Funny things about being a mom and having surgery (Or maybe just funny things about being me and having surgery..) :

1) Surgery means pre-surgical nesting. (I had no idea this existed- but the evidence is under my bathroom sink. I HAD to clean it out. No- I do not know why.And- if you looked under there- you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Bathroom sink vortex of crap. Thats what it is.)

2) I have washed every piece of laundry that wasn’t currently ON a person. Including a few things that were already clean, and I would have stripped my family naked and washed what they were wearing… but that would have been too awkward, even for me.

3) I may stay over night at the hospital-  I am packed for a week. Just. In. Case.

4) I have spent more time trying to figure out how to get my spanx on over an incision than is healthy. Bottom line: Won’t be happening. OY the muffin top  and bundt cake butt shall make their presence known.

5) Surgery involves wardrobe issues:

  • What shoes will I be able to wear post op? (slippers? Slip ons? )
  • How the heck will I put on my undies without bending my leg? ( I guess I’ll figure that out)
  • My non-mom jeans will not fit over the incision without pain..mom jeans may- but I’m not going there. :( (planning on: yoga pants, yoga capri’s, comfy shorts.Oh and I don’t do Yoga- so sue me.I need pilates pants. Just sayin.)

6) Surgery involves beauty dilemmas:

  • The hospital says: no makeup. Umm whatever- I’l be wearing mascara and some lipgloss and maybe a little concealer and blush. If I die- My family will need to identify my body. No make-up- no recognition. If I don’t die- I will have to look at myself… wouldn’t want to give myself a heart attack. (Ok it’s not really that bad:P)
  • No deodorant? That’s stupid. But, I’ll comply- it’s their noses, after-all.
  • I painted my toe nails. They didn’t SAY I couldn’t…. they are fuschia. (I’m wondering if they have to check the circulation via  nail color… oopsy too bad)

7) Surgery involves scheduling dilemmas:

  • My family prefers that I work this into their schedule… , the doc however- has her own schedule and she’s the boss.:P
  • Hubby may need to travel Thursday- Friday… umm we’ll see about that. I may be so drugged I won’t notice if he’s gone…
  • Friday, Noah has his school Halloween party- as a party helper mom- I suck. I did however, buy the ice cream cup things and will do my best to take them over… or send them in his back back so they can melt….but hey- I’ll have DONE IT.
  • Halloween is Sunday- no clue how I’ll be feeling by then. My college boys suggested I be the bionic bride of frankenstein-wear shorts-and let the scar show. (I love those boys.) For sure- I will be the drugged mom passing out candy on the porch…prolly not the only one- but it’s a first for me:P
  • We set a deadline of Oct 29 for the book proposal to be sent to my editor… This is the first writing deadline I’ve ever not met. :( It will go out as soon as the drugs wear off and I can think clearly. I’ve had to focus on getting through the cancer scare and get ready for surgery. Sometimes our plans have to change. I hate that.

8) Surgery involves frustration and fear:

  • I am not a fan of pain. I am about to have some, possibly alot. It’s weird to know that in advance. Also: it sucks.
  • I am already frustrated by my inability to do what I normally do… (I’m a mom- I do everything…. can I get an amen?) Surgery will make it worse. For a while. Not a fan of that, either.
  • Everything says I’ll be fine by this time tomorrow- but what if I’m not? (let’s not go here for very long…. but I’m human.. and my brain does…. it makes me pray more and hug my husband and kids more…)
  • My youngest is afraid… I hate to see him afraid, but we can’t avoid this…(the fractures have gotten worse) we need to get through it.  And we will.. together.
  • Worrying about my kids while I can’t be home….(yes even if they are big hairy men.. I’m still a mom.)

9) Surgery involves:

  • Needles. (I’m phobic- have written about it- use the search menu… not fun.)
  • Blood. (Contrary to my sometimes sparkly appearance.. I am not a vampire and don’t like blood. Squick.
  • Pain- which is NOT the enemy- but sometimes feels like it is.*
  • Public nudity. (ish) I mean really… why can’t they get black wrap dress-style surgical gowns?  So I wouldn’t feel like my business is on display and I could have some shred of dignity as they use a drill and screws to implant hardware into my leg????? I mean black would go better with silver… justsayin.
  • Scars. Most of my scars are invisible… this one will be visible:( bummer. But part of my journey.
  • Shaving my legs. I don’t even get to wear heels or a great outfit. (Which are the usual requirements for shaving them… :) LAME.

