When life gives you lemons . . .

blab about it on the Internet.

I know I usually wear my happy, shiny face around here, and it’s not like it’s not authentic, but for some reason I’m always a bit hesitant to admit when I’m struggling. I don’t know why; it’s not that I fear being vulnerable. I think maybe I feel like I will seem insincere when I admit that at the same time I’m posting my typical happy-go-lucky fashion posts, I may be struggling with the ups and downs of life.

This medium is difficult, because oftentimes I will write a post in my typical perky manner, and I’m feeling pretty good when I write it, but by the time it is published, life may have dealt one of its blows. And maybe other times I like to hide behind my cheerful facade because it allows me to ignore whatever it is that is bothering me and forces me to focus on the fun and the frivolous. We all know that happiness is a state of mind so I guess it makes sense that it works sometimes when I’m fighting the funk to get my focus off myself and chat about something more enjoyable. Like cute shoes! Or donuts!

As positive as I an be, I have some deep-seated fears. I guess we probably all do.

For one, I am terrified of cancer. Utterly, paralyzingly terrified. I am scared to death (ha! no pun intended) that I will end up with a terminal illness or that one of my kids or my husband will end up with some terrible fate and will leave this world too soon.

If there is anything that I worry excessively about, that is it.

But if I’ve learned anything in my 41-and-a-half years on earth, it is that pain and suffering usually manifests itself in ways you never expect.

My mom told me this joke once.

Two ladies were chatting, and the one said to the other, “You know, worrying must work, because anything I worry about never comes true.”

I think about that when I’m going through a rough time. It always makes me giggle, and it also reminds me how small I am and how big God is. I really should not waste time worrying about things. Not that nothing bad ever comes my way, but so far the trials in my life have never come in the form of things I worry about.

Instead, the trials in my life always seem to blindside me. They’re never what I expect. I don’t suppose that’s unusual, but it is interesting to contemplate. Choosing one or two specific types of trials to fear is really a waste of time and energy because there are many ways to suffer and the chances that you’ll be dealt the cards you’re picturing in your head are pretty slim.

Not to say that what I’m experiencing right now I would classify as suffering. Let’s keep things in perspective. But I’m struggling.

This foot thing. It’s got me down.

That cortisone shot that was supposed to make me all better? Yeah, well. My foot hurts far worse now than it ever did from the plantar fasciitis.

Before, it was an annoying inconvenience. It was uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t have really defined it as pain. Now? I feel truly injured. I’m in pain to the point that I limp when I walk.

I’m four days out and still worse off than I was before the injection, so I called the doctor this morning.

The doctor on call answered and listened to my story and confirmed what I feared — that I should definitely not be in pain at this point. He told me to tell my husband that he’s on duty all day, and that I should take Advil, sit around with my foot elevated, and come into the office tomorrow. He suspects the doctor who did the injection did not get it in the right spot and I may need another.

Now, call me crazy. But I am in far worse pain NOW than I was before that injection. It seems to me that the injection itself has injured me. WHY WOULD I LET THEM DO IT TO ME AGAIN?

I’ll be an invalid before all is said and done at this rate.

So I’m all stressy about that.

But it’s not just my foot that’s got me down. I mean, that is depressing, for sure. But I’ve been holding out on you. There is something that I’ve intentionally not talked about.

My face.

The day after my injection, Thursday morning, I woke up and my foot hurt so badly that I could barely put weight on it. So I went to my closet to find my trusty Crocs flip flops.

I picked them up, turned off the closet light so I wouldn’t wake my husband (if this were a legitimate piece of literature, this would be what they call foreshadowing), and dropped them on the floor beside my bed.

I slid my right foot into the one flip flop, but I couldn’t feel the other one with my left foot. So I bent over to find it with my hand, and my nose met the edge of my sleigh bed.

I heard it crack.

It hurt like the dickens, and I immediately raised my hand to my face and started to bawl. It was all too much — the pain in my foot that was amplified by the shot that was supposed to cure it, and did I mentioned I’d had a stiff neck all week? Crashing my nose into the edge of the bed was the final straw.

I lost it.

I thought my nose was broken. I was envisioning a huge swollen nose and black and blue eyes as I limped into the bathroom, whimpering at the indignity of it all. But when I turned on the light and looked in the mirror, a broken nose was no longer my primary cause for concern.

Blood was gushing out of an open wound across the bridge of my nose. I had sliced the top of my nose on the edge of the bed.

The emotion and frustration from the week of dealing with the neck pain, the foot pain, the stress over the injection, the apparent ineffectiveness of the treatment, and then my face gushing blood and a possible broken nose, all converged in one big ugly cry.

My poor husband was woken out of a dead sleep to find his wife, bloody and bawling in the bathroom.

