Saturday, December 3, 2011

Leavin' this page for awhile

On to other things right now, namely, family, friends and my mentor, Dominique.

Check me out at:

helpdominique.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The All Day Workout

Goals.  We all need goals and targets to hit in life.  My claim to fame?  I'm an endurance athlete.


Prior to this wonderful adventure I've had with my two knee surgeries, my favorite training partner Rico, my Surfer Boy husband Kerry, and I were planning what we called "The All Day Workout"  We had it scheduled on our calender and everything!  What was it?  Exactly what it sounds like.  An All Day Workout.  It was to start with 7am 90 minute Bikram Yoga in a heated to 105 degree room, move on to a several hour surf session, then end the day (until the sun set) with several hours running on the trails.  This is my idea of heaven.


But, calender date and all, it was not to be.  My knee was hurting (waa friggin' waa) and you guys pretty much know the rest of the story which ended with the second surgery five months ago, the osteochondral allograft which was a bone and cartilage transplant from a donor (yep, dead person) graft.  Thank you, donor. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


These days my life is pretty much an "All Day Workout"  Luckily, I'm not working right now, so I have plenty of time to focus on workouts.  Some of the things I envisioned in the All Day Workout are part of my day, and some are not.  Thank ya Lord, surfing has been included as of two weeks ago.  Amazingly wonderful to be in the ocean again!  Bikram Yoga; well let's just say my classmates are so impressed with my tenacity that they want me to record Jen's Rehab Workout Video.


The one thing I wasn't quite counting on was all this goofy physical therapy: Range of Motion Exercises, Quad Strengthening, Lots of Stationary Bike.  At first the stationary bike was so difficult that I could only do ten minutes at a time.  Yee haw! I burned five whole calories!


But now....... Since I've gotten stronger I can ride the bike for 90 minutes!  It's still not exactly my favorite thing in the world but I've discovered that it is, in fact, an endurance workout.  Especially with surfing and/or yoga thrown in the same day.


And while I'm on the bike I listen to all kinds of cool radio programs:  Dave Ramsey has taught me how to handle money, Les Brown has motivated me and inspired me while giving me some great belly laughs and Hay House Radio has inspired the metaphysical side of life.


Finally:  The Mental Part.  SO important.  It's probably the largest part of any recovery program.  Mine is simple.  I look at these two items below, every day, and visualize myself happily running on the trails, (yes, that's me in the photo) and how great I'm going to look in this short nightgown once both quads are balanced out.  Try it.  It works!






Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Belief Is Only A Thought I Keep Thinking


Before And After Photos


Summer's here!  This little blogger likes to sit out on our deck and look at the ocean, imagining that I'm surfing.  Time for an allograft update.


It's been four and a half months since the osteochondral allograft surgery.  When Dr. Bugbee advised me that it would be up to a year before I would completely recover, and that's how long it takes for the graft to completely integrate, well, I just didn't think that time frame would apply to me.




There have been times during this past four and a half months that I wondered, "Why did I do this to myself"?  Oh, the pain, the hard work, (did I mention the pain?) And then yesterday I had a big breakthrough.


I had my four month follow up with Dr. Bugbee last week.  When the technician took the X-ray I asked her how she thought I was doing compared to other allograft patients given the time frame.  "Great!"  Said she.  "A lot of folks are still on crutches at this point"


When the Doctor reviewed the X-rays, we looked at my new bone and cartilage together, and you can see it integrating and becoming a part of ME, where before there was major deterioration.  Groovy!


Here's what I've been doing:


Bikram Yoga (90 minute heated to 105 degree room) 4 - 5 times a week
Range of Motion Exercises 6 times a week
Stationary Bike 15 - 30 minutes 5 times a week
Walking the dog 2 blocks a day
Physical Therapy Sessions which includes electro stimulation on quad 2 times a week


And:


I started keeping a journal of positive affirmations about six weeks ago.  It's filled with all kinds of statements to myself about how I'm healing, what I'm doing, how I'm surfing, running, healthy etc.  There is great power in thoughts and the written word.


One of my favorite:  "The Healing Power Of The Universe Is Surging Through Me Now"  I say, write, and think that thought hundreds of times during the day, go to bed with it at night and wake up with it in the morning.


A Belief Is Only A Thought I Keep Thinking.  Why is that important?  Because most of us say things to ourselves over and over, allow others around us and the media to put thoughts into our heads, and then wonder why we don't have what we want in our lives.


A Belief Is Only A Thought I Keep Thinking.  Hey!  I'm starting to believe that.


So here's my breakthrough:


Yesterday, I got on an elliptical trainer and worked out, worked up a sweat, felt like I was running, had full range of motion, and no pain.  Prior to the surgery, this was something I could not do without immediate pain.  I was astonished, amazed, happy, thrilled, elated, euphoric and almost couldn't believe how great it felt.


When I got off the elliptical trainer I reminded myself that The Healing Power Of The Universe Is Surging Through Me NOW!  Simple really.  Change your thoughts, change your life.  The most exciting part:  You get to pick from the buffet of life.  What are you thinking?  I'm thinking happy thoughts for you.  Happy Trails!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Did It!

For three months I've been looking at it, beckoning me, tantalizing me with its scent.  I can see it quite clearly from my bedroom picture window.


Month one it seemed an impossibility.


Today, I threw my one crutch, which I use about 50% of the time now aside, leashed Rusty up, laced up my Nike's and went.  To the beach.


No crutch, no husband to lean on.  Just me, Rusty, the leash, and hopefully no errant cat to catch his attention.


"The Walk" entails one block, downhill, a series of stairs, downstairs which are typically followed by upstairs, the uphill and back home.


I DID IT!  Once we reached the beach, my feet, Nike clad that they were, touched the sand.  Ah, heaven.  There were a couple of surfers out, little kids running, Mommies chasing, dogs barking and one curious tattooed couple at the top of the stairs watching and wondering why I was taking the stairs so gingerly.


Back home I sit, on my bed, laptop and ice pack, breathing in ocean air.  I can still see the tattooed couple on the stairs, enjoying this perfect seventy degree, not a cloud in the sky, California day.  Life is good.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Three Month Allograft Anniversary

Today marks exactly three months since I was the lucky recipient of some wonderful person's (donor) living bone and cartilage in my knee.


I was hoping to write a bit more about the experience but haven't because I've been hesitant to write the following words: I didn't know it was going to be so dad-blum, freaking difficult!!!!!!!!


Pain, tightness, restless sleep, vulnerability.


Okay, we got that out of the way.  Now on to the good stuff.  I'm using this as a time to learn how to become more relationship oriented.  Everyone who knows me well, knows that romance, long meaningful conversations into deep hours of the night and long walks on the beach holding hands make me want to gag.  I remember my good friend Ron advising me, when I asked him one day what would be a good idea for a date.  I was planning on having someone "special" over to my home.  He told me to go down to Trader Joe's, purchase a bunch of gourmet food, remove the food from the plastic containers, put it into fancy bowls to make it look like I'd been slaving over a hot stove all day, light candles and then rent a video - one of those romance movies that make you feel like the plot and love story really could happen in real life.  Okay, the candles I can light.  Gimme a break here.  All the rest of that?  Too much work.


My relationship with my husband of four years, after having been single for seventeen years, is flourishing post surgery.  Remember the old days when they used to hobble a person to contain them?  I suppose it's kind of like that.  Except for the fact that I'm now considering purchasing stock in Victoria's Secret.  When I was Super Woman Athlete, most of our weekends were spent on some type of extreme athletic event.  Now there's time slots open for, well, investing in Victoria's Secret stock.  I'm trying to be polite here.


Another update:  Today I took my one crutch, held it in front of me like a tightrope walker and WALKED across the room!  It felt so good I burst out laughing!  One of my yet to be realized life goals is the become a tightrope walker.  I even consulted with a professional at one point for some pointers.  You don't look down at your feet, you look at one point straight ahead, put your arms out for balance, and go!  There's a bit more to it than that, but that's how I'm retraining myself to walk.  The at home tightrope is just around the corner folks!