10) This surgery also involves:

  • people who love me and my family and who will help us get through this with dinners and help and their presence.
  • The hope of healing. Being in pain since the end of June has really sucked-  I’m ready to be healing, if not healed.
  • Really good drugs. I’m the daughter of an addict- I try to avoid all addictive meds to head off potential gene-pool snafus… but dude- when surgery’s involved-I’m the queen of meds.
  • Recovering. Getting better.
  • Time to think. (once the drugs wear off.)
  • Time to knit.
  • Focus. Having surgery brings your priorities into perspective.
  • Change. I’ll now have a bionic (ish) leg. How cool is that?  Looking forward, I’m exploring new exercise options… biking has potential… but we’ll see. The doc said I could be running again in a few months…. If I don’t over do it… which apparently I have trouble complying with…
  • All the  ingredients of living a better story… according to Don Miller...”a character, who has to overcome an obstacle to get what they want…” I want to walk without pain.. I want to run again. Forget that- I want to dance! I have to overcome fear (of surgery) doubt, trust God, rely on others (ouch, I ‘d so much rather be the helpful one)  and take the next steps… with the book proposal.. whether they are taken on crutches or not.

I’ll see you after the surgery- appreciate your prayers;)

*** Pain is not the enemy- A quote from a good friend and brilliant counselor and pastor— pain has a place in our lives- it is necessary (keeps us from doing more harm, and lets us know when something is wrong) and also is part of the healing process- it’s not something to try to avoid at all costs….

“dear lord- I’m not the only one facing surgery right now… I’m not the only one with fears and frustrations and doubts… I pray that you’d bring your peace and healing to all those in need- and that we’d each live a better story by walking through our painful times instead of trying to avoid them…sometimes pain is the obstacle we have to overcome….I pray for all the details….  I love you lord… oh .. and please make sure they do the LEFT leg… ok?  Going through all this on the one thats fine would seriously tick me off… amen…

** For new readers- I’m having surgery for stress fractures that happened while running- at the end of June.. It’s been a long, painful summer. They’ll be placing some hardware in to make my tibia behave;) I’ll be bionic!


Back on June 30, I went out for a wun (walk/running hybrid that i’d been doing) and a block from my house- about 3 miles into a 5 k trial…. something “gave” in my knee/ leg. Something I should have “kept” in order to walk without pain.

I instantly realized: “This isn’t normal.”  Because, I’m brilliant, or something. I iced it. I went where I needed to go and did what I needed to do and eventually went to the doctor. I went to urgent care. I made an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. I may have called the president. Or, been tempted to.

I’ve had more x-rays than the Detroit Metro takes of luggage in a year. I won’t need a halloween costume, I’m expecting to: glow. I had hoped that the radiation would at least cause my leg-hair to fall out… I’m not that lucky. (But am creative and ever trying to see an “upside” to these things.) I had an MRI and can tell you exactly how much fat there is in my leg. I can also assure you , that I am not, in fact “big boned.” Which is mostly a bummer.

Diagnosis’:

Internal derangement of the knee ( cartilage/ meniscal issues)

Tendonitits/ pes bursitis

Stress fractures of the tibia- Lower tibia and upper

I spent 4 weeks on crutches. I was a good patient. (Mostly.)

5 weeks ago I sucked up my fear and had a steroid shot in the tendon. It hurt something awful for a couple of days, and then: poof! It was better! At that appointment, the doctor said he’d have my insurance approve a shot into the joint with a different substance that could help with my “derangement.”  (Be quiet. I know what you’re thinking.)

Yesterday, I took a xanax, (HATE the idea of a shot in the knee again, but am desperate for pain relief and would love to be able to walk without pain.) and went to my appointment. I felt a weird  mixed of excitement and anxiety.  I was totally willing to endure some heightened short term pain so I could: BE DONE.  I thought I was crossing a finish line.

Not so much. Another set of xrays and a consultation later, and I have an appointment for another MRI. While things have been improving one area at a time.. ( the lower stress fracture is fine, the tendonitis and bursitis are much better) the localized sharp and deep pain is definitely coming from a very clear vertical fracture near the top of my tibia. Which is healing verrrrrrry slowly.

No shot.

It wouldn’t help.

Disappointment is an understatement, and a surprise.

It wasn’t until I reached the counter where I’d planned to get my traditional “after facing the fear celebratory-cupcake” that I realized how disappointed I was.

The glass cupcake case was empty. I had to blink back tears to keep from crying. I don’t usually cry over cupcakes.DISAPPOINTED. (All caps are truly necessary- cause that’s how it feels.)

