I’m Schalz, Y’alls!

I spent a week over the Thanksgiving holiday in South Carolina, visiting Greg’s parents.  We had a really nice time, which concluded with me seeing his mom’s foot doctor so I could get a second opinion on my ankle.  The doc told me I’m deformed and possibly have bursitis, but I’m not going to get into that today.  What I am going to talk about is the fact that the doctor’s office gave me a new Southern name!

When I was finished with my exam, I was printed out a very thorough and extensive note to take back to my original doctor.  I was very impressed with the information provided in the note, but my eyes were immediately drawn to the awesome spelling of my last name.  Schalz was a new one for me, and I was giddy over how effortlessly Southern it sounded as it rolled off my tongue: sh-ah-lz.

I’m totally okay with my new last name, but it’s so not cool to age a woman.  I’m 31, y’all!

I’m totally okay with my new last name, but it’s so not cool to age a woman. I’m 31, y’all!

Having a German last name with a vowel that doesn’t follow the traditional short or long sound, and consonants that are never, ever combined together in common English, my surname of Schatz has been butchered for me my entire life.  It is pronounced shots, which has recently made LMFAO’s “Shots” my personal theme song.  But to get back to my point, I’ve been called anything ranging from Schwartz to Schultz, and my personal favorite: Shats.  As in, the past tense, plural or possessive form of shits.  (And by favorite, I mean that I cringe every time I hear it.)  My poor, beautiful last name, which German natives envy due to its use as a term of endearment in Germany, very often gets reduced to the act of pooping.

My favorite twist of my last name, however, is Schatzy.  For some reason, those that know the correct pronunciation, like to add that cute little “y” at the end for a fun nickname.  When I was a senior in high school, and my brother Robert was a freshman, he gained the nickname Schatzy from his baseball team.  For the rest of my senior year, I was known as “Schatzy’s Sister.”  Despite attending that school for four years, and only gaining recognition due to my little, freshmanbrother, I liked it.  Ten years later, it made me happy when one of my co-workers took it upon himself to call me Schatzy.  Take that, Robert!  They knew you as Schatzy’s Brother!

Regardless of having various versions of my last name presented to me, it’s been a source of entertainment my entire life.  Just when I think I’ve heard it all, something like Schalz shows up to prove me wrong.

Back in the Boot

While yesterday’s election caused me some anxiety, it was additionally topped with worry about my ankle, as the date coincided with my one-month check-up.  I’m four weeks into my platelet rich plasma therapy on my torn ankle tendon.  Results can’t be certain for two months, and I’ve got another four weeks to go, but I’m no longer feeling too hopeful that this procedure will work for me.  Fortunately (unfortunately) for me, I’m unemployed, so I can give my ankle all the rest it needs and then some!  However, I honestly feel that there has been no improvement, and if possible, my ankle might be worse.  It has been in a state of constant, mild pain for the last month, and yesterday, my doctor ordered me back into my dreaded boot cast.

So, this is happening again.

So, this is happening again.

I’m not looking forward to the dependency that the wearing of this boot creates, but I’ve got to say, I felt instant relief once it was strapped securely to my lower leg.  Last night, for the first time in weeks, I fell asleep pain-free and was able to lay my foot in any position without fear of discomfort.  I have a love-hate relationship with this boot, and I’m currently in the honeymoon stage.  I’m sure these feelings will grow cold in the not so distant future, and I’d like to make a list of the positives behind being stuck in a boot for weeks, so I have something to look back on to feel better about my situation.  So here they are:

Reasons Why Being Stuck in a Boot is Awesome:

  1. My sock laundry is cut in half.
  2. I can pretend to be Lady Sybil Crawley as my smart and handsome Branson (Greg) chauffeurs me around town.
  3. I have a valid reason for not showering everyday.
  4. My toes are always warm.
  5. I can wear my one pair of skinny jeans as many days in a row as I want.
  6. The bowls on the top shelf are now within my standing reach.
  7. Confined to my apartment, I can watch hours of television guilt free.
  8. I’m pretty sure I could crack a zombie’s skull with this thing if it came down to it.

If you have any other positives behind wearing a boot cast, feel free to share them with me!

My immunes! (A story of yellow toenails)

I was told that while the stitches in my ankle’s tendon are holding, my tears have likely not healed.  I did not find this surprising, as my body has competed against my desire to be healthy and normal my entire life.  Next week, I will be undergoing a natural healing process where my blood’s platelet rich plasma will be separated and injected into my tendon in the hopes that those beneficial growth factors will speed up the healing process.  In the meantime, it’s two more months of complete inactivity (besides regular walking, and thankfully, no wearing of the boot).

