Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Flicker of Hope


If there is a roller coaster for emotions, I have been on a ride for the past 6 days or so.

I walked into Physical Therapy on Tuesday pretty much throwing in the towel with my treatment - my heel hurt so much that I was pretty sure I was doomed to cycling for the rest of my life.  Sorry to all you cyclist out there, but I can't seem to reach a high cycling like I can running.  And that's probably not a fair statement as I haven't given cycling enough time, but so far it's not doing it for me.

My PT's comment, when I bombarded him with a barrage of at least 13 varying heel pain plantar faciitis treatments I have researched or others have tried and told me about, "Wow, Jill, this really is consuming you...."

Um, hello...I have a running blog - like duh it consumes me!

I didn't really want him to address all the varying so-called remedies I threw at him (well, maybe secretly I did but I knew it'd be well past midnight before I left), I mostly just wanted him to be aware that yes, this stupid heel does consume me and I waste spend way too much time looking up so much crap on the Internet ... but mostly, without hope, I feel doomed.

So we started zeroing in on my calf.  Oh the calf.  The devil has taken up residency there a time or four over the past years.  That thing has crippled me with a couple pulled muscles and almost caused my Portland Marathon in '09 to never exist.  Massage torture therapy was my only saving grace at the time - and I managed to pull an incredible Portland finish time out of the hat, despite the fact I was practically crawling at the finish.

Tuesday, Nazi Physical Therapist Man planted his iron thumb into my calf and dug down deep.  And often.  Up and down the whole calf.  HOLY MOTHER OF EXCRUCIATING PAIN!!!  Who knew a calf could have so many trigger points and knots.

Then, to top off the misery, he thought he'd do a little dry needling in the already overly sensitive calf.

If anyone tells you dry needling doesn't hurt they are lying.  The needle doesn't hurt going in, as you may think it would...no, the pain comes when a vexatious stabbing sensation hits the muscle.  And then the whole thing spazzes like it was hit with a taser gun or something.

Oh yeah, fun times.

But you know what????  Today, a mere 10 weeks after I first sought out help for this debilitating disease, I actually could put my entire foot down on the floor.  I didn't have to walk on my tippy toes on one foot.  Yeah, there's still pain there but holy Batman, Lucy - I can FREAKING WALK without cringing every time my heel hits the floor. 

HALLELUJAH!!!

Today, he did the same crucifixion but focused on the inside of my shin, another trigger point which connects to the heel (eventually).

Today I finally feel a small flicker of hope.

I have a boat load of toe flexing exercises to do and I have drastically increased the duration of these, even bringing my big, black rubber band to work and sitting at my desk with the thing wrapped around my toes (which I hook over my knee. That way I can still type at work - I'm such a creative soul!).....

Yes, this is my actual foot doing PT band stretches
on my bathroom floor.  I know, your life is now
complete having seen this picture!

....but finally, I think this thing can be turned around.  It may take awhile, but I think things are finally taking a positive turn.

"Hope is the dream of a soul awake"

So no, I am not running.  Yet.  And after 6 weeks of not, I can't believe I'm actually okay with this.  But I am.  For now.

But I have been biking - like some crazed madwoman.  Me and my bike have become pretty intimate over the past few weeks and I even knocked out a 42.5 miler last weekend and I'm entering thoughts of a century bike ride in June *gasp*!!!   My bike trainer now resides in my bedroom and I have to climb over it daily to get in and out of bed.  If that isn't commitment, I'm not sure what is.  I don't enjoy as much as I do the pounding of my legs on the road in my running shoes, but I'm determined to wake up my soul and get into some sort of semblance of fitness and if I have to bike to do it, then so be it.  I'm changing my diet, I'm getting more rest, I'm trying not to stress, I'm back to lifting weights....and I'm biking.

And my heel is starting to respond. 

My soul is starting to wake.  Today is a new day.

I have tons of biking stories to share with you in just the three weeks I've taken on this task....I promise you those A.D.D. moments I have continue to follow me on the bike.  So stay tuned. 

