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Sad Sad Situation

I’ve had a great holiday surrounded by great friends but I have to be honest I have been in a serious funk since the destruction of our Vegas vacation (read more about that disaster here).  I have been sad, depressed, and at times a little weepy and I finally realized what was going on.  Turns out our trip to Vegas was a little more than just a trip to Vegas, it was supposed to be our anniversary trip celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary.

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Getting Marriage License at Clark County Marriage Bureau

 

Our anniversary came and went like every other day – better half went climbing, I got stuff down around the house that needed done, we went out to dinner (nothing fancy just eating so we didn’t die of starvation), we came home and promptly went our own ways getting ready for the week ahead – just like every other day.  The glimmer of hope was that in a few short weeks we would have three uninterrupted days together without the crap of the real world – no dogs to medicate, no laundry, no cleaning, no work…heaven! Then our trip was unexpectedly cancelled and we headed home and were immediately sucked back into our normal routine.

Even when we said we wouldn’t go back to the same exact routine here I am exactly three weeks from our 13th wedding anniversary and my better half is out climbing and I am getting stuff done around the house as we get ready to head back to work.  Our “vacation” has consisted of  getting up, medicating and feeding the dogs, better half going and getting some sort of exercise (me being slightly pissed about this because my foot is still injured and I can’t really exercise), doing all the stuff you have to do to keep you house from burning down, meeting up with better half for the planned activity of the day (Thanksgiving dinner, second Thanksgiving dinner, Penn State game, etc.), coming home, going separate ways because we can’t agree on what to watch on tv and we are working on different projects (cooking, knitting, brewing, etc.), going to bed, sleeping, getting up, and repeating.  I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression – I’m not saying we don’t have a happy life and a happy marriage – I love my better half more than life itself.  We just have a very predictable life at the moment and I was hoping Vegas would kick us in the ass a little.

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Fancy Las Vegas Wedding

I keep telling myself that life happens and there’s no reason to be upset about something as small as a cancelled trip, but I am having a really hard time getting out of this funk.  I’m actually hoping that going back to work tomorrow will help to readjust my attitude (it’s a sad situation when you are hopeful that work will improve your attitude).  I’m not even exactly sure why I shared all this other than I just needed to get it out so I could process why I was so upset about not going on the trip and to make myself not feel like such a crazy person for feeling this way.

Have you ever been really disappointed by something happening, that in the grand scheme of things, was relatively small?

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Vacation…All I Ever Wanted

This morning I am supposed to be curled up in a plush, king size bed in the Paris Las Vegas, potentially nursing a slight hangover from too many jello shots and strawberry daiquiris after a fun night on the Strip.  Instead, like every other day, today I woke up in my regular queen size bed in Denver with my, not as plush, Ikea down comforter.

 

Since it is Thanksgiving I will start with what I am thankful for and then I will catch you up on the last 24 hours.  I am thankful that the engine of my plane to Las Vegas shot flames out of it on the runway instead of in the air.outfront-flames-on-a-plane-320

 

Yesterday morning started like every other morning.  Up at 6am to give Paterno Dog his epilepsy medicine.  Once the dogs had been fed and Paterno Dog medicated I jumped in the shower and got dressed and turned on the local news before waking up my better half.  9News was a bundle of great news including: information that the trains at the airport were down  (yes, the trains that take you from security to your terminal and are the only way to get to your plane);  the train to the airport was also down (but that is old news for Denverites so no one actually uses the A Line to get the airport if they actually have to get there at a specific time);   and to top it off I-70 was at a standstill from I-25 to the airport (just a short 15 mile stretch) because of an accident on a connecting interstate had traffic being rerouted.  The last tidbit of information provided by 9News was that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day for Denver International Airport  (Yippee).

 

Based on all this information our 9am departure soon became an 8am departure and I had to do the unpleasant job of kicking my better half out of bed and forcing him to shower and pack in about 10 minutes so we could get on the road so we could sit in traffic.

 

23794987_10212333271979415_83985911584266709_nFirst stop was to drop the pups at Camp Bow Wow.  This usually simple task became more complicated with the roads around Camp Bow being closed and having to follow several detours to get to their parking lot.  I love the feeling of watching precious minutes tick by and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  Upon checking the pups in we overheard someone mention that Coaly Dog needed to be in a “special” kennel. Turns out last time she was there she climbed out of her kennel…twice. Now she needs a kennel with a top so she can’t escape.  We are a little surprised by this news because no one mentioned it to us when we picked her up last time.  We think all is good and then we see them putting a sign on the kennel with a warning because she can unclip the hook they use to close the kennel and can let herself and Paterno Dog out of the kennel to roam the kennel and harass the other dogs stuck in their kennels.  While this information was slightly disturbing, Camp Bow Wow seemed to have it completely under control and we were running late to continue our journey to the airport so we left them in their capable hands and headed out.