To my donor: Happy Anniversary Baby!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tales From The Crypt

The following story is true.  The names have been omitted to protect the not so innocent.  I will recount the story to the best of my ability.


As many of you know, a very dear family member is dealing with a health issue which has her, temporarily, in a nursing home.


Yesterday, she requested the presence of a specialist to inquire about a certain treatment.


About an hour later, into her room floats, or at least she appeared to be floating, a woman who appeared to be angelic whilst at the same time officious.  She listened attentively to the patient.  She then announced: "You're a beautiful person.  I'll be praying for you"  Without warning, she then burst into a heart wrenching rendition of Amazing Grace.  Luckily she had a melodic voice.  Now understand, that my family members condition makes it unable, at this time, for her to jump out of bed and flee.  Thankfully, she had a cool washcloth on her forehead which she then proceeded to cover her entire face with until the "treatment" was over.


My question is this:  If this is the treatment rendered to "Beautiful People" what happens if you're ugly?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Free exorcisms, anyone?

Had a great visit w my very close family member who is temporarily in a nursing home. She's by far the youngest person there. The graciousness she displays in her situation is truly inspiring. And her sense of humor!!!!! We had great belly laughs listening to her iPhone recording of "the exorcist" roommate she had for 2 nights. I was able to encode most of it as it was in Spanish. Hey: you gotta keep your sick sense of humor intact.


When we got home, I one crutchedly walked into our humble (such as it is) home, next to the beach, took a deep breath, looked at the ocean and realized life is all about perspective.  And lots of holy water!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

101 Ways I Get Out Of Physical Therapy Exercises



Physical therapy exercises are dumb.  They're really wimpy compared to running 50 miles or having a four hour warm water surf session in Maui.  But, alas, they're worth it.


As I was getting ready for my morning home session of PT, here are some of the procrastinating thoughts and actions that prepared me:


•  If I pick up this particular inspirational book, and open it to a random page, I'll read exactly the sentence I need to motivate me.


•  What's for breakfast?


•  I wonder if my old friend Kevin Helmo is on FaceBook?


•  I'm going to post an inane status update to FB to see if anyone is just as bored as I


•  What exactly was last nights dream about?  I was suckling an infant to my breast in the dream.  Perhaps I've given birth to something new in my life.  Hmmmmmm.  What could that be?


•  I wonder if I still have that old "Jewel" CD.  There's a song on there I want to learn to sing.


•  He should've never gone into Old Man Spivey's backyard that dark summer night. (A quote from one of my favorite B horror films)


•  Perhaps there really is a new drug being developed that will eliminate pain with no side effects


•  If I play this Wayne Dyer motivational CD while I work out, maybe it will make the process easier


•  You know, a blue area rug would look really good in the living room


•  How exactly will it go today when Kerry and I finally pin Victor (Jessica's chihuahua) down and brush his teeth?  This veterinary dentistry is costing us a fortune.


•  Let me check my Iphone one more time to see if anyone's called or texted


•  Does Mary Kay make an eyeliner that's waterproof?  If so, I need to order that


•  One last trip to the internet to check out photon therapy as an option for my knee


•  Do we have enough frequent flyer miles for a trip to Maui?  First Class?


•  What are Victor and Rusty barking at?  Again?  I'm going to throw this bottle of digestive enzymes that sits on my coffee table at them.  That'll shut 'em up!


•  Who's going to get eliminated on Dancing With The Stars tonight?


•  Okay, the Lakers sucked this last round.  Kobe Bryant 'aint gettin' none from me tonight


And then.....at long last......there's FINALLY doing the exercises


They take about an hour per session (2-3 per day)  It doesn't even matter if I'm focused or not.  The sheer action of going through the motions has produced results.  I walk mostly steadily with one crutch. Today, I could bend my knee just about all the way into my chest while lying flat.  I actually kissed my knee!  My Mom always used to kiss my boo-boo's.  It always made them feel better.


Happy Days To You All!


As soon as I can do this again, I'll post a picture.  It won't be long.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Cover Girl" for Allograft Recovery



I wanted to share my progress with y'all, but the first thing I can think as I write this post is: "Dayum, would it kill ya to put some makeup on woman?"


Today was a very exciting day.  Week 9 Doctor followup since the allograft.  We took X-rays and Dr. Bugbee, so pleased with my progress, pointed out the areas, clearly visible on the X-ray, where the new cartilage is implanted in two places.  "See your new cartilage"? Said he, quite brightly.  We compared the old film, where the cartilage was so severely degenerated, to the new and yes indeed, I could see with my own eyes, the difference.  He reported that the cartilage is integrating nicely.  Yay!  We then took one of my crutches, threw it into Dante's Inferno, and he handed me one crutch and said "Walk"  What?  Yes, Master, whatever you say Master.  I was quite pleased with how balanced it felt.  Freedom!


My next step, so to speak, is to ride the exercise bike like crazy.  And to learn to walk again.  It was exciting to do so in front of the Doctor, but then the more I did so as the day went on, my leg began to rebel a bit.  9 whole weeks of not putting more than 50% max weight on that leg made it a bit lazy.  But I can feel it coming back to life. (in between icing sessions that is)  SHE'S ALIVE!


Photo one (above) is 4 weeks post op.  Photo two is 8 weeks.  Quite a difference in range of motion.  And lemme tell ya - I've been workin' it like crazy.


Dr. Bugbee was telling me that today, he saw a patient (age 30) who he performed a patella allograft on and that it's taking beautifully.  It's pretty exciting work he's doing there.


I will leave you with a real Cover Girl shot of me just so you guys know that yes, they are doing wonderful work at the Scripps Cartilage Transplantation Center and at L'Oreal.  I'm worth it!


Like I always say: "What a difference lighting, makeup, professional photography, smoke and mirrors can make!"  Don't leave home without them.  You never know who might be watching.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Life Was Wonderful. And Then The Morphine Wore Off!

Actually the morphine wore off about seven weeks ago.  Darn it.


Week eight after my surgery.  Time for an osteochondral allograft update since I know y'all are dyin' to hear.


Anyone that ever tells you that surgery is easy is lying.  After all the extensive research I did prior to the surgery, going into the procedure knowing that the full recovery would be about a year, well, I just didn't think that time frame could actually apply to me!


I remember several years back when I was single, walking the beach and thinking to myself, "My kids are healthy, I've got a great job, I make wonderful money, I'm a fit, ultra marathon runner, I love my circle of friends, I live at the beach.  I have got it ALL!  But God - What did you do with my relationship file"?


Last night Surfer Boy and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary.  Romance, fine wine, love.  We had dinner at a breathtaking restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  I wore a beautiful full length, turquoise, classy, spaghetti string strap dress with all my favorite sparkly jewelry.  Somehow the image of this runway model was tarnished by the addition of yep, you guessed it, my crutches!


But it did get me lots of attention from the wait staff.  "Can we bring you an extra chair to prop your leg?  Would you like some ice for your knee?  Do you need help getting up and down the (3) steps"?


Some days the knee feels pretty flexible, and other days, I wake up screaming and realize that I haven't been asleep!  Morphine, where are you?


The first eight weeks, all physical therapy has been done at home.  Tomorrow I meet with a new Physical Therapist.  I get to actually go to a PT gym and have a coach.  Exciting!


And I'm happy to report that God did find my relationship file.  Surfer Boy, I love you.  My amazing partner has stood by my side through this whole thing.  I am alive!  I will survive!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Expose Yourself To Art



Surfer Boy and I decided to get some culture over the weekend.  No, we didn't eat yogurt.  No we didn't wear cultured pearls and no, we didn't go to college.


Our usual weekend adventures consist of some type of extreme workout.  But since this beautiful knee of mine is healing, opportunities for new experiences are afforded.


