2018 wrap up
It’s been a tradition of mine for the last few years, to do a year end wrap up. I usually include a list of the fantabulous things that I have accomplished, and some pretty neato pictures. Normally, I would post throughout the year, and my recap would include links and fabulous stuff. But, I have kinda been on hiatus from posting here at the blog. I haven’t really felt the most amazing and inspiring this year, and haven’t had things that I felt individually would make for good posts. Also, I sort of have the mindset that I can’t just jump right back in. Somehow, since this blog is my life and my journey and whatnot, I need to catch you up!
This year, I don’t know where to start really. I mean, the year started VERY promising. I was getting back into the gym. I was getting back into running. I had an 18 minute mile! I finished up an awesome assignment in Greenville, South Carolina. It was the end of six months spent there, I was ready to move on!
Next, we headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was amazingly beautiful! So many amazing places to hike, very close to home base!
Ezra and I hiking near Home Base in Santa Fe
We got to visit friends in ABQ.
Ellie and I had lots of fun blowing bubbles and flying kites!
Even the dog parks were fantastic
The view from the hospital I worked at was amazing.
The air in New Mexico was so clear, we could see EVERY SINGLE star. I felt like I was in an IMAX planetarium production of the stars, rather than hanging out at the doggo park! I mean, even the view from my balcony was breathtaking!
Diana on the balcony
I REALLY enjoyed my time in Santa Fe. Until I realized that there was a significant altitude difference between The Fortress in Virginia and Home Base in Santa Fe. I developed altitude sickness. I started to notice symptoms in my first week, and posted about it in Fatgirlrunning.
Jenn Alienjenn Frye
Today’s run was less than about twenty steps. It’s my third day in Santa Fe (7199′ elevation). I came from Virginia(1325′). Apparently someone switched the air with helium or something because I couldn’t breathe. It’s ok though because I still managed 3 miles in about two and a half hours (had to stop so many times to rest, I’ve got lung issues and I’m not about to risk some sort of elevation issues!)
Anyone in Santa Fe?
I knew that I have respiratory issues. They have landed me in the hospital more than once. I pretty much spent all of my freshman year of high school in and out of the hospital. I should have gone to an urgent care or the ER in my second or third week. Instead I listened to my fears (oh my can we say anxiety about fat biases?) and my stubbornness (eh, that’s just a small cough and that headache isn’t really bad, I’ve had worse!!) and I didn’t go.
I didn’t go until my fabulous nurse manager insisted. I went to the ER from work, and they said it was probably altitude sickness. I went home, and then I wasn’t getting better. Finally I went to the ER again (again at my nurse manager’s insistence, I told her I was well enough to go to work the next day! I could stubborn through until I was better!) and they admitted me for respiratory failure secondary to altitude sickness. The first night, I was afraid I was going to die. They put me on bi pap (it’s a lot like the CPAP that people use at home for apnea, but with different settings) for the first few days twenty four hours a day, and then just at night.
Eight days passed, and I was ok enough to go home and supervise Chris packing the apartment and the trailer. My discharge instructions simply said “return to sea level”
We packed, and left shortly after I was discharged. The ride from Santa Fe was very difficult. We got to ABQ and I could feel a difference. I could tell a difference in my breathing by the next day! We planned a stop in Fayetteville, on the way home to The Fortress in Virginia. My friend Danielle had sprained her ankle and her husband was out of town for a few days, so it made for a perfect “recovery with just the girls” kinda retreat!
Jo, Danielle, and I eating “recovery sundaes”!
I started feeling like myself again! I was taking little walks to try and regain my strength. Then, one day we went to the park. See those tiles? They’re the shock absorbent stuff that is supposed to help prevent injuries and make it safe for children to play there. I noticed when we got there that there was gaps and it didn’t look very safe. I was super careful, until we were leaving. I stepped in one of the cracks and rolled my ankle.
Ezra watching Tim climb
I didn’t know it at the time but I hurt myself pretty badly. We continued home to The Fortress, taking it easy. My foot didn’t get better, so I brought it up at my planned doctor’s appointment. They recommended me to an orthopedist, who recommended a MRI. There is a super long convoluted story that involves five different doctors and multiple imagings and a whole lot of waiting. The verdict was that I tore some ligaments and I had an osteochondral lesion on my talus. (The talus is basically the cornerstone bone in the archway that makes the ankle. The OCL was essentially a sort of bruise in/under the cartilage that covers the talus.) I had surgery on 17 September to repair the ligaments and the OCL.
Ezra sitting and snuggling with me. This boot was HOT.
