Category Archives: Life

Sigh…..Next Summer

As a teacher, I have ten weeks off during summer. While I still work during the summer putting lesson plans together, gearing up for the next year, and improving my old lesson plans, I do it all on my own time. Two years in a row I’ve needed knee surgery over the summer, which is not a fun way to spend my summer vacations, but I know I am very fortunate to have these ten weeks off to recover before stepping foot in a classroom filled with 38 teenagers.

Next summer will be different though. I am fully optimistic about the outcome of this surgery. I have a doctor who is looking out for me and my best interest. Furthermore, my doctor is an avid cyclist, so he knows how much endurance athletics means to me. Even though I am switching from running to cycling, I still yearn to be on the road and cover many miles. Now, I just get to cover those miles even quicker. Anyway, next summer will be different and will be amazing for two reasons. First, I should be fully recovered by then and I will be able to spend my summer mornings on my road bike. I should be able to log in significant mileage and hopefully train for one of my first long-distance tours. I don’t want to set a goal on a specific race and date yet, but I know I want to complete a century ride. In addition to my amazing cycling schedule next summer, I will have the freedom to go to the gym for weight-training and yoga whenever I want. In my opinion, it is the perfect way to spend the first part of the day.

Secondly, next summer will be different because Zac and I are planning our summer vacation now. We are going toOahuduring the summer. I cannot wait because we were not able to do the kind of activities we wanted to do inMaui earlier this year. We are hoping to get in some decent hikes and possibly some zip lining. Next summer also is the summer for my 10 year high school reunion. I cannot believe that it is already here. Hopefully the reunion is not the same week as Oahu.

Where we will stay in Oahu. It isn't on Waikiki beach, but a bit further away. Beautiful!

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updates

School is almost out for summer and I cannot believe that my first year of teaching is almost officially over. Between wrapping things up for the end of the school year and completing my first year of BTSA (theCalifornianew teacher induction program), I haven’t had much time to write.

Just yesterday Zac and I celebrated our anniversary. It is hard to imagine that we have already been married for two years! Just in this past year of our marriage we bought a house and adopted our puppy. We celebrated our anniversary at one of our favorite restaurants, Northwoods Inn inWest Covina, and during the drive we discussed just how much our lives might change in the next two years. It is just incredible to think about. I love him. I love our pup. And, most importantly, I love our life together.

Surgery is still scheduled for June 8. I am getting pretty nervous about the surgery, especially because of the surgical mistake that happened during the last one. I’ve been trying to prepare myself as best as I can by reading articles and watching videos about the surgery. I don’t think it helps. There is just something about watching surgical videos where the surgeon takes an electric saw and cuts all the way through the bone. Yikes!

Maui vacation!

Greetings from Maui!

With my upcoming knee surgery in the summer, a summer vacation is definitely out of the picture. Luckily, we were fortunate to take a short trip to Maui last week during my spring break. We left on Wednesday morning from LAX and spent 5 nights on the west side of Maui in Ka’anapali at the Marriott Vacation Club Resort. We were even in an ocean view room, which had a stunning view. While in Maui, we did a couple touristy things, including whale watching and driving up to Haleakala. We would have liked to do more things like hiking in Hana and ziplining in the upcountry, but my knee wouldn’t allow. It’s okay though because the beauty of time shares is that you know you will be back.

The view of the Pacific from our room

Our resort

This time of year is whale season in the Hawaiian Islands and we saw so many whales on our whale watching trip and even from the balcony in our room. Seeing those magnificent animals up close in their natural environment is surreal.

The little boat/raft from our whale watching adventure. The smaller the vessle the better because it is less crowded and you are closer to the whales.

Whale tail!

The drive up to the Haleakala Crater was breathtaking. We drove from zero feet elevation all the way up to the summit which was slightly more than 10,000 feet above sea level! We were up higher than the clouds, could see 80 miles across the Pacific at some of the other volcanoes on the main island, and got a panoramic view of the island.

The view from 10,000 feet!

In addition to the great sights and activities, Zac and I also ate some delicious meals. When we travel, we like to eat at nice restaurants and also experience local cuisine. We ate at Japengo, Roy’s, Sansei, Star Noodle, and the Aloha Mix Plate, just to name a few. It is difficult to pinpoint our favorite meal. At Japengo we ate sushi and shared a steak and King crab leg entrée. We had even more sushi at Sansei and at Roy’s I had delicious blackened ono (also known as Wahoo) and macadamia nut encrusted shutome (Hawaiian swordfish).  My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the deliciousness we experienced.

Hawaii fruit sampler - pineapple, banana, lychee, watermelon, mango, papaya, guava, and strawberies. Yum!Blackened Ono/Macadamiz Nut Shutome plate from Roy's

We shared this entree and also had some sushi. This is from Japengo. It is New York Steak and King crab legs with edamame mashed potatoes, asparagus, and pumpkin. YUM!

