Monday, March 30

Pop Went the Weasel

I've been rolling along pretty aggressively in my goal to be as fit as possible before ACL replacement, meniscus clean up surgery. Stationary bike, swimming, weight lifiting... I've been feeling great about my progress. Until Friday.

After finding out from my GP that I'd had a major concussion from the ski accident that had gone undiagnosed (but was reason for my odd behavior, dizziness and headaches), I headed to the gym for two back-to-back workouts.

I was winding down a workout at physical therapy with monitored squats in the afternoon with a therapist. It looked text book, first one went well, second one fine. On the third, my knee collapsed with a loud POP and a pain like I've never have known. I thought I was going to throw up from pain.

Turns out the meniscus floating around in my knee got "incarcerated" in the knee and has completely locked the knee into a bucket handle. It is the most pain I've ever experienced in my life.

Dr. T saw me at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, injected me with some local and tried to manipulate the tissue out. It didn't work. He put in me in a full length brace from my hip to my toes and locked the brace at the position that it was stuck in. This helped control the pain by restraining movement. He also prescribed me some serious drugs.

As of today, I'm completely immobile. No walking (I can't even stand on my right foot), driving, swimming. No going to the bathroom or getting dressed by myself. We have moved into Thing 1's room and have set up a virtual hospital room in there. Losing control is the only thing worse to me than this pain. Having both is crazy talk.

Today is my pre-op appointment. Wednesday is surgery day.

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Friday, March 20

Balancing the Scales

We're starting to settle into Operation Hurt Mama status in our house. It's getting hard to balance the time, the priorities and the needs of the family. @La_Gringa is working double shifts between work-work and picking up the slack for me. I keep saying, "This is not a sprint, it's a marathon," but it's hard not to want to have the same pace as before I tanked it. Face it, I'm as efficient as a stoner at a Grateful Dead concert.

Yesterday was hard, painful, exhausting. Thing 1 found me trying to get down the stairs in tears and asked me if I was dying of cancer. Thing 2 has had relentless nightmares this week. Again, trying to balance these scales for everyone is so unexpectedly difficult.

Normalcy is a blur. Returning to normalcy is my immediate goal.

I'm thrilled with the surgeon we picked. He's colorful, direct and well-known for his work with athletes. This week he drained my knee (about a cup of pretty fluid) and yesterday put in steroids, which are working great. We got a diagnosis: My ACL and both parts of meniscus are toast. My ACL will have to be completely replaced with that of a cadaver. I've got plenty of bone bruising, contusions, bleeding and strains. You need about 20% meniscus to function, we'll see how it goes after Dr. Thabit gets in and cleans up the garage sale floating around in my knee.

Somewhere in between talking about cadavers and recoveries and the reality of not being able to run long distance again, my surgeon told me I could never be fat. Lovely. He felt the pressure on my knee would be just too much and could cause problems if I didn't stay super fit. I don't plan on being fat, but I didn't like being told I *couldn't* ever get fat. I wanted to slap him and eat a Twinkie.

I figured I'd be a failure at bulimia, so I started using an iPhone app called "Lose it" for caloric/exercise management. I'm not going to try and lose weight, but I have no idea how my highly active body is going to respond to being sedentary. The program, if you have an iPhone, is just amazing, smart, intuitive and right at my pocket. It is going to be key for me over this long haul.

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Wednesday, March 18

I am a Runner.

I am a Runner. I have always been a runner, even dating back to winning my age category in a 5k run around the Forum in L.A. when I was 8. Running is my sanity, my peace, my social life, my pride. As I've aged, my times have improved. My one New Year's Resolution for 2009? Run six 1/2 marathons (one more than last year) and break 2 hours (two minutes faster than my PR).

On Saturday I took a serious fall skiing on our last day in Snowbird. I'd been skiing double black diamonds all week; I fell at the top of a beginner run. I wrecked my knee and tore up my body pretty bad. So, I'm not going to be running 1/2 marathons this year afterall. And, it appears, maybe ever. That's okay by me. It's not okay-okay, but it's okay. I'm alive. I was literally thrown into a reality check of my life, and it's pretty rosey from where I sit (in a wheelchair at the moment).

I'm facing a big knee surgery in the next couple weeks -- my ACL, MCL, meniscus and some other ditties are all blown in my right knee. I can't stand on my knee at all. The pain, for lack of a better word is, exhausting. I took some Vicodin the first two days, but really, who are they kidding, I've got kids and kids with Vicodin is just not smart. Courtney Love, I ain't. But I hurt. All over.

From moment one I've been in a decent mental space about it all. My mom had a premonition about the fall before I had it, my daughter was supposed to have been on the hill with me and wasn't and, finally, I was wearing my helmet (this is my first season wearing it). Considering Natasha Richardson died of an injury to her head the day after my injury, you can only imagine how fortunate I feel. Wear a fucking helmet. Did you hear me?

I'm trying to chronicle my rehabilitation in photos and have a set started on Flickr called

You can follow my recovery there too.

I'm a runner. And a skier. And sometime not so long from now, you'll see me out there doing both. Just watch.

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Thursday, March 5

The Girl Effect

If you read my blog, you know how important women are to me -- moms and grandmothers, best friends, cousins, aunties, and life with a great gaggle of girlfriends (no, not girlfriends) always in my hip pocket.

I thrive on the value of women and their amazing relentless, innovative spirits. Just ask my biotechnology neighbor who quit her job in this recession to raise her daughter (that took six years to conceive) and bakes so well that her scones are sold throughout the country. Right, those women.

If you know me, you know how I feel about raising a son, and, my deep passion for raising a daughter.

I like this video, it ain't brain surgery, but it's a reminder: us girls can change everything.


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Full Mind, Blank Page

I've got a list of posts to write, a photo essay on the boundaries of our school district, the power of what a recession can do for our families, the benefits of Botox...

But somehow, with all this living of life, I'm just simply unable to write it right now. The dishes, they are in the sink like Groundhog Day every two hours and the floors have spots and the kids and the kids and the kids have needs. I can't really write right now.

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