Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Post BACK!

I don’t even know where to begin, how to start – so I’ll do as I usually do, and simply delve in.

First of all: A HUGE THANK YOU!!! To EVERYONE out there. Your thoughts, well wishes, prayers, good vibes, phone calls, flowers, notes, pick-me-ups, and everything in between has made such a tremendous impact. I have spent much time on the phone with my Mom and with Jen, discussing all the kind-hearted posts and comments. As of now (Thursday, March 20th at 1:45 pm PST) I haven’t been able to go on line and read or respond to anyone. But please know that I am forever grateful…

I cried more from the well wishes and thoughtfulness of everyone out there, than from the impact of my crash (Kapow! Torry Pines couldn’t get the best of me – ha! And no, that’s not a challenge. It’s simply a statement of truth.)

Rest assured, as soon as I can spend any amount of time on line, I WILL! And I will comment as much as I can.

Several times over the past few days, Mom has read to me (via cell phone) all the tremendous outpourings of support through various blogs and comments on my blog.

And I am so grateful.

There were a few times in the past few days where I could feel myself getting a little blue, could feel the sadness, doubt, and insecurity creep back into the horizons of my brain. But a few words from my Mom and glances at all the emails and comments that Liz printed out for me on Tuesday have made all the difference for me.

So thank you, my friends.

Second: Sorry if my writing is a bit scattered, skittered, or what-have-you. I’m still on the pain medicine, so my thoughts may be a bit “fuzzier” than usual. As of a few hours ago, I’m off of the IV pain meds – yippee! And instead, am on regular pain pills. But as with any triathlon, as with any sort of event, it’s a matter of time trying to figure out what combination works and what doesn’t.

(It took me several months to FINALLY figure out what I was planning on using nutrition-wise for IM Arizona). So I’m going to give my doctors and nurses a break when it comes down to figuring out which pain meds work best for me.

So – while you may find humor in my blog and with my writing – you may have reason to find even more with this particular entry. Ahem.

Third: An update.

As of now, my prognosis is very good. HOORAY!!!! J

Initially what appeared as a hip or pelvis fracture, turned out to be a broken S-1, or Sacrum. It was very difficult to diagnose, due to the location of the fracture. The initial X-Ray indicated a break; the subsequent CAT Scan showed an even more serious injury, and the final MRI revealed the need for emergency surgery.

The good news is that this is a very small section of the non-weight bearing spine. My Mom went on “the Google”, and was given a very helpful diagram of information regarding this bone and its relation to the spinal structure. If you’re interested, I recommend that you do the same. (Sorry that I can’t provide the link, as I’m writing without “the Google” J)

My doctor found that both the anterior and the posterior part of the S-1 was severely fractured. Additionally, there were several large bone chips and fragments imbedded into my Sacral nerve (spelling – sorry! It’s the meds!). The Sacral nerve is important, as it controls many of the sensory parts of the pelvic region. Right now, post surgery, I’ve got about 60-65% sensation in my pelvic region – not back to full capacity, but wonderful considering the severity of the injury.

Both sides of the Sacral Nerve (left and right) were damaged in the impact. The approximate healing time is unknown, and varies from patient to patient. I could be back to “normal” in 3 weeks, 3 months, or even 12 months. But all systems should be “go” within a year or so.

The S-1 bone will take between 8-12 weeks to mend. The great news is that I can swim, can do low-impact cardio, and will become a rock star in the pool. Jen Harrison: Watch Out! You’ve got ME to contend with! (In the far far far future – but bring it on!).

There are so many unknowns with an injury of this magnitude. Technically, I broke part of my back and sustained severe damage to my nerves.

Then again – this WAS the non-weight bearing part of my back and only the sensory nerves.

However…

Add in the factor that I’m a pretty decent-in-shape triathlete, and you’ve got an entirely new kitten-caboodle.

And finally…

I’ve got a great sense-of-humor, great attitude, and try to roll with the punches. So if I get lemons, I’ll more likely-than-not, try to make lemonade. Or something of the sort.

Let’s just say that I’m a big believer in the healing power of a positive mental attitude.

