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…)

I do not care if the doctor thinks a walker is safer. I’m NOT going to use a walker- even for a little while. NO WAY. I said full of contempt, as  I wobbled past them.

I also don’t care if it has pretty pink and teal paisley or even leopard print, it’s still: a cane. People will think I’m handicapped. They will think this is permanent!  They’ll think there’s something wrong with me! (Forget the fact that there IS something wrong with me..)

Reluctantly, I picked up a cane and put it in my pharmacy cart anyway. (You know you’re in trouble if you need a cart at the pharmacy…) The pain in my knee was screaming that maybe I could use it just around the house.

Next, I headed towards the crutches… I don’t care if they do bruise my armpits to the color of eggplants. At least they look like I had a sports injury… not something more permanent. (Or like my weight blew out my kneee….. oy. It could happen…)  Besides.. I know how to walk on crutches without injuring myself….

So, for the past 10 days, I’ve been switching between the two. Honestly- the crutches are better in a lot of ways, but I hate to admit the doctor was right- they fall down, constantly. Bending down to pick them up is a herculean effort against pain. Blah. The walker may be better, but I just can’t do it…I am vain. (I know, I know, who knew? Zip it.. I’m having a revelation, here…:P)

Being injured  has given me lots of time to reflect. (Update: Diagnosis  Tore some cartilage and a have a loverly stress fracture. 4 weeks on crutches for now, we’ll decide on a treatment plan for the cartilage, later. The plan will prolly not involve a cartilage piercing..it’s pretty much already there- minus the bling.  just sayin.’  ) Mostly, I’ve reflected on the “poor me” side of things. But yesterday, as I was working on my  “A Mile in Her Shoes” book proposal, I had a tug at my heart.

Am I prejudiced about people with permanent handicaps/special needs?

I didn’t think so… and yet, I did not want to be mistaken for one.

So-What’s my problem?  What if I had to limp like this permanently?  I’ve never been particularly graceful so there’s not a huge loss there… aside from the pain, would it really be that big a deal?

Here’s the ugliness I found while digging through my heart today with crutches and canes and walker aversions….

1) I hate being needy.  (My friends know this is NOT a news flash or a revelation) Being limited physically, is partly hard because it means I need HELP.  I do not like NEEDING help. I like GIVING help.

2) I hate being thought of as needy.  Yup, this is different. I want people to think I’m capable and independent.   I am currently: Not.  I need extra time to do everything. I can limp about for around 20 minutes then I need to prop and ice or heat the lameness… There are some things I can’t do, (or at least, that I shouldn’t) at all.

3) I guess the truth is I am prejudiced (to some degree) against those with handicaps. (I don’t even think that’s a PC term… I hope someone will school me on the proper word to use;) Not in the “I’m better than you- or I think you’re stupid” way…..more so, in the: “I think you need, and should accept my help,” kind of way.

Prejudiced? Well, if I prejudge others as needy (which I hate) I also pre-judge them as needing my help. Maybe even as expecting or wanting my help…I act like my help is a huge joy in their life because I’m so considerate…. (I am helpful.  I hold doors, I make eye contact when others avoid it… blah blah blah….) What if I’m really, just annoying? I hadn’t thought of that.

What if I’m not the only one who hates this feeling needy?  What if it would be better to ask, than to always try to be helpful? What if I accepted a “no thanks” to my offer of help with respect, instead of acting like the person is being stubborn? (Maybe they are. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe they are holding onto their independence, like I need/want to?)

I feel a little like I’m walking a tightrope, trying to balance doing what I can, and accepting help when I need to. It’s awkward. I lean too far from one extreme to the other. What if this is what’s it’s like for others… everyday?  It’s exhausting.

Here’s the thing: What if I always limp? (I won’t, I’m just thinking aloud here..) Am I less capable, because I have limitations?  Am I less valuable because I need help?

I don’t think so. The truth is none of us were made to be able to do it on our own. We were created to work together. We’re supposed to be interdependent, not independent.

I may be able to do less….. But, I think I’m starting to understand more… about what it’s like to limp a mile in the shoes of a mom who has special needs….

Questions:

Are you a special needs mom?  Do you feel other moms are prejudiced towards you?

What challenges do you face?

What frustrates you?

How can other moms be compassionate without being prejudiced?

Have you ever caught yourself pre-judging a mom with special needs? How can you catch your prejudices before they become bigotries? (*See my post: confessions of a mommy bigot)

Dear Lord, First, I thank you for helping me gain some perspective through this knee injury.  I pray for all the moms who struggle with pain and mobility issues everyday. I pray that we’d learn to respect our unique challenges without prejudice.  That we’d listen and learn from each other and earn to connect and love each other. Oh.. and Lord?  I’d really like to be able to walk without pain…. I ask you to continue the healing you’ve begun, and to help me stumble along the tightrope of doing what I can, and allowing others to help, Amen.