Devastating News

It has been quite some time since my last blog post. I’ve been waiting to post until after my doctor’s appointment, which was on Monday, January 31, but since then, the news I received at my appointment has, up until now, been too difficult to discuss in length. I braced myself for what I thought “the worst” could be. Unfortunately, the doctor delivered some unsettling news that I am still grappling with. Basically, I can no longer run, my knee is messed up, and I require an additional surgery. That is the cliff’s notes version.

The good

While trying to keep things positive, there is some good news in my life. For one, I have a good lawyer who is enabling me to navigate through the murky waters of worker’s compensation insurance and I am not getting the medical care that I needed. Without taking this action several months ago, I could have been released from my claim permanently injured without knowing it.

The bad

The bad news starts with my most recent trip to the new orthopedic surgeon who has taken me on as a patient. This was a follow-up appointment which took place on Monday that informed me about the results of my recent CT scan. According to this new doctor, there are several things wrong with me knee. First, I have an impingement. This may be caused by the “not ideal” placement of my ACL graft. While the ACL graft isn’t placed in the “wrong” location, it isn’t ideal and my new doctor said that he wouldn’t place a graft in the location that mine is in. Additionally, the “not ideal” location of my graft only makes my impingement worse.

I knew that something within my knee was not right. During my recovery this summer I began regaining range of motion; however I could never really fully straighten my knee. It hurt and the pain only intensified when I put weight on it. I was told by my old doctor that it was nothing and that I would regain all of my range of motion. Well, he was wrong. Sometimes you just have a gut instinct that something is wrong and even back then I knew that some of my results were not typical.

In addition to my impingement, I also have a problem that is even more troublesome. I do not have any medial meniscus in my knee, which is currently causing my legs not to be aligned and which will cause imminent arthritis in the future. My right leg is slightly knock-kneed, which is the opposite of being bow-legged. Currently, the only thing that preventing my femur and tibia from rubbing and causing painful bone on bone rubbing is a small amount of articular cartilage lining each bone.

The ugly

This second problem is where the ugly news begins to unfold. First and foremost, I am no longer able to run. I am under strict orders that I can’t run or do deep squats. As a runner, this is devastating news. Imagine never being able to do what you love ever again. That is pretty much how I feel. I truly feel like I lost a part of my spirit this past week. Part of me, a very large part of me, no longer exists.

In addition to not being able to run, I will need surgery to fix these current problems that were caused from my previous surgery. Without one of two surgeries, I will get arthritis in the future. Also, additional surgery is the only option to alleviate the pain I experience on a daily basis. Both surgeries are considered major surgeries. One is a tibial osteotomy. This option includes sawing my tibia in half and inserting a wedge-shaped bone graft into the tibia to make sure that I am aligned. Yikes! The second option is a meniscus allograft, which is a transplant surgery that would place a cadaver meniscus into my through the use of bony plugs. My understanding of this option is that the meniscus would eventually wear down and this surgery would most likely need to be performed again in the future.

As the doctor was delivering all of this news, I stared blankly in disbelief at him. It didn’t even feel like reality because the news was just so much more than I could have ever imagined. I am still coming to terms with this diagnosis, and I believe that it will talk me quite some time to fully accept this new reality that I am faced with. Honestly, I am heartbroken and as much as I try to stay positive, it is incredibly difficult. I would be lying if I said I was okay right now. It isn’t even about just not being able to run either. I am upset about facing another painful surgery with a trying and difficult recovery process. I am upset about the time I will have to spend doing this all over again. I am also upset about my future prospects of my health. I would like to start a family with my husband in several years and I am worried that my knee may not be able to keep up with my future children’s activities. I am worried about the possibility of always living in pain. Yes, I’ve gotten use to the pain in the past year, but it is no way to live. I can only continue with my at-home physical therapy regimen, do my best to maintain a positive mindset, and hope for better news to come.

Where I go now

On Friday, I went to an imagery center to have a special x-ray that my new doctor ordered. It was a weight-bearing alignment x-ray that captured my legs from my hips to my ankles. This x-ray will be used to determine just exactly how knock kneed I am. It will also help determine which course of action will be best for me.

One year without running

As hard as it is to believe, I have made it through one year without running. Last year on this day, January 17, 2010, I attempted to run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona half marathon and found myself with a big fat DNF due to a foot injury https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/rnr-az-12-race-recap/.

 Right before I was able to get back on the road and run after my few weeks off from my foot injury, I injured my right knee very badly. https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/my-foot-is-the-least-of-my-worries-now/. I had a partially tore ACL already, but I managed to fully tear it and also make a “large bucket handle” tear in my meniscus. This injury, which unfortunately happened at work, had been a constant disappointment and frustration. My surgery did not seem to go very well and I am still trying to get all the answers I need. 

