boot makes me feel secure, like I am being held together. Which is good.

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12 Responses to “Immobilized.”

  1. I get that bittersweat realization of what it means when we, as athletes (yes, us :-), injure ourselves in the process of being athletes. And yes, we have to rest the part that’s been injured but we don’t give up! We do what we can and stay as active as possible. So you GO girl! Heal that ankle, do the PT or whatever is needed and you’ll be back!

  2. omg I cannot imagine seeing my foot move like that! I just hate this for you so so much. You’ve got such a great attitude about it though. This too shall pass

  3. “I’ll see what I can do from the confines of this boot.”
    I’m soooo proud of you! (First, for going to the doctor and) second, for becoming such a work-out goddess–look how much you have embraced taking care of yourself! You even look at the bright side–that is fantastic! Yes, you may be laid up for a while (more Tweeting?) but you have the power to bounce back–you have earned this power. It may be in a different way than you planned, but you can make choices along the way. (BTW Crying is important, too. It’s acknowledging. Then you can move on.) You “get it” now.
    In my Nia classes, those smiles from people in a brace, or with different abilities (rather than DISabilitiy), those who are doing whatever they can–mean the world to me! Cheers for YOU!

  4. Just a thought: Call ahead to the organizer of the NiaJam and request a chair. Even if you have to use it the whole time–you will learn so much watching and groovin’ your upper body. It’s amazing what you find out from honoring your body and allowing others to see that you do so.

  5. Pubsgal Says:

    (((hug)))! Oh, girlfriend. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I know how you feel, having arrived at a place where working out is something you need vs. something you dread. And how frustrating it must be to have part of that taken away.

    I am in awe of your spirit and determination. You’re handling this so much better than I would, I think. It also sounds like your fitness passion, Nia, is a good one for integrating that which you can do now. And it’s great that you’ll have your trainer to guide you with respect to what you can do to stay as fit as possible as your ankle heals.

  6. nutellamama Says:

    Hang in there and DO THAT NIA JAM in a chair. I believe you can heal that sucker and I bet you’ll discover new stuff you like to do, too. Yoga? Who knows? You never thought you’d be a runner, right? Don’t feel bad for waiting too long to go to the doctor, we’ve all done that stuff. You can do this and tell us how you manage, too, please!

  7. Larkspur Says:

    I would check out swimming when you can. It is a wonderful calorie chewer and easy on the body. This stuff does happen but I feel so bad for you.

  8. Hanlie Says:

    Once the injury heals, you may want to think about cycling. I know being sidelined sucks, but it’s best to take it easy for now. Sending you healing thoughts!

  9. I’m sorry I missed this! Take care of yourself. I agree with Hanlie – maybe cycling would be a good option once you are up and around.

    Sometimes surgery can be a really good option with this kind of thing. (A good friend of mine is an orthopedic surgeon.)

    You are in my thoughts!

  10. Shelley B Says:

    Oh damn, I am so sorry! And what an injury – surgery for complete repair? Wow. I’m glad the ankle is feeling more secure with the boot, and I’m super impressed with your plans to change up your workouts (instead of just dropping them altogether). It’s an obstacle for sure, but you will be ok – and your upper body and arms will be awesome!

  11. Jenny Says:

    For the last year and a half, I’ve had achilles tendonitis. Despite PT and rest and all the rest of it, I can’t shake it. I was recently diagnosed with IGT, and got right into working out — but could not run or walk because of the tendonitis. But everyone’s a runner! Or at least a walker! But I had to do something. So I take water aerobics twice a week (amazing workout), work on the exercise bike and (cautiously) the elliptical, and swim laps. There’s always something you can do.

    And thank you so much for this blog. For someone recently diagnosed, it has meant a ton. It’s meant I could do it.


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