Sunday, June 8, 2014

Damn Disc

I'm writing from a den of sads.

It turns out that the hip alignment issue that my physical therapist had me working on was merely a symptom of a much bigger problem.

I have a herniated disc in my lower back. The ol' L5S1, to be exact.

The journey to recovery is not going to be fun. In fact, the past couple of weeks of doctor, physical therapy, X-Ray, and MRI appointments have been so unfun that I've found myself at the bottom of a deep well of forlorn depression.

Here's what this herniated disc situation means:

  • I cannot exercise. I can't even walk for more than five minutes without experiencing a shot of pain down my right leg, to my ankle. I can't even sit upright. I have to lie on my back, my side, or my stomach. No fancy stretching out of the legs, though. I need to keep my hips stacked or otherwise aligned. Basically, if it's comfortable, it's out of the question.
  • I have to meet with the doctor and the physical therapist twice weekly. I get electric therapy as well as back exercise in the "McKenzie" canon
  • I am entirely dependent on my husband for everything. He makes my meals. He makes sure I have all my blankets and pillows and phones and ipads, etc. Incidentally, I am sleeping separately from him because I feel bad about waking him up when I writhe in pain during the night. 
  • I am entirely caught up on all TV shows that have ever aired.
  • I had to skip the Runner's World Heartbreak Hills festival. I was supposed to run the hat trick. I wasn't in shape for it and it wasn't going to be pretty, probably not even pleasant. But I was so, so excited about it. I haven't raced since last November. Sads.
Still, I am clinging to the little glimmers of hope that periodically shine through the storm clouds. My physical therapist had a herniated disc herself about six years ago. She came back with a vengeance and has now run over 10 marathons. I am so thankful to have her helping me through this. She understands the pain I'm dealing with from a personal perspective, both the pain in my body and the pain in my heart. When a runner can't run, the whole world looks gray.

So right now... although I'm hurting so badly and I feel more sad for myself than I ever have in my life... I'm trying to keep looking forward. And, to aid that forward look and forward momentum, I have set my sights on this...

The 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon. Yes, the marathon, not the half. I can't even explain how many miles I want to consume right now.

It's just a dream right now. But sometimes a dream is what we need to keeping moving.


  1. I'm so so so so sorry, friend. I feel the sads for you and I know that doesn't help, but I'm feeling them anyway. This just sucks and I'm not going to tell you that it doesn't because it does. But you are taking care of yourself and doing all of the right things and I can't wait for you to be all healed up and consuming miles again. But until then, HUGE hugs comin' atcha.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about this, best wishes for a speedy recovery. Eyes on the prize - you'll get back. And sounds like your PT is great. I think it is always best to be seen by another athlete. They GET it.

  3. Ugh. Boo, boo, boo. I had a good friend in my karate class dealing with a herniated disc last summer and it did indeed suck big-time. BUT, I am happy to report that after two months of lying flat on her back & getting allll teh modern medicine and almost a year since then of getting back in shape, she is totally kicking ass better than ever. So I have faith that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there!!!

  4. Check out Kristi and her blog Inspirunning...I think she went through the same thing and is now in a great spot ;)