Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chachacha... Changes!

It's now 4 weeks post- op and I'm officially mentally moving on to focusing on this cycling season. I have until the remainder of the week to lug around the storm trooper cast on my wounds and I've already begun the grueling regimen of PT that I am all to familiar with. This season, in a lot of ways, will remain the same. I will wear red, black, and white for my colors. I will ride Specialized products, do my bike business with the good folks at Summit City Bicycles, ingest Hammer Nutrition, have great team support from Wagner Research, use the best body care products out there by Winston's brand, along with having a few familiar teammates.

But, if one thing is certain in life, it is most definitely change, and I have a couple big ones personally for the upcoming season. I have been getting lots of nudges from everyone to let the cat out of the bag about my little hints as to what my changes were going to be and here's the official post on those things to come.

First of all, let me just say that this is a big change for me and I didn't make the choices lightly. I had some really hard decisions to make and I've been sole searching on this (along with the help of a few trusted friends) for a few months now and I'm excited about the decisions. Its been hard to even think about racing a bike at a high level over the past 3 months, let alone even think about where my "home" is going to be, so I had to make sure my mind was right and thank you to all the people close to me that have helped me decide what to do. I think back since November and I have had 3 major life events happen to me in that time then most people have occur to them in their whole life: broken ribs... viral meningitis... ankle surgery! I think its time I moved on from that chapter in my life.

Oh yes... back to the other decisions of change. Right. Sometimes it's time to move on, get a fresh outlook, fresh ideas, new home. Just like getting a hair cut, or new sunglasses. A fresh environment is sometimes needed. That being said, I felt it was time I moved on from my DRT roots that first gave me a boost in my elite cycling career. The DRT coaching and team was a great start for me and will be for many people in the future, but my time there was ready to be renewed. And with that... I'm moving on.

Men of Steel Racing will be my new team for 2011!
I am very excited to be a part of this team and family and have felt nothing but love from them since I started talks with them and made the decision to stay "local" with my team choices. Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Team MoSR is comprised of 27 riders between the ages of 11 and 82. They obviously started with the mind set of getting steel bikes out there, but have quickly grown into a full blown racing team with all bikes included. As a steel mtb and road bike owner, I admit that my steel bikes (also known as Star for my Indy Fab, and Horse with No Name for my Jamis) are my favorites, but the "Women of Steel" team name also refers to the "never give up attitude" and I love the play on words here!
I can definitely relate to the it. MOS also hosts some really great races including 2 state championship events. Check out the up to date website for all the goodies: or look us on facebook

(Just a handful of the Team From Last Year. Some old friends plus many new faces for me)

In addition to the above support I have been used to, I am also really excited to be wearing Mt Borah cycling clothing. Mt Borah has really come though for me with MOS and have been kind to offer me some additional support. My first impressions of this clothing is top notch, they have some really nice features and the best part is that they are based in Wisconsin! Please take the time to check them out and give a couple pieces of the gear a test too: I know you'll love it. I'm also thankful to represent some really cool companies in Meijer and Excellon Technologies, these companies choose to sponsor us cyclists so please don't forget to keep the circle of support for them!

(Getting a chance to meet some of my new team at our kickoff party)

The other big change for me will be a new coach. This may be the hardest change for me since a new coach is like a new member of the family. I will be adding Mark Fasczewski of to my family in the next month or so. Mark's knowledge base of cycling training (especially women) is at the top of USA cycling coaches food chain, and this is obvious since one of his athletes, Kim Finn, just came home with a National Cyclocross title. I have no doubt that Mark's coaching will help me achieve my goals I set in place.

Aside from that, I just want to send some love to Jim and Mylein Kruse for pouring so much time and love into MOS. Mylein heads up the other side of Jim and has been a great help to seeing that I get squared away with the team in the least tedious of ways. Also, John Martin with the team was really kind to help me get the ball rolling and props to him too. Otherwise, thanks to my loyal consultants in cycling; Anne, Aaron, Josh, and my family. Along with micro advisers; Barry, Terry, and everyone else who's brain I picked.

I look forward to things to come!

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
-Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Deja Vu

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. ~African Proverb

(I'm sticking to non-foot pics this post... I'm tired of looking at it. I'm sure you all are too)

I have this funny feeling I've been through this before.

Ah yes, that's right, I have.

Twice. So third time is a charm, right?

