Archive for the ‘Foot issues’ Category

I just looked and I’ve not posted anything on here in 10 months.

10 months?!?!?

I’m not going to make excuses… I wrote no fewer than 12 drafts that referenced the 2016 election and wound up purging them.  Too political, too negative, take your pick. I realize you don’t really need to hear my political ramblings. Plus, I’m sure that it wouldn’t do much good.

I know you’ve read my trials and tribulations of getting exercise and losing weight. You’ve heard the tales of my blistered and mangled feet.

I’ve gotten a solution.

I’ve rediscovered just how much I enjoy biking.

This started a couple of years ago when I visited my local Trek dealer. I didn’t know much about bikes (my last one was a 10-speed Schwinn from 30 years ago). I left with a pretty metallic blue Shift 1. I rode it sparingly the first two seasons. I was always finding excuses not to ride… my legs hurt, it was too hot, it was too cold. You get the point.

Then, for whatever reason, it clicked.

Shock’s Mill Bridge over the Susquehanna River

I started riding regularly. First three days a week, then four. Now it’s usually six days a week (I mow grass on the seventh day), and I have been known to get all seven days. What started off as a struggle to reach five miles a day has me feeling like I’m not getting it done if I don’t get 15-20 miles a day. Some days I do the entire trail for a grand total of 23 miles. There’s some lovely scenery along the way… old ruins from the region’s pig iron days, a really neat railroad bridge, and lots of wildlife. I ever rescued a really cute box turtle today after he was almost mowed down by some Lance Armstrong wannabe. I stopped, picked him up and carried him to the side of the trail. Figured it was better than having Lance get a second shot at him on the return leg.

Yes, my tubby ass has grown to love the biking.

As a result, I found that I was outgrowing my beloved Shift 1. Limited to seven gears, it wasn’t allowing me to get the work I wanted. So, I went shopping for another bike. Since I was so enamored with the Trek product, that’s where I started and where my search ended. The Shift line was no more, but Trek had introduced a line called Verve. Bigger tires, stronger wheel construction, all aluminum frame, and 24 gears.

It was a no-brainer.

The new bike as I left the shop.

I was fitted for the bike, and I took it for a ride the day I picked it up. It was a little too tall for me and given my normal choice of riding attire, I managed to fall off. See, I usually opt to spare the world from the sight of me in bike shorts, so I would generally wear a pair of gym shorts over the bike shorts. They got caught on the seat and I ever so gracefully landed on my keister. No harm done… plenty of padding. I lowered the seat a little and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. It also helps that I just said the hell with it and let people see me in bike shorts.

An old high school friend asked me why I loved the new bike and the best thing I could say was that it works for me. Maybe Trek isn’t the greatest thing on the road, but I enjoy riding this bike and I look forward to riding as far into the fall and winter as I can.

It’s nice to be able to get the activity I’ve been craving.

P.S. I have no idea what my weight is these days. I haven’t looked at a scale in months. I’m not stressing and I know things are working because I can feel changes in muscle tone and how my clothes fit. Eff the scale.

Let’s flash back, shall we?

When Supportive Partner Woman (lover of gelato!) and I were dating, I once promised I’d take her to Italy. I finally made good on that promise… We arrived in Rome on Thursday and will be touring our way up and across the boot.

So far, it’s been a lot of what I remember… beautiful art, awesome food, insane drivers…

It’s also a spot where Stubby and Wayne have decided to get ornery. It’s already cost me part of the Colosseum tour. I’m hoping they don’t cost me much more, because this place rocks.

There was some drama before we left. Somehow, my credit card number wound up in the hands of someone in Illinois. No offense to the fine Illini, but I’ve never been to Illinois, other than stopping at O’Hare to change planes. I’ve certainly never been to a Home Depot in Illinois. Anyway, the card company was suspicious, denied the charge, contacted me and said they would be issuing a new card and would send it overnight.

Sure enough, they shipped it, but they opted for Federal Express (who need to change their tagline to “The Postal Service for a New Millennium). That’s when the hijinks ensued.

According to the tracking data, the new card went from Chesapeake, Virginia to Norfolk, then to Memphis, TN. Then, for whatever reason, it went to Dubai. As in the United Arab Emirates. When I called FedEx about it, the customer rep said, “Uh, I’m not sure why it’s there.”

Wow. And Chris Christie wants to track illegal aliens like FedEx packages?

Anyway, they put it on a plane to Paris, then back to Memphis, then on to Harrisburg, then to Lancaster, where it finally arrived on Monday. It’s about 325 miles to drive from Chesapeake to Lancaster. My package travelled some 17,000 miles. Ahh, progress. All I wanted was the frequent flier miles, but alas, FedEx does not give them.

