How Koko Got Her Spots

Sometimes there are signs that my body hasn’t figured out that Ironman training is over. Here I am awake before 5am on a Monday morning ready to swim, bike or run. So I’ve decided to take a couple of minutes to catch you up on the last 21 days.

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post surgery x-ray–still some healing to do

Last I left off I was all drugged up the night after surgery. Well A LOT has happened since then! I wish I could say that my hospital stay was uneventful, but I can’t. There was a little bump in the road the following day when my temperature spiked and the pain became unbearable. Unfortunately I was already maxed out on pain meds and all we could do was wait for it to be over. Luckily, my parents were there to help me thru it with cool compresses and by literally holding my hand. It’s amazing how little things like that that really help in the healing process.

I was getting some good encouragement from friends back home as well. My coach gave me some great workouts for the week including trying to set the record for the spirometer–this breathing thing they give you after surgery to make sure you are working on your breathing exercises. Without going into too much detail, I will say the most difficult workout of the week that was given was the recovery pee. Seriously, that was horrible! But all the support and encouragement kept me in a good space and I only stayed two nights in the hospital and by Wednesday was at my parent’s house learning to navigate life from the bed to the bathroom and back.

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some of the many spots

Soon after arriving home, I became overwhelmed with an itch. It started off pretty innocent enough with a few small hives and some mild itching. So we found some Benadryl and I added that to the long list of meds I was taking. But the itch continued to intensify and spread and before I knew it there were spots all over. They were on my arms, my legs, my ankles and it was bad. I’ve had some pretty bad cases of hives before, but this was exponentially worse than I had ever experienced before–and then they started to blister! Yes, it was gross and we didn’t really know what to do so off to the ER we went. I had figured it was a reaction due to some of the meds, but which one, I had no clue and I was still in a good amount of pain being only one week post surgery and was nervous about stopping them. But at the advice of the ER doc, I stopped all meds but the Tylenol I was taking. Ugh. Really. But if it would help me stop the itch, I was ready.

We followed up with an appointment at the Ortho and Spine Clinic (the practice who actually did my surgery) the next day with the RN and wowed them with the assortment of spots. They immediately got me in to see someone at the Dermatology Clinic–got to love a coordinated network of care like that of Emory Healthcare!!! We spent a good hour and a half at the Dermatology Clinic. They did everything they could in the office, without having to readmit me to the hospital–lab work, a biopsy, and some scripts for new meds. I was sent home with the doctor’s pager number and strict instructions that if it were to get any worse, I was to call him and he would admit me to the hospital. Well, within two days I did start to feel better. The itching subsided and the rash stopped spreading and I felt like myself again–something I had been missing for a while! But some labs were still out and others needed to be repeated and both docs wanted to see me again before I was able to return to home to Baton Rouge.

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fun with Ansley

Had some fun visits with my nieces and nephew although only one stayed overnight–Ansley. She came for both the first weekend and stayed a night with us the second weekend, too. It was fun to have her around to brighten up my days. That second weekend I also ventured out to something other than a doctor’s appointment. We went out for some Mexican food one night and Sunday brunch as well. It was good to get out, but also very draining. Crutching around is no joke people.

Got very good reports from the docs at the follow up visits. Was told by the surgeon that I could actually flutter kick in the pool if I wanted to. Not that I can drive and I would have to crutch to the side of the pool (which scares me a bit) but yes, I could get in the pool and kick and that to me is a victory! I am also to be putting 20 lbs of weight on my leg when walking. How do I know what 20 lbs feels like, well I practice with one foot on the scale. It’s quite entertaining actually! The derm report said the rash was most likely a result of a drug interaction–which ones, who knows. But I will be following up with an allergist to get some testing done so we can figure this out and prevent a reoccurrence in the future.

After the good report from the docs we loaded up the car and headed back to Baton Rouge. My parents are here with me for about a week helping me to get settled and figure out how to navigate life in this new reality for me. As much as I know it is a temporary thing, it is still so different from my life just a month ago. No more 100 mile weekends or 2 mile swims before work–this has got to be one of the most difficult changes to accept especially not knowing when I will be able to get back to it again. Don’t get me wrong, I know I will, but I deal much better with change when I have an end date.

So that pretty much brings us to today. I will be going back to work for the second day today although I will be leaving early for my first PT appointment. I still have spots, but they are beginning to peel (it’s like I have had a horrible sunburn) and/or fade. I cannot drive so I have to rely on the kindness of others to get around. I am learning lessons everyday about how to ask for help in concrete ways, how to advocate for my needs, how to be intentional with my time and actions and can tell you more about that later. As for know, I am just happy that we are three weeks into this new adventure and I am able to tell the tale–it sure hasn’t been easy but I am three weeks closer to getting back out on the pavement!

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