It was a total Marsha moment. All I could do was stare at my reflection in the mirror, wailing, “My face!!!!”

I was simultaneously concerned about the fate of my face and my agenda for the day.

I spent almost every day last week in a doctor’s office for something — my cortisone injection, the dentist, PT . . . I was planning to actually get back to normal and get some work done (i.e. a cookbook written) and suddenly I was faced with the possibility of spending the day in the ER or a plastic surgeon’s office and the implications of that toll on my workload.

Paul and I discussed what should be done, but as the bleeding slowed down, it didn’t appear like an ER situation, although I wasn’t sure a bandaid was going to cut it either. I decided to wait until the kids were off to school to decide if I wanted to see a doctor or not.

So I blotted my nose, calmed myself down, and limped downstairs to make some coffee.

I laid on the couch with an ice pack, alternating 20 minutes on my nose and 20 minutes on my foot, while the kids got ready for school. It was really surreal. I was aching literally from head to toe, and I couldn’t decide which spot needed the ice more. I felt like I’d been beat up in a dark alley.

I debated trying to get in to see a plastic surgeon, but honestly, I couldn’t stand the thought of MORE pain, MORE time wasted, and no guarantee that it would really matter.

In the end, I decided to see my primary care doctor, who happens to be located next to my physical therapists’s office, which made him somewhat convenient. He gave me steri strips and told me I’d be fine. Real helpful, right?

I’m not convinced that was the best decision to let it heal on its own, but I just had no energy left to deal with it. Only time will tell if this scar is going to disfigure my face or if it will fade over time. Hopefully I’ll eventually be able to disguise it with makeup.

I must have really been a wreck because when I got home from the doctor’s office on Thursday, a delivery van was pulling into the driveway and a nice Irish gentleman got out and presented me with these. 

roses

And a box of chocolates. I know, right!?? Flowers AND chocolate. I’m very blessed. At least in the husband department. In the clutsy and injury departments . . . notsomuch.

So here I am. Couch bound. Sore foot. Sore face. Unsure of what the future holds for either situation.

Although, frankly, I was relieved to have a legitimate reason to hide inside my house and lick my wounds. I’m tired of trying to put on a happy face and act like I’m taking it all in stride. I’m tired of people looking at me funny when they noticed the gash on my face, and I’m tired of the jokes. What, did your husband hit you? It’s not original, people. Try another line.

That said, I don’t do “put your feet up and do nothing” well. It might sound like a delightful prescription, but I’d rather be on the move. The first thing I did after texting my husband at church and informing him that I wouldn’t be joining them was change over a load of laundry and clean up the kitchen. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit still with those tasks looming. Then I collected my laptop, cell phone, and InStyle magazines and made myself at home on the couch.

So here I am. This is has been my view for the past six hours.

fireplace

As much as I’m not thrilled to be benched, it’s a bit of a relief to be able to retreat into myself for a little while, to allow myself to feel sorry for myself. And I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself, I gotta admit.

When I was in the shower this morning, I noticed that all definition is gone from my legs. It looks like I’ve lost everything in the last three months that I gained from those three years of running and the six months of half marathon training. That realization caused me to start crying all over again.

I almost wish I’d never known what it feels like to be fit and strong if it was going to be taken away from me.

I keep telling myself there are other ways to stay in shape. I know this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. THIS ISN’T CANCER, I keep telling myself. This is just a stupid inconvenience. So I may not be able to run again. So I may not get back that definition in my legs, I may never lose these blasted five pounds that have settled around my middle, I may never feel the exhilaration of another PR… big deal. I have my health, my home and my family. That should be enough.

So why does it sting to see people post pictures of their races on Facebook? To see those status updates on MapMyRun? I feel like a spoiled brat to even let that get to me, but they’re all just a reminder of what I can’t do and how good I felt when I was doing it.

Although right now I think I’d happily give up running forever if I could be assured that this stupid foot will heal on its own. What kind of cruel twist of fate will it be if, in my attempts to heal it, I end up making it worse??? At this point, getting back to running isn’t even my primary goal anymore. I’ll just be happy if I can get back to normal activities. You know, walking around the house without pain.

I’ve actually spent the last hour perusing the internet, searching for homeopathic remedies to plantar fasciitis and researching anti-inflammatory diets. Maybe it’s time to practice what I preach and leave the mainstream medical doctors to their own devices and try something outside the box. But the more I read, the more confused I get.

The one thing that’s certain about this condition is that everyone has his theory and no one agrees on what works.

I keep telling myself that in six months, this will all be a memory. Whether I’m running again or not, I will have moved on and I will feel good again. I just have to get to the other side.

I know these are not trials. Or maybe they are, but they’re not big ones. They are, however, very real. and they are where I am right now. And I couldn’t post one! more! donut! recipe! while pretending like everything is hunky dory. So now you know.