Anyway, Wednesday afternoon saw us arriving at the economy parking lot at Philadelphia International Airport. I opted for PHL, not because of its stellar reputation, but because it was cheaper. Plus, I didn’t relish the thought of driving to JFK. We finally found a parking spot (no mean feat) and were treated to the most horrendous, kidney-bruising ride you could ever ask for. We were in a bus, which probably hadn’t had a working suspension in years, careening through airport property, just hanging on for dear life.

We finally made it to the terminal, checked our bags with the fine folks from British Airways, and approached security. The line was insane. As we were queueing up, a young man (who looked so much like Pharrell I expected him to put on a bad hat and start singing “Happy”) pointed out that the wait for security at Terminal A East was about two minutes. We said, “Why not?” walked over and were through in no time.

We got to the gate, and started boarding our plane. I’m an aviation geek and this was my first ever flight on the Boeing 777. We had seats in the World Traveler Plus section, which was pretty darn nice. Food was tasty (a shock for airplane food), the seats had some space, and there was plenty of IFE to keep us going.

747-400s at Heathrow with 777 taking off in the background.

747-400s at Heathrow with 777 taking off in the background.

Landed in Heathrow (which is kind of like O’Hare, except it’s British and polite – also I couldn’t detect the usual O’Hare odor of hopelessness and desperation) and was treated to a view you never get in Philly. A row of 747s just waiting at Terminal 5-B. I know the A380 is larger, but the 747 is still the Queen of the Skies.

Cleared UK security (memo to SPW… only one bag of liquids allowed) and headed off to Rome. Couldn’t see much from the air due to the distance of Fiumicino from the city, and also the direction of travel. We cleared passport control and were met by an Adventures by Disney representative who escorted us to baggage claim and waited as we reclaimed our bags. The rep escorted us to a parking structure and left us in the capable hands of a Mario Andretti wannabe. After three near-death experiences, we made it to the hotel.

It’s a beautiful hotel… rooms are a tad smaller than I am used to, but it’s Europe.

We did a city tour yesterday… I maintain it’s not the walking that kills the feet, but the standing. We did a lot of that because there was a biblical rainstorm as we got to the Colosseum. The tour was supposed to include access to the underground levels as well as the third level. Due to the storm, the Italian authorities (rightfully) opted to close the areas off. We finally got to the main levels, took some pictures, then they were about to whisk us off to the Forum. By this time, the feet were starting to protest and I had an inkling as to what to expect, so I opted to head back to the hotel.

Colosseum

Colosseum

Big mistake… the folks who remained were able to run back to the Colosseum and get to tour the underground portion. Granted the run back would’ve probably killed me, but the chance to see that is rare.

rigatoniI’d also like to add that the food has been amazing so far. The first dish I had was a rigatoni in a light tomato sauce with very tasty bacon. Seriously smack your grandma good. The bad thing (or good thing) is that I’ll never want to eat Olive Garden again.

So, today we will be touring the Vatican. Maybe I should pray for less foot problems. Either way, it’s going to be awesome and I already have a foot doctor appointment for when we get back.

Ciao!

Had a follow up with my surgeon on Tuesday. He took the first post-op x-rays and pronounced everything in order. I see him in two weeks and he said, “Bring a regular shoe with you.”

Wha-wha-what?!?!?

I might be in a legit regular shoe in two weeks?

Feels like Christmas has come early.

It gets better, though. As I changed the bandages yesterday, I realized that fir the first time in nine months, I felt no blister or no ulcerations of any kind. I can’t look at it too well as I don’t want to put any torque on the toe that might cause problems with the healing of the bone, but damn it felt good. I ever noticed that my mood was greatly improved, just with that little news. I might even be able to do the Troeg’s 5K, albeit while walking. I don’t want to risk reinjuring the toe in any way, shape or form.

Wayne's x-ray... note the two "Plaples"

Wayne’s x-ray… note the two “Plaples”

The x-rays look kind of cool. You can clearly see the plaples (combination of plate and staple) that are holding the tip of my toe onto the rest of my foot. The surgeon told me he went that route because he didn’t want an issue with a screw that might work its way out of the bone. I am appreciative, that’s for sure.

Note the "Shoe of Embarrassment" in the background

Note the “Shoe of Embarrassment” in the background

It was a combo appointment, though, as Supportive Partner Woman (badly sunburned!) had a small procedure done to her foot to drain a ganglion cyst that was causing her problems. SPW’s compression bandage should be off today. She says it feels a little better, which I take as a good sign. Or, she could be not minding it due to the sunburn. I guess having the cyst done the way she did beats the old school way, which was to slam it with a heavy book. Ouch.