The town we live in, Laguna Beach, is a famous artist's community.  Do we ever partake in any of it?  No!  The most we've done is the annual Sawdust Festival where you can buy yourself a pair of earrings created by a local artist.  You know, the type of earrings that are pretty much guaranteed to make sure you never get asked out on a date again.  Enough with the "dream catcher" earrings already!


When the local newspaper was delivered last week, I noticed that the dance company, Complexions, was coming to town.  They're considered a Contemporary Ballet company.  Surfer Boy and Me at a Ballet?  I don't care how well Black Swan did at the box office, the ballet always seemed a bit ho-hum to me.


But this was something beyond my wildest expectations!  There were no tu-tu's in evidence.  Instead, I was treated to some amazingly athletic hot dudes dancing in their underwear!  And Kerry was treated to hard bodied babes dancing in skin tight black lace costumes.


The local community theatre is a small venue.  We were in the third row with not only a great view, but we were also able to hear every grunt, groan and heavy breathing the dancers made.


Check out the videos on their website and if you get the opportunity, go see them!


I highly recommend you expose yourself to art.  Just make sure you're not wearing a black trench coat with nothing underneath when you do so.  And if you do, your secrets safe with me!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How To Attract An Awesome Babe (Or Not)

Kerry and I treated ourselves to dinner tonight at the Surf and Sand Resort. "Splashes" is the name of the restaurant.  Fine wines, designer foods featuring dishes with fancy swirls of God knows what surrounding your entree' to make it look like it's fresh off the Food Channel Network.

We sat next to the fireplace, in a dining room overlooking the setting sun.  Surfer Boy always the perfect gentleman with the dry cleaned clothing, pulling out the chair for his date. Me, with my designer outfit from the fifteen dollar store, spruced up with sparkling jewelry.  Somehow, I just can't fit in with the OC crowd.

In walks this gorgeous woman of indeterminate age depending on which angle her face was turned.  One way it looked to be 25.  If she looked straight at you, I'd guess 50.  On a good day.  Her black hair was cut in an attractive, funky, short style.  Her skin had been treated to only the finest skin care products and the latest in anti aging developments.  Botox, chemical peels, hylauranic acid treatments.  More than that though, she had an inner radiance.

Her date was a bit out of my view, but Kerry made the observation that caused me in a very rude fashion to rubber neck in order to get a better view.  He was the Fred to her Wilma.  And the main attraction to this man, especially as the lights dimmed and the sun set, was the blinking blue light of his blue tooth ear piece.  Blink.  Blink.  Blink.  The whole two hours we were enjoying a sumptuous dinner, off that ear piece went.  Was he expecting a call from another, more botoxed woman?  Perhaps a hot tip from his stock broker?  Maybe he's suing Mark Zuckerburg and waiting for a settlement update from his attorney.

Whatever the case, he had the Gorgeous Ms. OC wrapped around his little blue tooth technology.

Ladies, please raise your standards.  And if you can't, be willing to date Mr. Blue Tooth.  I'll bet he has one heck of a stock portfolio.  Me?  I'll be checking his text call log when I get home.  Just to be sure......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Creepy Cat Ladies

Birthday number two for my daughter's cat "Baby" and her sister "Mimi"


Great gathering of wonderful friends, family, pictionary and lots of laughs.


MUCH needed comic relief after a less than stellar week:


•  Once the doc cleared me to go back to yoga, hit the bike and pool, I did all things in one day and ended up with a five ice pack night.  Gotta respect the healing process!


•  A very dear family member has been in the hospital for three weeks and they still haven't diagnosed her


•  My in home physical therapist, who I really don't need anymore, turned out to be more interested in giving me psychological therapy than physical therapy and announced that "Jesus sent him to me"  Hasta La Vista Baby to him


•  I caught Kerry's cold and my physical energy has been low.  Get me outta here so I can run!


Now that we've got that out of the way - who's up for a trip to Kauai?  The past is gone, the present is here with all the downs that make us appreciate the ups, and the future...........we're going to Kauai! My dear running buddy asked me to be the "best man/woman" at his wedding in Kauai.  Who am I to argue?  Now, what am I going to wear?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Contentment Is Only A Thought Away


As I sat on my deck this gorgeous Sunday afternoon, feeling the warm sun on my body, I was transported to another place, time and state of mind.  No, Scottie didn't beam me up, but it felt like it!


I closed my eyes, listened to the surf, the laughter of kids playing, the seagulls and took a deep breath.


When I was an adolescent, my sister and my good friends (you know who you are) would take either the bus, Charlie's VW bug, or my first car that I purchased at the police auction for $200 cash and make our way to Miami Beach for the day.


While relaxing on Miami beach, here is a short list of the things that I DID NOT think about:


•  Money (I had never even heard of a mutual fund)


•  Skin cancer (I had my large bottle of "No Ad" suntan lotion in tow


•  Caloric intake or vitamin supplements


•  How I was going to make a car payment


•  When I was going to ice my knee next


•  When the next Lakers Game was


•  Gas prices (they were 24 cents/gallon)


•  What was for dinner that night (probably Kentucky Fried)


Here is a short list of the things that I DID think about:


•  Tan lines


•  Time to turn to get an even tan


•  Collecting shells


•  If we got to the beach early enough, could we make the first footprints in the sand?


•  The sunrise (again - if we got to the beach early enough)


•  The book I was reading (Probably "Be Here Now" by Ram Dass)


•  Yoga (yes, I practiced in the bedroom even back then)


•  My blow up raft for floating in the ocean, getting an even better tan


The first photo is from our deck in Laguna Beach, the second photo is my sister and I a couple years back in Miami Beach.


Today, I'm "all grown up" yeah right! with all the attendant thoughts that we think grownups need to be preoccupied with.


But in that moment today, closing my eyes, feeling the sun, hearing the surf, it made me realize, contentment - it really is only a thought away.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cheer Up, Things Could Be Worse...........

 So I Cheered Up, And Sure Enough, Things Got Worse!


If you're looking for funny platitudes, this is the blog.  My Dad (got rest his soul) was overflowing with wit, mirth and the wry sense of humour that he inherited from me.


Week five (but who's counting) of the osteochondral allograft.


If I hear one more person, as I'm out and about hobbling around on my crutches, tell me about how after  their knee surgery, they walked out of the doctor's office and participated in a triathlon (my neighbor actually told me this, I'm not making this up)  Or, that after her knee surgery, my other neighbor was back on her surfboard in six weeks............I'm going to strangle them.


Most folks have never even heard of an allograft, would not be thrilled with the idea of having a two inch portion of their bone sawed out of their knee (but happily replaced with living bone :)  being instructed to non weight bear for 6-8 weeks, and good progress is considered that you can walk normally in four months.


Last night, Kerry slept on the sofa because he's got a cold and didn't want to keep me up all night with his coughing.  I was up most of the night disturbing my bed mate, our black kitty Ruby, in pain, fetching ice packs.


The world turns very slowly these days.  One day, I'm encouraged, the next, I'm reduced to considering that alcoholism might not be such a bad idea after all.


My "tell it like it is" daughter, Angela, had no sympathy for me this morning.  When I told her the story she said "C'mon Mom, you know you'd be bragging to  everybody the same thing if you were back on your surfboard in six weeks."  Guilty as charged.


That does it.  I'm going to put my surfboard on my living room floor today and get on it.  That'll show 'em!



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life's A Beach And Then You Dive


Yesterday Surfer Boy and I went for our first session of pool therapy.  Luckily, I'm married to an avid surfer who also used to be a lifeguard!


We found this lovely facility, close to our home which features a heated to 80 degree, salt water pool.


I downloaded the required release forms, filled them out and off we went.  We were greeted by the owner of this quaint establishment, a buoyant woman with closely cropped graying hair, a huge smile and two slobbering black labs at her heels.  It seems that we caught her in the middle of lunch.  She grabbed my release forms and said "Just leave the 5 bucks in the box on the picnic table and have a good time"!


