Wednesday, December 29, 2010


A time long ago, my mom took me shoe shopping for prom.  Now, we all know this a very stressful time for mothers.  She has her opinion and I had mine.  She dreaded shoe shopping with me.  My feet were square, wide, and the perfect rendition of any happy hobbit.  Shoe store, after shoe store, after shoe store.  My mother was exhausted.  We finally did find shoes for the prom, but it took her days to muster up energy to go shoe shopping again.  Thanks mom.
Not much has changed since those days.  I have learned to shoe shop by myself.  I'm too embarrassed to share my hobbit feet with anyone.  It took three years to decide to have bunion surgery.  Why? Because my feet were in pain.  One by one, my beautiful pumps were collecting dust.  No longer to embrace my once happy hobbit feet.  The worst of all, after the fourth mile of running, a tingling sensation to numbness was now the new reason for Aspercream.   Years of pounding the pavement had taken it's tole on these now triangular pads.
It wasn't the actual surgery that scared me, it was the long recovery process that gave me my hesitancy to go through with it.  The first doctor I spoke with told me I wouldn't be able to run for 6 months...per foot.  WHAT?  Are you daft doctor?  A year of recovery.  I don't think so.  Not many runners would agree to that.  So, I ran away.  Never to look back.  Three years later, the pain has worsen and I had very little shoes to pick from.  Next doctor.  Dr. Goucher.  I should have seen the red flag.  Dr. G-OUCH-er.  REALLY?  Ten weeks of recovery.  Then, possibly, after ten weeks, running, but could swim.  A reluctant, "Okay."
I picked a day.  December 16.  Right after an 8-week boot camp session.  It was on.  I began to get nervous.  I spoke to many people about my fears.  The fear of a long recovery.  No boot camp for months.  A widening of my middle.  YUK!!  My boot camp instructor had great feedback.  Informing me and reminding me that I was a strong person, physically and mentally.  My recovery should be quick.  Another reluctant "Okay."  A girlfriend was part of the conversation and told me about another doctor her friend was pleased with.  A recommendation was always a good sign.  I immediately called and set an appointment.   "Dr. Walker!"  Come on, do I even need to say how this is a sign from up above?  He came into the office with bounce in his step and smile on his face.  It was immediate doctor-patient love.  He said, "two weeks with the boots, and within 6 weeks; swimming." WE HAVE A WINNER!!  Aaaahhh.  Relief.  Breathe.  The clouds have lifted and I can hear the angels singing.   He then proceeded to explain the procedure with a mention of --which, in no way, ever crossed my mind---anesthesia.  A new fear. What if I don't wake up?  Oh crap!  Never mind the healing process.  I now realize that if I wake up, the healing was no big deal.
I made the appointment.  Thursday, Dec 21.  Just a few days before Christmas.  This overwhelming fear was consuming me.  What's your problem?  You ran a marathon.  That IS painful. You survived that.  You big weeny.  WoMAN up!!  The fear engulfed me like beauty pageant hair to a toddler.  It was overwhelming.  Do I write a letter to each of my children and husband?  What post do I make on Facebook telling all my friends how much them mean to me.  Where's my will? I planned accordingly.  I shopped for Christmas presents in record time.  My children were confused.  Never has mom been so diligent in her Christmas buying.  I was always the last-minute Christmas queen. I was proud of getting it done in record time.
The weekend before surgery was here.  I had a few more shopping days before Thursday.   I would use these to wrap. It was almost here, Thursday,  December 21st.  Okay, let's just check the calendar again.  Yes, Tuesday the 21st.  TUESDAY?! AHHHHG!  So Tuesday morning arrived.  Unexpected fears are upon me.  I may die today.  I  thought if I just murmured the mantra as George Bailey did on the bridge in "It's A Wonderful Life, "I wanna live Lord, I wanna live.."  It was an irrational thought but what the heck.  I did want to live.
Things happened quickly.  The IV was inserted.  Apparently, I have wiggly veins.  The clock was ticking.  I was dying soon.  The nurses assured me I had the best anesthesiologist.  What did they know.  A series of questions followed.  "Do you have any piercings?  Metal on your clothes?  Heart palpitations? A history of kidney, diabetes?  Are you on any medications?"  Wait, no, no, no, piece of cake and really, no?   Then, "Do you have a living will?"  Gloom.  I'm dead and my family has nothing.  Now would be the time to give my husband all the passwords to the bank and savings account.  What would he dress me in.  We really should have had this talk.
So, with the IV, the beautiful hospital wear, the most gorgeous blue paper hat any woman would love to jimmy around town with, I was ready for death.  Dr. Simmons came into the room to give me the dreaded, "it will be okay, let us do the driving" speech.  "Seriously, Dr. Simmons, I'm only 5' and 107 pounds. You really don't need much.  In fact I should get a reduction in price.  You might even be paying me."  His reply, "You're not going to let me drive, are you.  Let's go."  I really am a terrible patient.   I walked the white line.  It was a clean and cold room.  A cold room in every definition of the word.  "Go ahead and climb up on the table Cynthia," the nurse said through her mask.  Dr. Simmons came over, "you're going to feel a little burning sensation..." This is it.  I looked at the nurse with the blue compassionate I go...I wanna live Lord....
"Cynthia? Wake up!  Open your eyes Cynthia!"  "NO," I cried out.  Hey, wait a minute.  I'm ALIVE!! I'm running down Bailey Park.  "Hello Building and Loan, hello Gower's Drugstore, hello Mr. Potter!"
I tried reaching my arms out to give the nurse a great big hug.  She would have none of that.  Before I knew it, she was dressing me and wheeling me out of there to recovery.   My new temporary pumps.  They were as ugly as sin.  Uhg boots had nothing on these.  An hour of surgery and an hour of awakening and just minutes to get me checked out.  Hmmm, drive-thru healing.  But I was happy.  I made it.  I lived.  I know it sounds silly.   This unexpected fear surprised me.  It grabbed me by the mind and played havoc with my silent life.  But I tackled it.  I went ahead and had the surgery.  To run again, of course, played an important role in my decision.  It was a fear nonetheless and I conquered it.  My marathon complete.  I'm ready now.   Let the healing begin.
8 months later...and running stronger!