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Category Archives: bunions

Crazy Eights: 21

1. Life has been absolutely insane, hence the lack of blogging.  In fact, things are so crazy that I’m not even sure I punctuated that first sentence correctly and I’m not going to take the time to figure it out.  I started my new job on September 12, so I have officially been employed there for two and a half weeks.  I know almost all the kids’ names (those quiet ones are hard to learn), I have dealt with angry parents in person and via email, I’ve sent some nice friendly emails home to a couple of parents, and I’ve gotten my furniture and supplies somewhat organized.  But there were absolutely no resources for me — no files of reading guides or quizzes or tests, no list of things 7th graders or 8th graders should read, not even enough textbooks or novels for all my students.  And getting things purchased is harder at this school than any other I’ve taught at because everything has to go through the university’s accounting department (I guess) and it’s absolutely insane.  So while I’ve been learning kids’ names and dealing with their parents, I’ve also been creating everything from scratch and learning how to navigate procedures like getting a box of chalk and making photocopies and reserving a computer lab.

2. This school is not at all what I’d imagined.  I had the idea that since this is a university-run school, it would be like an educator’s utopia.  Instead, I find it is completely disorganized (communication is terrible and there is no set curriculum because the culture is that teachers have a lot of freedom to teach how they want… hence the lack of resources for a newbie.)  The student behavior problems, I admit, are mostly minor.  The teachers, however, are completely stressed out because they are now having to implement all the state requirements for teachers just like everyone else in public schools, but they have had so much freedom over the years that this is like putting a noose around their necks — not to mention that the previous administrators didn’t do anything to prepare them for what was coming.  The new administrators are doing their best, and no one seems to begrudge them personally, but the teachers are constantly stressed out and complaining and overall are pretty unhelpful to me because they are so overwhelmed themselves.

3. Stephan has been absolutely amazing during all of this.  He has cooked almost all the meals, he has done the shopping, he has held me and prayed for me when I cried out of complete frustration.  He lets me vent and bounce ideas off of him, and he seems okay with me asking for six dozen hugs a day.  I honestly don’t know how I would get through this if it weren’t for him.

4. I had issues about the last school where I worked.  I was discouraged that they didn’t hire me full time, and I was frustrated that I didn’t have a lot of guidance going into the position I did take.  But the teachers there were extremely helpful and friendly and seemed to have much better attitudes than where I am now.  In fact, when I emailed them begging for any resources on Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Giver that they would be willing to spare, one teacher emailed me thirty-nine attachments of stuff.  Another said to let her know when I could drop by the school and she’d have items for me.  I am so blessed by these women.  The school in general is more organized, and I like an organized environment.  What I wonder is whether God has me at my current, disorganized school so that I can make a difference there, or so that I can see that where I had been before really wasn’t so bad after all.  I think there will be another opening at my last school next year.  Will I apply for it?  I don’t know, and I’m not making any decisions about that until a position actually posts.  But it’s in the back of my head.  There is a little pros and cons list in my brain.

5. I think our rabbit, Licorice, is about to give birth.  Based on when we bred her to Bear, she should be due roughly next weekend, I think.  She is starting to pull out her fur to make a nest, and Stephan put a nest box in her cage.  Her urine smells really strong, too, and I wonder if that is a symptom of pregnancy.

6. Remember when I had bunion surgery a couple of years ago?  Well, I found I had a bump in my foot just under the incision, and my shoes would rub it and it was kind of uncomfortable.  I thought it was scar tissue and tried to break it up myself, but that didn’t work.  I went to a physical therapist, and she said it felt like bone or hardware, so I was afraid the screw was working its way out.  I went to the doctor and he said it is bone — I guess a little bump grew on the bone when it grew back together.  He said it won’t hurt anything, but if it bothers me, he can shave it off.  I’m not going to do that now; I’ll wait to see if it gets worse.

7. Our garden is overrun with weeds and we have very little time to tend to it now.  Stephan still goes out to get tomatoes now and then (we’ve got several gallons of stewed tomatoes frozen, and about a gallon and a half of tomato juice in the freezer as well) and he just picked two little pumpkins from our backyard garden.  Our freezer is packed full, and we need to rearrange things before it’s time to put deer and rabbit meat in there.

