Saturday, December 31, 2011

a year in the life - 2011 edition (part II)

I spent some time relaxing on Bustin's Island (off of Maine) with Juls and Danielle. We were scolded for drinking too much wine, and I got lobster juice all over the place. This, and many other things, are probably why Jules' grandmother (maybe not so) jokingly told me that I'm not invited back?

I also did my first open water swim around part of the island! And in true J fashion, I managed to mangle myself. I don't even know why this surprises me anymore. Damn barnacles:

After being given the go-ahead by my physical therapist to go ahead and start running, I was stunned to find out the results of my MRI. The diagnosis? A rather sizable tear on the horn of my lateral meniscus. I knew immediately that the only option for me was surgery. I'd made no noticeable improvements in physical therapy. Of course no one knows what they'll find until they go in and look at my knee but my PT, orthopedist and I agreed that surgery was my best option. Balls.
I got me a bike! It was one of the few activities that didn't make my knee pain flare up, so I rode whenever I could. It was really scary riding around through Cambridge and Somerville, but it only took a little while for me to build the confidence to ride around during rush-hour traffic.

Mostly, August was a bust because I was just counting the days until my surgery. After months of pain, I just wanted it to be done and over with. I had my surgery on August 26th and it went perfectly. They also gave me percocet. My favorite. My surgeon took out a chunk of my meniscus that was rolled up and catching in my knee joint. OUCHIES. The road to recovery was smooth and not at all at traumatizing as the months after my ACL surgery.

taken about two hours post-op. yes, i am in target. yes, i did knock a lot of shit over with my crutches.
The best part was actually what I'd been afraid of at first -- spending time with my mother. We didn't fight at all. In fact, we definitely bonded. I mean, I'm a grown adult (for all intents and purposes), and she didn't have to travel 210 miles and put her life on hold for almost a week to take care of me after minor surgery. But she did, and I will always be thankful for it. I ugly cried for a really long time after she left.

Laura and I went on an adventure that included Cape Code, a 30 mile bike ride and Sangria. 'Nuff said. That was (and still is) my longest bike ride. Not too bad considering I was a little over two weeks post-op. My physical therapist, by the way, almost punched me in the face when I told her the distance. I guess our definitions of take it easy can vary a bit. Hers had to do with activity, mine is more booze-related. Oops. Let's just chalk that up to poor communication, shall we?

On September 17 (a mere 22 days after surgery), I completed the MMRF Race for Research 5k. Who cares that it took us 44 minutes to walk/run it? I did it! And it was to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation - a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I'd say this photo sums up my feelings about the race:

By the end of September I was given the okay to run and had was able to run slightly more than a 5k distance. YEA BOY.

I made an impromptu trip down to New York to go to the Yankees playoff game with my dad and brothers. The Yanks lost, and it ended up pouring, but I had an amazing time seeing the new (to me) stadium and hanging out with my family (minus my mother who doesn't give a rat's ass about sports).

I learned how to carve a pumpkin, which was pretty bad ass. Although I'm told that I'm weird for never having carved one as a child. What can I say? My family was too focused on the candy eating to worry about carving a stinkin' pumpkin.

I ran the Tufts 10k and the Superhero 5k -- both with no pain (except from being painfully out of shape). Just to show you how awful Boston weather is - for the Tufts 10k (on October 10th) it was about 80 degrees and HUMID. For the Superhero run, which was right after Halloween, it was below freezing. Thanks, New England, for being a weather dick.

The best part of the month of October? A week after being told by my boss how awful I am, and how people don't like me and don't want to work with me, I was offered a new job. With a 15 percent salary increase. I was so nervous to give my two weeks notice but it was painless. To give you an idea of how happy I was to leave, I basically skipped out of the office on my last day. I had been broken down so much that I had no faith in myself or my professional abilities. Leaving that job was the best thing I could have done for myself.

I tried out for the Amazing Race, but amazingly enough, I didn't get selected. Those wankers. I'll have you know that I would make for some damn excellent television. 

Started my new job!!!!! It was scary. Really scary. Iv'e been working in the same office since the day after graduation. But as each day goes by I grow more and more secure in the knowledge that this decision was absolutely, 100% the right one for me to make.

I tried indoor rock climbing for the first time and pretty much fell in love. I think it's because, at my core, I am a monkey. And a 90 year old lady. It really just depends on the day. I even invested in some climbing shoes and a chalk bag. I think this means that I am legit.

I ran the Garden City Turkey trot for the third year in a row and it was a blast, as usual. I love supporting races that are local and where the proceeds go directly into the community. I plan to do this race for many years to come!

I started off the month with a flare up of knee pain. It scared the hell out of me, since it was the same pain I'd felt before the surgery. I made appointments for the chiro and PT as quickly as I could. It took a couple of weeks, but the pain is (mostly-ish?) gone. My chiro did some ART on my hamstring, popliteus and calf - which were all really, really tight. My PT thinks that I'm biomechcanically flawed (isn't that sweet?) and that it's starting with me feet. Since I'm not in pain, I don't have to go back to the chiro, but I have been doing PT again once a week. We're focusing on strengthening my arches, ankles and feet in the hopes that it will prevent my knees from bowing in when I do certain exercises. I don't even know if this is the problem, but right now the pain is infrequent and manageable, so I am going to roll with it.

I ran another 5k, this one was the Santa Sightings race. At this point whatever had caused my knee to flare up had eased up so my PT (who was actually running the race too) said that it would probably be fine to do. Despite my knee feeling okay, I definitely was feeling sluggish and out of shape. Also, word to the wise: felt does not breathe. And it will shred in the ass and crotch region if you try to run in it. Fact.

So that was my year. 2011 was a year that challenged me physically and emotionally. There have been some dark, sad times for me. But I've always managed to pull myself out of the trenches to try to find my center. I can say with absolute certainty that I couldn't have done it on my own. THANK YOU to the people who listened to me endlessly cry and complain about my job, my knee and whatever other tragedy was going on at that exact moment. I have made some amazing new friends, strengthened the bonds of some existing (and awesome) friendships, and seen some others fade away.

If I had to think of one quote to sum up the last twelve months it would be this gem from Winnie the Pooh: "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Happy and healthy new year, and I will see you all in 2012! 

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