The long road to recovery

Welcome back, readers, to the world’s most forgotten blog.

We left off almost a year ago, when I decided to withdraw from the Boston Marathon, in doing so making the title of this site rather unfortunate.

Since then, I’ve vacillated between trying to run and trying to avoid running, seeing doctors in the hope of getting better and avoiding them because their diagnoses only bring disappointment.

I’ve seen neurologists, orthopedists, rheumatologists and physical therapists. I had three MRIs in less than two months, a bunch of x-rays, nerve conduction studies, an EMG, bloodwork, and every time I would be told I was normal (or at least, normal for my age).

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I’ve at various moments convinced myself I had Lyme disease, neuropathy, radiculopathy, multiple sclerosis or some other autoimmune disease, and every combination of “normal” runner injury – runner’s knee, IT band syndrome, meniscus tears, in both knees, at the same time.

In doing so, I have learned you should not research symptoms on the internet. It just doesn’t end well.

I’ve tried conventional physical therapy after a diagnosis of runner’s knee. They were good people, genuinely seemed to want to help, but I simply didn’t get better. Every time I showed up for an appointment I felt I was disappointing them.

On the bright side, I learned to swim. Not particularly well – you won’t be seeing me line up for triathlons any time soon – but I’m so much more confident in the water than I used to be.

By the end of 2014 I’d come to the conclusion that having failed to get better by actively pursuing a fix, I would just rest and let my body heal itself. No more recovery timeline. I allowed my guaranteed entry for the 2015 NYC Marathon go unclaimed. On one level this was sad, as this was a race four years in the making – I began qualifying at the epically cold 2011 Manhattan Half Marathon. With the Sandy-cancelled 2012 race and my injury-deferral in 2014, I was guaranteed for one last attempt. I wasn’t happy with NYRR pushing the application deadline all the way back to February, but had to ask myself one serious question: by June, could I see myself running 40+ miles a week.

No way, no how, so that ambition also had to be cast aside. However I was now free. After years of paying large sums of money upfront for races I failed to start, I now had no commitments, and with my sideline of race photography doing well, still had a way to stay connected to my friends in the running community.

So it all ends well, right? Ride into the sun, move onto the next passion, leave running behind.

In theory, yes. In practice, that works until you find yourself dropping something on the kitchen floor (or tripping over something your kid has left there) and you can’t pick it up, and you yell in exasperation at the pain.

Then you read posts on Facebook from friends who’ve overcome injuries with the help of doctors and techniques you haven’t tried, and you start to wonder: maybe someone out there CAN fix this.

So I’m trying again. I think I’ve found a good match. I’ve thought for a while that I’m the perfect case for a doc who wants to prove himself, I’ve been to several specialists from very high-profile medical institutions in New York City without success. Fix me and I WILL make sure everyone hears about it.

And wouldn’t you know, I’ve found someone with that exact mentality. A physician with the mindset of a competitive athlete. “I want to win” he told me tonight, meaning he wants to show he has the skill and knowledge to get me healed.

Eight hours ago I was musing about whether I should renew this domain name and keep this blog going, or let it lapse and save myself a few bucks.

I have my answer. The dream of Boston is not over yet.

One thought on “The long road to recovery

  1. Amy Lenza

    That is fantastic Andy! I hope and pray for a positive outcome for you and if anyone has the fighting spirit it’s you! Absolutely stay away from self-diagnosis it’s the fastest way to crazy. I’m glad you took the pressure off yourself to don’t he’s races…heal and run for the gift of it then tackle the other stuff. So looking forward to seeing you running happy and getting the chance to photograph you for a change! :)

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