We arrived home from Chicago late last night. Let me first catch you up on what happened during the remainder of our visit. Let's see, where were we? Oh, I was diagnosed with a whole slew of things. Dr. Kaeser found that I have a neuralgia, pinched nerves, a diaphragm problem, and abdominal adhesions. Finally, names to what I have. The plan was for me to see him Monday, which I did for three hours, and then again on Tuesday morning before going home. Monday night was rough. Our hotel was very nice, but Rowan was not doing well. He developed a cold, which he's never had before. I really think that freaked him out. We all three slept in 30 minute intervals all night long. Tim got up with him at 5 am and I did sleep a couple of consecutive hours.
Tuesday morning, it was time to run. Time to see if I was any better. He let me know that I might be better, but I might be worse. What we were looking for was a change--evidence that we were affecting the pain. When I awoke after so little sleep, running was the last thing I wanted to do. But I had to do it before seeing Dr. Kaeser at 10 am. So, it was out the door for 12 miles. In case you didn't know it--Chicago is windy. I knew this, of course, but I've never run there in the winter. My iPhone said that it was 27 degrees. It felt practically arctic, however. This winter, I've run in some cold stuff. 2 degrees, even. This run, though, felt the coldest of all of them.
If you know anything about Chicago, you know that it's runner-friendly. The lakefront path is something I could only dream of having access to where I live. Pete told me how to get there. It was easy--just headed East from my hotel and ran right into it. The three quarters of a mile to the path were very much stop/go due to crosswalks/stoplights. So I couldn't get a good read on my pain or lack of it. Once I made it to the path, I decided to turn left. Going this way gave me a bit of a break from the wind. About a mile into that, however, the path became completely ice-covered. The footing was treacherous. Thinking that the last thing I need is to break my tailbone, I finally turned around. I really didn't want to, as I knew how bad the wind was.
The wind wasn't as bad as I thought it would be--it was worse. It was the kind of wind which prevents you from looking forward. To be able to see, I pretty much had to look at the ground. I started noticing that my legs were very tired. My mind started to wander...why are my legs tired? Was it Sunday's 20? The lack of sleep? I started wondering if Rowan was taking a nap. Then, around the five mile mark, I remember thinking: "This wind sucks!" And that's when it clicked. I'm thinking of the weather. I'm complaining, internally, about how tired my legs are. I got excited. It's been a really, really, REALLY long time since I've been acutely aware of anything other than my pain while running. Don't get me wrong--some of it was still there. On the right side. But I could deal with it. I could not pay attention to it. I could look around (as much as the wind would let me). I could wonder about whether there might be a bathroom soon, and how cold that water was.
I had the right-sided abdominal pain the whole time. It spread to my right back slightly. But it was not sharp. It was dull--like a bad bruise. The left side twinged slightly, threatening to start in. But, in 12 miles, it didn't. I did not have any of the pain I usually get high up under my ribs--allegedly caused by the diaphragm. I felt my left shoulder just right as I began, and then it stopped. So, though this run was not pain free, it was the best I've had in a long time. More importantly, it was different. The Saturday before we left, I had the best run I'd had in a while. This one was like that, but better. So, I was encouraged.
Before we left the city, I got to see Dr. Kaeser and the physical therapist one last time. Dr. Kaeser came in, all smiles. "How did it go?" I explained to him how my right side hurt, but it wasn't sharp, and no left-sided pain at all. He thought that was wonderful--all we were looking for was a change. I got another treatment from him. On Monday, he had only worked on the main adhesions. During this treatment, he went after the little ones. He worked over my diaphragm again, as well as my back. He said everything felt better than it did the day before. He also managed to fix my SI joint, which thinks may be the culprit behind my many left-sided leg injuries. Bonus!
Tim and I used this time to ask him all the remaining questions we had. The big thing I wanted to know was whether or not I should expect the pain to get back to the level where it was. I had a lot of success with visceral manipulation initially, only to have the pain come back even worse. He said that should not happen. And, if you've been reading this blog long enough, you're probably predicting that I'm worried that it will. I'm terrified. I'm supposed to run 12 miles tomorrow, and I'm scared to death it will come back. That it was just a coincidence that I had a "good day" on Tuesday. That nothing's working, that I'm doomed for life, etc., etc. Tim is swimming right now--as soon as he gets home I'll have him talk me down. After tomorrow's run, I hope to be able to report something about the bad weather, tired legs, frequent potty stops, rabid dogs....anything but the pain.