Christina is a guest writer for The Running World According to Dean. This is the first in a series of articles on her experiences with surgery and recovery. I hope her insights and candidness will ring true for many of you as well as keep your hopes high for any recoveries or comebacks you may be enduring. We’ll be with her every step through her journey to recovery.
I have a piss poor attitude. My boss knows it, my boyfriend knows it, my mom and my co-workers all know it. And yes, I know it too. My acknowledgment of my piss poor attitude makes me even grumpier because I know I’m doing it, I’m the cause of it and I could change it. Yet, her I sit, dwelling on my situation and having a piss poor attitude about it.
It started years ago, before I became a runner. I had a single Plantar’s wart on my left heel and I went to my PCP, who with a white Styrofoam cup of some liquid, attempted to freeze the wart with this liquid and a q-tip. She finished off the presentation of wart removal by pouring the liquid from the cup onto the floor, which quickly evaporated. She told me that kids always like that. If only the wart had evaporated like the liquid. Fast forward to 9 months ago after repeated efforts to freeze and burn that puppy off and then the doctor says it’s too resilient; it has to be cut out. Since I was training for the PF Half and had just come off an injury I was NOT going to cut into my heel until the following summer. If you have to plan to be off your feet, plan it during the time when you don’t want to run, which in Phoenix, is the summer.
So yes, this escapade was planned. What was not planned was the enormous hole that now is in my heel and the time period that I’m unable to walk, let alone run. I had planned 2 weeks on crutches, one week to allow the heel to continue to heal and then start my Tucson marathon training. Not only would it be my first marathon, I wanted it to be a Boston Qualifier too. I had my running schedule put together from three weeks after the surgery through December 7th, the marathon. I had my A-goal to qualify for Boston with a 3:45 for 2009 and a B-goal to qualify with a 3:50 for 2010 since I would be changing age groups.
I trained and scheduled many races during the winter months and had a blast. I ran Utah Ragnar in the middle of June and scheduled the surgery for the following Thursday. It was done at the hospital as out patient surgery because the doctor thinks the patient is more comfortable that way. I was scared. I didn’t want to be put under. (I didn’t want to say or do anything stupid.) I didn’t want to not be in control.
A Plantar’s wart is a virus occurring on the sole or toes of the foot. It is estimated that 7-10% of the US population are infected and I was the lucky chosen one. Infection typically occurs on moist walking surfaces such as showers, swimming pools, or shoes. People build immunity with age, so infection is less common amongst adults than children. I “caught” my first one in my early 20s and once you have the virus, you always have it. The virus may become inactive and never surface again but the possibility is there that it will return. Although literature says they can go away on their own in a couple of years, mine did not go away and grew in quantity and size. My initial wart had grown and had multiplied and now consisted of 3 warts, two about the size of a dime and the third about the size of a paper punch. That is why I had to have them removed. They were uncomfortable but not painful but they were growing and I didn’t want to become one big wart or have them transfer to my right foot.
I woke up in recovery at 8:15am according to the clock directly in front of me. A lady to my left was wheeled in and she was moaning. The nurse asked me about my pain level, thinking of the lady right next to me, I happily replied “zero” and looked over to her clipboard to see a half dozen other responses of zero that I must have given at some point. I couldn’t remember being asked even once and still wonder if I said or did anything stupid while being “out”. I was released in an hour, wheeled out to the car and spent the rest of the day watching movies and TV, which is something I don’t usually do. (How can you watch TV if you are out running?). Two days later I peeled back the bandage and cried. The hole was about 1” x 1.5” and a quarter inch deep. How would I run again? Would the heel grow back? Did the doctor have to take so much out? What have I done?