And besides, I’ve often found that there are so many things in life that we simply can’t control. However, WE CAN CONTROL HOW WE REACT, HOW WE RESPOND.

We choose our attitude; we choose how we want to behave (well, as long as the pain meds aren’t too strong!)

If I could go back in time and change what happened last Monday, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I can’t.

And as Grumpy Bear in the “Care Bears” used to remiss, “There’s no use crying over spilled milk!”

(He was also the one who claimed, “We’re not here to bake cookies!”)

No use crying over what has already happened. Yes, I’ll be sad, have painful moments. And I know that there will be good days and bad. That’s only human, that’s part of life. But I am determined to heal as quickly and as safely as possible. This is merely a small detour in my life.

So, there you have it.

I am so grateful to everyone out there. Your support has been simply overwhelming, and I will forever be grateful. If I could personally thank each and every one of you, I would… But know that you ALL have played a tremendous part in my recovery. So thank you.

And I’ll leave you with this:

Before the accident, I was embarrassed about my butt. Never a big fan of “flashing” or “bearing my bottom”, my derriere has lead a tame life. 3 years on my high school Cross Country Team, and my bottom never saw the light of day. Go figure. However, for the first time on Sunday, I actually managed to produce a BM in the woods after our run (Liz was SO proud!). If the bush that I squatted behind could be permanently scarred, I’m sure it would be. (this, my friends, is the meds talking. Enjoy)

Post-accident, it’s been an entirely different story. First thing Monday after the accident, Liz took a gander at my rear. And after biking up to Chris and Thomas, Chris pulled out my shorts and commented, “what a great bruise!” I was sporting. And finally, to add insult to injury – while laying flat on my stomach on Brad’s floor – Thomas pulled out my shorts, took a long look at my ass, and stuck a bag of ice on my bruise. With a few choice words, of course.

In the hospital, it’s been no different. I find myself apologizing to the various doctors and nurses when they take a peek at my butt. They have assured me, however, that they see many butts (and asses) in their line of work. So mine is one of many.

But its still mine. My butt.

And for now, my butt is broken.

But its not defeated. Yes, it hurts. And yes, it prevents me from doing what I love. But the outlook isn’t permanent, and before I know it, I’ll be back up on my feet, swimming, biking, and running my heart off.

But for now, I’ll stick with the walking. (Without the walker, of course!) That has already been discarded, given a permanent place in my closet of post-surgical accessories. Hooray.

Besides, I’m already causing enough ruckuses on the 4th floor of Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. After abandoning my walker, I’m walking laps upon laps around the corridors, catheter and Foley (pee pouch) in tow. And I’m surging past my neighbors from room 411 and room 413 in the process.

Yep – I’m back.

Thanks again to everyone out there. Love to you all!

21 comments:

TriGirl Kate O said...

Marit,
Welcome back to the land of the conscious, we are glad to have you! A couple of thoughts on your post:
--You need not make lemonade, there are other yummy things to make with many lemons, like lemon meringue pie or lemon curd tarts. Yum.
--Lap those suckers from rooms 411and 413. Show them what endurance athletes are made of!
--Finally, take care, listen to your doctors/mom/husband (but you don't need to do everything they tell you), rest and lean on us when you're feeling down. Your blogger friends will be here for you.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog and I'm happy to hear that you are doing better. Just to let you know, I when I went to church tonight I put in a prayer card for you to heal quickly and come back stronger and betther than ever! Now you have a whole congregation praying for you. I do believe that is what will happen. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, and Liz:-)
From a friend in St. Louis, Tori

Courtenay said...

woohoo!
i don't pray or anything but i am sending smiley faces and exclamation points southwards to lajolla.
yay!!!!! :) :) :) :) !!!!!!!

Greg Remaly said...

Great to have you back, Marit! Your attitude is great, inspiring to say the least, and I'm sure you'll have a successful road to recovery full of things that will be great to read about!

sending positive healing energy your way,
Greg

Katie Weaver-Jongerius said...

It's great to hear from you Marit! We are all glad to have you back. You sound really upbeat and positve...you WILL recover quickly. Heck, look how far you've come already. Enjoy some down time, cuddle up with you hubby. Let me know if you need anything and at all!

