Tag Archives: stress fracture

The Most Ridiculous Week

I’m on the living room floor, crutches next to me, water bottle just out of reach. The front door is flapping open, the sick four-year-old is on the futon with the iPad, and I have no idea how I will feed us lunch.

Our refrigerator died on Monday. The parts were supposed to be in today but the repair guy can’t come until tomorrow, Friday. I had to throw out so much food. We rented a mini-fridge that freezes everything solid, and I transferred the piles of vegetables from our CSA out of our overflowing produce drawers and into two coolers.


No, seriously, this is my kitchen right now. With a rented mini-fridge and a towel on the floor for any last drippings from the defrosting failed freezer.

Needless to say, packing lunches this week has been tricky at best. I found bagels in the freezer and used the last of our cream cheese on them for the first day. I bought sliced turkey, but it froze solid in the mini-fridge (Plan B: Shredded cheese and baby carrots, failed because the cheese had gone bad when the big fridge died, and the baby carrots had frozen solid in the mini-fridge; Plan C: Hummus, also too late to save it; Plan D: Granola bar and apple, and good luck, kid). [And no, the kids can’t really buy lunch at school; it’s brought in by some private catering company and you have to pre-order and it’s expensive and just didn’t seem worth it. And nut butters aren’t allowed at school, and the kids hate sunbutter.]

Making dinner wasn’t too hard except there’s not much room for leftovers in the mini-fridge, and the veggie coolers are out of ice.

What a fantastic opportunity to really deep-clean the fridge!

What a fantastic opportunity to really deep-clean the fridge!

Then yesterday I finally made it to the orthopedist (both kids in tow, and yes, I shamelessly handed them the iPad and my phone for our full hour in the waiting room—-overbook much, doc?). Dr. Orthopedist promptly ordered an MRI and glanced at the kids. “Do you have any more of them at home?” he asked me.

“No,” I replied, “just these two.”

“Good, because you’re going to have to be on crutches for the next six weeks. Maybe just four weeks, if it’s a stress reaction instead of a fracture, but I think it’s a stress fracture. I mean, obviously you’ll need to make an exception to shower, but otherwise, no weight on the leg.”

He stepped out of the room to write the script for crutches, and I started to cry. See, my leg has been hurting a lot, more and more, and even walking a mile really bothers me. Spinning class hurts. It’s been feeling bad, but since my soft-tissue person thought it was just some tightness, I didn’t think I should worry about it or think about it much. Yeah, it hurt all the time, more and more, but since no one said anything was wrong with it, I was learning to live with it.

It’s nice to finally have verification—even before the MRI has been done—that something is actually probably quite wrong. I can finally admit that my leg hurts! It hurts.

Then I emailed my husband and said that what with my leg and the refrigerator situation, we’d be having take-out tonight. There was no way I was going to try to deal with making dinner. He offered to come home by dinner time and pick up the food on his way. YES PLEASE.

Then—-because oh yes, it gets better—Ben was sick all night, tossing with a fever and wheezing. I tried to imagine how I’d manage school drop-off, trying to crutch up the steps carrying a sick 40-lb child, and I made the quick decision that it would not be possible. No, it would be possible, but for the love of god, I was going to take the day off. I asked C to drop off Max this morning.

And then—did you think we were done yet?—I got up after five fitful hours of “sleep” next to Sicky Coughy Wheezy Boy and remembered that I’d used the last of the coffee yesterday. As in, we’re out of coffee.

Poor sick little Lumpkins. He requested baby carrots, lemonade, and chocolate milk for breakfast. WTF, dear child.

Poor sick little Lumpkins. He requested baby carrots, lemonade, and chocolate milk for breakfast. WTF, dear child.

And then I made the oatmeal and tried to carry a bowl and yogurt and a spoon, while on crutches, to the dining room. We don’t have an eat-in kitchen, and the dining room doesn’t directly adjoin the kitchen. You have to go through the pantry to get from kitchen to dining table and back again.

This is Day 1. I have at least another six weeks of this. I ordered a rolling utility cart from Amazon to use to get food and dishes to and from the kitchen/dining room. There’s no other way to do it, unless I entrust the small children with plates full of hot food or hire a butler.

We’ll live on instant coffee until one of us gets to the store. We’re talking about getting me a handicapped placard for the car, for times when I have to go to the grocery store and won’t be able to hold the kids’ hands in the parking lot (thanks to crutches) and it would be safer for them if I could park as close to the door as possible. It feels like a weird reason to have a placard, though. Mostly I’ll be able to get around fine, but grocery shopping will be sort of more hellish than usual.

