Thursday, June 28, 2018

Runfessions - Stronger Tougher Fierce Grateful


This has not only been an interesting week, it's been quite the year as well.

I'm not talking about 2018 specifically (that would be this post), but I'm referencing the past 12 months. Anyone remember what happened on June 29th, 2017? Exactly one year ago, I was wearing a hospital gown. In an operating room. Undergoing emergency surgery for a staph infection that had been undiagnosed (until a few hours prior).

All of my summer plans, running and otherwise, came to an abrupt halt.

But, let me runfess, it wasn't all that bad.


Sure, there was a brief pity party in room 3014 at Methodist West. I am a runner, after all, and runners run. My surgeon told me "No running for a couple of months, don't even think about it." I had a 4th of July race and the Chicago Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon on my summer roster....and I had to DNS (did not start) both of them. He did tell me that my recovery was more about the 6-inch suture seam healing than it was about injured muscles, so that gave me hope. Thus, my journey with Voldy (short for Voldemort, the name I gave to the unsightly scar  across my right knee) began.
Ugh.....aren't those stitches nasty?
As mentioned, it has been an interesting year, one I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams or nightmares. Not only was I not allowed to run, I was not supposed to do anything that would make me sweat (for the first few weeks).....the danger of perspiration seeping into the suture seam was too great. Oh, and I also came home from the hospital with a PICC line so I could continue at-home IV infusions (3X each day for a few weeks). Kind of a nuisance, right? Well, let me runfess, that I learned that I had the strength to rise up and face the challenge(s) of my circumstances. Although it was a lot of extra work and attention to detail, it also was pretty empowering.
My last IV infusion...and the next morning the PICC line was gone for good...all 16 inches of it
With that 6-inch scar across my knee, I was really limited in my mobility as the scar healed. I was instructed to keep my leg as straight as possible for the first month or so (to allow the suture to "seal and heal" properly)...do you know how tough it is to get around without bending your leg? Getting in and out of a car was crazy tough for this long-legged gal! Have you ever tried walking down a stairway without bending your leg? And, what kind of exercises could I do? Let me runfess ... where's there a (strong) will, there's a creative way to make it happen. Not only did I do a lot of walking, but I also did a lot of leg lefts and even more planking to stay in shape.
Planks, push-ups, and stretching....
Amazingly, my #glasshalffull attitude really came through for me. Also, I had an enormous network of family and friends (via blogging and social media and in real life) who were constantly cheering for me. I have to runfess, despite the disappointment of not being able to run in the summer (my favorite season), I really didn't feel that "down" about it. I was able to walk everyday, after all, and just being able to be outside in the early morning hours really lifted my spirits. All of that walking last summer ignited a love of (almost) daily walking that has continued.
Grateful to still be a walker...
Probably the biggest blessing this experience has taught me, though, is to cherish EVERY run. Even when my pace felt a little sluggish in those first months back, simply being able to run again was euphoric. We've had an especially hot and humid summer this year (and it's not even July yet). I'll just runfess to you all.... the weather has not seemed that big of a burden to me this year. Granted, I'm one of the rare ones who doesn't mind the heat as much as others do. 

Having missed out on so much last year, I am cherishing every opportunity to be back in my running shoes this year. Just Thursday, the temps were in the upper 80F's (upper 90F's feels-like), and I was almost overcome with an unexplained energy. I did a speed workout on an outdoor stairway...70 flights up (and down), with only two brief rest periods (don't worry, I had plenty of water with me to stay hydrated). I don't usually get an endorphin "rush" from speedwork, but I did after that stair workout. I'm very lucky I could do that in those warm conditions, and I'm grateful.
taking it to the stairs
So, yeah. Happy Birthday, Voldy! One year old (but we won't be celebrating with cake or ice cream).

The past year has been a wild and crazy ride. Although it's not a journey I would have chosen, I'm thankful for the adventure. I learned a great deal about dealing with what life (or Fate?) hands me. For myself, finding a reason to laugh (or at the very least, smile) at my circumstances serves me far better than dwelling on the stuff that makes me want to cry. Believe me, there were a lot of things I could have cried about a year ago, but there were many more things to be thankful for. My recovery was not fast nor easy, but it did (eventually) happen. I'm grateful for that as well.

Enough about me...
How about you? Do you have anything to runfess? Ever been through an unexpected journey that left you more grateful than bitter? Have you ever been sidelined for an extended period of time?

***For more specifics on my surgery and recovery, my Road to Recovery is documented HERE.

I'm linking up with Marcia for the ever awesome monthly Runfessions. Please join us!

I'm also linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. 


50 comments:

  1. I cant believe its been a year already! It definitely sounds like you learned alot from that experience and came back even stronger than before!

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    1. You know, sometimes we need a setback to show us our actual strength (not that I'm requesting another one any time soon LOL)

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  2. Still on that journey...

    Glad you're healed and back to form!

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    1. All of our journeys are unique, all have their own twists and turns. Hang in there, you're a fighter!

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  3. Wow the years go fast. Glad you're past the worst of that saga...and you lived to tell about it!

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    1. It's really strange to think it's been a year...I keep flashing back to that afternoon when my summer was abruptly over-turned...

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  4. Wow! You have come so far in 1 year. Congratulations to you! The stitches are ugly, but the skirt is super cute!

