Monday, April 03, 2006

And I used to think needles were bad... Well, I'd rather have needles than knives...

I haven’t posted for a few days because I have been busy digesting information…

Haven’t been to see Z. and baby yet, as there were only two people at a time allowed in the hospital unit she was in… and understandably, that was usually family members. Hope to get to see them soon though! I have seen photos and he is one cute little guy!

As for the information I’ve been trying to digest…

I went to see the sports med specialist on Friday. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with my leg. He says it sort of presents like compartment syndrome, but the fact that I don’t lose feeling in my foot or leg means that it is not that. He took a tape measure and actually measured my calves. There was half a centimetre difference between the legs, which he said, even given bodily asymmetry is still an appreciable difference.

It was first thing in the morning… prior to the gym and the usual daily activity. In other words, the swelling was at its lowest point in the day.

I told him that when I go for physio, Tim puts needles in my back and the swelling in my leg goes down. The doctor, who works in the same clinic as my physiotherapist and so, knows him personally, just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah… um… I can’t explain that.”

The next thing he said threw me for a loop, “I’m going to talk to the surgeon about this. It’s not compartment, but it seems like it… Maybe we should go in there and release that pressure with surgery….”

I just about fell off my chair.

There is one test that he thinks the surgeon will recommend first. It has something to do with measuring the amount of pressure build up in my leg. He didn’t give me too many details (other than to tell me that it would be $200 out of my own pocket, as it is not covered under Medicare). I didn’t ask for details. I was in too much shock after hearing the word “surgery”.

I asked about custom orthotics. He said, “Yeah, OK, I can give you a prescription for those…”

And he did. Since they are fully covered under my student health plan, I figured now was the time. But it was kinda weird… The doctor didn’t seem to really be in favour or disfavour of them… Just kind of ambivalent... But he was really into the surgery idea, it seemed.

I am baffled… and to be honest, quite upset… deeply upset… about this idea of surgery… especially when there is no clear diagnosis. I guess I am a bit chicken… I have never had surgery in my life.

Anyway, I went today and had my feet cast for the orthotics. Went to the same place as I got the knee brace, which by the way, I am wearing every time I work out now, on Tim’s recommendation. It totally eases the pain, though I am worried about becoming dependent on it…

The guy at the orthotics place seemed convinced that what is going on in my lower leg is connected to my knee... and feet. He said that the tibialis anterior is one of the muscles that holds up the arch in the foot, and so, the orthotics should relieve some of the stress on it. Here's hoping...!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering… still not allowed to run. I have, however, been experimenting again with the stationary bike and elliptical… I can take about 15 minutes before my knee or leg starts grumbling, so that’s what I do.

Meanwhile, I can’t stop thinking about the surgery idea… How could this happen? I make a commitment to explore what it means to have an active lifestyle, with a view to leading a healthy, balanced life and next thing I know, I’m injured to the point that there’s an expert wanting to chop me up with knives?

Life was much easier as a 5' couch potato pushing 200 lbs., that’s all I can say…

On a happy note, I went through my closet tonight and tried on almost all my clothes, to see what fits and what doesn't. Even the size 12's are big now, so it's looking that I'm definitely down into the size 8/10 range. Have a big bag of clothes to donate to the Sally Ann now, which makes me feel good...

18 comments:

Turtle Guy said...

Hang in there, sweetheart - you're on a path of discovery and sometimes... well... the first option isn't always the best or only option.

Isn't it interesting that you embarked on a road to a "healthy lifestyle" to end up in an interim place of injury and pain.

Perhaps this is the vehicle that will take you to balance in your physical fitness.

We've talked before of what it is your body's saying when the pain strikes, and perhaps it's leading you to the place of balance - where there will be enough forward motion to make the desired result happen, perhaps not as quickly as the mind would like.

Remember this: YOU ARE TAKING ACTION AND MAKING PROGRESS!

William said...

Wow, thats crazy. Couldn't it just be a side effect of shin splints?