My kitchen is also more hellish than usual. I cannot summon what it will take to empty the dishwasher, reload it, and wash the other stuff.

My kitchen is also more hellish than usual. I cannot summon what it will take to empty the dishwasher, reload it, and wash the other stuff. Hello, TaskRabbit?

But today! Today Ben and I lay around all day, not doing much, and it was marvelous. And then my friend and I got into trouble for passing notes to each other (and cracking up uncontrollably, as a result) in our kids’ piano class. And then our friend/neighbor, to whom I gave most of our produce yesterday and also today’s CSA share for her to pick up, dropped off the best baba ganouj I have ever had, all smoky and silky, and a lovely salad, and I realized I haven’t really eaten fresh vegetables since Saturday, unless you count the aging celery stick I fished out of the melted ice in the cooler in the kitchen this afternoon. 

Enjoy the pictures of our squalid life right now. I am going to assemble my new cart now. Then maybe I can clear the dining room table, crutching along as I roll my little cart of dirty dishes to the kitchen, like some unfortunate lesser character from The Hunchback of Notre Dame or something.*


* I have no idea why I am in such a good mood through all of this. It’s just funny at this point.** I mean, to have everything kind of thrown down at once like this? It’s great. It really simplifies things, in a way. In a very messy and debilitating way.

** Also, maybe I’ll find a drive-through Starbucks tomorrow. I think the closest one is 12 miles away. Wonder if that is on my way anywhere.





Let’s Talk About My Leg

I had grand plans this fall, plans that would have been attainable if I had been smarter about my approach, if I hadn’t been trying to qualify for Boston, and if I hadn’t let stubborn pride get in the way of common sense.

Training was hard for me in early summer, because I felt like crap and didn’t feel like getting off the sofa. I was at the point of my training when my long run was 16 miles, and though that distance has been easy for me even last spring, I really wasn’t sure I could do it.

In part thanks to the support of my running and online community, and a visit to my doctor for depression, I did all my training runs. I stayed on schedule. I ran my 18-miler in really bad worn-out shoes that hurt my feet, legs, and hips. I got new shoes and ran my 20-miler and felt great. Running was hard, running was okay, running was on track for me to finish the marathon and possibly qualify for Boston.

But my calves. Did I ever talk about my calves? At least a full month before the marathon, they cramped up when I was running. They cramped up at night and woke me up. On my last long run, they cramped up so hard that I literally hobbled—not ran, not jogged, but hobbled—the last 2 miles home.

They seemed kind of permanently seized, and I wasn’t sure I’d even finish the marathon.

I have not been able to run since. Not more than one step before I collapse in pain. And then it hurts to walk for the rest of the day.

I should’ve been seeing a massage therapist or my active-release sports doctor most of the summer. Instead, I waited until two weeks before the race—when my calves were pretty seized up—to see my ART person. She also works on the Harvard teams, including the cross-country and track teams, so I have a lot of confidence in her.

But I was seeing her too late. There wasn’t much she could do for me at that point.

I limped into see her a few days after the marathon, and since then she’s been doing what she can for me every week. It’s painful. She’s released most of the tension, but the leg is still not okay, and I still cannot run at all. My shin is killing me, even at rest, and more at the end of the day than in the morning. She thinks dry needling is the next step, to release the adhesions in the muscles.

She thought I should be able to try light jogging for at least 10 minutes yesterday. I forced myself to go for nearly a full minute before I stopped jogging and started crying and limped home in misery. A minute.

Something’s not right.

I saw my doctor today, who sent me for x-rays and referred me to an orthopedist. Maybe it’s a stress fracture. I did everything one needs to do to get a stress fracture, including overtraining, ramping up mileage much too quickly, running in bad shoes, running on asphalt all the time instead of mostly on trail, and not giving myself enough recovery time but instead doing things like running 5K races the day after my long run.

It might not be a stress fracture. It might be severe muscle adhesions. I may not know for a little while. I do know that I can’t run at all right now. I can’t do a lot of the boot camp workout without modifications of the cardio part. I got a one-month discounted gym membership and I’m going to spinning and will be using the pool, too.

I will not be running my first ultramarathon this fall, as was the plan. I will volunteer at it instead. Nor will I be running the Manchester City Marathon with my running club in November.

I don’t know when I will be able to run again. It could be a couple of months. It would be pretty ironic if I damaged my leg this much trying to qualify for Boston, and then my leg was too damaged for me to actually be able to train for Boston, don’t you think?