Twice in the last week, I have gone with my sister to Snoqualmie Falls and we have walked DOWN the trail to the river and then back UP the trail back to the parking lot. “Down” and “up” are literal. The trail drops 300 feet over half a mile. An article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes it as a “tourist stroll” and certainly we saw lots of people in flip flops–but for me that UP and DOWN part made it quite a challenge for my knee.
The first time, I could feel all kinds of scar tissue in my knee. It hurt. And the next morning my knee felt distinctly better than it had the day before. I thought that was interesting, so I was curious to go back again a few days later. Once again, the hike itself was on the painful side–and the next day, here I am feeling distinctly better.
I suppose that means I now need to go hike up and down trails until I finish my recovery.
It’s been one year and one day since my surgery to remove my chondrosarcoma. I have two neat but obvious scars, one internal plate that sets off the metal detectors at airports, no cancer (that I know of), mostly don’t limp, two happy dogs, two nice kids and a wonderful husband.
Life is pretty good.
Yesterday at the ZAP NADAC trial, I got to run Riley in Elite Regular. It was like driving a Ferrari: fast, a joy to drive, and absolutely amazing. We got third in the class–and it wasn’t a small class, either. I Q’d with Dancer in jumpers and hoopers, too.
Today I Q’d in jumpers with Dancer too.
Elly stayed home with Jay; she’s injured her left shoulder somehow and is resting for a few weeks or more. She just doesn’t have the muscle balance for a lot of trialing, it appears; this is her second shoulder injury.
It took me two days to figure out why my timing was so bad with Elly on Saturday.
This is what I figured out: I took painkillers and my knee did NOT hurt. So I ran faster. I always run faster in trials than in practice, and I’ve adjusted for it, but I’d guess the sprint training I’ve been doing, plus the painkillers… I was overrunning cue positions, I know. Plus I’ve been training speed with Elly–which I got in Open FAST–so I should have been cuing a lot earlier than I was. No wonder I got four run-arounds in jumpers… the poor dog was getting the cues so late she didn’t know what I wanted.
The jumpers course was fun: 18 obstacles… one of which was the weaves and one of which was a straight tunnel. Not 18 obstacles in sequence….18 discrete things that you had to avoid running into, some of which I wanted to layer for distance, some of which I had to run around, which is another thing that contributed to my bad timing. When your stride length is longer than you expected (see: “no pain”), you run into jumps. Or nearly run into jumps.
At this point, I mostly try not to think too much about how my femur is recovering. Jay tells me I really limp only when I’m tired; it doesn’t wake me up at night; I can sleep on either side without it hurting; I can run if I want to.
Mostly, that is. Yesterday I could feel every single muscle in my left thigh, and every single muscle ached, enough that I took two Advil (another thing I’m trying to avoid these days). I took a very hot bath, and I went to sleep without too much problem. Today… working with the dogs was difficult… I just couldn’t seem to get any speed going, so I ended up doing a lot of short sequences, just two or three obstacles. And even just sitting here, I can still feel that muscle ache, right at the top end of the plate.
I’m whining, I know… a little muscle ache really should be the least of my worries.
I’ve had an interesting experience the last few days. I was rejected by an online (Yahoo) chondrosarcoma survivors support group.Why? Well, I didn’t want to provide my phone number.
To an online support group.
Apparently, the moderator feels the need to protect her group members from potential predators.
Yep, that would be me: mom, wife, sister, dog trainer, chondrosarcoma survivor and predator.
My chest CT scan–the lungs are the most common metastatic site for chondrosarcoma–was clear. No nothing. Another one in 6 months and another knee x-ray, but things look good right now.
Now that I’ve officially finished with physical therapy, I get to move on to rebuilding the strength in my left leg. PT is all about regaining a full range of motion, but doesn’t really take you through the next stages. I now have nice loose muscles–no adhesions–but my left leg is weak. So Tuesday I started strength building. Lunges for the first time in months. Limited-range extensions. Curls. Of course, that means my muscles have been on fire for three days now. Yes, ice helps. No, not much, thank you for asking.
Elly has made a full recovery from her time under the deck, but won’t go into the area where she got stuck. That’s a good thing. The repairs Jay and Scott did to the fence are holding nicely; it’s quite clear the girls can not get out.
For those of you who have more curiosity than you know what to do with:
two views of my left distal femur (my left knee and the femur). These x-rays show no sign of any further chondrosarcoma. This is a good thing.
I realized today, as I was driving home from my agility lesson, that the dogs have done a lot to help my recovery from the surgery to remove the chondrosarcoma. Cheryl had put out a nasty little jumpers course–all jumps and tunnels–that required an all-out sprint the length of the arena, not once, not twice, but three times. And I did it–twice for each dog, as a full course–and a bunch of times working specific sections of the course. I doubt if I’d even be trying to sprint right now without the dogs and the lure of agility competition.
As for the training itself, Dancer is now enthusiastic about the rocker board, and we’re thinking teeter training in mid-January. She only missed one set of weaves, and that was my fault for charging the entry. (Elly made the same entry; it was an experience issue.) We were working on tunnel entry discrimination… now there’s a challenge!
I should mention that today we set up only 12 weave poles, but both dogs had great weaving rhythms, way better than at the start of last week’s practice. The 16-pole lesson last week really seems to have had a lasting effect.
I love it when the puns work out that well. I apologize to anyone who doesn’t like puns, but hey, it’s MY writing.
I took both curly girls to the puppy park this AM and met their friend Raven and my friend Diane. While Raven and Dancer did a lot of racing and chasing, Diane and I walked twice around Marymoor in an hour and a half; before the chondrosarcoma surgery, I could have easily done 3 times around in the same time, but this is the first time I’ve done twice since the surgery, so BIG DEAL. (Whine alert: my knee REALLY hurts now. Oh well. Rest and ice for the rest of the day. Whoops! another pun. Sorry.)
Anyway, last night’s aggressive heeling lesson seems to have sunk in slightly. I just took Elly out… and didn’t have to turn around even once. She didn’t pull. Of course, she’d just had a large lunch after a long romp at the puppy park, so she was very tired, but still.