Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On the Mend...Again

The last few weeks since the marathon have been filled with lots of fun things, most notably, having my daughter and her wonderful boyfriend home for spring break and serving on a retreat team for the women in my parish.
I awoke last Thursday to some pretty significant pain in my chest, more exacting, my ribs.  Just below the clavicle.  At first, I thought it was a pulled muscle of some kind.  Then after taking a brief run and realizing I couldn't breathe, I started thinking perhaps the rib was broken or cracked.
This seemed quite unusual as I have no idea how this "injury" occurred, so a trip to the doctor to rule out things bigger than I care to imagine, (since my cancer scare 18 months ago, I suppose I have been a bit paranoid about these things) appeared to be in order.
I was able to get in to see the doctor on Monday and had several xrays taken.  In the end, a fracture could not be seen, but also, could not be ruled out because of it's possible location.  The 2nd and 3rd ribs are very point tender.
Doc seems to think that I have somehow managed to dislocate or possibly even tear the costal cartilage joint on the 2nd and 3rd rib.  The good news is that there was no other disease processes noted.
The injury is on the 2nd and 3rd rib, where the blue (cartilage) meets the white (bone). 

This Doc isn't my usual doctor and so I thought of every question I would have to run through with him to see what I could get away with training-wise.
He had my number.  I think my usual Doc must have my chart marked up with all kinds of commentary...
He told me... NO PUSHUPS!  Then proceeded to tell me that I can do anything else I wanted as long as it didn't cause pain or affect my breathing
Smarty-pants.  He knew that anything I do causes pain and affects my breathing.  He actually even made me jump up and down in the office so he could show me what he meant.  Creep.  :)
Good guy, really.  He wants me to rest for a week and see how it feels.  If it isn't remarkably better then he will follow up accordingly.
I went home, determined to rest.  I'm in an off-season of sorts, no problem.  Lies.  I can't rest.  I'm a freak.  I'm an idiot.  I even belong to the Idiot's Running Club.  There is no way possible for me to truly follow doctor's orders.  So I began organizing every cabinet in the kitchen.  Then I had might sights on the garage.  I started moving things around in there and realized, there is no way I could do it with the use of the left side of my upper body.  And I couldn't convince the kids to help me. Dang it.
I did weed out all of our vegetable beds and re-plant the remaining plants from last season.  You can do pretty well with a one-armed raking and shoveling technique!
Monday night, I could not settle down to sleep.  I was up till 3 am culling through our homeschooling curriculum and re-writing everything or the last 7 weeks of the school year.
Tuesday morning came, quite early I might add, and I decided to see if there was ANYTHING I could do.  We headed to PE and I hopped into the pool for an "easy" swim.
After 200 yards, I knew I had to quit as the turning of my head to the right side caused a lot of popping in the chest.  I finished up 400 yards and headed into the gym to try the spin bike.
10 miles in 21 minutes, but I am not able to assume the correct position on the bike because the breathing and angle of the chest causes quite a bit of pain.
After the bike, I jumped on the treadmill for a .25 run to shake out the legs and see if that felt any better.  Nope.  Done.
I came home and felt ok that I had done something, but was quite disappointed that I really can't do any of my workouts without jeopardizing the healing.
I tried some lunges and realized that I can do those as long as I don't incorporate weights.  I also plan to try to walk on the tm on an incline and maybe even try the stair climber.  We will see if any of these things can be accomplished without pain.
One thing I have realized, I don't think I will ever really embrace a true off-season.  Maybe my mileage will drop off a bit, but to stop all training after my racing season ends just isn't in the cards for me.  I like this because I understand that I don't do any of what I do for the race experience.  I do it for the level of enjoyment I derive from it.  I do it to clear my mind.
There are many more worse things that I could be dealing with, and many others ARE dealing with, so I refuse to feel sorry for myself.  I am trying to direct my energies to positive things that I CAN do while waiting for this thing to work itself out.  (talk to me in a week...I may change my mind by then and be ready for a good whining session...)
Get out and do what you can today!  Whatever it is.  And do it with Joy in your heart!


  1. Do your best to let those heal properly. I broke ribs and tore the cartilage years ago and they didn't heal properly. Now my ribcage is deformed enough that it is visible through clothes, I am very prone to pulls and tears in the upper abdominals, my spine is getting torqued all the time, and I don't breathe as well as I could. All for something I though was no big deal. Please take care of yourself!!

    I do hope you get better soon, though. I know what a drag it is to be out of regular training. Patience is not a virtue for most athletes I know.

  2. Catching up on my blog reading! So sorry to read that you're in pain Karen. Take it easy and heal.