The next MRI will tell us whether I’ll need to have surgery or some other form of treatment. For now: I’m still in pain. There’s not much that can be done about it.

I’m walking on a cracked bone. And– thats what it feels like. Every step hurts. It hurts when I’m sitting, it hurts when I’m standing. It hurts at night and it hurts while I’m sitting here typing. (more…)

The last time I woke up with a stomach so queasy, I was pregnant. There are solid scientific reasons why that could not be the case this time. (Although God does have a sense of humor, and is sovereign…..) There is a much more simple reason for the queasin…..

I was afraid. Not just stomach flopping nerves… I was scared- crazy scared. As in psycho stream of consciousness that I awoke with that sounded like this:  “I don’t know if I can do this without screaming or crying and I don’t want to do it either way, and what if  I am that screaming, crying woman at the doctors’ office?  I think I’ll hide under the bed cause its not really so bad not to be able to walk for 2 months.. besides i think it’s better today anyway, and Jesus?  why don’t you heal me now? That would be good.  Why don’t I trust God to get me through this. I suck and am a huge baby, what kind of example am I setting for my kids, get out of bed and get on with it….”

Yeah, told you:  psycho.

Yesterday, I had a follow up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon for the knee injury that happened 2 months ago. It’s still craptastic.  It’s time to do something  a little more radical than rest, ice, elevation, leg lifts for quad strength and becoming one with the heating pad.

At my last appointment, the doctor offered me a steroid shot. I panicked and said no, and I’ve regretted it ever since.**  I didn’t say no, because I’m morally opposed to medical intervention, or because I am afraid i’ll be kicked out of the major league of mothering for steroid use. (It’s a different type of steroid:P) It’s because I have a needle phobia.

Not just a “needles make me squamish” type feeling. I have a full on, panic, blood pressure dropping, pass out and scare loved ones, phobia. It’s textbook. My symptoms are classic:  it starts with anxiety from the moment I know I may meet a needle of any type. If I know for 2 weeks, I feel moments of panic off and on for 2 weeks. At the doctors- I have:  Yawning, (an attempt to get oxygen) nausea, sweating, anxiety, light-headedness…. and sometimes passing out. Often after the procedure is done and I think I am fine.

Not fun. It’s: Embarrassing. Humiliating. Debilitating. (I avoid treatment. I have dental work from my TMJ that I keep putting off because the thought of a needle / procedure in my mouth is really more than I can handle. I’ll have to be sedated.) it’s serious.

Here’s what bugs me:  I spent 13 years as a pastoral counselor. I’ve studied, researched and understand phobias. I am totally cognizant that it is an irrational fear. KNOWING doesn’t change it. UNDERSTANDING doesn’t change it. Honestly, I think it makes it a bit harder to deal with. I heap guilt atop the fear. I feel like I should know better.

Avoiding it also doesn’t help. It just makes me feel stupid.

Yesterday, I had to make a decision. I could either a) go to my apointment and refuse more care that could help the pain level, or b) Give it a shot. (So to speak:P) (Can you hear the “Jeopardy theme playing, I did all day- because of course, my appointment was for 6:00pm. Nothing like prolonging the agony and phobia.)

This weekend is my inlaws 50th anniversary party.  The next morning I leave for our favorite vacation spot ever. Our Traverse city, Mi timeshare. I HAVE to be able to walk on the beach. I’s therapeutic for me. I need to be able to function and help at the party.

I need to be in less pain. I am getting desperate.  I’ve never been so debilitated in my life. I healed faster from all three c-sections than I have from this running injury. (Yes, c-section I’m fine with…. the shot/iv is the worst part- I’m a true freak.)

So yesterday, I decided that…. (more…)

The sun warmed my shoulders and my legs stretched into each step like a well practiced-dance. (In my brain anyway .. most likely? Not so dance-like in person. Unless of course flopping zombie is a new dance move…:P)  I checked my time:  48 minutes.  “I’m making my best 5 k time yet!” I thought.

Which is about the time the log splitter hit my knee/leg. The next step was as far from dance like as possible. I lost stability in my left knee and felt a screaming pain. “A cramp.” I decided.  “Walk it off.” I kept walking. It got worse. With. Each. step.

I was only a block from home. I could : A) call home and hope the college boy would wake up and pick me up without killing me. or B) walk back.

I decided to walk back. Each time my leg swung my foot up and into the next step, I had hope that it was better… each time it landed back on the cement, the hope was crushed.

“This is not right.” Was all I could think.