I've been a surfer for several years and grew up in pools and the Atlantic ocean in Miami, so I thought this would be a piece of cake.  Just get in and frolic around the pool.  Fun!  Well guys, it was a lot tougher than I expected.  Water acts as a resistance against your body.  Next time you get into a pool, concentrate (like I never did) on how much easier it is to walk on flat ground than it is in water.  Kerry grabbed a couple of water noodles, wrapped them around his body and proclaimed that he was going to order a Pina Colada.  I was left to do all my resistance training.  Where was my Marco Polo game?  Where was my Cabana Boy?  Where was my Pina Colada?  Waa-friggin-waa!


When we were done, we headed over to visit our dear friend, Kevin.  Kevin used to be my next door neighbor.  He's in his forties and has been a surfer all his life.  Six years ago, he dove head first into the ocean, hit the sandbar and instantly became a quadriplegic.  Kevin is one of the most inspiring people I know.  The doctors told him he'd never walk again.  Through hard work, great attitude and determination, Kevin can stand for almost a minute, he can walk with a walker and is determined to walk again.


I walked into his living room, where he sat in his wheelchair, arms working his "arm bicycle" and told him that pool workout was not as easy as I thought it would be.  His comment: "You're not gettin' any sympathy here"!  (Kevin also has a New York"tell it like it is") personality.  We went on, as we always do, to have a great visit with lots of stories and good laughs.


Next time you feel like things are getting a bit tough, remember: Life really is a Beach.  Now where's that Pina Colada?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kobe Bryant Goes To Bikram Yoga........

Well, Kobe Bryant didn't exactly go to Bikram Yoga class this morning.  But my donor and I went, four weeks post op.  What an amazingly exciting day this has been for me!!!!!!!


Whenever I think about the knee graft donor, I always envision this young, vibrant, athletic person.  Someone who can run, jump, stretch, you know, the next Kobe Bryant.


One of my dear, lovely, talented blogger buddies, Ulyana who is also a Bikram Yoga enthusiast, had an allograft six months ago on her ankle.  When I read her posts right after surgery, that she was back in that 105 degree, 90 minute, kick butt yoga studio, on crutches, I was amazed, amused and incredulous.  Studdette of the Year!


After four weeks of not being able to sweat with these wimpy PT exercises I'm doing, I just couldn't take it anymore.  I can only put 50% max weight on the left leg, but heck, I've still got 100% on my right leg. (Yes, I'm 'all right' now) Kerry and I went to the studio, set up my crutches and walker in the back of the room and it was a-friggin-mazing how great it felt.  Ah, to be able to sweat, get my heart rate up, and feel the endorphins surging through my system again.


The class was crowded, as it usually is on Saturday.  One of the students had dragged her reluctant twelve year old daughter into class.  The young girl kept sitting down on her mat cuz she just couldn't take the heat.  Youth really is wasted on the young.  It made me realize how much of our motivation in life is mental.  Her twelve year old body is in perfect shape, will do anything she asks it to do, and mine?  I'm very proud to say that I didn't sit down once.  Motivated am I!


Okay guys, we need to come up with a name for my donor.  The name Kobe Bryant is already taken.  Interestingly, Kobe Bryant and I share the exact same birthday; August 23rd, twenty years apart to the day.  All star athletes were born on August 23rd!  Ha!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Get On Your Bikes And Ride!



Yesterday was a really big day;  my first follow up with Dr. Bugbee. Week four since the allograft.


We started out by heading to the Living Water Rejuvenation Center in Carlsbad for my colonic.  Not being able to work up a sweat these days, my body is more than ever craving a detox.  Get that crazy anesthesia out of me!


I made the decision on my own this week to get out of the walker and transfer to crutches.  What an amazing feeling of freedom.


After the colonic, my body was light, happy and full of energy.  When we got to Scripps Clinic in La Jolla to see the Doc, I was so pumped up, eager to get the thumbs up on my progress.  Kerry was laughing at me in the waiting room as all the other patients were sitting around in their knee braces, wheelchairs, or canes, most of them with a forlorn look on their faces.  I was Ms. Energy, pacing back and forth on my crutches, swinging my leg up in the air, smiling, getting my game face on before I saw the Doc.


I am thrilled to report that he says everything looks great, it's healing well, and that I can start adding some stationary biking, pool workouts and even Bikram Yoga!  I can also put up to 50% weight on the left leg while walking with crutches.  He said the words that were magic to my ears "You're doing even better than I expected you would"  I think that's because I was such a cry baby in the hospital.  Guilty as charged, the entire hospital staff at Green Hospital got to see a grown woman cry.  Several times.  It did get me some extra desserts, though :)


Dr. Bugbee handed me the Op report before we left with the disclaimer: "Wait until you get home to read this"


This morning I got up the nerve to scan the report.  There are many mentions of the term "sawing" "Nuff said.  The part I was most interested in was what they found when they opened up my knee.  Dr. Bugbee in medical, technical speak said it was "Pretty Messed Up"  It turns out that the defect was 5 cm. x 2.5 cm. in size.  5 cm. translates into 2 inches.  I can't believe I was walking around like that for so long.  I did the right thing!


Today, biking and tomorrow Bikram Yoga!  And 'aint the prettiest incision you've ever seen?  I think it is!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Me, Myself and I. NOT!

I remember reading a study several years back that went something like this:  Researchers recorded the voices of a control group of men.  They counted every time the men used the words Me, Myself or I in a sentence.  The study concluded that the men who used those words most often had the highest incidence of heart attacks.


Last night, I received devastating news about the health of a very close family member.  My first impulse was to jump up, get in my car and make the three hour drive to the hospital bed in which she lays.  Tears of frustration leaped to my eyes as I'm not even cleared to drive yet.


I have a new impetus to heal my body and get strong.  My family, friends, and community need me.


When I was an ultra marathon runner I always had this confidence:  "If there's ever an emergency, I can always run 50 miles.


Not so today, but I can do other things.  I can pray, I can phone call, I can support those around me, I can egads, cook.  And don't forget, I can FaceBook!


It's not all about Me, Myself and I, folks.  Our loved ones need us.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Me and My Donor. We've Got A Real Good Thing!

Take someone who is used to workouts six to seven days a week and make them non weight bearing for 6-8 weeks.  Hello!  Welcome to week three in the life of the osteochondral allograft patient.  Emphasis on patient.


Three and a half weeks out from surgery and the biggest challenge has been getting my knee bent into my chest due to inflammation.  What could I do to get this inflammation to reduce?  My neighbor is a nurse, so she says "Ask the Doc if you can take Alleve"  Well, it turns out that is out of the question because Alleve (Naproxen) is, are you ready for this one: a bone growth inhibitor.  Not what you want when you've had a bone graft.


I got to thinking.  Inflammation is the bodies natural response to injury.  Why would I want to take an anti inflammatory?  Then I got to thinking again, as I so often do, about the donor whose living bone and cartilage are so merrily growing in my knee.  How could I sit here feeling sorry for myself, when this person died and here I am, lucky enough to have their living tissue?  I have no idea who the person is, or even the sex of the donor.  But in my imagination (aren't we making our lives up as we go along anyway)? I imagine the donor to be a twenty something, male, dark curly haired, athletic individual.  Hey, it never hurts to have a little testosterone on your side.


I made a pact with this person.  Okay, my friend, you and I are a team.  I'm not going to let you down.  From now on, we're going to work together.


I went down to the park, stood overlooking the ocean, put my foot up on a rail and slowly pushed, pushed, pushed past the point of pain.  Breathe, push.  Breathe, push.  Voila'!  Amazingly, for the first time since the surgery, I could feel the tightness slowly unfurling, like a garden hose that had been kinked up for too long.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Me and my Donor.  We've got a real good thing.....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Life is just a bowl of cherries...Cherry Garcia!

