Friday, December 19, 2014

Seven weeks post surgery to current

Surgery pictures, inside my shoulder
The surgeon told me this was going to be a slow recovery and said, "If you think you are going to be different, you are wrong."  I was wrong.  I did think I'd be different.  I did think I'd recover faster than most people.  I did not and have not.

At six weeks, I was allowed to start moving my arm and take off the sling.  The first six weeks after surgery, I was confined to the sling 24/7 except when I was showering.  As a result, all of my muscles cramped up and I was on painkillers.  Bad combo for Dusty.

As soon as I was allowed to move my arm and start physical therapy, I stopped using painkillers (and haven't taken one since) and the pain diminished immediately. Physical therapy has been good.  I picked a great place with fun people.  As you can see from the pictures below, my progress has been slow.

I was cleared to run on October 31st.  I kept doing the mile a day streak and had my 1,000th day of streaking on November 8th.  My first 50k post surgery was Mutual Mine on October 26th.  It was a great race where, once again, I finished Dead Fing Last (DFL).  The second week in November, I was Jim Schroeder's crew for Icarus 6 day.  He did 250 miles in his first six day attempt!  On November 15 and 16, I paced my friend Margie to her first 100 mile finish and I got 50 miles in the process.

Jim Schroeder on the 1km loop at Icarus

Beautiful sunrise at Icarus (Fort Lauderdale)

Margie and I after her 100 mile finish at Wild Sebastian!

Nearly four months postsurgery, I was able to lift my arm to the front over my head!  A few days later, I washed my hair with TWO HANDS for the first time since June 20th.

This weekend, I'm going to attempt another 100 miler.  I may not be in great shape for it but not bad shape either.  When I signed up for it in July or August, my husband thought I was crazy.  I knew I needed something big to motivate me to keep moving and not give up.  It was the right thing to do.

2015 will be full of running and adventures.  All but one of the adventures are tentative.  I am ready to do great things (great things=memorable, not necessarily "great") even if I'm unable to lift my right arm over my head more than three times in a row!

All pictures below were taken beginning six weeks post surgery and I'm lifting my arm to the front.  A few pictures are missing because I didn't have enough clothes on.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shoulder update-Four months post surgery, the first six weeks a retrospective look

This is too long, sorry.

Three days post surgery, doesn't look too bad, felt awful!

On Saturday, it will be four months since my shoulder surgery and five and a half months since my initial injury.  This has been one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I have learned a lot about myself, my friends, adrenal insufficiency and feeling like shit.

In June, I ruptured two of my rotator cuff tendons in my right arm and tore a third one.  We only have four tendons and they help raise and lower the arm. How did I do it?  Well, the ultimate activity was a "girl" push up but there was a lot of history behind the push up incident.  Pain I had felt in my pectoral muscle for about 20 years was a tendon slowly giving way.  Falling off mountain bikes, rock climbing, cleaning houses, shoveling Idaho snow (which I did at my house, and two clients houses), and weight lifting all ultimately contributed to the rupture.  The push up that blew the tendons could have just as easily been a very aggressive swim workout or unpacking a moving truck.  It was bound to happen at some point.

Looking out of our garage, snow is not that deep in front of the door but note the piles next to the driveway.  Heaving snow up and over them was not great.  Unlike many parts of the country, we had to shovel snow from September through May in Idaho.

I found a surgeon and had a pretty positive experience with him and the anesthesiologist for the surgery.  Immediately post surgery, I felt better than I had expected.  Post surgery, the shoulder had to remain immobile for six weeks.  Keeping a formerly active limb immobile causes a lot of pain and cramping to all the muscles attached to the limb.  Biceps, triceps, lats, etc.  By four weeks post surgery, I was wracked with pain.  I was taking pain killers and they were making me insane.  Everything was cramping.  It didn't help that we moved during this time as well. Any way, the first six weeks were not only painful physically but emotionally as well.  I have my issues and I don't deny that!  To work things out in my head, I run, I clean, I am active, I spend time alone.  I was sleeping on the couch in the living room, no privacy.  I was specifically told I was not allowed to run for THREE MONTHS (I didn't listen and ran my mile a day), my energy levels were low and my left arm was not great at obeying my brain.  To give you an example of my screwedupness, taking a shower was a pretty awful, painful, stressful part of my day.  It took forever.  Try strapping your arm down and then wash your hair and dry off.  It takes about twice as long.  Add exhaustion, crying and a lot of pain in getting the sling off, clothes off and then clothes back on.  Because showering was so awful, everything went downhill from there.  Pain pills made me a crying mess.  I do think my hydrocortisone intake was pathetically low.  Thank you Cathy for your frequent texts that I totally did not listen to.  I wish I had followed your advice!!!!!  I have a lot to say about post surgery hydrocortisone guidelines but not right now.  My brain was completely off line.  I was watching Jerry Springer and crying a little about the paternity cases. NOTE:  If this happens to you, take about 25 mg of HC right then and there.  Crying while watching Jerry Springer is NOT NORMAL and a symptom of LOW CORTISOL.

