Surgery recap

Instead of a race report, I am writing a surgery report. It’s almost the same thing. I met my parents in Minneapolis last Monday. On Tuesday, we went to clinic to meet the surgeon for the first time. His easy going demeanor instantly relaxed us. And let me tell you, I was feeling far from relaxed. Despite the knowledge that this surgery was imperative, and despite the knowledge that I was in capable hands, I … Continue reading

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Preparing for surgery

Who knew that getting ready for surgery would be so difficult? I figured I would fly to Minneapolis, get my rib fixed, and jet right home. It is not quite so simple. It turns out that I have to stay in Minneapolis for a week so I can go to a post-op visit. What a nerve, the surgeon, the aforementioned Dr. Grail, wants to see me after surgery. A mad search was initiated by my … Continue reading

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JZ and Dr. Grail: A tale of a quest

I have been dealing with this rib injury for 2 years and 8 months. At some point during that time frame it became evident there was dysfunction in the rib and it would not heal without surgical intervention. I hunkered down with my father and began a quest to find a surgeon who was willing and able to fix my rib. And, who doesn’t love a good quest? One of my favorite films in high … Continue reading

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Nerve block redux

About 18 months ago, I had an intercostal nerve block, which I wrote about here. In short, an intercostal nerve block is a method of injecting a numbing agent and cortisone, under x-ray guidance, right into the nerve root between a particular rib with the hope of reducing pain and inflammation. The original block I had done was at the wrong rib, so, naturally, it didn’t work. The experience was awful and I was reluctant … Continue reading

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Cortisone Cowboy

Sometimes it takes reaching a low point to try a different tactic. The Twin Cities marathon was such a catalyst; not finishing the race due to ongoing rib pain and the continued pain in the days afterward spurred me into action. Last year I underwent a series of cortisone injections with minimal success. I decided, though, to visit my good friend the Cortisone Cowboy (the physical medicine doctor who administered the injections last year) and … Continue reading

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Kinesio tape and fairy dust

I have been dealing with my rib injury for nearly two years. I have come to view this injury as a chronic condition, not unlike my asthma. It is with me all the time. It must be managed on a daily basis. Most of the time, the injury lingers in the background, but then when I least expect it, the injury flares up with vigor and I have trouble breathing and the pain level soars. … Continue reading

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One year later

 It has been one year since I last competed in a triathlon. It is hard to believe how slowly and how quickly time has passed. My last race was Lake Stevens 70.3. It was not a banner day. Despite the pain from my rib injury, I hobbled through the race. I knew at the time that it would be my last triathlon for a long while, so I decided that I would finish slowly rather … Continue reading

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Dr. PainBeGone

In the past year I have seen five surgeons, two sports medicine doctors, and one physical medicine doctor. Nothing prepared me for Dr. PainBeGone. The thoracic surgeon insisted I visit the pain clinic for a nerve block, a procedure in which a local anesthetic is injected into the nerve to relieve pain, to better determine the source of my pain. He set up an appointment with Dr. PainBeGone, a pain specialist. Sitting in the waiting … Continue reading

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A diagnosis

I am a scientist. As a scientist, I thrive on answers to problems, and when one is not available, I am uncomfortable until one is found. I learned that when it comes to chronic pain, getting a diagnosis is hard. My injuries in November were numerous, but the clavicle fracture received top billing since surgical intervention was required. The healing from that was seamless. The true issue at that time, the one that has lingered, … Continue reading

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Fantasy vs. Reality

Yesterday’s race did not unfold as planned. Who really ever plans not to finish? But, if I am being honest with myself and to you, the outcome was not entirely surprising. I have been battling lingering rib issues since the crash in November. The exact nature of the problem is still to be determined, but my rib cage is rotated and is therefore protruding and perhaps pressing on my diaphragm. I have not ignored this … Continue reading

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