While grateful for an answer, this means that I will have to forgo the marathon I had planned to race in this coming Sunday.  Being that I wasn’t able to train properly anyway, it’s probably more of a blessing.  Also, surprise, surprise, I managed to gain not one, but two ingrown toenails over the last week and a half that has disallowed me from wearing any shoes.  (I wore a pair for three hours last week, and I paid for it horribly that night.)  My toes would not have held up for 26.2 miles anyway!

I used to get ingrown toenails frequently growing up, but never as throbbing or painful as the ones I have now.  I believe this has to do with the fact that, up until a year and a half ago, my toenails were thick and yellow.  (My guess: the thicker the shard of nail to dig out, the easier it is to remove.) When I was young, doctors said that nothing could be done about my nails because it was genetic, and so I endured years of embarrassing yellow toenails.

As a child, it was hard enough fitting in while being painfully shy, abnormally tiny, and possessing a nose that was far too big for my face.  Unfairly, but fittingly, I was given disgusting, embarrassing, crumbly, yellow toenails to mix into my cocktail of ailments.  I couldn’t do anything to hide my large, dysfunctional sniffer, and I took the teases in stride.  But my toes; those I could control…or so I thought.

Besides going to the pool and curling my toes inward on my quick paced walk to the water, I was able to cover my unsightly feet with socks and shoes all day long!  That is, unless you go to Sports Camp for the summer, and the gymnastics leaders force you to take off your socks even though you beg them not to, and plead with them to get your dad (the one running the gym at the camp) to vouch for you.  Adults don’t always listen to kids, and those adults had the final say, so I slowly and reluctantly peeled my socks off my feet.  I did my usual toe curl that I used effectively at the pool, but when it came time for tumbling, I just couldn’t perform the proper technique without uncurling my toes.  This meant, as I came out of my roll and stood, feet together, hands held high for my “stick,” a mean, pretty girl was able to grab my ankle, hold it with a tight, zombie grip, and announce to the gym, “Oh my god!  Look at her toes!  Her toenails are yellow!  Hurry, come look!”  As you can imagine, tears of embarrassment sprang forth, and I wished that the blue felt of the mat covers would open up and smother me away from the gawking girls gathered around my feet.  Of course, after the gym leaders were able to pry those girl’s fingers from off my ankle, they allowed me to wear my socks, but the damage was done.  My dignity was lost, and I dreaded going to Sports Camp.

However, as most kids do, I grew to accept myself.  I even learned how to manage my toenails with a 7-speed electric sander battery operated toenail file and some nail polish.  A few years ago, I discovered that modern medicine had advanced, so I made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor who prescribed me Lamisil tablets.  Those pills worked wonders, and currently, most of my toes are cured.  However, I believe that as my toenails were growing into their thin, clear, beautiful selves, that they followed the thick, curled path of the old nails, and viciously cut their way into my nail bed like the knife of a surgeon.  I’ve since dug them out (with twice the effort and pain as before) and have accepted that I will most likely always have ingrown toenails.

Anyway, that entire story is to say that I’m unusually optimistic about my upcoming natural healing process next week.  (I love long tangents, don’t you?) Yellow toenails might not sound like much, but trust me when I say that my body conspires against me, and if not for modern medicine, I’d probably be dead, or abandoned to some colony of misfits.  My little platoon of “immunes,” as I like to call them, obviously couldn’t heal the tears in my tendon (even with the aid of stitches–poor little troopers), so I’m eager to witness all of my strongest immunes being clustered together into a battalion of health.  Here’s hoping for the comeback of a lifetime!

Shedding Pounds Like a "Woman"

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been dealing with a torn ankle tendon since last October.  So for almost an entire year, I’ve been unable to run at the intensity I want to, even going months in a row without running at all.  My ankle is still in pain, and since I had to pay out of pocket for the doctor visits, MRI, and surgery, I don’t want to run through the discomfort in fear that I might do irreparable damage.

In any case, this year of inactivity has caused me to gain an unwanted 12 pounds.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been feeling like a fatty, and would tremendously like to drop that unwanted weight.  For the past two weeks, I’ve been eating healthy, and been losing weight slowly, but being an athlete, I know that working out is what will really help me drop the weight and keep it off.  Since any impact with my foot is out of the question, I’ve had to ride my unhappy ass on the stationary bike I have at home.  (The only plus to that being that I get to watch an entire episode of Dr. Who while I’m doing it.)  However, being a runner who’s accustomed to enjoying the great outdoors, and being currently unemployed and stuck inside all day, the stationary bike is horrendously boring to me.  I needed something to spice up my workouts, and despite my mild efforts, Pilates on YouTube wasn’t cutting it.

Enter Jess: my running buddy’s daughter who just returned home after finishing grad school.  She’d heard of my ankle problems and that I needed some motivation to work out, so she invited me to go with her to check out the FitClub class on the sands of Redondo Beach.  The free class basically entails 30 minutes of yoga-like stretching (or dodgeball for the non-gimps) and 30 minutes of rotating stations for strength, cardio, and agility.