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    1. I was so glad to lose the stitches! They made it look much worse than it really was.

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  5. You and Voldy have really come a long way! I know it's your always positive attitude that propelled you to a speedy recovery

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    1. Thanks, Deborah! I had an amazing cheering squad, too (ahem) ;-)

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  6. Thanks for the reminder to always look for the silver lining -- I do try, but sometimes . . . let's just say we're in a bit of a rough patch right now. But no, nothing to do with running.

    Oh man, it was so disgusting yesterday I did my speed work on the mill. I seriously just couldn't face the outside. #sorrynotsorryatall

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    1. I'm glad you can take it to the mill with no regrets ;-) Not every runner can do that (myself included).

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  7. I'm so glad you're doing better now! I feel ya on not being able to do things due to injuries (I definitely learned to do a lotttt of things left-handed when I broke my right hand!) I'm glad you have such a positive attitude! :]

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    1. Thanks! I think we all have the strength within us to rise to the occasion, no matter how challenging it is.

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  8. brilliant! a year already!! you really were able to accept and deal like no other. very inspirational, Kim! I totally understand cherishing the run. The last two years since my foot surgery have been VERY frustrating, but I not only stopped the overtraining and didn't run any marathons at all since Nov 2016 (which is REALLY hard since my husband and half of my running friends were doing marathons every week it seemed) but I've focused on real recovery and not given up trying to find a solution for my foot. I'm not there 100% yet but I'm feeling now like I'm FINALLY getting better and the marathon is on the horizon :)

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    1. It has been a blast getting to know you and see all you're doing "overseas." You inspire me as well...you're always doing a workout of some sort, and your travels are to such interesting places ;-)

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  9. I can't believe it's been a year! You handled the situation with such positivity and grace.

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    1. Thanks, Holly! And a huge thanks to YOU for all your support & encouragement ;-)

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  10. The one thing I remember during that time was being so impressed by your positive attitude. You really found all types of ways to stay active even though you had limited mobility. I can't beleieve that it's been one year already!

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    1. Time flies when you're having fun, right? ;-) You were another of my favorite cheerleaders, thanks!!

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  11. You had quite a year but your comeback was amazing. I know your positive attitude made a huge difference!

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    1. Thanks ;-) Keeping that glass half full wasn't always easy, but it sure helped me focus on the big picture and not just the here & now

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  12. I think I started reading your blog post surgery and I always just assumed you had a running injury that resulted in surgery. I didn't know it was a staph infection! Emergency surgery sounds so scary. You've come so far, congrats!

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    1. The surgery was pretty scary...it all happened so fast, I really didn't have time to worry about it.

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  13. You are amazing and had a great attitude during your recovery.

    I have a rough 16 mos back in 2012-13.

    But I think I am a better, faster and stronger runner now.

    I never would have believed that would happen.

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    1. Crazy how a rough patch can have such a positive impact, huh!

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  14. You've done quite a lot too since you could start running again. It's good to mark this, but not with ice cream. I agree with that. I don't celebrate my ITBS anniversary, and I'm well aware of that date :-p

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    1. I jokingly talked about celebrating because of the scar practically being a person LOL

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  15. I've been sidelined due to pregnancy and childbirth twice and it was tough! I know not the same as injury but mentally hard! The comeback is fun though!

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  16. Amazing that it has already been a year! You had the best attitude throughout that whole process. It's been great to see you come back so strong!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! It's really hard to believe it's already been a year...and that it even happened at all. Such a surreal experience...

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  17. You really did an amazing job with that knee. I can't believe it's been a whole year already!

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    1. A year ago, it seemed like it would take forever...but looking back, it really has gone fast

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  18. I can't believe it's been a year. That was one crazy time for you. We had just run Grandma's together! Granted with the knee swollen days before but...

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    1. And, I did a very slow and awkward 1-mile #nevermissaMonday run on that Monday right after....and that was my last run until mid September (after my surgeon gave me the green light). Thanks for being such a fab cheerleader through it all ;-)

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  19. Wow, hard to believe it's been a year already! You've been a champ an go getter!

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    1. It's crazy. It still seems like it just happened...I can remember everything about it

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  20. You have come such a long way since last year. Time really does fly! Glad to hear that everything is healed up and things are going good!

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    1. Thanks! It's been an interesting journey LOL

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  21. Your glass half full attitude was so inspiring to me as you dealt with your injury. I absolutely believe that and following doc's orders, helped you to recovery so quickly. I'm glad your back at it and feeling the rush of a strong workout! I need to channel you as I deal with my PF and be more diligent in my exercises.

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    1. I have been thinking of you...PF is such a nasty beast! I hope your recovery goes well!!

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  22. Glad your in the hospital this year!!

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    1. Exactly ;-) That was 8 days I'll never get back LOL

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  23. You have had quite the year! I can't believe it's been a year since your surgery... what a great recovery!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad to have all that in the rear window. Ugh...what an ordeal!

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  24. Very good article. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.

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  25. Glad you are healed completely. Having a positive attitude is so important. Great job getting creative to stay in shape!

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  26. Wow, it’s already been a year?!? You were such a trooper through that entire journey and I was and continue to be in awe of how you handled it all. Way to be strong, both physically and mentally!

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  27. Very good article. I'm so impressed. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.

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