Tough going

I was on such a high after finishing the Eastern Sierra Fall Century with my friend Kurt early September, but as it turned out, the High was short lived. Not too long after our return we noticed some skin discoloration on Sue’s feet, dark purplish spots, particularly at her right heel, where one of those spots was the size of a silver dollar.

Our primary care physician (who we love and have known for over 20 years), referred Sue to a dermatologist and a vascular specialist. The dermatologist was first, and proceeded to take two biopsies, from the heel and the foot sole. You see, Sue is a diabetic, and her diabetes is strictly managed with careful diet, and she is monitored quarterly and has maintained excellent levels for years. But whenever you put something unusual going on in feet and diabetes it is not a good combination.

In her case the two biopsy sites have a terrible time of healing, and in the meantime we have learned that all of this is vascular circulation (or the absence of it), and there is not enough oxygen getting to the feet. Vascular surgery is next, however that will have to wait until the biopsy sites are fully healed. The biopsies also hit a nerve, which continues to shoot searing pain through her foot in random intervals. It also does not help with her spinal stenosis, because of the uneven distribution of her weight onto one leg (hell, she is not a big woman, and when soaking wet perhaps 107 pounds).

It is so difficult when all you can do is watch and support, but essential you are useless in preventing pain. I have had my share of very bad accidents in my life, and I know pain, and I can deal with it. Watching a loved one in constant pain is something different entirely. Of course, after weeks of this there comes the mental fatigue. I think we have done a good job thus far keeping the sanity in check, but stress levels are super high.

I haven’t gotten much riding in lately as my day pretty much starts at 6am and ends at 9pm. There is time here and there for 45 minutes, but really not enough to suit up and get out. I ordered a trainer (which is now on backorder indefinitely) – so when/if it ever arrives, it will help.

I finally got a good ride in today with Kurt, not very long, about 3 hours for 40 miles and 2300 feet climbing. I feel so much better for the first time in a long time. Now, if I only could give that feeling to my wife……

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About GT in LA

Road cycling enthusiast
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9 Responses to Tough going

  1. gtinla says:

    Thanks – I appreciate the words of reason and encouragement…as far as chatting, there is always Skype 🙂

  2. Oh GT, I so understand what Sue is going through. It’s true that staying sane is difficult. I know that you must feel like watching and supporting is not enough but it is a lot!! For me, of course I love it when Pat makes me laugh but I also appreciate when we talk about it instead of kind of working around it or pretending that everything is fine. When pain is an everyday struggle, having someone who listens is sooo precious!
    I wish I could just stop by for a coffee and chat with you 2…oops, you 3, woof!
    Thanks for sharing GT!
    Mari-jo xx

  3. tracywilkins says:

    I’m sorry to hear that. It’s tough when a loved one is hurting and you can’t do much to help. Hang in there for her!

  4. gtinla says:

    M.E. don’t ever feel like a jerk about not being able to ride, we all have our crosses to bear, and I certainly know that your life recently has not exactly be a cake walk. I know that you are here for us when we really need you, in the meantime I look forward to our next ride, whenever that might be. Thanks for your friendship.

  5. MErider says:

    I hate that you and Sue are going through this and feel like a real jerk for not joining on the ride yesterday. I should have remembered that now is time to buck up for a friend. I’m grateful you got out with Kurt and got a good ride in. I’m also hoping you get that trainer soon. In the meantime, try walking in the mornings if possible (or the evenings).

    As for Sue, she is going to heal and eventually this will be another war story. Pain is such a tricky thing and I can only imagine how difficult it must be to see her suffer. Keep doing what you’re doing and, soon, this too shall pass.

    Like I told Sue, call on me to help in any way I can. I work so close to your home.
    -M.E.

  6. Bryan says:

    Sorry to hear it GT. Hope your wife makes a good recovery.

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  8. bikinginla says:

    I know exactly what you mean. My wife has her own medical problems, which have had her in and out of the hospital as long as I’ve known her. It’s hard to watch her suffer and not be able to do anything about it.

    The way I see it, my job is to distract her from the pain by making her laugh or talking about other things, and trying not to let it bother me when she snaps at me or complains about the pain for the 20th time in the last 15 minutes. And always letting her know I love her, no matter how hard she may be to live with at the moment.

    It’s hard. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of anything harder. But after what you’ve shown us this past year, I also can’t think of anyone tougher or more up to the challenge.

    So hang in there. And don’t forget to take care of yourself, too.

    I’ll say an extra prayer for both of you.

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