Listen while you read.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Perfect Day

I woke, on my own - no alarm, at 6:45am which meant I got plenty of sleep. I had a cup of coffee and some oatmeal and headed out the door for my ride on the AFA. What a gorgeous day! It was about 50 degrees when we started and 65 by the time we finished, an hour and half later. We rode 25 miles of hills, and I completely enjoyed the downhills this time. (The last time we had a headwind so bad, we never built speed downhill. The ride before that I was still getting accustomed to downhill this season, so I was resistant to "trust" my bike and myself.) Suzy was great and riding in a group of three proved to be an adventure: lots of drafting and pushing each other all at alternating times. I am finally improving on the bike this year and it felt great. I came home to find my little angels, those of you who are confused that would be Halee and Christian, figuring out their plans for the day. In the end, their plans ended up being with Marc and I watching a movie and then going to Villa to hang out at the pool. I love it when they decide that hanging out with us might be okay, and then it is a blast. On the way home we stopped for a shake at Culvers. It was perfect. If I've said it before, I'll say it again, "I love this time of year!" 80 degree days, bike rides with friends, lounging at the pool, and being with my family - nothing could be better!

One thing I almost forgot. Marc had to work this morning and when he got home, the girls and I were laughing so hard in the kitchen. He said, "Is this what it's like all the time?" I waited for my girls to be out of school so I could hang out with them. It has been well worth the wait.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


...and confident! Words that mean the complete opposite. February, just three short months ago, I was running at my normal pace, injury free, and would have described myself as confident in life, in running.

Today we got together with Scheri's family for a late lunch and some good company. Scheri and I have a bike ride planned in the Air Force Academy for tomorrow morning. She posted the ride to the group, so I knew there was a potential that others may join us, and I was actually hopeful. Part of running has become very social for me, so not being able to get together with a group of girls regularly has been something I have missed. She has been posting a swim once a week; however, it has just been my faithful swimming buddy Tracy so far, and Val once. Additionally, since I have been injured, there have been some new runners that have joined the group, and I have not had the opportunity to meet them. So when Scheri said that someone I had never met would be joining us, I was excited...and apprehensive.

Have I mentioned lately that I know I have absolutely no muscle in my legs? When I stopped running in late March, I lost 3 lbs., I'm sure all of the muscle in my legs. When I ran Boston, the "little hills" as Coloradans refer to them as, devastated me. I can swim to tone, but as soon as I kick, my hip hurts for days, so I have even cut back on that. I can't lift any weights on my lower half so that is out. I don't want to lift on my upper because my crutches are already making me seriously buff.

Align Center

When I went biking with Scheri last week, I fared okay, but she had also done a speed workout earlier in the day. She usually kicks my booty on the bike, my perspective - but she's always nice about it, so this wasn't anything new; however, now someone else will be joining us. Apprehensive. What if I end up struggling the entire time? What if it is hard to keep up? I chose to do a marathon for the first time in 2006 because I was in a situation that felt very out of control, a business relationship. Completing a marathon, but most of all running, felt like something that I could control. I controlled my running for several years: how hard I worked, how high I set my goals, how far I wanted to go, how fast I wanted to go. Now, I can no longer control my running. Ultimately, I can't control anything - that has been so obvious lately. And I can't control my bike ride tomorrow. So when you think your in control of something in your life, think again. But most importantly, know that whatever happens, in whatever situation, God is in control and He can see the big picture. Some good advice, I think I'll take it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

That's My Daughter

Who'd've ever thought her, who'd'ev ever thought... (Lyrics from That's My Daughter) Halee graduated from middle school last night and is now just a summer away from officially entering her freshmen year of high school, something I can't believe I am saying.

I was sitting in the garden in when she got home and called out to me, "Mom, come on in, we are on a tight time schedule." It was 3:30pm and she had just jumped off the bus for her last day of school. Our goal was to walk out of the house at 5:15pm, so I knew we had time, but she wanted it to be perfect. I came right in to find her and Christian taking a bath. Funny, even at this age, they still do everything together. Halee was only at middle school one year before Christian joined her, due to the 6th grade move up that year. Now they have already talked extensively, even sharing it with some of MY friends, that they will not be at the same school until Halee is a Junior. They "act" like it is a good thing, but even though they fight, these two years will be hard on them in that aspect. Halee got out of the bath, blew dry her hair - while I showered quickly, and then I was out to start putting in her curls. She got dressed and we sewed everything in...her bra, so nothing would be falling out. A pet peeve of mine, bra straps. She was all set.
Her graduation was nice and quick. The best part for her was the 8th grade dance after. To finish the evening off we asked Lori if we could pick Halee up in her purple Challenger. As we pulled up, right out front, several boys came to the window to admire the car. When they found out we were there for Halee, they went running in to tell her how cool her "ride" was and wanted to go home with her. Absolutely NOT! But it was fun that she got a little extra attention to finish off her middle school experience. She came home, looked at her pictures, and said, "I felt pretty!"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Classroom Conundrum