8. I make no promises that this is the beginning of regular blogging again.  Things are just too crazy right now.

Bunionectomy: One Year Later

Saturday, August 27, marked one year since I had surgery on my right foot.  I think I’ve mentioned a few (hundred) times that I’m so glad I had the surgery.

My foot no longer hurts when I run, or when it rains, or when I’m just sitting at my desk at work.

The scars have faded and they’re not too obvious now.

The only discomfort I have is when I’m lying on my side in bed, sometimes if the inside of my foot is resting on the mattress, the pressure is uncomfortable on the spot where the bunion used to be.  But by putting the right foot on top of the left one, I can avoid that.  So it’s minor and hardly even worth mentioning.

 

And my foot is prettier than it used to be, too.

New Running Shoes

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Last Saturday, Chef and I were running errands around the north side of Indianapolis.  We delivered an ice sculpture for a 70th birthday party in Zionsville.  Then we swung through Carmel to pick up Chef’s jersey for his soccer league.  On our way back home, we drove to Fishers to my favorite running store, Blue Mile, to look for new running shoes for me.

We arrived at 5:56.  The sign on the door said they close at 6:00.

Crud.

We went in anyway, and I explained, “I know you close in four minutes.  But I need new shoes and I just had foot surgery so I’m starting from scratch and I need a gait analysis and everything.  Will you be able to help me today?”

The two staff members looked at each other.  “Well, a gait analysis takes about fifteen minutes.  We’re open tomorrow, too.  Are you from nearby?”

“Well, not really,” I said.  I told them where we live; it’s about an hour away.

“We can take care of you now,” they said.  “We don’t want you to have to drive all the way back here tomorrow.”

So the guy put me on the treadmill and we tried a variety of different shoes.  Interestingly, I’ve gone up a half a size since my surgery.  I think it’s because my toes are much straighter now.  I don’t have enough room in my old shoes, which used to fit just fine before surgery.

As a result, Chef threatened to start calling me Sasquatch.  A withering look from me stopped that in its tracks.

Anyway, I ended up with the Brooks Ravenna.

They’re a lot lighter than what I used to wear.  Since I’m not pronating as much now that I’ve had surgery, I don’t need as much stability in my shoes.  (I think the salesman said these shoes are somewhere between a stability shoe and a neutral shoe.)  I wasn’t used to having less cushioning, and my left foot wasn’t sure about it.  But when I tried a shoe with more cushioning, I felt like it was too much on the right foot.  I determined it’s because the left foot is still slightly sore from surgery while the right foot has recovered now.

As a side note, these shoes are reviewed in this month’s Runner’s World.  (Here is a review from 2009, but they’ve just reviewed the new model and given it the Editor’s Choice.  Nice!)

I like these shoes.  I tried them out on the treadmill at the Y the other day, then took them out on the road for a five mile run over the weekend.  And I’m glad I can wear a lighter shoe now.

Much Improved

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About a year ago:

About a week ago:

 

Much better, don’t you think?

Bunion Education

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On Friday, I had my final post-op visit with Dr. Herbst. He told me everything looked great and that I could return to any activities I chose, including “jogging, cycling, Zumba…”  I wrinkled my nose.  “I hate Zumba,” I said.  He said, “I don’t know anything about it.  I just know it’s a big trend right now.”

Not with me, buster.  Not with me.

I knew this would be my last chance to ask him all my questions, so I wrote them down in a notebook which I took along and then I accosted him with inquiry.

The first thing I asked was why there are two incisions.  He smiled and said, “That’s a really good question, and most people don’t ask.”  (See!  I’m smart!)  He said that the smaller incision, which is kind of between the first and second metatarsal, is to realign the sesamoid bones.  Those little bones, which should be under the first metatarsal, get shifted inward as the metatarsal gets shifted outward.

Here’s a photo of my pre-op x-ray:

The sesamoid bones are really hard to see in this picture (they are much more evident in the original x-ray), so I’ve highlighted them below so you know where to look.

Dr. Herbst said that 10 or 12 years ago, doctors didn’t think it was necessary to move the sesamoid bones back into the correct position, but then it was discovered that without moving them, the bunion was much more likely to recur.  So he stretched the tendons so that the sesamoids are back under the first metatarsal the way they are meant to be.  If a patient does not have severe bunions, then the sesamoids haven’t shifted and don’t need to be moved.  But in my case, it needed to be done.

