Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Speaking "dog".....

I can always count on Audrey to make me laugh...whether it's her snoopy sounding giggle, or a funny little dance, she always brings a smile to my face. Last night was no exception!

Emma was a little ill last night with a fever...our dog Molly wanted her to play anyway. Molly kept barking and nipping at Emma trying to convince her to play along. I told Molly to leave her alone, that she didn't feel well. Of course, Molly didn't stop...she kept right on bothering Emma...I told her again to leave her alone and moved her away from Emma. When Molly jumped back on Emma a third time, Audrey looked over at me and said, "Momma, you have to talk dog to her. She doesn't understand what you are saying." I laughed to myself and thought...I can play along with this. So, I proceeded to "bark" at Molly. While I was barking, Audrey interrupted and said, "Mommy...make sure you don't tell her what you got her for Christmas!" I guess I speak "dog" better than I thought. I assured Audrey that I wouldn't tell her...and then "barked" at Molly one more time. I asked Audrey if she thought Molly understood what I had said and she said, "Yes, because Molly speaks "dog", too." :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Injury updates...

Blisters and bad knees!!!!

I think I ended up with about 5 blisters on each foot from the walk. They were big and they were painful! I was able to drain the fluid and alleviate the pain. However, once they started to heal, they itched like crazy!!! I would have loved some sandpaper carpet! They have since healed, pretty much completely. I have nice new skin on the bottom of my feet now. :) I went to the Doctor the day after the walk because my achilles tendon on my right heel was bothering me. I had a knot on it and whenever I flexed my foot, I could feel something rubbing together under the skin. I also didn't have full range of motion in my right foot. I could move it up and down, but couldn't move it in a circle. The doctor said I had severe tendonitis and a slight sprain in my ankle. She figured that I was probably walking unnaturally to compensate for the blisters on my feet, and thus caused irritation everywhere else. She put me on an anti-inflammatory and sent me for knee x-rays.

The anti-inflammatory seemed to help with everything but my knee. It took about 2 weeks for my heel to heal enough to wear an athletic shoe. But, I was still having more and more difficulty with my knee. (I've had problems with it for a long time ~several years~ but now instead of just making creaking noises when I went down stairs, I was having a lot of pain.) The x-rays came back normal so I was referred to an orthopedist. I saw him this past Wednesday and he diagnosed me with a strong case of chondromalacia, also known as "runner's knee". I will start physical therapy 2 times a week for 3 weeks on Monday. If this doesn't relieve the pain, he will try giving me a shot of cortisone. As a last resort, if the cortisone doesn't work, he said he can do arthroscopic surgery and clean up the cartilage under my kneecap. I'm hoping the PT helps and that I won't need the surgery.

Tricia went to the doctor about her knee and after having an MRI, she was told she had torn her miniscus. She had surgery the week of Thanksgiving and seems to be recovering well. You can follow her progress at her blog, www.blakelyfamilyblog.blogspot.com/.

I hope to do better with my blogging....I'll be sure to update on how my PT goes and the progress with my knee.

I hope to update again in a few days with a few pictures from Thanksgiving.

60 miles later....

So, the last time I blogged was just before the big 3 Day walk. Shamefully, I'm just getting around to blogging about it. It was quite a journey, both physically and mentally. It was one of those life experiences that is almost too hard to describe in words...but, I will try! The pictures and commentary will at least give you a taste of what it was like....

(I haven't quite figured out how to arrange my pictures on here. The pictures seem to have posted in reverse order)

The walk was scheduled to start bright and early on Friday morning at Northpoint Mall in Roswell. Being that myself, Katie and Tricia all live on the south side of Atlanta, we made the wise decision to book a hotel room for Thursday night so we wouldn't have to get up quite as early on Friday. Unfortunately for us, rain was in the forecast with a 100% chance of showers. All. Day. Long. So, Friday morning came and sure enough, it was raining. We were a little late getting over to the mall due to there only being one shuttle to transport the walkers over. The rain had caused a delay in the starting ceremonies, so luckily, we didn't miss out on much. The walk got started right at 7:30 on Friday...and being that we were some of the last walkers to arrive before the start, we got out in front for the start of the walk.