 

Mt. Elbert LotBack on the road we headed towards the airport.  There was a little stop and go traffic when we got back on the interstate but luckily it opened up pretty quickly and we were flying down the highway towards the airport.  Once getting to the airport we headed to the long-term parking (how naïve we were that we needed long-term parking).  The usual long-term lot, Pikes Peak, was full so we were directed to the long-term lot, way in the middle of nowhere, Mount Elbert.  After getting our parking ticket, finding our parking spot, taking pictures of where we parked the car, we were on the shuttle headed towards the airport.

 

DIA SecurityOnce in the airport, we had a little less than two hours before our flight was scheduled to leave.  We headed to the Spirit Airlines counter and quickly checked our bag and headed to the security line.  If you have ever flown through DIA you know that our security lines are amazingly fast.  I have lived in Colorado over 14 years and I am always amazed every time I fly through DIA how quick and easy security is…until yesterday.  As we headed towards security I saw the longest line I had ever seen.  The wait time was at approximately 38 minutes and I have never waited over 10 minutes.  Turns out we couldn’t even see the end of the security line.  Once we reached what would usually the end of the security line we were directed to the end of the actual line which was snaking into the baggage area.  Most people were waiting patiently and DIA even had snacks available for the waiting travelers and gave us all a piece of delicious Hammond’s Candies.   Suddenly, out of nowhere, the line started speeding up and we were almost sprinting through the line.  No one really knew was what going on but no one was asking questions because suddenly we were getting closer to security very, very fast.  Once we actually got to security we realized what had happened.  TSA had made the decision that travelers didn’t need to remove their shoes or coats and didn’t need to take any electronics out of their bags (I wasn’t aware that these protocols were optional, but apparently they are).  Not doing these two little things sped up security and people were flying through.

 

300px-DIA_Train_1Once through security, we followed the hordes of people down the escalators to the trains that take you to your terminal.  Heading down the stairs you could see the masses of people waiting for the trains.  One train came every several minutes and as many people as humanly possibly were stuffing themselves on to it to head to their flights.   We missed the first train but were towards the front of the line for the next train.  After a slightly longer than normal wait there was an announcement that said the trains were once again experiencing an operational malfunction and would be repaired as soon as possible.  The crowd became restless and lots of people were grumbling about how they were going to miss their flights (liked this wasn’t on every single person’s mind), but we waited…and waited…and waited.  After about 20 minutes the trains started running again and we stuffed ourselves on the next train with hundreds of our closest friends and hoped like hell that the train wouldn’t break down before we made it to Terminal C.  Luckily, we made it in one piece and were ready to head to our gate.

 

SpiritOur two-hour window between when we arrived to the airport and when our flight was leaving had been gobbled up by security and the broken train so we arrived to the gate with just a couple of minutes to spare.  We patiently waited for Group A and B to board and finally it was time to go!  We scanned out tickets, filed on to the plan, found our seats, I took my Dramamine to avoid any motion sickness and to hopefully catch a quick nap before getting to Vegas, put my carry on under my seat, and FINALLY laid my head against my headrest.  We listened to the quick safety talk and we were off.  With it being such a busy day it took a little while for us to taxi out to runway, but finally it was our turn!  We rounded the bend to the runway and I waited for engines to kick on and the plane to race down the runway.  Well, the engines kicked on, but there was no racing down the runway.   The engine on the left side of the plane made an absolutely horrible sound and then FLAMES flew out of the back.  The pilot shouted “Stay in your seat, stay in your seat” over and over again over the intercom and quickly drove the plane off the runway.  Once we were safely off the runway the pilot came back on the intercom and said that he had gotten an indicator that something was wrong with an engine (potentially the indicator was the horrible sound and flames) and that we needed to return to the terminal so a mechanic could take a look at it.  Once we returned to the terminal we deboarded and they told us to stay near the gate for updates.

 

I think it’s important to mention at this time that I took Dramamine about 30 minutes ago and it was starting to kick in…I was not feeling 100% and could have really gone for a quick nap.