And get this: I'm off for a few days of REAL biking adventure as I load up mine and my boys' bikes tomorrow and head of of town to the mountain biking mecca of the US: Moab, Utah!  I can't wait!!!


So I may be blog MIA a few days as I'm not sure I'll have Internet access but I promise I'll have pictures and stories galore to share when I get back.  I'm on Spring Break next week so when I return I will have lots of blog reading time :).  I thank all you bloggers out there who have been nothing but supportive and encouraging even though I have been nothing but down and whiny these past few months...and even the few who have emailed me just because you knew it'd make a difference (you know who you are :)) - it has all meant a lot. I was even lucky enough to spend a couple fantastic hours with the ever so cool blogger Tiina last week when we got to meet in person downtown for some frozen yogurt and a great heel whining session on my part.  She's super sweet and I can't wait until she's in town again this summer - I think we're even going to get a short run in together!  I KNOW we will!

Run strong, friends!!

65 comments:

I said...

Sounds like you are doing everything you can to heal up. It will happen! Just keep on pluggin away and before you know it your heal will get better and better. It sounds like you have discovered something else that (although may not be as awesome as running - I agree there :-]) still sounds like will be another great way to get out and be active!! Moab Utah rocks!! A couple years back I hiked to the arch and it was incredible! Maybe if this never happened you wouldn't have thought to go biking there... Trying to give you some silver lining ;). Anyways have a blast with your boys!! Take lots of pix :)

Kerrie T. said...

Wow. SO glad it helped! And yippee for your biking trip! Sounds fun!

PS: I am stealing the phrase "Holy Batman, Lucy." Love that.

Char said...

That expedition sounds like it'll be so much fun. Can't wait to see the pics from another part of the world that I've never seen.

Staci said...

Hang in there - all will be okay soon and just think you might not have been so excite to go on the bike trip if you were still running. Enjoy your trip!

Johann said...

Great to see such a positive post Jill! I think you may really have turned a corner at last. Stay strong and patient and enjoy the biking. Is it possible to pace a runner on a mountain bike as he runs up Pikes Peak? Have a good weekend!

Liz said...

Sounds as though we are in a similar place. I totally agree that cycling just doesn't hit the spot like running. My PF started 6 months ago, and although I am dabbling in running now, the pain is starting to increase again, so I'm not sure if I can keep it up. I'll have to look for dry needling here in Scotland... Good luck with your progress.

slow ernie said...

hmmm.. the calf huh?

Teamarcia said...

It's so good to read this!! You're so overdue for a glimmer, hell lots more than a glimmer but yay for things feeling better!
Enjoy your cycling weekend you hardcore biking mama--can't wait to hear all about it!

Jennifer said...

A flicker is better than nothing. And I like that cycling is not totally off your list... Love you girl and hope you find what you need to get better. Cheers!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

You are turning no stone unturned in trying to beat this thing. That is so admirable. I hope you have a great weekend of cycling. And now I'm really afraid if any of those dry needling folks comes out to the midwest!

C2Iowa said...

Glad to see you are progressing. Remember what you once told me about "salt"? I do believe it applys to you ........ enjoy the ride this weekend.

Evolving Through Running said...

I really hope this will get you over the mountain. PF is terribly frustrating. Doesn't seem to be a 'standard' course of action to get it under control. My feet and I seem to have reached an agreement to cooperate at the moment, but I don't have the upper-hand in the arrangement. The cycling weekend sounds incredible - enjoy!

chris mcpeake said...

Glad to hear that you are seeing at least a little progress. Hopefully the new approach will do the trick

Christi said...

YAY, I totally understand the painful PT sessions. I saw my ART yesterday and she killed my calf! I was almost in tears. Though, they think might be a stress fracture. Great! So like you I am back to loving the bike and the swim!