Other than that, things are moving along.

We also did the local flea market on Labor Day. It was crazy humid and the turnout wasn’t quite as good as we hoped (it was too freakin’ hot), but we managed to unload stuff and didn’t come home with anything extra. That’s a good sign. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but there are some incredibly cheap bastards out there. I understand wanting to get the best deal that you can, but don’t expect me to give it away. Case in point, a woman wandered up to our tables, picked up a barely used (literally, less than five times) T-fal griddle pan. She asks how much it is, we tell her $3. Rather than attempt to haggle, she slams the pan down on the table and storms off. I would’ve taken $2 for it, but I guess she wanted it for free.

It’s good to want, chump.

At any rate, there’s always going to be idiots. It’s not against the law.

Sigh.

The foot right after surgery

The foot right after surgery

And no, I’m not referencing that annoying BareNaked Ladies song. It’s been one week since Wayne went under the knife.

Now, Wayne has been a problem child since January’s 5K. He had the blister that would not heal. The blister wasn’t even totally healed in time for surgery, but once the pressure was taken off, he’s all but closed up… five days later.

What Dr. Barbacci did was to open an L-shaped incision over the front toe knuckle. He took the ends off the joint, removed the cartilage and used two staples/plates to fuse the joint together. He also added a little twist, given my gait that will hopefully combat any blistering.

Much smaller

Much smaller

The sad thing is that I’m in a different Boot of Shame for at least four weeks, perhaps as much as 6 weeks. This is necessary so the bone can knit properly. The effect of titanium on airport metal detectors is unknown to me… a question for the next appointment. Speaking of which, that’s next Tuesday and they take the stitches out. I had the bandage changed on Tuesday… after a few days, it was all bunched up and, as Dr. Barbacci noted, “It looks like a loaf of bread.” The current bandage is much smaller and sleeker looking.

The worst part has been that I feel the staples in my bones. Maybe that’s just my head talking, but the nice thing is feeling something in my toes.

The one thing that was missing was that I felt I should call my mom and let her know that the procedure went well. See, that was pretty much a standard. She always wanted the doctor’s report. Somehow, she knows, though.

I was pretty much awake for the surgery. They gave me a “twilight” cocktail (and no, I didn’t have to watch those shitty movies starring Shovelface and Mouth Breather) so I had a vague sense of awareness. I do recall Dr. Barbacci coming into the operating room and saying, “Do we have that vasectomy kit ready?” I thought he switched specialties.

At any rate, one more thing to share. You can tell it’s summer when the nastygrams start arriving from Wanda, evil bitch queen of the HOA. This time, Wanda got her panties in a bunch about a tree along the road (that we didn’t even plant) having branches hanging within eight feet of the ground. Now, I was under the impression that those trees were their responsibility, since I remember an “arborist” waking me up to move my car because they had to trim branches. Regardless, I’m in no shape to trim trees at this juncture, however, our totally awesome neighbor trimmed it for me. Huge shout out to Kirk for general awesomeness. I still loathe Wanda, though. I’m pretty sure she’s paying kickbacks to the HOA president. Otherwise she’d be out.

At any rate, I’ll try and keep you all posted as to the progress with Wayne. I was going to take a picture, maybe I will on Tuesday before the stitches come out.

Song of the Day: Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack – Various Artists

Currently reading: The 6th Extinction – James Rollins

Dreamers_LogoSmallRecently I had the honor of recording a new podcast started by my friend Joe. This podcast focuses on people who are living their dreams, or have a dream and have started on the road to making that dream a reality.

If you get a chance, give his podcast a listen… it’s a really good idea and one that has a huge opportunity for growth.

Here’s the link to my episode:

Other than that, not too much to report. I got some news from my wound care doctor… he seems to think Wayne will be all healed up in two-three weeks, then we can schedule a joint fusion surgery. That will mean six weeks in a surgical boot, but it will at least give me an endpoint so I can get back to being active and healthier. This forced inactivity is not fun at all. As it is, I only get two days a week of exercise, plus the work at home with a resistance band. I miss my daily trips to the gym… I felt so much better when I could do that. Also, with the warmer weather, I miss being out on the trail.

I’ve been having thoughts that maybe I should consider getting a bicycle. Anyone have any recommendations? I’m on a budget, so I was thinking of something used if I go that way. I’d be looking for something that doesn’t have a seat that would totally be crawling up my ass like my old Schwinn 10 speed used to do. Alternatively, would welding an office chair to the frame be a bad idea? It’s just a thought at this time, but it never hurts to start.