I hobbled home. I must not have any Zombie apocalypse prepared neighbors.. because if I had, they’d have been all over me.  I lurch and swing my arms and leg like a zombie chasing down grey-matter souffle.  I had an appointment to get to, so I got ready, and strapped the ice to my knee for the drive.

“I’ll be fine by the time I get there.”  The drive was fine.  Not much pain. When I swung my legs out of the SUV to hop out of the truck, I felt the crushing pain, again. “I’ll go to the doctor later, if it’s still bad.”

It was.  I did.

2 sets of xrays and a leg immobolizer later- I’m the same. The ER doc thinks it could be a partial tear in a ligament. Possibly with miniscus involvement, I think: IT HURTS. And it makes me cranky.

I can’t run. (umm the inability to walk, kind of precludes, that.)

I don’t  know exactly what’s wrong.  (control freak?  Why yes, yes I am. I am happier when I know whats wrong. Also: better yet when I self diagnose. :P )

This is a different kind of pain from any other that I’ve experienced.

I hate that I did this while TRYING to exercise.

I hate that in the back of my mind I am wondering if it’s from over use…(Read: my own dumb fault.)  I’ve been pushing it. and hate the idea of having to start all over.

Now, I wait. Have I mentioned, that I’m not a fan of waiting?  I like it about as much as I like pain. (From all this complaining- you could safely deduce- I don’t.) In either my desperation or impatience- I called and made an appointment with a ortho.  It’s tomorrow morning.

I am hoping that by making the appointment it will magically be better. If not– then I am hoping that by GOING to the appointment it will magically be better. I would like to be able to woggle (my version of walking/jogging/wobbling) tomorrow.

Right now I’m wondering…” is there a lesson to be learned in this? “(umm other than the obvious) And “How can  best use this detour of my life?”

So far- I got nothin. My brain is to addled to write about anything but the pain. I can’t do housework.

So here are some questions for YOU:

When was the last detour you experienced?

How did you spend it?

Any lesson’s learned?

Do you think this brace makes my butt look big?

“Slap, Slap, slap, flap, flap, pinch, squeeze, groan.”

The sound of me, woggling. (To woggle: a verb that describes my: walk/run/wobble exercise technique.) It’s not pretty.  I woggle like a hippo crosses a bed of  hot coals. But, as many have pointed out: I’m doing it. One step, one block one mile, at a time, I’m heading toward heath.

This morning, that journey took me in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  My shins were hurting so much that no amount of stretching, or gait manipulation helped.  I started out with them wrapped- hoping the compression would keep the inflammation down. It didn’t. Around mile 2 I unwrapped them. By mile 4, my gait was so impaired, that other things started hurting.  The balls of my feet felt a little numb.   I felt less than stable in the knees.  All I could think was: I need to get these (very expensive and professionally chosen) shoes off my feet.

Walking barefoot, sounded amazing. Slightly risky and crazy.. but amazing.

So, I took off my shoes and flung them over my shoulder. “Ahhhhhhhh.” My toes uncurled and my feet and lower legs relaxed.

The first few steps were tentative.  I pawed at the ground gingerly, as if it would reach up and grab me by the ankles and pull me down toward my unprotected doom.  It didn’t. Actually, it felt pretty good. Good enough to move to the grass and run a bit. (Yes, barefoot. I’m a risk taker.) While running, I flashed back to being a kid.. I remembered running in the dew-damp grass without ever tiring or feeling sore the next day. I remembered feeling wind in my face while I ran and thinking it was good to be fast.

“CLUNK. POUND. POUND. PAIN.” I hit a driveway. Ouch.  I moved back over to the grass. “Ahhhhh, so much  better.” Every once in a while I hit a wet spot in the grass.. the cool water and grass combination felt wonderful. It was a free foot spa.

I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to run barefoot. (more…)

sunday dewI never thought I’d be one of “those” moms.  You know, the ones- they walk their kid to the bus stop and then head out for a “run.”   Them. The crazy runner moms.

I had lots of excuses:  “Bad knees.” “No time.” “I can’t afford the shoes…”  “If I have an hour I should spend it doing something productive… like laundry.”  “I have too much to do for my kids… to take that kind of time for myself.”

Yup. I had plenty of nice- good mom-excuses..

But, as I work on the “Mile in Her Shoes Project,” I realized, it’s more than excuses. I’ve been judging those “workout moms.”  And thats why, I didn’t want to be one.

I kind of thought I was “holier than thou,” because I don’t have time to take care of myself.  I focus on my kids, their needs, their schedules.. them. . So-that means I’m not selfish, right?