Lori, my student teacher, who I will now refer to as a friend and a 2nd grade teacher at my school, called me up and asked if I wanted to go to school with her to check out her new classroom. Hearing the excitement in her voice, and reflecting back on that time for myself, I first responded with, "For how long?" and then with a "Yes." Being only one week out, I wasn't anxious to get back to school, but wanted to go support her and share in her enthusiasm for what comes. You see, the goal for every teacher should be to keep that energy throughout their entire career. With that, they will put everything they have into teaching and the year spent with each student will be worthwhile and meaningful.

We entered her classroom this morning. The teacher graciously left behind a lot of teaching materials and helpful tools; however, like my classroom when I got it, there is a lot of sorting through and cleaning to do. I sat on a pod of desks and just looked around at all of the stuff. Immediately, trash cans were brought into the room and we began to dump. We filled up two large cans and then decided she would have to come back several days to really put a dent into it. When I got my classroom, the teacher was retiring. He didn't have a desk, but a couch. He didn't have a table for reading group, but pillows for the kids to sit on. Nice for reading, but not necessarily for teaching. Everything was kind of thrown in the cabinets. I came in two days a week, and completely emptied the cabinets one by one, threw away what I wouldn't use and neatly put back in what I would use. I took home projects to organize in front of the T.V. including whole punching calendar pieces and putting them in order and in Ziploc bags by the month. I brought in cleaning products and cleaned off shelves. I bought baskets to put things in. I bought shelves. I bought paint and painted where it needed - now we have great building managers that will help with this. Without trying to overwhelm Lori, and I know she is reading this, I tried to tell her that I spent all summer doing this for my room to get it the way it is.

Unless you're a teacher, you probably don't think about what goes into creating the perfect atmosphere for our children to learn, but it is our job as teachers. The best part about stepping into her classroom this morning was watching her creativity start to flow and a learning environment form out of her imagination, all for her students. It is a blank slate. She will make it a masterpiece.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pain and Symptoms

I have been asked several times about my pain and the symptoms with a hip labral tear and a hip stress fracture. Different people want to know about them individually and that I can't help with. Sorry. I use to think I could tell them apart and maybe I still can, but I am not so sure anymore.

Back in January and February, I was training with Halee, my 13 year old, for her first half marathon. I started doubling up on long runs because, coincidentally, I was going to be doing a 50 miler myself. In February, I finished out a weekend of high mileage and a few days later could not step forward with my right leg. That was my first symptom. I had to turn my body sideways to get that leg forward. It last a couple of days, and I chalked it up to a sore hip flexor. Pain in my groin area continued to worsen. I kept running. On a run, it took me about 1/2 mile to warm-up, before I would stop limping, and then I was usually okay, but if I stopped and had to start again, I would limp and have to go through the warm-up process all over again. Not running, I limped constantly. My groin, or what I thought at the time was my hip flexor, hurt constantly, running or not. Before I knew what was wrong I would say, "It feels like I am running bone on bone," meaning my femur and hip with no cushion. Early March, when I ran I felt a knot in my right butt cheek. The group of girls I run with and myself assumed it was from my body overcompensating for my injury and it was just a sore muscle. However, I still have that know and now know that is part of my injury, which I believe to be my stress fracture. In the middle of March, I decided to schedule a doctor's appointment to try and get a shot of cortisone - thinking that would take care of it all. My appointment was about 12 days out, so I was going to continue running, because I have never taken a break. Scheri, my running partner, and I did a gradual downhill, 10 mile run in which I was in excruciating pain the entire time. I had to slow from my normal pace and even wanted to turn back. She suggested I take a rest until my appointment. I tried one more easy run with Marc, my husband, in which I couldn't even bear the pain and only made it 3 miles. I decided to take 10 days off until my appointment. During that time, I iced it several times a day. I had my doctor's appointment and got the news, in bits and pieces. (See my other blog entries for gaps.)