If you sit at a desk all day like I do, then you may be prone to swelling in the legs like I do. My feet can grow 1-2 shoe sizes if I forget to get up and move around.

megz_mum said...

Just keep asking questions! Don't go for the surgery option until you are convinced it is the right one. And very importantly - go and seek another opinion before you jump in!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

((((hugs)))))

as said before, keep asking question!!! I found with my gallbladder that the doctors just wanted to do surgery - take it out immediately (of course, I had a solid diagnosis!). But I learned I could control the pain through diet, and so far, I haven't had to go to surgery.

I really really hope you can get a solid diagnosis before surgery - have you sought a second (or third) opinion?

Yay for the orthotics! Yay for size 8/10! You are making a difference in your body, and learning more about yourself every day.

madcapmum said...

Oh definitely keep asking around! The first podiatrist I saw recommended surgery for my feet too, and I heard later from several "official" sources that it would have been a bad idea in the long term. It took a couple months with my orthotics to really start the healing process with my feet and knees so that I wasn't in pain anymore. Patience, Sarah me dear!

Has Z's baby got a name yet?

wthenrest said...

I totally DIDO on the keep asking questions...I am 90% opposed to surgery - just because that lets them make a diagnosis ...no matter how bad it may be!!! Don't do it until you are convinced 100% that it will improve your life.
Balanced active life... as turtle gut said. Not 150% until you drop dead active life :0)...remember that moderation. Well your body has spoken. Albeit a little too loudly.
Hang in there!

olga said...

Focus on the size 8, not the surgery for now...as for everybody who says - ask question and don't let diagnosis to be made by cutting you open...well, having the same problem and medical background, been asking question for 4 years now, I can affirm that this kind of diagnosis unfortunately only confirms during a surgery. Try orthotics, let me know how it works. Don't be scared though if you do need to go "under a nife" - it's a tiny incision and you're back walking same day, running in 6-8 weeks...I just could never find 6-8 weeks between my racing schedule:)

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Congrats on the size 8. Heck your fat clothes are what I'd like for my skinny clothes *sigh*.

I've been thinking about seeing someone for my feet (heel problem - not PF) but I'm afraid they will want me to stop running and I just can't. I'm addicted. Any good clinics you'd recommend. The Downtown clinic is in my office bldg.

ipodmomma said...

first, glad that Z is getting along well...

next, you. after all we went through last fall with Peter and his neck/back, I can say that while surgery might be what the doctor is talking, however, as we found out the day of said operation, maybe it's not necessary.

I don't know ther reason for all this, but as TG said, you have made incredible progress, so know that what comes next will just come when it does... hang in there, and know that there are so many of us pulling for you!

ipodmomma said...
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robtherunner said...

Sorry to hear about the doc wanting to chop you up. Thanks for the humorous interpretation even though I know you don't think it is very funny. Hang in there. I know running is in your future.

Janice said...

Hi Sarah,

You don't have to have surgery, if you don't want it you know.

Go to another doctor if you don't like what this one said, and they all are saying something differnt anyway!

Janice~

craig said...

I admire the way you have methodically worked your way through the injury. Can't give any advice but do hope that you get clarity on how to proceed from here.

Robb said...

This process must be really draining for you. So many unanswered questions remain. The surgery option would scare me too. Hopefully, someone will soon provide a clear diagnosis and treatment for you.

Have hope!

Susan said...

Sending warm thoughts your way. **hugs**

psbowe said...

So sorry about that not getting an real good news, hopefully some miracle appears(no surgery). Wish you well, I'll be thinking of you..

Jeremiah said...

Hmm. I thought it interesting how the doc so quickly dismissed the needles. What was up with that? Maybe he should FIND OUT why that works.

As mentioned, don't do anything that you're not 100% (or, upper 90's %'s) convinced about.

Keep your head up.

backofpack said...

And here I am...recovering from surgery. Even so, gall bladder surgery seems mighty different from surgery on the running parts. Maybe the orthotics will help. Good luck!