Hey are you thinking about Elephant Rock in June? Let me know because I have been trying to find someone to ride with me at ER!

lindsay said...

this dry-needling business does not sound fun. i feel like i'd kick the person administering the needles...

but glad it is helping! thank you for showing us your bathroom floor! it is beautiful. who needs to type at work though. i have iced my shins at work w/ an ice cup and just 'taken a break' from 'doing work' ;)

Laura said...

I don't even want to know what dry needling is...
Glad to see you can find the flicker..it is not an easy journey back. Enjoy the weekend!

Aneta said...

new reader over here. came across ur blog randomly and really could relate to ur post about the calf. i having lots of issues with foot pain in the last week or so.
i was stretching and ice rolling like a mad woman.

great blog!

ShutUpandRun said...

"My soul is starting to wake. Today is a new day"

I love this. Enjoy your spring break. This challenge, while is seems forever, will have an end. I just know it. Brighter days ahead.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

So happy to hear your having improvement. Even happier to hear you are not allowing the lack of running to be too heavy in your mind. You are staying active and working on a healing. I am so proud of your strength getting through this.
Enjoy the biking with the kids. Take pics! It's look beautiful!

Karen said...

Hooray for glimmers of hope! progess is progress no matter how small, right?

termite said...

soon, very soon you'll look back on all this and smile. yep, i promise you will. life is one big ride, this one is just a bit bumpy, that's all.
:)

*love the Banksy ;)

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

YAY OH YAY for hope!!! I'm so happy for you!!! Keep at it my runner friend, keep smiling and thinking positive!!! BTW I may be doing the Ascent... gulp.

onelittletrigirl said...

Hope is an amazing thing! I had dry needling...and graston. Ouch, ouch and ouchhhhh!

I hope the sun keeps shining on you- you deserve it!

Suzy said...

It is wonderful to read that your soul is starting to wake. You have had a rough time of it and to have hope is a wonderful thing. I know that PT can be painful, but the fact that you can put your whole food down is amazing and literally a step in the right direction. Hang in there and don't ever give up hope.

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

wow, just surprised trigger pt massage therapy was not used prior to all this? it always works for me. especially on my current hamstring problem. regardless glad it is helping. have a great time at one of my fav places! love Arches!

misszippy said...

Let this be your answer! I'm really pumped that your PT is working with you to get at the cause, not the symptom. You'll get there.

And in the meantime--Moab! Take lots of pics. Should be a great time for you both together.

Nitmos said...

Keep on dreaming. Best of luck with that. I ahd a touch of P.F. - if there is such a thing as a "touch" - and it took about 3 months to feel back to normal again.

Raegun said...

It's so good to read this - keep taking care of yourself. I can't wait to hear about your trip to Moab. That's on my bucket list. :)

Irene said...

"HOLY MOTHER OF EXCRUCIATING PAIN!!!"

Oh yeah, when they dig into like that you reeeeeaaaalllly have to find your happy place! Does the Nazi PT look you in the eyes when he does that? Mine doesn't because I think he feels bad when he inflicts pain...

I'm glad to know something is finally working for your! I never knew about dry needling. I'll have to look into it for my husband.

Yeah, I have the same feelings about biking, but if I had to I'm sure I'd eventually make it work.
I'm glad to see that you've put the dedication into the bike. Perhaps it will (eventually) give you the same joy running does. (I've heard that from people who used to dislike running, that they eventually learn to love it, then can't live without it. Maybe the bike will be the same? Keep us posted!)

Bruce said...

Having finished up PT recently myself and no running during that time, I can relate to how frustrating it can be. Hope the latest treatments get you better quick.

Marlene said...

So so so happy that the pain seems to be helping. (that just sounds wrong)

I hope that flicker turns in to a full on blazing fire of hope for you!

Have an awesome time with the boys in Utah! FUN!

funderson said...

HOORAY for hope!!! I'm happy for you and hope you get to run a little bit in Moab. That red dirt is good for you. Here's a local joke for you..."How do you know it's spring in Moab? All the license plates turn green!" Have a wonderful trip and go have a bacon muffin at the Love Muffin. mmmm

Matty B. said...