My pain now? I ran the Boston Marathon in complete pain. I can't describe it. My groin and butt hurt the entire way. So running is excruciating - I don't run anymore. Now I am swimming a lot, and cycling some - -would like to more, but have gotten a little lazy. I still have that knot in my butt that just won't go away. I feel it when I am sitting and standing, no matter what. Dr. White, my doctor, recreated the groin pain last week by turning my leg a certain way, and it lasted 5 days. The groin pain comes and goes depending on my activity. Kicking in the pool seems to do it after, but not during. This morning as I sit here, it just feels sore, almost a raw feeling. Very rarely does it go down into my thigh or up to my waste, but it does occasionally.

Dr. White said the groin pain was the tear; however, when I Google a hip stress fracture (femoral neck), it has the same exact symptoms of a hip labral tear. When my stress fracture gets cleared, I will know what ONLY a tear feels like. I hope this helps.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Strawberries and Crutches

You ask, "What do strawberries have to do with crutches?" My new covers have strawberries on them for summer. My first set were plain grey (only four days old and underneath in case of a fashion crisis) and my girls decided they were boring. So Christian helped me pick out strawberries and since I will have crutches all summer, I thought they were perfect!

Ps. I have read blogs where people have had ceremonies the day they were able to get rid of their crutches. They have had them for anywhere from 18 days to 34 days from what I can find. I absolutely don't feel sorry myself, but decided to count just for fun: 51 days today. I even subtracted the few days I went off of them pre-Boston. Like I said in my running log (which I no longer use), "On a positive note: My arms are buff!"

Donor's Choose

What is Donor's Choose? It is a website where teachers can post projects for their classrooms and anyone can give money to help fund the project...give to education! I work in a school that has a very high free/reduced lunch rate. My students come from a variety of backgrounds. Like many schools, we have a hard time simply getting basic supplies, but in our school, the students are unable to afford basic school supplies as well. So this website was designed to ask for help.

Right now I have two projects posted: one is for recess equipment and the other for printer cartridges. I would be so excited to have a basket of balls, jump ropes, and hula hoops for them to enjoy recess. I may even have to go out and have a little fun with them. When I go out with them now, they will swing occasionally, but most of the time they are walking around waiting for the bell to ring. I thought, "If they had some equipment, they would be active and ready to learn when they came back in." Since physical activity is proven to enhance learning, I decided this would be a project well worth trying.

I also thought back to all of my great memories in elementary school and thought, "So many of them were on the playground!" I want to give these moments to my students as well. I have already met my upcoming class for next year, and would love nothing more than to start out the year with a gift of recess equipment, from donors to them!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First Sunburn

Today was almost perfect - minus the wind. I am not a fan of it, but everything else, perfect. It began with waking up with my most amazing husband. For some reason, I am not able to enjoy him when I work full-time like I do when I am off, and even though I haven't had an official weekday off, the stress is gone. And so, I am able to enjoy my family life, especially the gorgeous man I have been married to for 17 years. We had a cup of coffee together and just hung out for bit. Then, I went to Home Depot for my annual "Mother's Day" trip to get flowers with Tina. I know the special day was two weeks ago, but in Colorado it has been snowing, and to be safe, we were waiting until today. We picked up some beautiful annuals and planted them together. As the day warmed up, our family decided to go to Villa, a summer weekend routine, and enjoy the outdoor pools: there is an adult and kid pool. I swam laps, actually completed a workout, and then relaxed on a lounge chair next to Marc. (He had already been indulging in the sun with a book.) After my doctor's appointment this week, I have been struggling with groin pain again, so I wasn't sure how the swim would go...but it was okay - pain came a few hours later. However, the short time on the lounge chairs led to our first sunburn of this season. I won't complain. I can't say it enough, "I love this time of year!" I did stop by Wal-Mart on the way home to get some sunscreen though. I am ready for a week of catching up on a few things, and getting some rest. That's it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

July 8, 2010

Check-In at 10:00am for a surgery time of 12-Noon! AN ANSWER! Finally. Halee has been gracious enough to share her birthday with my very anticipated surgery date. When Cindy at Dr. White's office said that was the choice for that week, I said, "We will celebrate her birthday all summer!" Let me back up to earlier today, to what got me here.