BreeWee said...

Marit! I Just heard... I haven't been able to blog but I got the message you had an accident... your post sounds positive and your joy in life is still strong... don't lose that when the going gets tuff! Days will be good and some will be a challenge especially as IM gets near, know it is okay to cry and KNOW you will be there again in no time! I got you covered in prayers!

Chad Holderbaum said...

Marit, you are truely an inspiration to us all. Your positive thoughts and sense of humor will only speed up your recovery process. Before you know it, you'll be back out there on your bike! You were in my prayers the last week, and I wish you all the best as you return to the Tri world.

Danni said...

Marit, I am so glad that you are on the mend. It is great to know you have not lost your positive attitude. And I thought the "meds" talking was absolutely Hilarious!!!! I wish you a super speedy recovery.
All the best

Danni

Zora said...

Welcome back!! You are truly a soft heart in a hard shell
Love, Mom

Beth said...

YEAH MARIT!!!!! So glad that you are back - we missed you and I thought of you sooooo much in these past few days!! As everyone else said, it's so great to hear your positive attitude and good outlook. You are so amazing and you will be "up and running" again in no time!! Like you said, there will be good days and bad but that's just like with training and life in general. You will prevail!! Now go talk some trash on rooms 411 and 413 and start lapping their a$$es!!! :) Take care Marit - thinking and praying for you!

Alili said...

WooHoo Marit! So good to 'hear' you again. Your attitude is fantastic and will aid your recovery tremendously. So nice to read those smiles:)

Take care.

IM Able said...

Buried in there is the sentence that makes me know that you'll be just fine..."We choose our own attitudes."

You're attitude will get you through this faster than you can even imagine and soon you'll be out there biking, running and swimming again.

But you might want to lose the pee bag first...

(wink)

btw, 411 and 413 were talking smack at the nursing station yesterday. take 'em.

Ashley said...

MARIT - Soul Sista... I literally laughed out loud when you talked about "just figuring out your nutrition plan for IM... and now trying to come up with a pain meds combination." I could just see you there, with your notebook, grilling the doctors about this and that. You make me smile for so many reasons. Keep the positive energy alive - I'll send good vibes. Love Always.

jkrunning said...

marit,
So glad to hear your doing better. I wish you a speedy (but not too speedy) recovery.

Stef said...

YAY so glad to read this update. I am excited for your recovery. That may sound kind of strange, but it seems that you will emerge even stronger than you already were. Take excellent care of yourself. :-)

AddictedToEndorphins said...

It's great you have such a positive attitude:) It'll make the difficult recovery that much easier!
Glad to hear you're okay.
I'll be sending get better vibes your way:)
Tiger

Wes said...

It's a small world. So many of my friends came by to see you. That is awesome. I found you indirectly through them as well, and I was sad to hear about your accident, but I've been following along to see how you've been doing. Please accept my thoughts and prayers on a speedy recovery! I love your 'tude! You are my kinda triathlete. R-O-C-K on :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey there Marit,

You don't know me, but I'm one of Jen's athletes and I heard about your crash from her blog. I felt awful when I heard about what happened and I wanted to drop in and say that it's good to hear you're doing ok and keeping a positive attitude on things. When life gives you lemons...find someone else that life gave some vodka to! I wish you a safe and swift recovery, and you'll be back on the road before you know it!

-Drew

Leah said...

Wow, you're already doing laps around the halls. I'm impressed! It sounds like you've got some healthy perspective. Wishing you the speediest recovery possible.

Mira Lelovic said...

Marit!!! I am SO happy to hear you are up and walking laps around your floor - and without an assisted device! That foley bag is your "Gucci" bag, all the cool patients have one. You'd be my dream PT patient, not that I'd wish for it. I am so sorry this has happened. You will get back those sensory nerves and I am betting it will be quicker than for the "typical" person because of your youth and great health. S1 was probably better to break than L4 or L5 so maybe there was a saving grace in all of this. You're still a "hard ass" when it comes to triathlons!

tri-dogmom said...

You are such an amazing, strong person. It has been a pleasure to read and catch up on your blog!

Such an inspiration. I wish the very best, and fastest recovery EVER!