On that note, back to the salt mine. I’m working on another ramp for my in-laws. Want to make sure it fits before I get it all polyurethaned.

Hope you have a great day!

Currently Reading: Faceoff, edited by David Baldacci

Song of the Day: When You Close Your Eyes – Night Ranger (I know it’s 80s cheese, but I have a soft spot for that)

 

In the last story, I was telling the tale of my poor car, which had suffered damage at the hands of Spider-Man (or, as I like to call him, Brad). The tale continues…

So, I went to the body shop that Supportive Partner Woman and I used when Mario the Super Honda was accosted by the snowplow when SPW was working up in Teh Jerz. They hemmed and hawed and came up with a figure of $1,718 to get my ride back in presentable condition. (Note: Only $43.75 of that number was for parts.) The body shop guy seemed rueful as he said it was probably more than the value of my ride (which is 15 years old and kind of tired).

My poor car

My poor car

I contacted the claims representative, gave her the estimate and she said that I could have a field adjuster come out, look things over and we could go from there.

Monday morning, bright and early, the adjuster showed up. He took pictures, asked me what I wanted to do, and asked me to give him a few minutes. He came back with a figure near to what the body shop estimated, shook my hand, told me I’d be getting a check, and went on his way.

I got the check the very next day.

The. Very. Next. Day.

I can’t argue with the service I’ve gotten from Spidey’s insurance company. They’ve been prompt, courteous and professional. If I have need to change insurance companies in the future, I will certainly talk to Erie.

Now my debate goes on… do I take the car in to get fixed or do we use the cash toward some other things?

In other news, I’ve been to see the wound care specialist about my continuing issues with Wayne. They seem to think that the problem is caused by my toe tending to point downward, putting all sorts of pressure on the tip of the toe (where it blisters). The solution is to wear the Boot of Shame for awhile, then once it heals, have a procedure to fuse one of the toe joints, eliminating the tendency to curl under and hopefully stopping the blistering. I know I’d be happy to put the Boot of Shame out to pasture. Of course, before I dug the Boot out of the closet, I finished my Revenge of the 5th 5K (part of the Nerd Herd Virtual Race Trilogy). I did it on the elliptical in a time of 20:22, which makes me pretty happy. Hope I’ll be whole for the next leg! (See what I did there?)

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Hope you have a great day!

Song of the Day: Us and Them (Live) – Pink Floyd
Currently Reading: Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

Good news!

I’m finally cleared to exercise again.

Yeah, I can go and hit the elliptical starting today. Still need to stay off the treadmill, but I’ll take what I can get. First thing I did was call Ryan and Cory, since I still have a few weeks left with them. Hard to believe I’ll be a year post-op at the end of this month.

I also started the Back on Track program at LGH. It’s for folks who are struggling a little. Dr. Collins, the bariatric psychologist, leads an eight-week session focused on getting you refocused and rededicated before the wheels completely fall off. It’s a small group, six people, and Dr. Collins has a whole program set up. I think being able to get back to regular exercise will help me… I had gotten so used to working out that it really took a toll on me when I couldn’t. Dare I say some depression set in, and I’m someone who tends to eat when depressed. Ergo, not a good combination.

To help, I did buy a resistance band at my local Target. It has helped me at least get some strength training in while I was sidelined. I would usually change things up by using the bands. The fact that you get a constant force working against you seems to make sense.

The feet are feeling good in the new kicks. They are a little flashier than I’m used to, but I can’t argue with the comfort. I was able to rehab my old Beasts by putting a spare set of orthotic insoles in and they feel pretty much brand new.

So, I’m actually thinking that the WDW 10K in January might be the last runDisney event for me. Not because I don’t think I could do it again, but because of the price. RunDisney is getting a little out of hand. The prices for the 2015 weekend are going up like a rocket ship and that’s not cool.

The prices for 2015 are as follows:

Dopey Challenge: $530 (this is the 5K, 10K, ½, full, extra medals for the Dopey and for the Goofy, and a load of shirts)

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge: $360 (1/2 and full, plus extra medal and required shirts)

1/2 or full marathon: $170

10K: $105

5K: $60

Add to that price the need for airfare, lodging, meals, park admission (granted, not required, but you’re in Disney, you should probably get to a park), getting up at 2:30 AM on race day, and you start to wonder if it’s really worth it. Supportive Partner Woman and I will be doing it, as we are hoping our niece joins us as she will be done with graduate school at that point and could probably use a vacation. If it wasn’t for that, well, I’d consider not even participating. But, it’s all about the profit and 55,000 folks participating brings in a lot of scratch.

On that happy note, I’m going to get myself moving and over to the gym. I have two months to catch up on.

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