Then a couple of months ago we had that dog attack of doom.  I ended up flat on my back with an injury from trying to fend off a german shepherd….The worst part is- I couldn’t really fend off that shepherd. It was pathetic. I am so out of shape I couldn’t take care of myself, my kids or pets.

Not good.

Recovering gave me some time to ask myself some questions. I did not like the answers… “In the condition I am in… can I really care for my kids in the best way possible?  Answer: No.  I’m tired and sore and crabby over my weight. What kind of example am I living?  Answer: That cake and cookies are a good stress reliever. If it’s not what I say but what I do that matters as a mom..what a I showing my kids to do? Answer: “To not take care of yourself.

BUZZZZZ! Wrong answer.

When you combine these answers with a cholesterol level hovering over 200, my blood pressure creeping up at each doctors appointment, an ongoing struggle to manage stress and PMDD…and a family history of diabetes and heart disease (my Dad had a heart attack and bypass at 50.) … Something had to change.

My attitude.

It’s not selfish to want to be alive and healthy for my kids, my husband and (yes) myself.  Is it?

174 miles in this pair of shoes has taught me that no, it’s not.

At first- it was HARD. I made lame mistakes by being overzealous and training too hard.  I made it hurt more than it needed too. It took more time than necessary.  I felt crappy. That was not so much, good for my family.  but I’m learning.

Now- I’m listening to my body. I run when I feel like it and walk when I don’t.   It doesn’t HURT everyday.  Actually- my back feels better and things are starting to fit better. Looser- even! (Although- I’m refusing to weigh myself because I don’t want this to be about weight…)

At Noah’s cajoling- I’m trying to eat breakfast.  (I hate eating in the morning.)

I’m eating fruit instead of some of my baked goods frenzies… (let’s not be nuts here-.. some baked goods are necessary for mental health!)

And yes- I’m running 5 days a week. I’m averaging somewhere between 4-6 miles each day. Sometimes I run more than I walk- sometimes I walk the whole thing.. But,I’m getting there. One step at a time. One mile at a time.

174 miles in her shoes.. only now?  They are mine!

To all the moms out there who’ve been working hard to take care of yourselves while I’ve sat back and judged you as selfish.. I’m sorry about that.  I’m learning. I’m growing..

I’m letting go of my prejudices.

***for those who will worry- the shoes in the pic- are NOT what I’m running in:P

Questions for you:

How do you take care of yourself?

Do you exercise?  Why, or why not?

How do you feel about “those” moms?

Who are “those” moms to you?  The moms like me, who sit on the couch and complain about and make excuses for being un-fit?  (Until I really felt like I HAD to do something.. I really thought I couldn’t…)


It’s not the running that has been painful. Its the soreness and pain afterwards. Not just the muscle aches, which I expected, but a serious, throbbing pain. In my toe. The first day I ignored it. The second day I switched shoes, ran and then found it was swollen. By the third day, I didn’t run at all, I was wincing in pain. Shoes were not an option. Sandals were an outside possibility.

Not good.

Then, my toenail started looking bruised. The worse than bruised. U-G-L-Y. (You ain’t go not alibi)

Very, not good. I’ll spare you the details- but I managed to experience my first runners injury in 20 years. A few minutes with my friend Google and I discovered I had a (not so) lovely case of “runner’s toe.” (A hematoma/bruise under the toe nail.)

I took care of the toe. (No- you don’t want to know.) It’s now improving and I’m working to avoid this in the future.

It’s caused by 3 things: increasing mileage too fast, downhill running and poorly fitting shoes.

Apparently, my shoes haven’t been fitting properly. Ugh.

Sunday afternoon, in an attempt to rescue my run-momentum. I headed with hubby to: Running Fit, in Northville, Michigan. I ducked into the shop, feeling like a spy. I’m not exactly a “runner” nor, am I actually- “fit.” I feared being run out of the store as a misfit.

I wasn’t. I explained the problem and the goal; (to continue running as much as possible and not have to start all over again.. that would suck.) And then tried on more pair of shoes than I ever have in my life. Mizuno, Saucony, New Balance, Brooks, Nike.

I tried them on in various sizes. (I’m a shoe ho.. but this was extreme, even for me.)

I sought sock advice. (seriously, socks matter.)

I left with a pair of Brooks and 3 pair of wicking socks.. (I love my cotton socks.. but not so much for running.) I’ve scaled back my mileage to 3-5 (from 4-6) miles per day.

My advice?  If you want to keep running, make sure your shoes fit.  If they don’t… CHANGE them.