I also wanted to know about the bone bump he had shaved off.  When the surgical nurse had showed it to me, she pointed out that it was all bumpy.  “Is that normal, and does that cause pain?”  Dr. Herbst said it’s totally normal.  He said that when the capsule (bone bump) grows, it just grows bumpy.  Even in people who don’t have bunions, if that part of the bone has to be cut off, it’s bumpy.

I told him that my second toe on my left foot is still numb.  “At this point, that’s not going to come back, is it?” I asked.  He said it might.  The nerve that goes to that toe gets moved when he works on those sesamoid bones, which confuses the nerve.  It can take a while for the feeling to come back, but in a few more months, it might be fine.  Even if it remains numb, my body will get used to it and I won’t notice it as much.  I said I hoped so, because it was really affecting my quality of life.

I’m hilarious.

When asked the relationship between overpronating and bunions, and whether one causes the other, Dr. Herbst said it’s a chicken and egg kind of thing.  If you overpronate, you’re more likely to have bunions, and the bunions may worsen the pronation.  He said it’s largely heredity for both.  And as far as bunions and heredity go, I was pretty much doomed.

Then I asked him what his opinion is about barefoot running, or running in minimalist shoes.  He kind of smiled, thought for a minute, and said, “I think it’s good for my business.”  He said that there are probably some people who are thin and have great mechanics and great form and are just light on their feet and built to run, and for them it’s probably fine.  But he thinks most people are likely to get hurt.  He admitted that the jury is still out regarding long-term effects, and he said he hasn’t read The Book (Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, which seems to have started the trend), and he needs to.  Still, he said he prefers the support that a running shoe offers.

So I might try it on some soft, grassy turf sometime.  But I’m not going to go all crazy about it.  I really like my doctor and all, but I don’t really want to have to go back to see him.

And now the bunion story is coming to completion.  I am still working on finding shoes, and I’m still getting back into running.  And I haven’t gotten my pedicure yet, so there are still a few more posts to write.  But I think in the next six months or so, I’ll really be able to call myself bunionless.

Although since that’s a strange adjective that probably isn’t even a word, I likely won’t actually call myself that.

But I could.

Going Long(ish)

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Last week I’d done a couple of two-mile runs.  (One of which was with my friend Rachael who claims she is a slow runner but totally kicked my butt.  She kindly said it was because I’m just getting back into running after surgery.  I think it’s also because she’s ten years younger than me.)  So on Tuesday of this week, I was ready to go to the next level.

A three-miler.  Almost a 5K!

To run three miles in my neighborhood, I add together a one-mile loop and a two-mile loop.  At first, I thought I’d run the two-mile loop first so that if I were too tired or sore after that, I could skip the one-mile loop.  And then I told myself to stop being a baby and just do it!  So I ran my “around the town” one-mile loop first, so I’d pretty much have to run all three.  Unless I was going to be a total wimp and run only one.

I almost was a total wimp.  My knees were sore and my legs were tight.  But I kept going, around the town, past the library, up the hill (!), and then “around the block” for two miles.

Upon my return, I was tired, sore, achy, and exhilarated.

And I spent at least an hour icing my foot.

Wednesday, my foot was pretty ouchy all day, and I decided not to run.

But tonight, I’m going to the Y.  Will I run?  Use the elliptical, which is easier on my foot?  Not sure.  But I can’t let the soreness, the cold weather and the return of snow (!!!) keep me from being active.  I know I’ll feel better after a workout.

Mentally, at least.

Returning to Running

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Last night, I went for a two-mile run.  It’s been eleven and a half weeks since surgery, and it has felt like a long time since my last run.  I put on my Road ID and my Nikes, and headed out the door.

Along the route I saw some familiar sights, like the dog who always lunges at his chain, barking at me.  And the driveway where I met Anne.

And there were new things to see, like the dilapidated, abandoned house that is now being remodeled.  And the home that used to have two colors of siding (old and new), that now has all new siding.  And I saw that the fire station has been painted.

By the end, my knees ached, my ankles were sore, my shins were tight, and my quads burned.

My lungs were sucking in the cool spring air.

And I felt like, finally, I’m back.