I'd like to think so. I'm sticking with that. Given anything else, at least I have the recovery and therapy down pat. I would almost say I'm a expert at it.

So let's catch up a little. I had my 2 wk follow up with Doc on Wed and got my stitches out. I was ready to be done with them as a result of the knots growing into my skin. It's always fun to have suture knots dug out of a fresh surgical wound. I'm healing good and everything is going as expected with the exception of some nerve irritation and severe pain near the top incision. He had to free this nerve up during surgery and move it around a little so we are hoping the pain I'm having with that will settle down with time and therapy. It's not so fun right now as it keeps me up at night and is a constant "funny bone hit" sort of feeling, so I pray Doc is right and I'm trying not to stress out about it too much. Worry won't help me get better, but it's hard not to since I can't imagine anything worse right now then needing that nerve fixed too. But I have to trust one of the best guys... I'm sure he knows what he's talking about.

Other than that, I was given clearance to get going on the trainer in the cast. I was really happy about that and I have been on the trainer a few times since then. Even though I wouldn't call it a work out, it was nice to be able to just do something. I had my first "pain free" ride yesterday and as a result, I can ride in a tennis shoe next Wednesday if I keep that up. I won't be riding outside for at least another month, but I'm not too bummed about that right now since the weather is pretty chilly these days. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself to feel better about it.

(I don't mind riding the trainer for now... unless I was able to ride here in NC)

I know I've said it before, but I really hate surgery. It brings on some pretty dark times in a lot of different ways. Everything has been a blur the past couple weeks and even though it's only been 2 weeks, the passing time has felt twice as long. Surgery is painful, it make a person feel worthless, cause a loss of income, brings on stresses with employers, and makes a person like me dependent... among other things. However, it also makes a person reflect and really learn to appreciate everything they do have in everyday life. Its similar to a bonk situation or a long, tough ride all be yourself. A lot of self inspection takes place. It also helps you see how thoughtless some people can be, but also how really special some people are to you. I've seen both sides of the coin and that will help me be a better person to others in my personal and professional life, which will help me fulfill His calling for me. It also helps remind me of everything else I have been blessed with, which would be way too long for blog post. I've had some bad luck with my physical shell, but in every other regard, I'm a very lucky girl.

I just hope that I don't have to face any reminders (surgery/ illness) for a long time. I know I can remind myself without that stuff for a very long time.

Thanks for reading and keeping me in your thoughts and prayers everyone!

Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive. ~Josephine Hart
That's right :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weaning Off The Couch

It's been 11 days since surgery and I think I'm finally turning the corner. The first 7 days were pretty rough and I was in a strange semi coma state during those days and Black Kitty and I pretty much spent our time like the picture below. The issue is that I'm getting really sick of lazing around and she doesn't seem to mind continuing the same routine. Ahhh, the life of a cat.

I had a few big things happen since the last post. The most exciting was that I am now able to weight bear with the crutches. This is a huge blessing since the snow has returned and I am needing to get out and about in it. I'm all for fun, but crutches and snow do not go well and are completely terrifying to get out in. Being able to bear a little weight helps me not bite it so easily. Next, I was able to fully wiggle my toes the other day. I know this seems minor to most, but it felt soooo good to me. The swelling has been so great that my toes were like fat stubs and were frozen into one position. I'm pretty happy about it. Next, I went back to work. The first shift was miserable since I was unable to take any narcs for 12 hours. Coming off taking them every 4 hours was a huge deal and I was in extreme pain, so much so that I was nauseated at the end of 10 hours and had to take some Zofran for it. I was extremely anxious prior to this shift, but I was blessed and didn't get called in to do anything... a true gift from God that day. My next shift was yesterday and I had a short day in the OR with a good crew. It was still very painful, but I was happy to get back to work and feel useful. I really do love giving anesthesia and I was happy to be able to help people again. I will be back to work all next week and have a little travel on Monday to work; I'm already anxious about the pain from the swelling that the travel will cause... but I'm gonna tough it out and pray for the best.

I will be taken down to see Dr Porter on Wed for my 2 week appointment, get my stitches out and get the word on how much longer I will need the crutches, be in the cast, and what my timeline for recovery looks like. He called the other day and said I could spin for 15 minutes in the cast once I was off the pain meds for a full 24 hours AND not in pain... hmmm, I look forward to that day- to spin and not be in pain. I think I'm getting close, but I really just want to focus on making it through a work day without feeling like death first.

