Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thank You Notes & Other Post-Race Thoughts

In Dr. Guerra's office, behind the receptionist's desk, there is a wall of framed photos. These photos all feature grinning athletes in race gear and uniforms. One 8"x10" photo has a note scrawled across one corner: Thank you, Dr. Guerra! That wall helped give me confidence in Dr. G's surgical skills before I had even had my first consultation. By the end of my first appointment, I decided that if Dr. G could fix me, I'd send him a photo of me after my first race back.

Well, my first race back was A1A, but my first race really, truly back was this past weekend. And luckily I got a good photo out of it.
Dr. G told me it would be 3-6 months before I was back in my previous running shape. I'm about four months post-op, so I'd say I'm right on track. 
I am planning to send this photo to three doctors' offices.

1. To Dr. Guerra, of course, who believed me when I described symptoms, performed my surgeries, and gave me back my legs.

2. To my PT's office, where a variety of people helped me heal up, get strong, and return to running as quickly as possible.

3. To the vascular surgeon's office, where they dismissed my desire for real answers and treatment because "young women regret surgery scars".

Obviously I mean to thank the first two. I hope it's not premature. I'm still in recovery, and there is still time for things to go wrong...but I feel like I've definitely turned a corner.

I'm debating writing the third letter at all. I'm not sure it will change the doctor's behavior or bring me any peace - to be honest, I'm over it, so I don't need closure or anything. At the same time, maybe hearing that being a misogynistic jerk isn't the best bedside manner would do him good. I may write the letter and not even send it.

When I look at that picture, I see strength, power, determination, and joy. I see me in my element. I can't see the scars, even when I look for them.

On an unrelated note, the Fast and the Furriest was an eye-opener for me, and I can't stop thinking about what my performance this past Saturday means. For one thing, I've realized I don't need to hold back as much as I have been. Track is over, so now I can run more frequently during the week, and I am planning to build in longer runs. I'm not necessarily interested in speedwork yet; right now I'm really enjoying just running. But I have a couple more 5ks coming up in May that I'd like to crush, so we'll see.
School lets out on May 30, and I think I'd like to start working in "long runs" on the weekends at that time. I'm talking 6 or 7 miles tops.

And I am tentatively looking for a winter half marathon.

I originally wanted to run the A1A half in 2019 but won't be able to. This weekend when I caught up with Sean he brought up Space Coast, and I think that would be perfect. It was my first marathon, so running it as my first half as a comeback would be really special and would make up for missing A1A. When I floated this idea by Matt, he was all for it.
I have time to decide, of course.
All of this is very flexible right now; the main thing is that I'm enjoying running and I don't want to pile too many goals on and take away the fun of it too soon. I'm excited to train but also don't want to feel like running is a chore. Everything feels new again but also so familiar and comfortable. A huge weight has been lifted mentally - I had been feeling like my body betrayed me, and now I'm learning to trust it again.
So, for now, these tentative plans are here, floating around in my head, and I'll solidify them when I'm ready. There's no rush. Now that I know I'm coming back, I have all the patience in the world.



  1. Hmmm maybe you could write the letter to the misogynist as an "open letter" and make it go viral! :)

    1. Oh boy...I don't know if I want viral fame!

  2. Oh that's such a good idea to send the picture to your PT office! I was planning to send a picture to my doctor as well because he was SO supportive through the whole process and always reminded me that I would get back to running and it would be better than ever. I never even though about my PT but he was SUCH a positive, supportive influence too. My doctor's office isn't close but I drive past my PT's office often and I always smile. But I also feel relief that I don't have to go there every week anymore haha!

    I forgot you had that horrible experience at the first doctor's office. I'm glad we both switched to much better doctors who ended up being great fits for us. Honestly, I would send a different picture to the first doctor. I would send him a pic of your scars and just say "I'm so grateful to have worked with a surgeon who had the skill and expertise to leave me with minimal scarring that's barely visible. Thanks for turning me away." But then again I can be a bit petty :)

    1. Haha, the passive-aggressive tone cracks me up! I am still debating what I would say and if I'd even send it...I hate thinking he'd make anyone feel how he made me feel, but then again...most of his patients are probably little old men and women with different needs, and that's WHY he was so narrow-minded about my situation.

  3. If I DO send him a letter, it won't be a thank you in any way. It'll be a "do your job better next time" letter!