I arrived at Dr. Brian White's office in Denver for my 1:30pm appointment. I was greeted in the parking garage by a man in a boot who held the door and said, "I don't miss those," referring to my crutches. He then wanted to know what was going on. In the short 2 minute ride up the elevator, he knew that I was in hopes of some answers and on my way to getting them. My appointment started with hip x-rays and quickly, Dr. White came into the room. He began with the very typical, "Start back from the beginning and be sure to include why you are on crutches now." Which in doctor's terms, I have come to realize means, "Don't lie, tell me everything, including you ran the Boston Marathon on a stress fracture." So I proceeded to give him the run down. Then I hit the little bump in the road...yes, I ran a marathon on it. I can't believe how doctors react when I say it. Maybe I should start to believe it. They all react the same. They all tell me how crazy I am. You would think I just told them that I ran over an old lady in a cross-walk in front of their building. "You did what?" He got over it quickly and moved on from the moment, performed a physical, and then went through my options. All the while, I bombarded him with question after question after question. He confirmed: my stress fracture HAS to be completely healed and cleared before I can be operated on. I have to stay on crutches until I walk into the hospital for surgery. Then I will enjoy them after as well. He advised me to invest in some new, upgraded pads. I will. He wants to give me as much time as possible to heal, while working with my teaching schedule. WOW! So, we worked backwards. School starts the first week of August. Back up 3 weeks, July 8. Back up about 3 more weeks, my MRI, June 21. (If the MRI is not clear, it gives him 3 weeks to book a surgery.) The June 21st MRI will be compared with my MRI done in March and they will be able to see, hopefully, improvement and complete healing. I am happy to have a date! Post-op timeline: 6 months until I can try to take my first running steps, and he was serious. One question that I had, and I know some of my loving family members may have as well, "Was this caused entirely from running?" His answer, "Yes, 100%" Some people can run hard forever and things like this never happen, they are "built" for it. My hips aren't built like a Kenyans.

Until surgery, I get to ride my road bike and swim, no running, no surprise. So I celebrated with a swim and have set up some swim/ride dates with my girls. Since the outdoor pool is open, I will be hanging out there more too. It won't be a bad summer afterall. I have so many plans: vacation to California, the girls have camps, camping trips, MRI, surgery, swimming, biking, gardening, and hanging out with the girls!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Everyone in Colorado facebooked yesterday about the warm day we had. Finally. It has been cold and snowing through last week. We are all ready for some warm days. I have been working in my garden since March, building the boxes and getting it ready for this year. I planted my cold crop in April, and it is going strong. I put out my warm crops this week, and planted the rest of my seeds this weekend. You can see in the pictures that I still have mini-greenhouses for adapatation, but they are doing great. The forecast: lots of veggies for summer! Marc helped me a lot with finishing up the mulch and by telling me to sit down and rest. We also spent some time inside this weekend watching Avatar on our new flat screen and Blue Ray player, something Marc has wanted for a while. Only one week left of school and then there will be endless days like these...well, until the school year begins again. I love this time of year.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back to Colorado

Since Dr. Byrd in Tennessee wants me to wait, I guess I should just resign myself to staying in Colorado to have surgery, which isn't all that bad. We will save the money on the plane tickets and hotel. My husband will probably not have to take as many days off of work, which is a good thing. I was not looking forward to a 3 hour flight home after surgery, but willing to do what I had to do...but since I don't HAVE to do it, I'm not going to complain. Anyways, back to thinking I will stay here.

Noelle, a patient of Dr. Philippon and now a 'go-to' for me, commented on my last post triggering a phone call today. She asked me if I had called Dr. Brian White in Denver. Why I had spaced this doctor in Denver, I am not sure; however, he is a doctor that studied under Philippon and has a much shorter wait time. So I called and have an appointment next Wednesday with him. I was told that his wait time for surgery is only 3-6 weeks. Once again, my hopes are back up.

In the meantime, I received a call from Madeline at Dr. Philippon's office. She said that he had reviewed my films and felt I was a good candidate for surgery. Nothing about my stress fracture. Things that make you go, "Hmmmm." So I will wait to hear how soon I can get in, but have a feeling it will still be that dreaded 6 months. It's okay, I have gotten use to all of this for now. It is not my timing any longer, that is obvious.

What I am looking forward to, 70 degree days! We have a bunch coming and it has been 30s and 40s still in Colorado. Sunshine and gardening hasn't sounded better.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Waiting and Another MRI - For Now