Now I have to focus on finding the strength and mindset to take on the recovery phase that will come soon. Everyone always seems to worry about the "day" of surgery, but after a few of them in the books for me, I know all to well that the hard part comes during the recovery phase. My incisions are healing nicely as you can see above, but as below shows, my muscle mass didn't take long to start fading away. I've got a lot, a lot, a lot of work ahead of me for this comeback that spans all the way back to November when I had meningitis. Maybe I should apply for a cat downgrade?

Just joking.... this is Comeback 7.0!

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. "
John Wooden

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Surgery #???... I've Lost Count.

Surgery is over... the work is done by the surgeon and his staff. Now my part of the work comes in. Which is the hard part. I mean after all, I'm asleep during the surgery and I pretty much have nothing to do but lay there and be anesthetized.

Surgery went okay... whatever that means. I didn't die. Which I was never worried about. It was a long day, but I'm sure it was even longer for my parents who made the trip with me. That's what I hate the most about my surgeries, knowing that my family will be worried and stressed about me. It breaks my heart. In that respect, I' m so glad the day is over. We headed down to the surgery center in Carmel that day and had a nice trip down with views of a beautiful sunrise. I was extremely nervous and was ready to get this over with. Once we got to the center, I got checked in and everything started happening quickly. I went over my history, got my IV started and talked with my anesthesiologist. I was thankful it was the same lady I had before and she went over the anesthesia plan with me. She was great. Dr Porter was actually right on time with his surgery times and before I knew it; myself, him and my parents were saying a prayer together and I was heading back to the surgery room. It always seems odd walking into a OR as a patient and laying on the table. I always feel like I'm in the wrong spot and dressed all wrong... but this time I was the patient so I closed my eyes, said a personal prayer, and faded off to the unknown state of anesthesia....

(Dorsal incision to fix the fracture... and other things)

During surgery Dr Porter did as planned. He first excised the nerve on the side of my ankle that was damaged during the first surgery. He said it was so badly damaged and scarred that it didn't even look like a nerve anymore. It had no chance of ever really resuming normal nerve function again. No wander it caused so much trouble this past year! After that, he repaired the fracture of the navicular bone. He told the nurse to inform my parents he was done, but after a closer look he wasn't. He found a large bone spur forming at the base of that bone. That was complicated more because it was entrapping the nerve that crossed the top of the foot. He had to be extra careful not to damage or cut this nerve while drilling and sawing off the bone spur. This explains even more why the top of my foot hurt as much as it did this fall. He said it was an unusual finding, but leave it up to me to have some rare issue! After 2 hours of surgery, he was done and I was sutured up and taken to the recovery room.

(Lateral incisions made to work on the nerve)

That's really the basics of the surgery. I've been home now for a few days and I don't really remember much about what all has happened in that time. I'm keeping the blog short since I'm jacked out on vicoden. I even had a trip that the Irish won a bowel game! So sorry if this doesn't make any sense at all.

I dread surgery always, but it is always is a quick reminder how much I hate it when the anesthesia wears off for ortho work. It's a humbling experience to be completely brought to silence from pain. I know that it is bad right now, but it will be better some day if I can just hang in there for a little longer. Right now, I'm on orders for bed rest. I am only allowed to be up 5 minutes at a time and I have no problem following that rule since I can feel the swelling pool up in my ankle when I'm up.

(Out of the cast ready to get that bloody dressing changed)

Yesterday I had my first dressing change and was able to be out of the cast to do it. I had my sister help me and she about throw up on me... it kinda didn't look so nice in person. I was a little surprised how filet-o-fish it looked especially since I was expecting much smaller incisions for some reason. I'm feeling pretty cut up right now and it helped explain why it hurt so much in the cast the first couple days. I have some healing to focus on! As for now, its back in the cast and will stay out of sight until I go see Dr P again in a couple weeks... which is just fine with my caretaker sister. I'll be on crutches a while and I am not even pushing Dr P right now as to when I can get back to normal activity. I trust his judgement and will just do as he says right now and not get too stressed about getting back on the bike.

I know I've been through a lot of surgery, but it NEVER is something I get used to. Actually, each one seems to compound the previous one and its a big deal. It's a huge disruption to me and my families lives, and that's why I am so thankful for everyone's prayers, thoughts, and kind words to help us through this.

I couldn't do it alone.
I'm so thankful I don't have to.