Dude, Moab is going to rock! I've got my friend's site: www.catalystcenterllc.com

Her name is Erin and she's an awesome friend. Super smart, empathetic, interesting, etc.

I do hope we can work towards a solution before Henry grows into his awesome new Rockies jumpsuit!

marathonmaiden said...

i am SO HAPPY for you that something is working! yippeeyippeeyippe!!!

and i am so with you on that emotional rollercoaster. probs the very next seat over from you

Kate said...

I'm so jealous of all your biking and especially of this Moab trip. On the other hand, I haven't been living with your heel nightmare for the past forever, so I will try to curtail my envy. What's funny/ironic/whatever about this post is that I was doing that exact same stretch with my foot as you show in your picture as I read your blog while sitting at my school computer. (Cue twilight zone music).

I am ready to be finished with this marathon and finished with school so that SOME of my free time can be spent on my bike.

I'm sooooo glad that you're feeling some hope and some relief from pain. I hope it continues in the right direction!

Petraruns said...

Jillie what a WONDERFUL hopeful post - it is lovely to read it. I am SO happy that your approach of hammering that injury with so many different approaches is paying off - good good good girl for persevering!

Good girl also for sticking with the bike - it's better than a fat ass. And that biking adventure looks v. v. cool...

Mikey B said...

Well, it sounds like the cycling is a good diversion while you rest the running shoes. Hope the therapy continues to succeed.

Mikey B. (finally)

Adrienne said...

consume you but won't beat you! Yay for small victories and have fun in Moab. That place is awesome.

Bubble Boy said...

Great news Jilly Beans! I know my Chiro dug deep into the calf with the ART and my heel/PF has nnot been a problem since.

Have a great Spring Break and hope you are running again soon!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

SOunds like through this frustrating injury you are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel! Walking like a runner and not a ballerina is a good step, right?!

Enjoy a fabulous time in Moab--looks to be an amazing trip Jill!

And you totally should do a guest would you rather--you are worthy and plenty witty!

Terri said...

Ouch on the needling! :( Glad it helped, but holy cow! Have a great time on your adventure!

DRog said...

a flicker is a good thing!!!
and over the past year ive read several blogs where the calf was the culprit for some other ailment

Moab! ive heard great things

have fun

D

HappyTrails said...

Hallelujah is certainly right! Hope is Hope. And I am hoping that this is indeed a break through and you'll be running again SOON! So jealous of you heading to Moab - have TONS of FUN! We'll be anxious to hear about all the smile inducing adventures. We had talked about heading out there end of April or first part of May - we'll see! Hopefully you were advised to stop in Fruita on the way over or back for some of the BEST desert trails around!

Katie said...

Yaayy for hope!! I had a calf injury in HS that ended up effecting other parts of my leg. Hopefully this continues to lead to positive things for you! :)

Aimee said...

O-kay, that treatment sounds like it hurts like hell, but I am sooo glad that it is helping you! Yay! Woohoo!
Yay for hope!
As you know, I'm dealing with my own injury, and having a glimmer of hope is huge! I am so happy for you!

I hope you have a blast in Utah! Let's definitely get together for a bike ride when you get back! Hopefully the weather will cooperate!

Julie said...

Jill I'm so glad you have a reason to be hopefull! Have a great vacation!

The Green Girl said...

Oh, Jill, I hope that flicker becomes a flame and continues to burn. ::big big hugs::

Have fun, and take care of yourself.

Meg said...

