As I am writing this blog I find myself both frustrated and deflated. I have been diligently training, despite a painful stump, for the past six weeks. I am on track not only to complete but also to finish strong. That was my plan, until this afternoon.
I went to go see Elliot to tweak my socket. It is still painful when I am running, forcing me to constantly stop both to readjust the socket and to release the suction. I have tried to push myself through the pain, trying the "mind over matter" approach. Despite my attempts, I am constantly succumbing to the pain and pausing to adjust my prosthetic.
I keep repeating "Pain is temporary, quitting is forever" as I try to move beyond the socket pain. Each time I stop to adjust my leg, I feel as if I'm failing. After all, amputees run everyday. Why must I stop when they do not have to? I assumed that I have been weak somehow, unable to manage the typical running aches that others seem to handle with ease.
The last thing I want is to have to stop my momentum on race day. I don't want to be on the side of the road adjusting my leg as everybody else is comfortably jogging by. Getting passed would be the antithesis of what I was trying to achieve! I was hopeful that we would be able to fix the problem today, and that I would be running without discomfort this evening.
Elliot dealt me some devastating news. He urged me to see my doctor as soon as possible and to refrain from running until after I have been cleared by my surgeon. He cautioned me against high impact activities, such as running, until the knot on my residual limb is diagnosed and treated. He warned me that there is a possibility that my running may make the situation worse.
Although he is not a doctor, my prosthetist has certainly seen scores of limbs. In his professional opinion, he believes that the knot on my stump is either a bursa (best case scenario) or a bone spur. Apparently it is firmer than the typical bursa and a tad softer than the average bone spur. In either case, a trip to my doctor is necessary.
My disappointment must have been visible because he agreed to work on my leg to try to alleviate the pressure and rubbing. I was not able to go for my evening jog. Elliot has my leg and is trying one "last ditch attempt" to adjust the socket. I pick up my socket tomorrow afternoon; until then my race is in limbo.
Physically, completing the race may not be the best choice. I am going to cross the finish line on Saturday, but I may be utilizing a walk/ jog combination. It is my hope to be able to run the entire course, but I also do not want to further damage my limb.
I have worked so hard to get ready for this venture. I have been regimented with my training and I have done everything "right." I know that it is worthless to say, but this really is not fair!
I made a commitment to run this 5k to prove to myself, to my family and friends and to my readers that a "normal" amputee can not only run, but can keep up with the bi-legged. I am afraid that I may have proved the opposite. I have discovered that in spite of hard work and perseverance, sometimes the consequences of the amputation still affect my ability to succeed.
Tomorrow's visit with Elliot will determine the approach I will take on Saturday. I am going to cross the finish line. To quit now would break my heart. Hopefully the socket adjustments will afford me the relief I need to achieve this hard fought for goal.