We maintained a pretty good pace, and managed to make it to the lunch stop at around 11:00. We were hoping for a piping hot meal, but sadly we were given cold chicken sandwiches. The best thing about lunch that day was the hot cocoa!! Nothing like a cup of hot cocoa when it's 50 degrees and pouring down rain!! Needless to say we were quite miserable all day Friday. I kept joking that it felt like that part of the movie Forrest Gump where Forrest describes all the rain he experienced in Vietnam....we had big ol' fat rain, little bitty stingin' rain, and even rain that came down sideways!!! We were on a mission to get through the day and we made it back to "camp" at about 1:30. Thankfully the 3Day people were able to arrange for us to sleep indoors due to the rain. We were placed in an empty office building and were spread out like refugees. We were a few of the lucky ones and got placed in a small office. It was just the three of us in our own private room. In the larger open office spaces, there was about 100 people spaced out on sleeping bags. We were quite thankful for our "private room". Once we got changed into dry clothes we made our way over to what was supposed to be our actual campsite where we had our dinner. We were happy to see that we had large heated tent to chill out in for a while. We got to hear a few amazing cancer stories, learned who raised the most money, and there was even a "3Day Idol" karaoke contest. About half-way through the music, we decided to go back to our "hotel" and call it a night. When we got in line for the bus around 9, the line was already about 200 people deep. We waited, and waited...and the line grew and grew. They only had 2 charter buses and the round-trip from the camp to the office building took about 20 minutes. At one point, the workers sent a group of people walking up a hill to catch another bus....the hundreds of people in line saw this and the line just disappeared!! Not in a good way either! It was MASS CHAOS!! We did not make it back to our room until almost midnight! Let me remind you that it was still raining. If ever there was a time we wanted to throw in the towel and go home...this was it!!!

On to day two....

Saturday started out with a nice hot breakfast. It was cold outside but at least it wasn't raining!! The walk started up again by about 8:00 and we were ready! We kept about the same pace as we did the day before and finished in about the same amount of time. After our experience the night before, we decided that we didn't even want to attempt to stay at camp. We were not going to have the luxury of sleeping indoors and as far as we could tell from walking around camp, the ground was completely saturated...we did not want to sleep in the mud! We made a call and were able to get a hotel about 10 minutes away from camp. By the end of day 2, Tricia and I were starting to ache just a little bit. We both have knee issues anyway and apparently, walking 40 miles in just 2 days can cause them to act up! We took ourselves out to dinner at Longhorn as a treat. We were all walking like we belonged in a nursing home by the end of the night! We hadn't lost our sense of humor so we were at least able to laugh at ourselves a few times. We were thankful to be able to take hot showers and sleep in warms beds to prepare ourselves...for day 3!!!......

Fortunately when we woke up on Day 3, we felt pretty good...mine and Tricia's knees were feeling better and my blisters that had started weren't giving me too much trouble. And, considering it was Day 3, and we only had 20 miles to go, nothing was going to stop us! We made our way through the course at our usual speed and finished the walk by about 2:30 on Sunday afternoon. We found that at each rest stop, it got harder and harder to get going again...so much so that we didn't even stop at the last one! We could feel the finish line was ahead and we weren't going to stop until we got there!! I did stop at one of the early rest stops and got my (many) blisters doctored and my knee wrapped. I think that helped me make it the rest of the way....I was really starting to feel the wear and tear from those miles! Once we crossed the finish line, we were able to pick up our Victory shirts. After that, we made our way back to the finish line to cheer on the other walkers and wait for the closing ceremonies. The closing started around 5:30...we walked in as a complete group of walkers being cheered on by all the volunteers, supporters, friends and family. Once we came in, we cheered for all of the 3 Day crew and volunteers. Then, we all raised a shoe to those we walked for. The survivors. It was incredible to see such a strong group of women...all at different stages of Breast Cancer...newly diagnosed, bald from treatment, recently off treatment, relapsed, and remission. They all came together to raise the final flag. It was very emotional but empowering at the same time. We walked so that one day, our daughters won't have to.

This is just a small tidbit of our experience...there was so much more. I would encourage everyone to somehow take part in this experience. Whether it be walking, volunteering, cheering, or even donating. Even something small can make a difference. Everyone deserves a lifetime!! To Katie and Tricia...thank you for allowing me to walk with you in Honor and Memory of your precious Mom. She was an incredible warrior. This will be an experience I will remember forever.