“So…. can I run?” I asked hopefully.

“Well, you seem to be having trouble walking..” Replied the orthopedic specialist.

“But, I need to exercise.  I’m trying to lose weight. I just got into a good habit.. I don’t want to have to start all over.” I argued .

“There are other exercises you could do. Biking and swimming don’t result in  running injuries.” He countered. “You can do what you can tolerate. We’ll schedule an MRI, and go from there. It could be a stress fracture, internal knee derangement, tendonitis or pes bursitis. Wear the immobilizer or don’t, whatever feels better. Do you want a prescription for pain meds?” He offered.

“No, I should be fine. “ I replied. I was convinced the pain would be gone, soon.  I’ve had sprains and tendonitis before.  I can handle it.  I thought.

I was wrong. Very wrong. almost 2 weeks and an MRI later, the pain is no better.  I walk like zombie. I lurch and heave and swing and wobble.  Every step increases the pain.

I’ve been icing so much, I worry I’m turning into a popsicle. Or, maybe a blood-slushie.  I seriously feared for my life, when I went to see Eclipse.  (If any real vampires were there..a blood-slushie would have been nearly irresistible in this heat, I’m sure.) Apparently, the only vampires present were on-screen. I made it home safely.

I have purchased and tried every type of wrap/ brace I can find.  Nothing is helping.

If I sit just the right way, (which  involves pillows and elevation and just the right degree of bending…it’s a new yoga pose: The IfIdothisitdoesnthurtlikeabear pose. ) and don’t move… it is more comfortable. After a bit in this new pose,  I start to think: “Hmmm, maybe it’s getting better!” Then, I move and the pain crashes back in like a tsunami.

*Sigh.*

I am having trouble concentrating on writing projects. I’m having trouble doing the basic mom-stuff. This weekend was my son’s graduation party.. it was rough and painful and wonderful.  I am VERY thankful I had lots of help. I could NOT have pulled it off without it.  I’m having trouble keeping my sanity.

I’ve been obsessively researching the potential diagnosis.’  I’ve been obsessively reviewing my MRI. (I have it on CD and downloaded a viewer- yup- that really IS my leg in the pic.) Did you know you can see your fat on an MRI?  Gross.  My brain seems to be convinced that if I knew what was wrong, I could fix it.

My brain is confused. I’m not a doctor. Every time I read another article, I am convinced it’s something different. Every time I compare the MRI pics to those I find online… I change my mind, yet again. (Funny how radiologists and doctors go to school for years to learn to read those things.. But, I think a few hours of online research will equip me to diagnose myself…Am I the only one who does that?)

I’ve been wondering if I’m a hypochondriac. Between hurting my back, and the lame liver stuff I had last month and  this, I’m feeling like a wimpy-whiner.

I want my life back.

Once in a while, I pray.

I’m a little (maybe a lot) frustrated right now. To be honest, it’s a toss up who I’m angrier at- myself or God. Myself, because I have a bad feeling this is a nasty stress fracture and it’s my own fault for over doing the running thing… and God.. because, well.. because I believe he could heal me and isn’t.  It’s entirely possible he’s allowing this to teach me to listen to my body and not over-do.  It’s possible I’m hard headed.

Or- it’s possible there is no huge lesson in this.. and it’s simply something I just need to limp through.

One step at a time.

When I started writing “A Mile in Her Shoes” I hadn’t considered having to limp through some of those miles….But that’s for a chapter in the book, I suppose;)

Dear Lord– I don’t know what’s wrong with this stupid leg.  I do know that it’s hurting and making me crazy.  Please give the doctor wisdom  to treat it. I hate drugs Lord- you know that- so if he could put me in a splint that would relieve the pressure..and allow me to at least walk.. that would rock!  I’m worried about being able to function at MOPS Convention, and I’m worried that if I keep walking on it this bone will eventually snap right through. I’m impatient, Lord, and need to get ready for vacation this weekend. Please either heal me or help me wait… let me lean on you during this time of limping… I love you Lord– even if I’m frustrated with you right now- amen

* for the record-I am convinced I see a fracture in this MRI. and also for the record: I will be sickly thrilled if I HAVE diagnosed myself. I’m like that.

**** And now- just for fun. And because I have an essay in it… how bout we have a contest?  Who ever diagnoses my boo-boo, most accurately, including whatever the doc recommends for a treatment plan wins a copy of “Momology“.. we’ll call this a scientific application of the book….. ;P

options:

Group A (choose 1)

Stress Fracture

Pes Bursitis

Internal Derangement of the Knee

Tendonitis

Hypochondria

Some combination of the above.

Group B (choose 1)

cast

surgery

brace/splint

Physical therapy

suck it up you whiner- call a shrink.

leave your answer in the comments. I have my follow up Ortho appt Friday morning.  I’ll announce the winner then;)