It bugs me when doctors/pt's etc., don't GET it that running, biking, etc. are just who we are. It isn't an obsession, it's not a problem, it's just who we are. We have to be outside, we have to be working and we have to be loving what we do. It's the essence of our souls. Grrrr...
I love the hope you have for the future, you are truly growing from this situation and have moved far from the way you felt at the beginning. You have also stayed strong and read blogs, helped others and diligently sought help even though you can't do what you love, YET.
You are a winner Jill, we are all learning from you!
hugs,
meg

Molly said...

look at how cute you guys are!

um, dry needling?? Yahoo for getting your whole foot on the floor! after I looked at your foot photo, I thought "how does she keep that white tile so clean?"

enjoy your trip! : )

Molly said...

look at how cute you guys are!

um, dry needling?? Yahoo for getting your whole foot on the floor! after I looked at your foot photo, I thought "how does she keep that white tile so clean?"

enjoy your trip! : )

Chris K said...

Great news. I am all too familiar with PT torture. Tell you what, it really helped me though.

Looks like there could be light at the end of a long and dark tunnel. How cool would that be?

I saw some pics of Moab from another Blogger from CO - Funderson. Do you know her? She is hilarous. Moab looks amazing.

You forgot to mention that Tiina is One Crazy Penguin.

Velma said...

YES!!! I am thinking of you and a speedy recovery. Have a great bike adventure!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Wow, so many comments to scroll through! this is what I get when I'm missing from blog land for so long...so glad to read your post and to hear that you're feeling hopeful Jill. sounds like quite the process but I'm glad that you continue to try new things! We know how much t his means to you and I'm cheering for you!!

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

So glad to hear about this glimmer of progress!

Enjoy spring break :)

Kristin said...

Jill, I was cleaning up my email and came across our last exchange and was wondering how you were doing! I am so glad to read this post. I dropped off the face of the digital world for a moment, personal stuff, travel and the atrocious LA Marathon were all consuming. So in catching up this makes me very happy! While my race was the worst, my feet were fine and it was the first time since 2008 I felt like PF might not be the end of me. Hang in there, you're doing all the right things and NOT running is the best treatment of all. Just think how much running you can do later. And love the bike! It's a great balance with running, I love both equally.

Black Knight said...

I am glad you are hopeful and, however, I see that you never give up.
Enjoy your bike adventures.
All the best, the runners' world needs you!

One Crazy Penguin said...

You betchya we're going to run this summer! And if I go to med school out there I can guarantee you a new running buddy :)

I'm so excited that something seemed to help (even if just a little)!! Hopefully it's the beginning of a great new trend :)

Can't wait to hear about the bike trip. I've been wanting to do an epic bike trip lately and you've got me green with envy.

PS - I will take any and all advice for the Chi Town Marathon. I want to do it right this time around. Right now I'm thinking the Hal Higdon plan. Thoughts?

Jenn said...

Hallelujah is right!!! I missed this post. I clicked on your name on Small Town Runner's comment and it popped up! I'm so glad to hear things are potentially looking up.

The first doctor I saw for my hip was family practice. He was SO not understanding of my feelings. He almost looked shocked that I would sit there and cry in his office. C'mon, I'm a recreational runner right.....no big deal....wrong. Of course it consumes you!

Not sure if you're still in Moab but if so, I hope you're having a blast with your boys!!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

There is hope, I spent 3 hours on the trainer, so that means I am back doing the bike portion of our relay and my running has started to suck again, so I feel your heel will recover soon (and secretly I bet you kinda like biking)

Small Town Runner said...

Aw Jill, I don't you to become an avid cyclist, either!!!! I am SO glad that your foot is responding to treatment. It must have been a neurotic process gettign to the cause.
Hugs to you---wherever you may be on Monday night =D

Tricia said...

progress is great!

Rad Runner said...

Dear Pretty Lady, you are awesome you are amazing you are a champ, and you have never left the playing field... xo- Rad

Rad Runner said...

Dear Pretty Lady, you are awesome you are amazing you are a champ, and you have never left the playing field... xo- Rad

Amanda@runninghood said...

love the new header picture Jill! WAs thinking about you and stopped in to say hi.

Ulyana said...

Again, so sorry you have to deal with this. IT really is painful to read about your pain. I'm glad you are riding :) You'll be running soon!!!!