 

cancelledAfter about an hour, and several updates from the Spirit Airlines staff telling us they didn’t have any updates, Spirit cancelled our flight and told all 300+ passengers to go back to the main terminal, pick-up our check baggage and return to the Spirit Airlines counter to get rebooked on another flight.  My better half and I immediately jumped to action.  We snaked back through the airport, back on to the malfunctioning train, back to the main terminal, past the still crazy busy security, to baggage claim.  I sprinted to the Spirit counter in hopes of beating the 300+ passengers (I DID!) and get answers faster while my better half went to retrieve our baggage that we had dropped off just a few hours earlier.

 

To say the Spirit Airlines staff were displeased to see the hordes of people from our flight would be a complete understatement.  I actually saw them fighting over who would have to deal with us.  But, because of my mad sprinting skills I was third in line and got to talk with a representative pretty quickly.  The Spirit representative gave us three options:  1) we could fly out Wednesday at 6pm, fly through San Francisco and get to Vegas after midnight; 2) we could fly out Thursday on the same flight we were scheduled for on Wednesday (and then we would have ~24 hours in Vegas); or 3) get a full refund + $150 vouchers and head home.  Even though I have been actually dreaming about going to Vegas and having an actual vacation we decided to get the refund and turn our vacation in to a staycation because the other options just seemed exhausting and with our luck from the day we were terrified we were going to get stuck in California, or worse, our plane would burst in to flames.

 

After pulling the plug on our flight we made some calls and cancelled all of our reservations.  Everyone I talked with at RentalCars.com and Travelocity.com were so helpful and we got all of our money back and they waived all of our late cancellation fees ( I just think they all felt really bad every time I mentioned our plane caught on fire).  Dejectedly, we headed back to the shuttle to long-term parking (see, it really wasn’t long-term parking at all), paid our $8 and headed back to Denver.

 

If I didn’t need a vacation before our experience yesterday I REALLY need a vacation now, but that just isn’t in the cards for us right now.  Good news is we have a couple days off and then just two and a half weeks left of the semester before another break.

 

My new mantra…”I think I can…I think I can…”

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I’ve Lost That Loving Feeling…Or Really Just Any Feeling in My Foot

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I am a career counselor at a community college and I feel like I have been going non-stop since the middle of August.  To say this semester has been busy would be a complete understatement – this semester has been completely insane.  I have no idea what has made it different than any other semester but it has been shear madness!  Today is my first day of fall break and tomorrow we leave for Las Vegas – I am beyond excited!  I need a break from work and life more than anything right now.  Of course, things can’t be that easy, you can’t get a few days away without first paying the price.  Paterno Dog was sick all weekend with stomach issues and had to be switched to a rice diet to get his tummy back on track and late last night I found a weird bump on Coaly Dog’s ear that needs vet attention before we can drop her off at Camp Bow Wow first thing tomorrow morning before heading to the airport.  The joys of being a dog parent!  But, I am trying to be optimistic and get through the day by repeating “In-n-Out Burger…In-n-Out Burger…In-n-Out Burger” over and over again and dreaming about a Neapolitan milkshake and a margarita (or daiquiri – I’m not picky) the size of my head.

So, this little mini rant wasn’t even the purpose of why I was writing today.  I was going to give you an update on my foot which has been injured since we got back from Peru in June.  In September I first told you about my foot and told you about being diagnosed with metatarsalgia and what I had deemed were the suspects of how I had got metatarsalgia (hiking, running in Newton’s, etc.).  Since then my toes on my right foot have still been numb and nothing really has seemed to help them.  After going to the ortho doctor in August I drastically cut back my running as per their request but, I was still half-heartedly training for the Lake Powell Half Marathon.  I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run the half in the middle of October, but I wasn’t feeling any pain when I was running – just the constant numbness, so I was tentatively planning on running it or at the very least walking it.  After loosely following the doctors’ orders for a couple of weeks without any feeling returning to my foot I followed-up asking about next steps.  The ortho doctor made two suggestions: one was to get an EMG to make sure there wasn’t any nerve damage we were dealing with and two was to schedule a second opinion with a foot and ankle surgeon.  Both seemed liked solid plans so I got both appointments scheduled and was ready for my next plan of attack to figure out what was going on with my foot.

 

22549726_10212105313560597_8252096818915267053_nIn early October I went to the neurologist for the EMG.  I was extremely nervous for the EMG because I had never been to a neurologist and have never had any testing like this before.  It was actually pretty interesting, but I have to be honest, it was not the most pleasant experience I have ever had.  First, the doctor stuck probes to my legs and sent different levels of currents through my leg and foot in different areas to see how the nerves reacted.  Some were pretty light while other currents were very strong and would lift my leg right off the table.  After that test, she then inserted a needle into the muscle in the back of my lower leg and conducted some more current tests, these were my least favorite and kind of made me want to throw up.  After about 45 minutes of testing, we were done and the tests showed absolutely nothing, my nerves were all behaving normally.  It was at this time that the doctor mentioned that the EMG wasn’t really good at diagnosing nerve issues in the foot.  (This would have been good information at the beginning of the test).  But, at least we were able to rule out any bigger issues.