Week three since the osteochonrdral allograft.


My physical therapist came over on Wednesday (I'm still not cleared to drive) .  I handed him my neatly typed out list of all the exercises I've been doing four times a day.  Religiously.  Yes, I have been practicing in church!   When he saw that I was still having trouble getting this knee bent into my chest, he very politely told me to: RELAX why don't ya?  Mind you, this is coming from an imposing man who was a top NFL pro.  He looked at all my ultra marathon medals and told me that this rehab is not the same as hitting the wall at mile 80 of a hundred mile race.


That afternoon, Surfer Boy and I took the three grand dogs down to Heisler Park in Laguna Beach.  We walked, people watched, sat at a bench and had a lovely one hour conversation with a 70+ year old couple retired to California from Brooklyn.  Cynthia and Sam finish each others sentences, ask a zillion questions and show you pictures of their grand kids.  What a hoot those two are!  And the best part?  Not once did they ask about my knee.


When I got out of the shower today, I could lift my leg up and put my foot flat down on the toilet seat, a feat that was impossible two weeks ago.


Success = balance.  I'm taking all my favorite supplements for healing, including systemic enzymes for inflammation, eating organic foods, taking bio-identical hormones - don't leave home without 'em: they're all natural and they make life, ahem, sweeter than cherry wine.  The most important component to healing: Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream.


Here's my new stretch goal:  Once I'm walking again: To walk the one and half miles from my home, with Surfer Boy and the three grand pups, to the ice cream shop, then sit on the bench with Cynthia and Sam, enjoying the view.  Make mine a double scoop, please!


Remember to relax and have fun in life!  That is the true key to healing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

This woman looks fit!  She looks like she's fixin' to bust outta that new ultra marathon tool and run a hundred miles.


Two and a half weeks since the allograft.  The docs are really strict about only allowing 25% max weight bearing on the left knee.  Perhaps I've been over cautious.  Unlike me, I've really been taking the admonition to heart and playing it super safe.


Today, Kerry and I ventured out on our second "let me out of this house" adventure.  We drove down to Doheny State Park as it's one of the few beach areas around here that's flat.


Out of the car, the first thing I saw was, not the ocean, but a twenty-something State Park worker on his knees scraping old paint off of a curb.  I smiled broadly at him and announced that he was so lucky to have that ability (to kneel)  He smiled back.


We, very slowly, walked along the boardwalk area.  The fresh air, the ocean, the sunshine!  I felt myself getting choked up with the emotion of how lucky folks are to be able to just get outside and move.


Next, we saw a teenage kid drive by on a gas fueled skateboard thing.  I told my patient, handsome, lovable, (have I mentioned patient) Surfer Boy husband "Why would anyone want to be on that thing when he could walk"?  To which he replied "You know guys, we just gotta have our gas fueled engines"


It was a gorgeous outing.


And all the while, I was wondering "Why isn't anyone staring at me"?


Okay guys, here's my deep, dark, secret:  The past few days, I have allowed an unwelcome visitor by the name of F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) to set up housekeeping in a corner of my mind.  Where were my pitying glances?  Wasn't anyone, someone, going to feel the least bit sorry for me?  Where's my fifteen minutes of fame, darn it!


When we got home and I saw the above photograph, I burst into hysterical laughter.  The woman in that photograph is healthy, happy, athletic and radiant.  Did I mention humble?


Kerry wondering what was so funny, took out a blank piece of paper and wrote the word "Doubt" then circled it and put a big slash mark through it.


Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lose Ten Pounds Easily! Ask Me How.....

Quite easy, really.  Have a series of colonics, then surgery, and you too, will be at your fighting weight.  Every woman/person (don't want to leave the guys out) I know, myself included is looking to lose those last ten pounds.  And I did it!


Welcome to my life:  Workout, read, workout, read, workout read.............Sleep


It seems easier to run 100 miles than it is to get this knee bent into my chest.  But determined I am.


Being grounded is actually quite nice.  I love to read.  So, I will leave you with this quote that I read today. I'm going to follow the advice:


Knowing is not enough, we must apply.  Willing is not enough, we must do.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


Back to the workouts!

Monday, March 7, 2011

If You're Happy and You Know It Stamp Your Feet

In a land not so long ago, and not so far away, this magnificent body of mine could cross the finish line of 100 mile, 50 mile races.  That made me happy. 20 mile training run on a Saturday morning?  Walk in the park.

I was a single Mom, mother of two beautiful daughters (nobody admits to the ugly ones) top salesperson, multiple times Presidient club winner, made good money, single for 17 years.  I didn't need a man.  That made me happy.  I may have wanted a man, but no, Ms. Wonder Woman didn't need anyone.

Today, I'm humbly walking in a walker, 25% max weight bearing on my new knee, made it through these wimpy physical therapy exercises for the first time today without crying.  That makes me happy!

My two daughters (they're still beautiful) are making me proud, taking care of themselves, working, but most importantly, being great, loving family members.

I'm four years newylwed to a super great man.  And, the father of my daughters and I have maintained a really nice relationship.

Don't get me wrong.  I've experienced some very dark nights of the soul.  Do I miss having, being, doing all the things I'm not doing able to do right now?  Heck, freaking yes!!

But I discovered something.  Happiness is a decision, not an experience.  Love is a decision, not an experience.  If we think we have to have (fill in the blank) to be happy, it's never going to happen.

Eleven days out from my surgery and I still get all teary eyed thinking about the donor whose living bone and cartilage are now cheerfully growing in my knee.  Who was this person?  How did they die?  How is their family dealing with the loss?  I pray fervently every day for this person and his/her family and friends.  One of the things that keeps me going is my plan to send the family a letter and pictures of myself running, biking, surfing etc. once I'm able to do so.  Every small victory I have with my PT, I am happy and grateful for this opportunity.   I can almost raise my leg high enough (with a towel) to kiss that beautiful knee.  That makes me happy.

So, if you're happy and you know it, stamp your feet!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Bone Grafts But Were In Too Much Pain To Ask





Tonight marks exactly one week since my osteochondral allograft.  One of the main purposes of this blog is to help others that may someday be going through something similar.  Hopefully my research and information will help another soul along this path called life.

One of my favorite bloggers, the lovely and talented Ulyana, recently went through a similar surgery.  The affected portion was her ankle, while mine was the left knee.  Her posts have been inspiring, funny and informational.  It was Ulyana who gave me the idea that YES!  I needed a shower chair.  Most of us think of a shower chair as something only folks of advanced ages would need.   Not so.  I am going to encourage us all to purchase this nifty little device.  Think how great that will feel after a long run or workout of any kind.  If you have a significant other; allow your imagination entertain some very interesting possibilities.  Chihuahuas in the home?  Just set them on the high chair adjustment and bath time will now be a a breeze.  They also come in many fashionable designer colors.

Many of you have asked for more details, so here goes:

My diagnosis was osteochondral dessicans.  Translation: A portion of my knee (the medial femoryl condyle) was dead, dried or dessicated, is the technical term.  There's no way to know how it happened as there was never an acute injury.  In other words, I didn't step in a hole and scream out in pain.  This affliction affects children and no one knows why.  I've spent the past 20 years or so of my life as an ultra marathon runner.  Folks love to blame it on that, but it's not the case.

The surgery involves waiting for a donor with a viable graft that fits my size knee.  It has nothing to do with blood type, sex or anything at all other than size.  Once a donor graft finds its way to the donor bank, it's tested for disease and must be used within fourteen days.  In my case, I got the call on Friday and was in the O.R. on Wednesday.  As you can tell by the photo, this is not an arthroscopic surgery.  Nope.  A good old fashioned incision is made.  The dead portion of my knee is removed, then the donor graft is inserted.  This procedure utilizes a surgical saw and a core reamer until the graft is properly seated, all the while my leg is put through various manipulations to ensure proper flexion.