Basically, I was very, very fucked up for the first six weeks after surgery.  I was a blob.  I was a crying mess.  I couldn't accomplish anything.  I watched trash TV. I cried and cried and cried.  It was awful.  What hurt the worst was Pam kicking me off the board of the Parrot Outreach.  I'm still tearing up about that now.  I love those damned birds and miss them.  She tore a piece of my heart out at a time when I needed it.  Shessh.  I'm crying about it right now.  The saddest part was that she never gave me any reason for it.  She was a coward and it appeared that she only wanted to hurt me badly when I was down.  I guess that's because I was leaving her and the birds and she wanted to make the first strike.  Sadly for the birds, I was committed to writing grants and trying to get the Parrot Outreach money for operating expenses. Sigh.  I think the craziest thing was that the people that I thought could relate to me the best and understand what I was going through the most were the ones who saw me as a failure because I was completely and utterly unable to cope with life.  They abandoned me and kicked me while I was down.  Perhaps I'm pathetic all the time and when I was even more pathetic, they cut me loose?  I guess that's fair.  Whatever.  I'm sorry that the birds have one less person to love them and care for them, even if from afar.

On a more positive note, there were so many wonderful people who stuck with me, sent me cards, called, emailed and texted.  Getting clips of people's children doing cool things, seeing funny pictures, getting things in the the mail always made my day better and brighter. A couple of amazing friendships (Jim!) have come from this awful time.  Having so many people stick by me at such a rough time was a wonderful thing.  Thank you everyone.  I appreciate you all so much.  Thanks to my husband, Paul, as well.  I had my doubts about how he would handle me and my bad attitude twenty four seven but he did pretty well for the most part.  Toward the end of the six weeks of immobilization, I think he might have been thinking about killing me in my sleep but he refrained.  Thanks, Paul!

My next posts:

  • Post surgery hydrocortisone guidelines are bullshit
  • Seven weeks to current shoulder update
  • Shoulder in pictures
  • What the future holds

If you have any questions or topics regarding my surgery and rehabilitation, please put them in the comments or email me at

Saturday, November 8, 2014

1,000 days of streaking

Day 1,000 of streaking.  Trying out Yogi's Luna sandals on Ft. Pierce beach.

I made this for me.  Paul sang "Happy 1,000th day of streaking"

Each and every day for 1,000 days, I have run one continuous mile.  The morning of my surgery, the day after surgery, travel days, migraine days and days after running 100 miles or 200 miles or 300 miles.  Some days were super hard to motivate to get my butt out the door and painful either mentally or physically.  Some days were joyful and beautiful.  I think my most memorable was during the Lake to Ocean 100k back in June of 2014.  It was after midnight and I decided to run on the pavement just before the end of the race (nearly every bit of the 100k was on trail).  It was a downpour and cold but beautiful and although I missed the cutoff for this race, I was going to finish it AND get my mile done for the day.  That particular mile felt like a huge accomplishment.
Working at a conference, dressed in business attire, running my mile.  

A view of how haphazard streaking can be.  Crocks, no undergarments, and a big old glass of vodka on a treadmill in the garage, in Idaho.  This was during my first attempt at streaking.  I was running on a stress fracture in the neck of my femur.  
Day 500 of my streak.  Didn't even change my clothes to do it.  See, anyone can streak any time.

Immediately after I ruptured the rotator cuff.  Training for Vol State with a weighted pack and a sling.  A runner and orthopedic doctor friend told me, "Just strap it down, you'll be fine.  Don't try to catch a 16 pound bowling ball."
I would highly recommend that if you have any desire to "streak," do it.  It will give you a sense of accomplishment.  It will be a goal for the day.  Who doesn't need 10-15 minutes of exercise a day? Everyone needs a little exercise every day!  Please consider streaking for your health and well being.  You don't have to run a mile.  You can do 10 pull ups or walk around the block.  Make a commitment to yourself, it's something you'll never regret.

Colleen Woods, my original inspiration for streaking
Joey, Steve and I at Grand Teton Races in 2009 (I think?)

As usual, I need to thank Colleen Woods for getting me started on the streaking kick, Steve Tursi for being my mile a day running mentor and my husband for supporting me and encouraging me (and keeping his mouth shut about his real feelings right after surgery).

When will I stop streaking?  When I can't do it any more.