On the morning of the first class, I rolled out of bed around 6:45, wiped the sleep out of my eyes, got dressed, and threw my hair up in a messy ponytail.  I knew I looked like shit, but I was about to get sandy and sweaty at the beach, and figured everyone else would look as mangled as I did.  Nope.  Many of the girls present had, at minimum, their eye make-up on.  One girl straight up had her thick cat-eye eyeliner going on with some pink lipstick to finish her look.  Basically, I felt like an ogre compared to everyone else there.

THEN, as we were gathering and more and more people arrived, I realized that every single person around me was incredibly fit already.  I was literally the fattest person there, and even though it wouldn’t hurt for me to shed 15 pounds, I am in no way overweight! (Well, my fat percentage could be lower, but it’s still in the “average” range!)  I started to panic a little, thinking that I was about to make a major fool of myself, but then at the last minute, 20 more people arrived, and among them were a couple regular looking peeps like myself.  I was instantly relieved.

The circuits were actually really fun, and I was a bit bummed that my ankle prevented me from participating in the cardio or agility stations (believe you, me: I tried…the Mexican/German mutt that I am is chock full of stubborn!)  I was also happy to see others sitting out at times or taking breaks at their stations; even some of the really fit ones!  It made me feel better about not being able to do a single crab walk step at my very last station.  The workout ended with a protein shake party at their nearby gym.  Okay, so it wasn’t so much a party as it was a bunch of fit people with dried sweat enjoying some recovery shakes to some music bumping out of big speakers, but it was still cool.

They offer these free classes every Thursday and Sunday morning, and I’m definitely looking forward to going again!

But next time, I’ll put on some make-up.

Or in my case: "Don't Be a Manly Girl."

This boot was NOT made for walking

Last October, I began noticing pain on the outer edge of my right foot during and after my runs.  At the time, I was running in Vibrams (those toe shoes) because I like to show off that I don’t have webbed toes.  Not really.  They just truly helped with my IT issues and knee pain.  I figured my new foot discomfort was due to the lack of support in my ankle, so I switched back to my regular running shoes, which helped at first…until it didn’t.  A doctor diagnosed tendonitis, so to let it heal, I gave up running for three months (but not Ultimate Frisbee, ‘cause I’m brilliant like that).  Long story short: I didn’t have tendonitis; I had torn my peroneus brevis tendon right below my anklebone and needed surgery.
I was told that after surgery I’d be in a walking boot for two weeks, after which, I’d be able to walk in a normal shoe, and then be back to running again in an additional four weeks.  Six weeks out would still keep me right on schedule for the beginning of my marathon training in April, so I went for it.  The reality was that I was in that damn boot for three full weeks, and then intermittently for an additional two weeks so I could build up hours of normal shoe wear vs. the boot.  And by “normal shoe,” I’m talking about supportive running shoes; not my beloved flat-soled Chucks.  I wasn’t cleared to run until eight weeks post surgery, and was told that Ultimate Frisbee was “the worst possible thing I could be doing to my foot” and I would need to ease myself back in, as tolerance would allow. (I’m still easing.)
Elevating my foot and being confined to a couch all day every day was torture!  I was forced to depend on people for every little thing.  I’m one of those independent types who gets off my ass to grab the remote sitting next to you just because I see no reason to make you get up and hand it to me when I’m perfectly capable of getting it myself.  So yes, Greg bringing me something to drink, or grabbing my Kindle from the bedroom, was torture, and a constant battle between us.  Being gimpy and in pain, I usually lost. 
At one point in my recovery, when I was still wearing the boot and using crutches, my pain had substantially subsided, so it was deemed okay to leave me home alone for the entire day.  When it came time for lunch, I was thrilled to be up at the stove heating up my soup and pouring my own juice.  However, once prepared, I suddenly realized that I needed to get the bowl of hot soup from the counter to the folding tray near the couch where I was stationed, and there was no way I could hold both my crutches and the heavy bowl at the same time while walking.  But I’m a problem solver.  I dropped carefully to my knees and placed the soup and juice on the ground.  Then slowly and carefully, I pushed the bowl and cup a few inches ahead of me, crawled forward on my hands and knees dragging my 20lb boot-foot behind me, and then pushed the dishes ahead of me again.  I tediously worked my way back to the couch in that manner.  I continued this ritual in secret for a few days until it was finally bearable to place some weight down on my boot clad foot; thus, making me able to walk a few steps sans crutches.
I was able to ditch the boot altogether after about six weeks, and continued exclusively wearing running shoes for an additional five weeks.  While I’m not a hundred percent better, and my marathon training is officially a wash, I’m at least glad that I’m finally back in flip flops and can carry my lunch easily to wherever I want it!  It’s the little things that I missed the most.
My boot would wait for me outside the bathroom door while I showered.
Now it waits for me in my storage unit.