Three days were spent in the hospital.  Now that I'm home, I'm non weight bearing (NWB) on the left leg for six to eight weeks.  The Doctors are very strict about this.  The graft has got to settle in and re-grow in concert with my own bone and cartilage.  I currently walk with a walker (another great invention) and will soon be on crutches.  In home physical therapy starts right away.  My kick butt P.T. who also happens to be a former NFL Super Star is putting me through the paces.  The movements wouldn't have seemed like much in the past.  But now........  Ouch!  Thank God I've been so active all my life.  I've got strong arms, a strong right leg and a strong will.

When my good friend and training partner, Chris, came to visit me in the hospital, I showed him the physical therapy outline which slowly yet steadily progresses over the next year.  His response:  "WOW.  I had no idea how intense this was."  When I asked him if he would've done the same given my situation, there was not a moments hesitation.  "If it helped me get back to a normal life, heck yes!!"

Pain meds:  Necessary at this point, they grafted my bone, guys, but am cutting back.  I was a bit concerned about constipation but I found a supplement that works like a charm.  Perhaps it will help you even if your, ahem, stoppage is from another source.  It's called 3A Magnesia by Lane Medical.  Love that stuff!

No cast or brace required, thankfully.  Showering is allowed for as long as your hot water heater can perform.  Mine is being put to the test.  I've learned to appreciate every little thing I previously took for granted.  Showering has become one of the highlights of my day!

Sleep:  Our bedroom requires stairs so we're sleeping in Ruby's room.  Ruby sleeps in a California King Size Bed with a pillow top mattress.  Ruby is our fourteen year old black kitty whom we rescued from the pound.  She purrs really loud and she snores.  It's quite soothing.

Food:  I have a great appetite.  Kerry is getting the hang of shopping at Whole Foods and is learning how to use the VitaMix.  I have advised him that when I'm dead and buried, he'll be a great cook and housekeeper.  No getting on my case for this one, guys.  So far as I know, no one gets out of this one alive!


Life, my dear friends, is extremely good.  Cherish every step you take today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pain is inevitable, suffering, is optional.





"Pain is inevitable, suffering, is optional."


This was the phrase that my brilliant surgeon, Dr. William Bugbee presented me with after the surgery.
"What Zen book did you read that in?"  Said I.


Day two, home from the hospital.  Here's what I've learned:


•  Buy stock in Ben & Jerry's


•  The rumours of Kerry's lack of cooking expertise are greatly exaggerated


•  If you can ever get your hands on one of those clay infused, instead of gel, ice packs, buy one.  I don't care what it costs


•  The hand held shower massage was one of God's greatests inventions


•  Pets really do offer unconditional love like no other.  Just don't get more than four.  Please.


•  Victor Jose Snaggles (Jessica's chihuahua) is so strange looking that he's precious.


•  If you live in Southern California, you just might get Brad Budde as your in home physical therapist.   Evidently, he's a football legend, whose name was lost on me, but Kerry was all impressed.  We had our first meeting yesterday.  He's 6'4" 262 lbs. and quite imposing.  If anyone can whip me into shape, he can.


•  I have the world's greatest friends and family.  Many of which are much better cooks than I would've ever thought!


•  I'm surprised by how few people have ever heard of this amazing sugery: the allograft.  Perhaps the recovery will be long, but more about that later.......

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day One: Back From the Hospital










Gnarly.  Is that a real word?  If so, that is what an osteochondral allograft is.


Wednesday was spent with the entire day fasting as the surgery was scheduled for evening.  We got to the hospital one hour early on a perfect La Jolla beach day, so decided to relax under a life giving sun before going into three days of hospital confinement.


Once at the hospital, it's forms, signatures, payments, EKG's, vitals, weigh ins, blood tests, psychological tests (they must've asked me the spelling of my name and DOB at least a million times.  At least they didn't ask who the current President is, as I'm not sure.


The last meeting was with a lovely Indonesian woman who performed my EKG, weight and height.  She had a kick ass sense of humour.  It was a party in there.  When it came time for her to hand me my hospital issue clothing, I didn't realize I was to completely strip down.  Duh.  She cocked her head and said in that cute Indonesian accent: "Honey, this the Full Monty"


Next the wheel chair got rolled in.  In typical Jen Evans Queen fashion, I proceeded to pose for the camera in various poses befitting a wheel chair, when whom should walk in, but Dr. Bugbee.  He rolled his eyes and said "Good Gawd, what are you up to this time?"  It seemed I was a celebrity that night as he had in tow, two surgeons.  One was from Belgium, the other from Germany.  That's how well renowned Dr. Bugbee is:  Surgeons fly in from all over the world to learn from him.


Next thing I knew, I was having a lovely vision of Kerry and I sitting on our sofa sipping our morning coffee as is the custom around here.  Suddenly I realized I was not relaxing on the sofa.  No, I was being wheeled down a hospital corridor.  Pandemonium ensues once a patient is completed surgery.  It was at that point that I burst into tears from the sheer emotion of it all.  I was grabbing any one's hand that was close enough for TLC.  Before Dr. Bugbee left me, I grabbed him and made him give me a hug.  I don't know if that's hospital protocol, but I don't care.


I had lovely visitors, including ultra running friend David.  He is a scientist who works three minutes walk from the hospital and is one of the smartest people I know.  BFF Chris, with a pint of ice cream, and the lovely Michele, with laughter and great conversation overlooking Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean.


Once home, I was greeted by my sweet daughter, Jessica, bearing a pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream and Victor Jose Snaggles.  Finally, one of the best nights sleep ever, with Surfer Boy and our black kitty, Ruby.


Pictures of my shower chair tomorrow........

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tomorrow's the Big Day!!!!

Tomorrow morning Surfer Boy and I leave for beautiful La Jolla including 3 days, and 2 nights of fun filled entertainment and deluxe accommodations where the wonderful staff at the hospital will be at my beck and call.


We started the day with one last surf session since I will be non weight bearing on crutches for six weeks.  Kerry, wonderful husband that he is, got the shower chair to fit into my tiny, like you can barely stretch your arms out tiny, shower stall.  Then I went to lunch with a dear friend who is moving out of the country this week.  The girls lunch and laughter was great for my soul.


My bags are packed.  I checked with the hospital and they advised me that yes, I can bring my blankie.  I never travel without my beloved feather comforter.  It's been all over the world and has great stories to tell. I'm smuggling in the most important of my supplements and of course, my BHRT.  Don't leave home without it!  Lastly, I couldn't resist packing my red satin pajamas so I look good for family and friends!


Thank you to all my blogger buddies, friends and family for your positive vibes, prayers, and great energy!


Yes, I'll bring my laptop.  Hopefully I will feel like writing.  Haven't many prolific writers written whilst under the influence of mind altering substances?  We're fixin' to find out!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

127 hours until my surgery! But who's counting?

It is with an amazingly grateful heart that I sit down to write this post.


After not being able to run for well over a year and a half, every workout in the company of my good friend pain, several months of meeting numerous specialists, two months on a wait list, one false donor alarm and lots of ice, ice, baby, I finally got the call yesterday that the donor bank has a healthy graft for my knee.  The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, 6PM PST.  Yay, yippee and double thank you Lord!


I want to thank all of the wonderful people who have come together to make this possible.  First, Dr. Bugbee, who has dedicated his practice to this joint sparing technology.  I am so lucky to have found him.  He is an international leader in the allograft field.  Patients fly in from all over the world to meet with him, and he teaches other doctors how to perform the procedure.  The procedure itself involves the use of living bone and cartilage, fresh, never frozen, folks.  In layman's terms, he will pop out the defective part of my knee and pop in the new and improved donor graft.  Very exciting stuff!