 

After ticking off nerve issues from the list it was back for the second opinion with the foot and ankle surgeon.  I was already a little nervous because surgeon was in his title instead of just doctor and soon after meeting him he did let me know that he did prefer to fix problems through surgery, which was slightly concerning.  He looked over my foot, my x-rays, my nerve conduction study and once again diagnosed with atypical metatarsalgia.  Meaning I really only have one symptom of metatarsalgia, the numb toes, and no real pain.  He immediately started talking about how he felt that my issues stemmed from my tight Achilles and he could solve all my problems my simply cutting open the back of my lower leg, elongating my Achilles and stitching me back up.  This would only take me out of commission for about 4-6 months and it wasn’t a guaranteed fix for my problem of numb toes.  I let him know, very firmly, that surgery would be my absolute last resort.  Mostly because there was absolutely no guarantee that the surgery would improve the numbness in my foot because my symptoms did not clearly match those of metatarsalgia.  I like to gamble, but not when it comes to cutting into my own flesh.  So, we compromised.  He gave me a cortisone/steroid shot to see if that would give me any relief from the numbness and put me on a new stretching regimen.  After the steroid/cortisone shot I got no relief.  My toes were still numb and absolutely nothing had changed.  As you can imagine my frustration and desperation level was continuing to grow.

 

22555212_10212105312640574_8935000541392214211_nWhile all this was going on we were getting closer and closer to the Lake Powell Half Marathon and before I knew it, it was the middle of October and time to pack up the car and head to beautiful Page, Arizona.  I decided, probably against my better judgment, to run the half marathon.  In all fairness, I had asked the doctor about it and while he didn’t seem thrilled about the idea he did say that it probably wouldn’t hurt my foot any more.  So, on October 21st I successfully ran the Lake Powell Half Marathon.  It wasn’t my fastest time, but it wasn’t my slowest, and I ran the majority of it and it felt amazing to be running in such a beautiful place.  I think I really took in the experience because I knew that after this half I would be hanging up my running shoes for a while and really be focusing on recovering and so it was just a great experience.   Yes, I had pain (by the end it kind of felt like someone was stabbing me on the bottom of the foot), and yes, my toes did feel number (if that was even possible), but I was proud of myself for overcoming adversity and achieving a goal I had set for myself.

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Okay, back to reality…the race is over, the glow of success has faded and my foot is still freaking numb.  The cortisone/steroid shot hadn’t worked AT ALL and I am feeling pretty frustrated and hopeless.  So, I reach back out to the foot and ankle surgeon to talk about next steps.  As I suspected (and was avoiding), the next step was to completely rest my foot.  My doctor wanted to put me in an old-school plaster cast (the one where you can’t shower, or drive, or function).  I asked if a removable walking cast could be as effective and he was agreeable.  The main reason for my request was 1) I have to drive work and 2) I already had a walking cast (for my right foot) from when I was battling from plantar fasciitis (oh the good ‘ol day when my biggest problem was plantar fasciitis).  The main purpose of the cast was to rest the foot and NOT TO RUN!  We decided to start with two weeks and see where we were after that.  Two weeks came and went and I got absolutely no relief from the cast.

 

I’m really not sure where to go from here.  The fact that none of the suggestions from the doctors have helped at all and the fact that my symptoms don’t really line up with metatarsalgia makes it really difficult for me to even start considering surgery.  But, the doctors don’t have many more suggestions except surgery.   I am not a believer in alternative medicine (my better half is even less of a believer) but I am frustrated that I am willing to try anything.  Even when that anything is something like going to a chiropractor because I have read some articles where it was helped people with similar situations.  I’m not a person who doesn’t believe in modern medicine, I believe, and respect, doctors and medicine, but I have had a really bad bout of care and advice regarding both my foot and my sinuses lately so I have become a little jaded and skeptical.  Add to that the fact that running has always been what centers me and makes me sane and I haven’t been running in over a month, so my decision-making abilities are at an all-time low.

 

I wish I was writing to tie the saga of my foot up in a neat little bow, but here I am six months later without any answers or solutions…but still a very numb foot!  So, this is just more of an update and if anyone out there has any suggestions or ideas I am all ears.