How life has been

It is unfathomable for me that I have been without running for a year now. Part of me thinks that I went though, and am still going through, a minor identity crisis because of this. Before all of this happened, I identified myself as a runner. My passion was running. My interest was running. My goals were running related. My entertainment was running. My running calendar dictated my social life. My life was running and I was a runner. But now I am not a runner. Or at least, it is definitely difficult to identify myself as a runner when I have not run in a year.

Am I a former runner? I don’t know. I hope not. I hope that I will be able to get back out there. Am I a sidelined runner? I don’t know. Usually people have a timeframe that sets parameters around injuries. I have no idea when, or even if, I will be able to run again. Am I still a runner? I don’t think so. I feel like a fraud sometimes saying that I am a runner because I cannot run now and haven’t run in so long.

Not being able to run has taken a larger toll on me emotionally that I thought it would. It was a large part of my life and it was who I thought I was. Now that I can’t run, it is like a piece of me is missing.

 What can I do?

In terms of exercise, I do have some options right now outlined by my new orthopedic surgeon. I can walk, cycle, and lift weights as long as my knee does not bother me. I also have home weights, a heating pad, an electric stem machine, and awesome ice wraps at home so that I can continue therapy at home since my insurance company prematurely cut me off.

In the future

I really miss running so much and I am hoping that it isn’t another full year until I am able to run again. In 2011, I would like to get back out there and gradually ease into running. I would love to do the Couch to 5K program and complete a 5K. A 5K is far from a marathon, but at least it is something.

Goals for 2011

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I use to, and quite frankly, I am not too great at keeping them. Instead, I make a list of goals that I would like to accomplish in the New Year. Some may say that it is the same thing, but I beg to differ.

Without further ado, here is my list of goals for 2011.

1. First and foremost, one of my major goals for 2011 is to return to running. I can’t believe that it has almost been a year since the last time I ran. Just thinking about that makes me so sad. Hopefully my new orthopedic surgeon can help me get my knee back to where it needs to be so that I can run. Right now, my right knee really is the bane of my existence. I hope to run a 5K in 2011. While this is a far cry from my past running goals, this would be a huge accomplishment.

2. My second goal is to finally get a road bike and start cycling. With all of my knee problems, I know that this is one form of exercise that will benefit me. I would like to eventually complete a half century and a century ride, but for now, it is my goal just to start cycling.

3. Thirdly, I would like to continue working with my pup on obedience training. My major goal for 2011 for Zoey is to help her pass her AKC Canine Good Citizen test. By passing this test, Zoey would show everyone that she is a well-mannered dog and that I am a responsible dog owner. I feel that accomplishing this is especially important because of her breed.

4. I am making it a goal to volunteer in 2011. Seeing as how this is my first year teaching, I have my entire summer free. I am the type of person who gets bored easily, and I know that volunteering will a great way to spend my vacation. I think it would be fun to volunteer at several races and also with an animal organization.

Top 15 of the decade

While 2010 has been a hallmark year for me with getting my Master’s and buying our first house (https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/looking-back-at-2010/), it has also been a pretty eventful decade. As we say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011, it isn’t just the year we bid adieu to, but the decade as well.

From the time the clock struck twelve and the new Millennium was upon us until now, I have grown and changed a lot. This past decade spans from my 16th to 26th years of life and here are a few of the highlights from my life this past decade.

15. Getting my driver’s license (2000)

14. Breaking 6 minutes in the mile in high school track (2001)

13. Publishing several stories in my local newspaper, The Las Vegas Review Journal (2001-2002)

One of the stories was about eating disorders

http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Jan-27-Sun-2002/living/17798392.html

One story was about Kyle Busch, a Vegas native and (then) up and coming NASCAR driver.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Mar-03-Sun-2002/living/18181500.html

And one story about Vegas-style proms

http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Apr-28-Sun-2002/living/18559360.html

12.  Graduating with Honors from high school (2002)

11. Being a member of the Associated Students Union student government at UNR as the Journalism Senator (2005)

10. Being awarded the Howard Scripps Journalism Scholarship (2004)

9. Being the Philanthropy chair for my sorority, Delta Delta Delta, and raising $8,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s hospital by organizing the annual fashion show (2005).

8. Meeting my husband in Las Vegas through mutual friends over a NYE weekend (2005)

7. Graduating from UNR with a BA in Journalism and Political Science (2006)

6. Running my first marathon (2008)

5. Running a sub-4 marathon (2009)

4. Landing my first teaching job in a tough economy (2010)

3. Completing my Teaching Credential and Master of Education (2010)

2. Buying our first house together (2010)

1. Getting married to my amazing husband (2009)

And of course, I couldn’t forget about my little Zoey. She holds her own special place in my heart. I didn’t know exactly where to put her, so I saved the best for last. In this past decade, Zac and I adopted the sweetest little puppy girl ever.  She even smiles for her pictures. 🙂