Back to the thank you list: Dr. Bugbee and his staff, my wonderful friends and family, my daughters, my pets, all the doctors who pointed me in this direction, my Angel, Lacy, at Living Water Rejuvenation Centers, who has been helping me with my detox program in preparation for surgery, Surfer Boy, the best husband in the whole wide world, who gets to put up with my many moods (yes, Ms. Positive has moods) and most especially, heartfelt thanks to the donor who gave up his/her life to help another person have a better quality of life.  I promise to honor that persons life by working hard, keeping a positive, prayerful attitude and thanking them with every step I take.  Love, love, love you all!!!


Finally, the name of this post: It's not really quite 127 hours until the surgery, but I want to honor one of my favorite inspirational people, Aron Ralston, an experienced canyoneer, and fellow ultra runner, who got trapped by a chock stone in Moab Utah for 127 hours.  After preparing to die, he ended up amputating his own arm, using a small, cheap, multi tool knife, then rappelled down a cliff and hiked seven miles, with his arm in a sling fashioned from his CamelBak before finally being discovered by hikers and rescued.  If you're looking for inspiration, check out the movie, starring academy award best actor nominee, James Franco.


If he could get through that amazing self-surgery, I will easily bounce back from my lap of luxury surgery including the ocean view recovery suite.  Champagne, please!


I plan to update you all from my 2-3 day hospital stay.  Thank you all for your positive vibes and prayers!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feelings........nothing more than feelings

Every time the phone rings, I look at the caller ID to see if it's a call from Dr. Bugbee's office advising me that they found a donor for my bone and cartilage transplantation.  I've been doing this for 7 weeks now, but who's counting?


End of last week I got THE CALL!  Dr. Bugbee's assistant called with the words which were magic to my ears "We got a donor offer"  She then proceeded to give me the surgery date, pre-op instructions etc.  The call ended with a disclaimer: There's a chance we may not be able to use the graft.  It has to pass rigorous testing.  I already knew this as I've researched this procedure extensively.  Thankfully, the graft is put through a gazillion tests to make sure it's free of transmittable diseases.


I woke up the next morning happy, full of energy, enthusiasm and passion for life.  I got on my mountain bike and had an amazingly invigorating ride on the trails overlooking green hills and majestic ocean views. I knew the ride would cause pain to my knee, heck, every workout does these days, but I didn't care.  I was getting my new knee!  I stopped at one point on a particularly expansive viewpoint to say a prayer of thanks to the donor who gave up his/her life so that I could benefit from their healthy body.


24 hours later I got a call from Dr. Bugbee's office.  The graft did not pass testing.  Back to the wait list.


So, I ask you this:  What really changed in those 24 hours?  Absolutely nothing except for my feelings.  My body is the same, my address is the same, my family and friends are the same, my knee certainly is the same, well, maybe the weather changed a little.


This experience is teaching me big time how to be patient, and how little control we have over things in our lives.  There is nothing I can do about the donor situation other than wait.


Who we really are is not determined by the circumstances around us.  Who we really are inside needs do nothing.  Remember that next you're in line at the DMV.  And while you're at it, next time you're at the DMV, mark "yes" for donating your body to medical purposes.  All you healthy ultra runners and athletes out there, we need you.  Dead or alive!

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Love

Will you be my Valentine?


Just a matter of time before I'm back out on the trails with you guys.


Love and Kisses.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Doctor Shyster, Dr. Needelman and Dr. Cutter

It's always my intent to keep this blog, our thoughts and words positive.  However....when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and government entities - That ain't the way to have fun, son!


Not so breaking news: Anthem Blue Cross denied the claim for my allograft.  To recap: the allograft is a joint sparing technology which implants living bone and cartilage into my knee. The technique has a high success rate of 80% to 100%
  
Once given the insurance companies decision,  I then went through the exercise of submitting all the information to what's referred to as an Independent Medical Review through our friends, the California State Department of Insurance.


The case was sent by the State, to an Independent Contractor.  The contractor is paid by the State (you and me, folks) to hire three "Doctors in good standing" to review and determine whether or not the insurance company denial should be upheld.


Their decision:


Dr. Shyster:  Treatment is not the best option


Dr. Needelman:  Treatment is not the best option


Dr. Cutter:  Treatment is the best option


Two out of three win, so I'm all on my own, dear readers.


It was my understanding that the government's job was to serve and protect.  These three doctors (I made up the names, if you didn't guess) do not reveal their names and have never met or examined me.  Gee, I wonder if perhaps the State hires doctors that may side with them.  Could it be?


For anyone who thinks it's a great idea to have the government in charge or our health care, think again. You just may end up at the mercy of Dr. Shyster, Dr. Needelman and Dr. Cutter.


Meanwhile, let's remain positive.  Okay - I'm positive they turned me down!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dog Day Afternoon

My grand-dog, Victor Jose Snaggles, had surgery last week.  The surgery was to remove a large bladder stone.  It was highly successful.


My daughter adopted Victor from the animal shelter three years ago.  He was found wandering the streets of Irvine, frail and hungry, weighing 4 pounds.  It seems to be the ecological thing to do these days; own a rescue dog.  I suppose now we'll have to start driving a Prius "smug alert-smug alert", buy an eco/ego house, and switch to only natural fiber clothing.


Today, Victor weighs 5 pounds and is living in the lap of luxury.  The only problem is, nobody has gotten word to Victor that he only weighs 5 pounds.  He loves people, but he's not much for other dogs.  He takes on Rottweilers and Great Danes.  When you take him for a walk, it's a bit embarrassing, really.


The night before his surgery, Surfer Boy and I walked Victor on the beach where he once again went ballistic when he spotted a worthy opponent, this time a full grown Doberman Pinscher.  Kerry tugged at the leash and told him "Stop it!  You're about to undergo surgery tomorrow.  You're supposed to be contemplating the meaning of life."


But you see, that's what keeps Victor out of trouble.  His ability to live in the moment and his inability to think, analyze, dissect, ruminate, marinate, obsess and worry.


Years ago, when I lived out in the country, many of our neighboring dogs ran free and got bitten by rattlesnakes.  I was asking the vet about it one day, and he said that it's really no big deal.  What?  Why not?  He told me it was because dogs don't go into shock the way humans do.  They simply give them the anti-venom, keep them overnight, and back they go to frolick on the trail.  Humans, on the other hand, freak out when bitten by a rattler.


With my knee surgery coming up, who knows when, I'm going to take a page out of Victor's book.  As I write, he's relaxing in the sun, enjoying the warm California weather and ocean breeze.  Wait a minute!  Didn't anyone tell him that he just had surgery?


Once again, my theory is proven: No brain, no pain!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Morning Surf Session


Kerry and I are starting a new tradition.  Meet us at San O' Sunday morning for surfing!


Phone calls made last night, three out of five invited showed up.  The weather: a balmy 49 degrees, but the water is 58 degrees so it's warmer in the water.  Perhaps it might feel that way.  If it weren't for the heavy fog.  As I paddled out to the lineup I felt amazingly grateful that my upper body is in great shape and I can paddle.  So what if I'm not engaging in my favorite sport of trail running?  The best part about cold water is that it brings the swelling down!  I'm able to stand on my longboard in a fairly comfortable position for the knee.  And gosh darn it - I look good in my wetsuit!!


Afterwards is the most important part.  Breakfast at the San Clemente Cafe, which is, oddly enough, in San Clemente.  Join us next week, will you?  I tell really corny jokes such as:  "Two peanuts were walking down the street.  One was a salted" (assaulted)  I warned you they were corny.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ultra Running!!!!

Yes, I can. Yes, I will.  Again and again and again.  Let's get our positive thoughts going.  Once I get my new and improved knee, I'll be crossing the finish line at the Avalon 50 with you again.  That's a promise!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Only Money!

Day 32 of officially being on the donor waiting list for the bone and cartilage transplant of my knee.  C'mon, the next Kobe Bryant has got to expire soon!  God rest his soul.


Insurance update: How exciting, my wonderful insurance company, I won't name any names, Anthem Blue Cross, has decided they don't want to pay for the surgery.


