Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Race Has Begun!

I am so glad Courtney has been keeping you all informed. Last week was a bit of a challenge for me. I had no idea surgery was going to be that hard! Now I am happy to say I am on the road to recovery. I still have some obstacles to overcome but the biggest one is over.

I was on the operating table for 9 and a half hours. I don't remember the next few days except for when I woke up and had a breathing tube down my throat. I was disoriented and tried to pull it out. When the doctors finally did it was so painful. I also remember getting a few pints of blood because I was so low. I rejected the second pint and started burning up inside. They had to stop, give me Benadryl, and wait awhile to give me the other pint. I also remember Courtney at my side holding my hand and reading me all of my emails.

The next few days were a struggle. My physical therapist, Nathan, was trying to get me out of bed and stand. My abdominal area hurt and I was extremely nauseous. It didn't help that my energy level was so low. The biggest problem was the numbness in my left foot (They cut out the nerve that controls my foot.) I couldn't balance myself and my legs were extremely weak. I lost 16pounds through all of this putting me at 104lbs. I'm already small, so losing that much weight meant that I lost all of the muscle in my legs. Even my Dad commented on how little my legs looked.

I spent the next two days just trying to balance. I couldn't really walk without compensating for my left leg and foot. The doctors gave me a plastic boot to keep my foot up. It was awkward and it hurt my knee. We also tried a bandage around the ankle to keep me from rolling it as I walked along. It helped but after awhile it hurt. Everything ached as I learned to walk again.

Over the weekend I didn't have Nathan so my Dad took over. He was determined to get me walking. We did band exercises to help strengthen my leg and then walked with a walker. By Sunday I was doing two laps twice a day. I would see other patients walking along, (the same ones that were walking circles around me just 2 days ago) and I would pass them. It was amazing how much I gained over such a short time. I couldn't take a step earlier in the week and now I was walking laps. Sure it was with a walker but I was making progress. I still couldn't walk on my own and I still had severe weakness.

Monday rolled around and I was very excited to show Nathan how much progress I made. He was amazed and had me try a cane. I walked a little bit with it but my balance was not great. He then showed me more strength exercises on stairs. I clearly had more work cut out for me.

My insurance company was refusing to pay for anymore nights, so it was time for me to go home. I was happy to go home but I still needed a lot more physical therapy. I also needed the custom boot that was being made for me. As long as I have no feeling in my foot I will always need a boot or some kind of bandage to hold my foot up.

The reality of this hit me hard on the drive home. If I don't have feeling, returning to racing will be very difficult. Some of the doctors are optimistic and believe some of the nerves in my foot will grow strong and take over for the nerve that was cut. Others think my foot will pretty much be like this for the rest of my life. I have to hold on to the hope that I will regain feeling. I pray everyday that God will make a miracle happen and give me feeling back in my foot. I'm not about to give up. I will get back on the bike and I will run again even if I have to wear a brace!

There is one more matter I have to deal with . . . WILL I NEED RADIATION? Before I left my doctor informed me that this was a NERVE TUMOR. I guess that explains all the pain I was in and the fact that they had to cut the nerve that controls my foot. He also told me it wasn't a slow growing tumor but it wasn't a fast one, it was right in the middle. He would discuss this with his colleagues and let me know in 3 weeks on how they want to proceed. I am praying I won't need radiation simply because I still want to have a family. With God's strength and for God's glory I will continue to fight!

THANK YOU to everyone for your prayers. I also want to THANK those that went to Saturday's ride to support me and to those that have mailed gift cards, books, and dog food! Words aren't enough to say how grateful we are!


Anonymous said...

Jamie we are praying for you here in Mississippi. I met you at Oak Mountain, AL and was very impressed. God will not give you more than you can handle. Absolutely do NOT give up. Nerves do grow back VERY slowly, if ever. However, don't stop trying. Your body will try to fix itself if you stress it in the right amounts. Keep trying, please! Mann in MS

Eric said...

Hi Jamie,
We're all still thinking of you and praying for a complete and full remission. It was strange not having you and Court here for XTERRA Guam - like a puzzle piece gone missing. I truly appreciate all you've done for us. We're starting a sprint triathlon series here and the net proceeds will be given to you to help offset some of the enormous costs that you are likely incurring. Anyhow, I'm still going to send you both the package I promised from a year ago with the GTF bag. There'll be some extra goodies in there as well. That's it for me...get well soon.

Eric Tydingco
Guam Triathlon Federation

Belinda Ramirez said...

Hey Jamie -

It's Belinda from Incite Magazine. I am glad to hear that the worst is over. Stay positive, there is not one day that we don't think about how strong you are. You have a lot of friends and fans sending you sending you good energy, praying and thinking of you.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Belinda Ramirez

Anonymous said...

Thinking and praying for you - Courtney and the rest of the clan. Remember to be gentle on yourself during this journey - a different kind of race that does not require speed.... I've no doubt you'll meet this challenge as you have all others - though the others hold no comparison.