It has only been a week since Dr. Byrd's office received my films and reports, so when I got a phone call from them today I was more than excited. I couldn't believe they had already reviewed my file and had an answer...however, not the answer I wanted, once again! It was his PA, and she began with, "We are concerned that your stress fracture isn't healing. Dr. Byrd has reviewed your file, and we would like to talk to you about that. Can you tell us anything?" I stupidly answered quickly with, "It isn't healing because I ran a marathon on it." That is when she informed me that they did read my file in depth and knew that I had proceeded to run the Boston Marathon against my doctor's advice and that has made things extremely worse off than when I was originally x-rayed several months ago. This was told to me a couple of weeks ago by my doctor here as well. The news, however, continued to get worse. "We cannot operate on you with a stress fracture. We put traction on your leg to pull it out of the socket to be able to operate on the area during surgery, and we are concerned that with the condition it is in, it will break the femoral neck completely." They want me to stay on crutches until June 1, and then have another MRI to get the stress fracture checked. If it is cleared, I should run on it to test it out. (Running doesn't even sound exciting anymore.) Let me back up a few words to "cleared." She said it cannot show up on the MRI. It showed up on a regular x-ray a few weeks ago, so I am losing hope very quickly. I am back to taking all of my calcium, on my crutches 100%, and I mean 100% of the time, and doing everything I possibly can to get my stress fracture healed now. The cherry on the sundae: I probably will not get into surgery until late summer, if I'm lucky, because they are booking up! Whatever happens, happens at this point.

So I am going to enjoy my summer and have blast with each day! I am going to enjoy my vacation and not worry about getting back for surgery. I am going to get healthy, with or without surgery - it is out of my hands, so that I can begin the school year ready to do my best!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Round 4 - 5th Grade

I was told this week that I get to teach 5th grade again next year! I am so excited. Although we hope to have the choice where we want to teach or stay, it doesn't always happen, so I was elated to find out that I get to spend another year in 5th grade. I spent a full year there student teaching and have taught 2 full years in 5th since, so this will be round 4. And the I know the best year yet! Student teaching gave me a ton of experience in just being in the classroom and procedures. My first year, I focused on math and writing. This year, with having a student teacher strong in reading, I was able to recreate what reading looked like and will hopefully continue that process into next year. I am in search of something to "fine tune" for next year. I believe I am going to work on more "tiering."

This was very successful last year, but I did not end up doing it too much this year. Tiering is where you pre-assess the students and small group them accordingly. So if 5 students know 8/12 concepts, you only teach them the 4 remaining concepts, and then extend their learning, for example. It is a great way to differentiate instruction, but can be a lot of work. I did it with math regularly last year, and the students learned. Next year I also get a new math curriculum, so why not start it up again full force. While I am writing this, I had a brainstorm for how this can be done in reading as well. I can make my reading groups more fluid, almost daily.

There is always something that can be worked on as teacher. Our job is always changing. We are not only teachers, but always students ourselves.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Two Doctors

I sent my one and only set of hip xrays off to Dr. Philippon and then got some advice from others to check out other doctors. This is great advice, but now I am scheduled to get another set of hip xrays tomorrow. I am going to back up a bit in my week. I struggled immensely through this week. On Tuesday night, I started finding more blogs about Dr. Philippon. I found Nicoll Blevins' blog (linked on the left) and started reading rapidly. I read that it took her 6 months to get in for surgery with Dr. Philippon. I cried and cried, and then decided to try and get in touch with her to find out the details of her situation. Within 15 minutes, we were talking on the phone. She verified her 6 month wait time. As much as I would like to go see Dr. Philippon, I am a teacher, and my students are among top priority. If you do the math, 6 months puts me in the middle of fall, right when I am teaching again. If I wait until December to do it over Christmas break, I will come back to work while trying to manage hours of physical therapy in January, during a 5th grader's most important time of the year: CSAP preparation. Since my district is also the one of first pay for performance districts in the country, my pay is directly connected to how well my students do on CSAP; therefore, for my students and for my pay, I am fearful of scheduling my surgery during an academic school year.

Every morning I talk with a friend on the way into work. We are very close and she has had many surgeries on her foot. She suggested I look into the other doctors that were recommended to me. She said, "If they have a wait time, then you know, you have done everything." So I quickly called Dr. Byrd in Tennessee. Within 30 minutes, I had spoken with 2 people from his office, YES TWO, and one of them for an extensive amount of time. She answered all of my questions, and I felt more comfortable than I have in the last 6 weeks. Dr. Byrd is about 6 weeks out from when he receives your films, which will be this Tuesday, after I get my new hip xrays and they are overnighted. That will give me enough time to finish out my school year, go on a two week vacation, and get to Tennessee for surgery.

In the meantime, I emailed Meghan, Dr. Philippon's surgical coordinator, and she confirmed the wait time for Dr. Philippon, about 5 months once he decides to treat me. He is still in that deciding stage. I have kept the process going with him just in case I change my mind. He should have gotten my hip xrays late last week, and I assume I will hear from his office this week.

In requesting my arthrogram results to send to Dr. Byrd, I was able to look at the report: I have three tears. One they label as a "full-thickness" tear. They also say that one could be from degeneration. The forth diagnosis: Bone marrow edema in the femoral neck, my stress fracture.