My 2017 running season formally ended when I crossed the finish line of the Grand Rapids Half Marathon on Oct. 15th.  The year was a rough one for me.  I started the year dealing with a non-running related injury and it just didn’t seem to get any better when it came to my physical self.  2016 had been such a fantastic year and 2017 was not following the same path.  I was a positive Team Leader to my fellow runners at Run Camp, but in my own personal journey this was not the case.  My pace was not allowing me to keep up the way I had been.  I was scared I was loosing my ability to run.

Three days after I finished the Grand Rapids Half Marathon, I found myself in my physicians office. My left foot had been swelling at my left big toe joint and my right leg as so very tight. X-rays of my foot showed that there was an issue that needed further examination.   I was referred to a podiatrist who said that I had a bone spur causing the swelling and arthritis in my big toe which was causing limited motion in my toe.  He recommended surgery to remove the spur and shorten my big toe.  The result would mean I would be looking at about three months of recovery.

My second opinion was with another podiatrist. He felt that I could make due with an orthopedic insert and different running shoes.  Unfortunately this would not deal fully with the bone spur that was causing irritation even in my Dansko clogs.

During a “fun run” with my Sparkle Sisters the Saturday before Thanksgiving I was given the recommendation to seek out the opinion of an orthopedic specialist. Well, it was more than a recommendation. It was an order!  Two of my fellow runners were also physical therapists.  They were very concerned and insisted that I go in to see a surgeon before making my final decision about how to proceed.

Thankfully I found my login information to the office I had been to in January for my shoulder. An appointment was requested as soon as they had an opening.  I needed to get in as soon as possible so I could have my foot taken care of before the end of the year.  I really feel that God was working his plan when I received a phone call on that Monday morning letting me know that the specialist I had requested to see had an opening on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving!

On Wednesday I found myself in his office receiving a much easier prognosis; remove the spur and some of the additional bone growth. Recovery was to be 2-3 weeks in a sandal with no weight bearing restrictions.  After that I would start physical therapy and should be back in my running shoes to walk sometime in February.  This was much better news than what I had been expecting.  One of the things he did tell me that would make the biggest difference was that I not let my toe get stiff after the surgery.  I told him that I wouldn’t….which leads me to why I’m scared.

Yesterday my sister in law helped me re-dress my toe.  The bandages were moving around a lot and restricting my movement more.  Before putting the bandages back on, she asked me to move my toe.  My sister in law and brother are both physical therapists as well.  She knew what needed to happen.  When I tried to move my toe I was shocked at how stiff it was.  I told her that I had been wiggling it in the bandages as far as I could.  I had also been not wearing the sandal as much in the second week so I would be able to “walk more normally”.  Walking was hard though due to the amount of bandages on my foot which was not allowing for it to lay flat on the ground.

So now I’m scared.  I’m scared about what this will mean for my physical therapy.  Will I be able to run the way I did in 2016?   Will I be able to resume the activities that I had hoped to be able to do?  I’m scared that my recovery will take longer because I allowed my toe to get so stiff.

Just a few years ago I was in the best shape I had ever been in since my freshman year in college.  How will I get back to feeling that way again?  I’m scared…..

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Betsey Ingraham Betsey Ingraham
I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI and LOVE being a Michigander! I am the mother of three beautiful children; Ashley (20), Jake (19) and Emily (18). My husband and I have been married almost 5 I also have two step children; Kira (19) and David (12). I work full time at Aquinas College as the Administrative Assistant to the Art and Music Center. I love to run, walk, bike, wine/beer tasting and spending time with my family. This is my second year as a Priority Health Champion. I will also be a Team Leader with the Priority Health-Gazelle Sports Run Camp here in Grand Rapids for the 10:30-11:30 pace group training for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and Riverbank 25k.

One Comment

  1. Martha Persak
    Posted January 7, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Love you! Your honesty, here, is so inspiring because it reminds us all that we are human and we go through self-doubt. To admit it, I think, is courageous.

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