Monday, 29 April 2013

Still a Fool, but....

....not a Walkin' one. As some of you know from previous blog entries, I had to skip the Martian Marathon due to knee issues. Well, it developed into something a bit more than that. I'm going to lay out the timeline here, without theorizing or emotional comments,

1. March 10, 2013: PR'd at the Corktown Race 5K.  Training for the MM going well. Then I begin to get a pain in the back of my left knee, but only when in full flexion.
2. March 28, 2013 : I contact my physiotherapy clinic. No pain when racewalking, but want the knee checked as I can't kneel on it at all. Begin lots of ART work (Active Release Technique: really a great therapy.). Through this and subsequent sessions including a new stretching program, my legs (particularly my hammies) feel far more flexible than they have in years. The knee pain continues. I ice frequently. In taper anyway, so not a lot of walking needed.
3. April 4, 2013: My left knee begins to swell up quite alarmingly and get quite hot. I have a very mild off-and-on feverish feeling; general malaise. I had already booked a doctor's app't for Monday (annual checkup kind of thing), so I decide to wait until then to have it checked. Limping pretty steadily now. Ice and Ibuprofen hand-in-hand.
4. April 8, 2013: My doctor orders x-rays and an MRI. I get the x-rays done right away. We have to wait for MRI appointments, usually a long time. He suggests that the PT folks can also help with the swelling and pain, so I return for a few sessions. Hurts to sit in car.
5. April 13, 2013: The Martian Marathon. I'm a no-go, but a friend picks up my shirt for me. (He did well in the 10K). Up until now I had considered going as a volunteer, but by race day can't stand very long. Pain at night is the worse. I sleep, at best, for two hours at a time before waking up with my whole left leg in real agony and the other one quite uncomfortable. Ibuprofen is my new best friend. Mornings are bad, and just trying to get out of bed is a study in pain. I do find that I get what I have been calling a "sweet spot" or "golden hours" from about 3:30 - 9:00 pm when I don't feel too bad and my mobility is better.
6. April 14-18, 2013: Things worsen. My left ankle now is swelling quite largely. I have to cut down socks to fit and "rebuild" my NB 730 so I can fit that foot in. Even sitting actually hurts my leg. Getting up from a sitting position very painful for first couple of seconds. I know I won't be able to sit on a plane. We cancel our long-anticipated trip to Hawai'i. When I call to cancel our full moon tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation, I decide to adopt a sea turtle (I really wanted to swim with the turtles). His/her name is Kuhukuku (Hawai'ian for turtle-dove; the word sounds like the dove's call). Here's a pic of him/her (too young to identify as male or female yet):
7. April 19-24, 2013: Bad to worse. Both of my shoulders hurt a lot, and that original "back-of-knee" pain is now niggling at my right knee. Swelling in left knee and ankle unabated, even after icing. Range of motion in knee and shoulders very limited. I "walk" (limp severely) like someone 110 years old and can't go far.  Hawai'i would have been a big mistake if we had gone. I get a TENS machine. It helps some with the shoulder pain but not the root problem. I have discovered that floating in a pool feels pretty darned good. 
8. April 25, 2013: Doctor's appointment. Bloodwork  and bone scan ordered and an appointment with a Rheumatologist scheduled. [Still awaiting my MRI]. He prescribes a short course of prednisone for the inflammation. I get the bloodwork done the following morning. Reviewed the fact that I had a brush with drug-induced lupus in my youth (late 70s) after a massive allergic reaction to sulfa drugs.
9. April 29, 2013: The prednisone kicked that inflammation in my knee right down and I have been able to actually sleep at night with no pain! No longer the "bed of pain". I also stopped the Ibuprofen while on prednisone and have found I don't need it now with the swelling down. With the swelling down, some splotchy bruising showed up on the back of my left knee. My mornings are still stiff, but getting out of bed is no longer as great a problem. The ankle swelling is still there, but perhaps not as great. Shoulder pain persists. The pain in the back of the knees is still there, especially when walking limping, but my "sweet spots" of the day are so much sweeter lately. I can put on my own socks. I have developed a dry cough: every little seemingly insignificant thing gets noted at this point.
10. The near future: Bone scan booked for May 6th. The prednisone runs out in a couple of days. Back to see my doctor after tests all done. I can call before that if needed. Waiting on MRI and will check when my specialist appointment is.
So there it is in white-and-black (and some red). I'm in a pretty good place right now; still lots of pain, but nowhere near what it was, and I'm sleeping at night! Of course, I've had endless theories running through my head, but this has really made me think on a day-to-day basis. I know I may never race again, but I'll be really happy if I can just walk normally. I've rediscovered a love of reading and have been devouring books by the pile; am doing some astronomy with my own little 4" reflector and have embarked on a study of anatomy which I've wanted to do for a long time. Learned some new card games and continue with board games and computer games (we play them together: two heads are always better than one in adventure games!). Focus shifts; life continues.

1 comment:

  1. I hope your medical team figures out what it is soon and comes up with a plan of attack to resolve this. I do not want your racing days to be behind you, I want them in front of you! Keep us posted.