Not that I was ever gone...I have just totally neglected my blog. That neglect stops now. I have had several people tell me how my blog motivates them with their running and that they miss it and NEED it. So, here we go again...back to regular blogging. A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks, so I'll try to update you.
First, I lost my gallbladder. On purpose, of course. The surgery was a week ago. When I met with Dr. Jones before the surgery, I asked her if she'd take another good look around in my abdomen since I'm still having some abdominal pain and a LOT of shoulder pain. Last time, she hadn't really gotten on top of my diaphragm (as it's kind of risky), but this time she would do it.
I was talking to the anesthesiologist about Buddha (the town, not THE Buddha) as he was giving me Versed. That's the last thing I remember until I heard myself saying "pain, pain." I don't know why I couldn't say "I'm in pain" or "My belly hurts," but I just kept repeating those words. Then I think I heard myself saying "Husband, daughter." I did that last time. I don't say their names, just their titles. Anyway, before I knew it, Tim was there. And then there was Amelia. I vaguely remember her standing by my bed holding my hand. And she kept asking me questions. She was extraordinarily amused by my confused state, and had me talking about making a cake and eating ice cream. She smiled and laughed in delight.
Through all the pain I was having, I could tell one thing: I felt better. The deep ache under my right rib cage was gone. I didn't get to speak to Dr. Jones after, but Tim did. She said there were no stones in the gallbladder but it was diseased (which was later confirmed by pathology). She also found that I have a hiatal hernia, which is a hernia that occurs when the stomach slips up through the diaphragm, which has a small opening for the esophagus. She didn't think that would be causing my symptoms, though. She found nothing near the left phrenic nerve (which is what is causing the shoulder pain--we just don't know why), and really nothing else of note.
I was a lot more sore after this surgery in the last. I couldn't figure out why...until I remembered that last time they gave me an abdominal block--a nerve block that blocks the sensation in the abdomen. I think this block is why I did feel so much better initially after my first surgery.
Anyway--I feel a lot better sans gallbladder, but I still have shoulder pain and abdominal pain. You can imagine how utterly, incredibly, devastatingly frustrating this is for me. That's part of the etiology for my blogging absence. It's hard to write about your dreadful psychological state over something that's been going on for almost a year. But I need to do it. I owe it to you and to me. I can't hide from this situation.
So--what now? Well, I'm convinced that my remaining pain is nerve pain. It's sharp and shooting. I've also taken some Neurontin (a medication that works on the nerves), and it actually helped quite a bit. So what kinds of doctors deal with nerve pain? Well, neurologists do. But not this kind of pain, I don't think. Pain management doctors do as well. And I have a pain management doctor, remember? But Dr. Lysandrou believes (still, after all of this) that my pain is muscular. He would not even consider assessing or treating the nerves that supply my abdomen. And I'll never go back to him.
You all know that I've seen a LOT of physicians. All kinds. One type of physician, though, I have neglected to see. A physiatrist. A physician trained to deal with bones, muscles, and nerves. But they're not all created equal. A lot of them deal in rehabilitative medicine (with patients post-stroke, etc.). But I found one who is a physiatrist board-certified in sports medicine. She (yes, she) also specializes in female athletes. Hello...sign me up. She's in Chicago. And I'm going to see her July 26. I think this is my last ditch effort to get this figured out totally. I spoke with her nurse, and she said they could do testing on my nerves to determine if they are causing the pain. If they are, they can be blocked so I won't feel it. Again, sign me up.
So that's where I am--I'm still not totally right. I'm better than I was last winter for sure. But I cannot train at my full potential like this. I can't do speedwork of any kind. I can run lots of slow miles, but if I push it I suffer a lot of pain. So that's what I've been doing--lots of slow miles. I will try some marathon pace miles this weekend...but I haven't done any of my scheduled tempo runs. I've done the miles, but not the tempo part. So where will that put me for Chicago? I don't know. And I don't really care that much. I'm building a huge base, running lots of 20s, and running in a lot of hot weather. I'll be fit, for sure. But can I break 3:10 without doing any intensity? I don't know. I think so...but I'm not going to pressure myself until I'm totally healthy.
If you know me, you know I'm a really, really competitive person. So that last sentence up there, about not pressuring myself? That's hard for me to write. It's even more difficult for me to actually execute. So don't be surprised if this blog turns into a diary of sorts...something to remind me not to push myself right now.
Onto running. I've been doing it. I ran 13 miles this morning at 6 am. It's been so hot here that running mid-day is just not an option. Well, it is, but it's miserable. I'm running around 60 miles per week right now. My legs feel fantastic. Not even a niggle. I hope it stays that way.
I have so much more to write but this is getting long and I'm afraid of losing my audience. More to come soon. I promise.