Here's how the process has gone:  The insurance company denies.  Tons of red tape, paperwork, letters to the California State Board of Insurance, an independent medical review by three orthopaedic surgeons deciding whether or not the insurance company denial should be upheld.  Two out of the three say NO GO.


Why?


1.  My advanced age of 52 (age discrimination is illegal)
2.  They consider the graft experimental (it's not as it has an insurance code)


Bottom line:  They will be happy to pay for a healthy, high functioning, high level athlete who has taken amazing care of her body all of her life to have a knee replacement which includes screws, bolts, metal and drilling instead of the graft which will prevent a knee replacement.  Why?  Gee, could it be because it actually might work?


I give my surgeon, Dr. William Bugbee, a lot of credit for forging the way and being a leader in his field.  He's actually trying to help patients have a better quality of life without turning them into living breathing Frankensteins complete with metal bolts protruding out of the sides of their necks.  What a concept.


By the way, for those interested in how much the "rich doctors" make: the surgeons portion of this expensive surgery is only $2,500


So folks, here's my plan:  Next lifetime, I am going to come back as a high priced Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.  Here are the benefits:


•  No fooling around with pesky insurance companies
•  My average fee for a boob job, face lift, tummy tuck, eyelid surgery will be around 15K
•  I will have patients lined up at my door, begging for me to work on them
•  I accept cash, 90 days same as cash and all major credit cards, including American Excess!!!


You can't beat that with a stick.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Colon Hydrotherapy-Try it. You'll like it

Since I am getting ready to undergo this wonderful surgery in which I am to receive the next Kobe Bryant's knee, I decided now would be a great to time to do another major body detoxification.


A couple of years back I found this wonderful center called Living Water Rejuvenation Centers.  They specialize in colon hydrotherapy.


I can hear you now.  Eww.  Gross.


Not so.  It's really a lot of fun and feels great!


Ever wondered why so many of us walk around with pot bellies or what the guys like to macho-like refer to as beer bellies?


There's no way to politically correctly say this: Most of us are walking around with 5 to 15 pounds of accumulated crap in our colons.  How does this affect me, you may ask?  Many ways, one, being that you're not much fun to look at in a bikini.  The others are more profound, such as all that junk hindering your body from absorbing nutrients.  The intestines and colon become so impacted that all that great food you're now eating cannot be utilized by the body.  Heck, how else are you going to get the nutritional benefits of that quarter pounder?


With the surgery looming, off I went to the Living Waters Rejuvenation Center for my colon cleansing with my absolute Angel of a therapist.  She's cute, fun, funny, young, energetic and makes the whole experience one to look forward to.


The procedure itself: yes, they stick a speculum up your butt, then from there it's smooth (to use a worn out term) sailing.  You're slowly filled with nothing more than body temperature water which loosens up all the gunk, then it's released and, here's the part I know you're going to love, you get to watch, through a viewing tube, quite fascinatingly, all the junk that comes out of your body.  How could that've been inside of my gorgeous body?


I asked my guardian Angel therapist what were some of the strangest things she has ever seen eliminated.


•  A barbie doll shoe that a grown woman had swallowed as a child


•  Purple fruit stripe gum.  They kept seeing these gummy purple strings and finally the patient recalled having loved the gum so much as a kid that she chewed, then swallowed it.


•  A fistful size of worms.  The worms got all riled up after the first session.  The client came back the next day with a swollen belly.  As soon as they hooked her up to the machine, bingo!  The therapist tried to hide her shock as she witnessed so many worms meeting their watery grave.


Do you want all that stuff in you?  No!  Colon hydrotherapy.  It just may be your new best friend.  And....by the second treatment, I've already lost three pounds.  Now I've got your attention.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Bionic Babe - Chapter One

Who am I? An existential question, to be sure.
Statistics:
Female
Age 52
135 pounds (need to lose 10 pounds)
Two beautiful daughters (nobody admits to the ugly ones)
Married to my surfer boyfriend for 3 1/2 years
Retired


This blog is going to be more of a tell all journal of what's going on in my life.  Previously, Angela and I, before she started working so much, shared fitness tips and it was all so positive.


Mama told me there would be days like this.


When I was 15, I got a book through the book of the month club which gave detailed instructions along with artists conceptions of yoga postures.  I started practicing the postures in my 90 degree, humid Miami, Florida bedroom every morning.  Sometimes after a few tokes of the good stuff.  It was the 70's.  I was making my own yogurt, reading books like Be Here Now by Ram Dass and going bra less.  I refused, however, to wear Birkenstocks because they're just flat out ugly.


As the years went on, I put the bong away, went into corporate America, became a top salesperson, a mother of two, a step mother of three and have had more husbands than I care to admit.  Okay, three. Most of the time, however, I've lived on my own and became fiercely independent.


Enter ultramarathoning.  I found the perfect sport that combined my love of nature, trail running, God, Goddess, runners high, in short, the perfect stress relief and my church.  It was through the many thousands of hours on the trail that I discovered how independent I can be and at the same time, a wonderful sense of community through my fellow ultra runners.  Even dated a fit body or two.


A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and underwent surgery to correct the issue. The doctor made it sound so routine.  Long story short, I have not run in a year and a half because it's just too darn painful.


Me?  Perfect me, who never had a sick day in her life?  No!!!


After doing all the voodoo stuff, meeting with at least ten doctors, including the specialists at UCLA, I finally found a surgeon, Dr. William Bugbee, who specializes in osteochondral grafts.  In English please?  There's a hole in my knee. We wait for a suitable donor to expire (the next Kobe Bryant)  The graft is harvested and must be used within seven days.  The procedure involves cutting the defective portion of my knee out and replacing it with living bone and cartilage.  The body then gets to work re-stitching and reintegrating the new material as one cohesive whole.  If you were 20 years old, they'd give you a 100% success rate.  At my advanced age of 52, they offer me a 75% success rate.  I've been on the donor waiting list for exactly 21 days now.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  A waiting list.  There's no chance of not waiting - that's the name of the list.


Meanwhile, hormones are going out of control.  I haven't had my period since May.  All the usual symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, itchy, bitchy, sleepless nights.  I sought relief with my husbands doctor, who specializes in anti-aging and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  Evidently, once a person is no longer fertile, the brain signals the body that it's time to be eliminated from the planet, hence all the symptoms of aging.  Once I started researching what happens when hormones start plummeting, OMG, it's not a pretty picture.  Bone loss, heart problems, hair loss, loss of libido, dry skin, the list goes on and I, for one, am not going to take it!!!!!  I'm currently taking bio identical estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA in the form of a cream that gets rubbed onto the skin.  You don't want to mess with taking synthetic hormones.  They're made from horse urine and have been linked to cancer.  I am starting to feel better.  Sex, and sleep, blessed sleep!  It's still a work in progress.  I've decided to take it a step further by going to Dr. Prudence Hall who specializes in "cycling" BHRT.  They vary the dose based on the time of the month, thus tricking your brain into thinking you're 25 again.  Her center also focuses on anti-aging medicine.  How exciting!


I am amazingly grateful for all the great things I can do: Surf (mostly paddling) yoga, mountain biking, but all workouts are accompanied by my good friend, pain.


Being retired at such a young age brings another set of challenges.  Who am I?  What's my purpose?  I love my family, friends, people.  In the past, I visualized that when I finally had the time, I would spend it doing all the athletic endeavors I love.  It seems like life has other plans at the moment.


When Kerry (age 62) and I sat down to our heart healthy glass of red wine last night, I told him "Our life is not going to become about sitting in rocking chairs talking about doctors, insurance coverage, back aches, joint problems and hormone loss" (even though it has)  No!  We've decided to jump out of our rocking chairs!  Just make sure you don't spill the wine when you jump up!


My goal with the blog is to inspire others and help someone who may be going through some of the same stuff I'm dealing with.  I will tell you everything I'm learning, how it's working, answer questions.  Together, we all help each other along this path called life.


P.S. Yes. I do color my hair.