It was a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG summer. First on crutches, then with a kneeling scooter, it was mid May when I got the results from the MRI and Doc said no more walking on that foot. I live in a one bedroom, slightly bigger than a shoe box, apartment on top of a garage. I think I have half a billion steps. Like seriously. I had to crawl up and down the stairs to come and go. I was having a tremendous amount of pain in that ankle. Leaving it down for more than a couple hours was unbearable. I was pretty much STUCK here. On rare days when I woke up and it was still cool enough to sit outside (it gets HOT when you sit in the sun!), I would sit and take my coffee on the porch.
Diana, Chris, and Ezra keeping me company on the porch
Surgery went well. The splint was HUGE, and heavy, and until they got my pain meds straightened out; I was in a great deal of pain. I realized though, that I have my mom’s toes. And I had a moment like in Beaches, when Hillary is frantic searching for the picture with her mom’s hands.
Left, Ezra touching mom’s foot. Right, my foot in the cast.
This summer was difficult. You only have to take a quick look through the pages of my blog, to see that I am ALWAYS outdoors. And I am ALWAYS moving. I was confined to a VERY small apartment for most of the summer. Going out was such an ordeal to get down the stairs and leave and to get in and out of the car. I couldn’t do anything without taking Chris with me.
My anxiety also played heavy and mean tricks on me. I was anxious about EVERYTHING. Money, the house being dirty, being waited on hand and foot, would the surgery work, would I ever be able to walk and go back to work, all this would go through my mind fifty times a minute. It wasn’t until November that I was able to get into a neuropsychiatrist and get some help with my anxiety and ADHD. I am doing much better now. Finally properly treating my ADHD and anxiety and depression is making a world of difference in EVERYTHING. I feel nearly human now! (there is some question of “is the low energy levels cause by some sleep disorder or narcolepsy?” or “is it caused by ADHD?” I go to see the sleep clinic in January)
Sticker from superfit heroes.
Sarah Robles “My superpower is resilience, what’s yours?”
So, I started physical therapy on 1 November. It’s been rough working through the stiffness in my ankle. Energy levels were tremendously low. I honestly thought I was dying before this last visit with the neuropsych. Finding the energy to walk and get my steps was very difficult, because if I pushed myself TOO hard I would spend the next day or three sleeping. Starting adderall has been so amazing! I don’t know why I fought this for so long. (OK, I think that it has a lot to do with the stigma surrounding mental health and the feeling that if I took drugs I would be weak. I am not sure why I was ok with drugs for anxiety and depression, but not for ADHD? Honestly, my logic can be flawed sometimes.)
The scars on the outside of my ankle
My foot is healing surprisingly well. I am out of the boot, and wearing a saddle brace. It’s really sturdy, with lacing and straps and such. It really limits my mobility (which is the point, but I want to run and move and I am being impatient!). Surgeon says, I am not allowed to run until spring, and no trail running until next fall. I go back to him at the end of the month and I will find out when he thinks I can go back to work. I HAVE to be capable of sustaining 10k steps every day, for me to feel confident that I can go back to work. Right now I am averaging 5-6k.
Ezra and I at the JMU Arboretum.
I am excited to be able to get out and about now. I can go places alone. I can mostly walk without any supports, except for when it’s uneven or long distances. I use my hiking stick for that.
It’s been a year, I will give it that. It didn’t feel amazingly eventful, until I wrote it all out. I do have to shoutout to everyone who has helped me. Between friends coming over and making meals, THANKS NOUCHONE!
Nouchone came and we prepared “hot pot”, it was amazing!
And meeting others out and about, HEY YOLO!
Yolo and I at the park
Meeting other friends for the BEST gluten free donuts I have EVER had, hi Desi and fam!
Desi and her littles, and me 🙂
Between all these friends here locally, and those on the interwebs. I kept mostly occupied and entertained. Between Gofundme, an anonymous benefactor (who basically supported me by loaning me a shit ton of money, WHICH I swear I will repay, even if it takes me ninety years!), gifts from family and friends, and social services I have managed to keep a roof over our heads and foods in our bellies.
I am hoping that I will be able to go back to work mid-January, and I am planning to file my taxes ASAP (it looks like I should get enough to build up a little bit of an egg to get us through until I can start earning moneys again). I am trying not to be anxious of the money/work situation. I have an AMAZING recruiter who will find me a contract the minute I tell her that I am ready to go back!
Looking forward to goals for the next year is also usually part of my recap. I usually make some grandiose amazing goals, you know like I wanna run a thousand miles or I want to do so many push ups or I want to do 365 yoga routines. I don’t feel that this year. I kinda feel like this year should be devoted to healing my body and my mind. I kinda feel like I want to learn more about this vessel that I live in and what IT wants from me. I have recently (as in this week) started trying to transition to a more wholesome and anti-inflammatory diet. I haven’t yet noticed any differences. I want to do more natural movements and yoga. I have been working on a daily meditation practice.
I want to continue those things, and figure out what else my body wants.
I don’t know. I turn 42 in the coming year. This could be the year that my body and I finally get on speaking terms!