Still Broken

Wouldn’t ya know, it takes a long time to heal a fractured and disfigured vertebrae?

Can’t see the break here, but otherwise looking ok, right? No?!

I went to the doctor earlier this week and got some not-good-not-bad news. The good news was that my spine was healing as expected, which means calcifying around the fractured L1 and the pieces that broke off hadn’t moved.

The bad news was that the doctor felt it best for me to wear the brace for 6 more weeks. SIX. WEEKS. That’s a damn long time for someone who has been eager to break out of the brace and start pounding the pavement and beating the drums. I have already spent 6 weeks in the brace and it has been torture to see the weather turn from cold to perfect running-weather-chilly. It was wonderful and heartbreaking to see Soh Daiko performing at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and not be on stage with them, instead, sitting in the wheelchair section of the audience. Continue reading

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The Big Move at a Bad Time

My exciting move to Manhattan damped by the fact that I can’t do Sh*t.

New place in Harlem

Despite a fractured spine, I made a big move from my life in Brooklyn to living up in Harlem! The decisions and timing came at a difficult time, and on top of it all, I then got injured, but my landlord said I had to be out by the end of March, and that meant one way or another, I was getting my broken back and all my worldly possessions to Harlem.

Luckily (again) for me, I have an AMAZING band of friends and family. Fernando got the UN boxes, and Papi, Marlene, and Shaun started the packing. Wouldn’t you know, it is super hard (aka impossible) to pack with a broken back! I can neither lift or bend over. A lot of good I was doing…

Pretty Useless

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Spinal Update

Things are going well….I think.

Just a quick spinal update from your Runner-on-break-cuz-of-broken-spine-issues. I am doing pretty well, all things considered. I saw a spine specialist in NYC and he showed me the catscan, it was pretty interesting! My L1 is broken on the top, with pieces which came off and the whole vertebrae is disfigured. The good news is that the pieces which came off are not in danger of poking my spinal cord and thus putting me in the “there’s nothing we can do but wait until your own body patches yourself up” category. This is the good category. And I am in this category until May 1 when I have my next X-ray / scan and we can see if German-Japanese engineering truly is as remarkable as we would think. 😉

My first CATSCAN!

Continue reading

Captain Crack Back Blackfoot

The weekend after the Disney Half, I went Snowboarding!

And broke my spine.

After much coordination, I finally went on my snowboarding weekend of 2012. I had rented a cabin for 12, which cost me a bit of money, and I had a heck of a time getting a group together and getting the timing right with my ever-changing taiko performance schedule. However, it finally came and I whisked away to Vermont to meet the group, many of whom had gone up earlier though I was super stuck at work, and prepared myself for a weekend on the sunny slopes.

The cabin group!

The first day of boarding was great. Despite the warm weather, there was real snow on the slopes, enough to maneuver safely and not too much ice on the trails we traversed. The second day was the same…until it happened at around 11am.

Enjoying the run

I was cut off by a skier, whom looked to be a teenager, and to avoid smashing him at the speed I was going, I tried to break on my heel edge down the mountain. Unfortunately, this caused me to veer to the right (I am goofy-foot) and at the speed I was going, I wasn’t able to stop in time before I hit some metal thing and then the trees. 😦 I have never felt so much pain in my life. I had hit them board-first and my right foot was ripped off the board with the binding. I lay on my back screaming in pain until my friends got the medic and I was transported via a board to the medical center. There, they took an X-ray (hours later) and immediately called an ambulance for me to get to the ER. I had fractured my L1 vertebrae.

I hit this so hard, I warped the metal

And chopped into the trees, board-first. The board probably saved my life

I spend that night in the hospital in a lot of pain and anger. I was pissed that the guy who dangerously cut me off was probably out drinking with his buddies while I lay there getting morphine pumped into my IV almost every hour. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom myself. I spent 4 total days at the hospital with Fernando and Shaun by my side 24/7. I can never repay how my friends helped me go through this.

In the hospital

Support team - I hope they aren't quacks!

On Wednesday, after not being too pleased with my spine doctor there, I packed into the car and precariously headed home to Brooklyn. I wear a hardcore metal and velcro brace which I have to have on if I do anything but lie flat on my back.

Finally got a brace

OMG what happened to me!!! Still alive, people!

Back from the dead for food!

Luckily, I have a lot of love and support. My father and step mom came to visit from Germany! My friends from Soh Daiko and more visited. I got a lot of emails and facebook support from those far away. I am going to get through this and end up totally fine, the doctor said I used up one of my nine lives now since it could have been much worse. But I am sturdy and strong, so other than missing running and taiko and being able to do basic things from myself, I am blessed.

Danny, Momo, and Han visit!

Colleagues and Friends visit!

Marlene and Papi make a surprise visit from Germany

Thank you, everyone, for your well-wishes. I will never forget how much people care about me. I hope no one has to go through anything like this, but if my friends or family ever needed anything, I will be the first to find you and hug you.

I Didn’t Feel Like Running the Half Marathon Anyway

And then I didn’t have to.

Two Feet In-Tact

Yet again, Mother Nature stepped in and swept away my 2nd chance of running a half marathon. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that there was a snow storm on the forecast for last Saturday’s race. I still tapered down my mileage and ate my pasta dinner. But I did make sure to check the NYRR website before taking off my pajamas on Saturday morning. Low and Behold – the race was actually not cancelled but due to the snow and ice in Central Park, they gave us all race credits and said “You do not have to race. It will count as if you did. We will not time you. But if you do come, we have a baggage check.”

I sat for a brief moment thinking maybe I should do it anyway. But then I thought about the cold icey hilly road. And the fact that I wouldn’t even get an official time. All motivation to get going at 6:15am to trek up to the park (itself a dangerous and long journey from my apt) and run a cautious, treacherous, self-timed 13.1 miles was going down the toothpaste drain. The final straw was the thought that if I go and run out of stubborness and get injured, my Sunday snowboarding plans and my taiko season would be crushed. The joyous pride I would get from running anyway just to say I did it did not compare to the anger I would have unleashed on myself if I went and got injured for basically no reason.

So I stayed home and had an omette. And then I went to 4 hours of taiko practice. And Sunday, I got to go SNOWBOARDING!!!

To the top!

Me, all uninjured and stuff

New England is a bunch of rocks

Just chillin' on the slope, doing my bindings and other's

Life is beautiful, even as the Death Star approaches

Shaun and I on the tired way back home with a wet (but waterproof) camera

Since I hadn’t run from Friday (rest day) through Saturday (cancelled race and taiko practice) and Sunday (boarding!)  I tortured myself with a 7 miler on Monday night and 8 miles worth of intervals on Tuesday morning, followed by an intense abs yoga session in the evening. I think I paid myself back all the pain I should have suffered during my supposed “first turned second turned nada” half marathon.