Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘broken arm’

Search term Sunday: Broken arm? Can’t run?

For this edition of “Search term Sunday,” I bring to you a gem of a statement that someone entered to find this blog.

Someone found my blog by searching “broke my arm cant run” in the past couple days. I shouldn’t be surprised, since I so blatantly decided it was a really, really good idea to run with a broken arm earlier this year.

I ran a trail 10K and a half marathon with measurable pain from my radial head fracture earlier this year. I fell while trying to get in my 15-mile training run for the San Luis Obispo Marathon earlier this year. And I fell hard.

I went for two weeks without getting it checked out because I was convinced it was not broken. But when it didn’t get better, after wrapping and compressing it, I finally caved in and had it checked out.

And the damn thing was broken.

You can kind of see the faint little line from the radial head fracture that derailed my training and had me in pain for more than a month. At this point it was “healing nicely.”

The sports medicine doctor I went to wasn’t even surprised that I was still running. I just kept at it. I held my arm as close as I possibly could to my body. The first image in this blog is of me from my first race after the break. I looked awkward at best, but I got through the 10K.

Afterward that bad boy hurt like you don’t even know. All that jiggling around wasn’t doing me much good.

If it was posed as a question, which it was not, it would be: “Should I run with a broken arm?”

My answer is likely surprising.


At least not in races.


I had two very scary experiences while racing with a broken arm, ones that, had my arm been completely fine, I wouldn’t have even thought twice about.


During the Badger Cove 10K, again where the image at the top of this post comes from, I was doing fine on the uphill and downhills. I was moving along, knowing my body would be sorry for the impact I was putting on it in the long haul.

One descent, though, scared the hell out of me.

As we turned the corner down a hill, I realized I was going down much, much faster than I wanted to. I also realized that, if I was to fall into the bushes I saw at the end of the hill, I would have no viable way to brace myself properly.

It was the first time I had an “oh shit” moment during running. It was scary. I was going fast. I didn’t have momentum control over my upper body like I wanted to either. I was basically out of control.

To top it off, because my arm was broken and my husband wasn’t going with me to the race, I couldn’t wear my tighter, betting gripping, but harder to tie trail shoes. So I was wearing my regular Nikes.

I was scared. I’m glad I didn’t fall. Or go face-first into the bushes. It was definitely a lesson for me.


A week after Badger Cove, I ran the Oakland Half Marathon. My arm was feeling slightly better by then. This is one of the smaller, more spaced out runs I do. But it’s not small, small. It’s averaged sized. But the course transverses most of downtown and West Oakland, so the roads are large enough where people aren’t right on top of each other.

It’s also mostly flat, so I didn’t have to worry about uncontrolled descents.

As we ran through a particularly bland part of Oakland near the industrial area, and before the amazing sight that is Seventh Street and Mandela Parkway (really, if you’re never run this race, this area is my favorite part), another sideswiped me.

Now, I’ve done this myself. But the woman I ran into didn’t have a broken arm. When this guy accidentally ran into me, he hit my left arm so bad I left out a blood curdling noise that was similar to a baby dinosaur in pain. Maybe not so much a dinosaur, but I can imagine it would be.

At that point, it wasn’t so much pain as shock. Apparently my face showed it, even though I kept running.

The man literally stopped running, came back to me and tried to get me to stop running. He told me I looked white. I didn’t feel bad, though. Not until after the race, which brought me my first PR of the year.

I was, again, trying to keep my arm close. But I still was injured. Again.


At the Summer Breeze Half Marathon, I saw a woman in the “hiker” category with an air cast.

I have to say, I never thought of that. I realized that I should have taken advantage of that for the Brazen Badger Cove 10K. I’m sure I would have been allowed to run, an hour earlier, if I had asked and explained my situation. That said, I likely wouldn’t have avoided my scary descent that way. Outside of one stretch of single-track trail, the trails were basically wide open even with all the other runners. I never worried about someone running into me.

The first thing about running with a broken arm is that you don’t want anyone to touch it on accident. The second thing is that you don’t want to fall and get hurt again.

So why chance it?

I know that’s completely opposite to what I did. I’m not a doctor or anything, I can’t give out medical advice. Don’t take this as medical advice. It isn’t. Those two races weren’t my finest moments in running. Would I do it again? Probably not. Two scary broken arm experiences were enough for me. I think I had to experience those events, though, to make me see how ridiculous it was for me to run with a broken arm.

I won’t even get started on the fact that I ran a half marathon five weeks after gallbladder removal surgery. Truth be told, that was probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. But I didn’t want to forfeit my registration and reservation fees, or a girl’s weekend away.

That said, those broken-arm races got me ready for the San Luis Obispo Marathon, which was two weekends after Oakland. By the time I hit the start line at that race, I could swing my arm again. I was, basically, better. By May, I was even stronger.

Don’t let that be an indicator, though. I was in pain with all the body pounding during both those runs. It hurt. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it.

A not-so-subtle reminder


I haven’t really talked about my broken arm since the doctor gave me an “all clear” weeks ago. The mobility is far better than it was. It feels, mostly, normal. In fact, it really doesn’t bother me most the time.

Then I get a not-so-subtle reminder that it’s not quite at full operating capacity.

It usually comes when I’m in the middle of a cross-training activity. It starts as a dull pain at the site of the fracture. It’s not really noticeable at first. Then there’s a feeling of faint pressure. It’s followed by an all-at-once feeling that something is tearing the bone apart from the inside.

Needless to say, I’m not healed completely.

I can’t even do a 30-minute Jillian Michaels workout video with my friend Sam without saying “nope, can’t do this one” when we get to a move that would involve my left elbow.

I knew this would be the case.

The doctor didn’t promise me a miracle healing or even guarantee that I’d be back to my normal, push-up able self within a month. He said it would take time. He also advised me not to push as much pressure on it as I would my right arm.

So when Michaels instructs Sam and I go into a cobra position (or whatever it is, I don’t know, that 30-minutes kicks my butt), I shouldn’t be getting as much into it as I am. But I tend to push things like this a little far.

I think my arm is better. The truth is, it’s not.

In fact, the doctor told me to watch out when I run even more so because the likelihood is that if I fall on that same spot again, which I’d likely do because my luck is that great, I could completely fracture my radial head all over again.


Doesn’t it look all healed up and unsuspecting? The pressure in that stupid little bone is ridiculously painful. I’ve never experienced “pressure” pain before. When it gets really bad, I turned to my “breakthrough-only” Ibuprofen. That’s pretty bad.

Even better, apparently I haven’t learned my lesson from all of the doctor visits, the week of a sling and the inability to move my arm completely for more than a month.

As Jennie and I were finishing up our six-mile run today, we were back into the neighborhood area where we run in front of houses. About four miles of our run twist down tree-lined paths by my house. The neighborhoods are basically at the beginning and end of the run as we make our way back to my house.

“I try to avoid these since you fell,” she said to me, gesturing down at a lip of a driveway.

Of course, I turned around. And looked down. As I was running.

Basically, I did all of the things I did when I fell in March. I didn’t fall tonight. But it made me realize a couple things: 1) I didn’t even realize that I had fallen over a lip of a driveway, but now that I think about it, yeah, that’s what happen. 2) I really should start paying more attention to the sidewalk while I’m running.

Healing up, slow and steady


For reasons I likely can’t remember, I decided to only work on one project during my week of spring break. That meant that when I came back to school on Tuesday, I was buried in work. There were invoices to send. I worked four hours with colleagues writing a proposal for funding that would provide some excellent opportunities to our students. Plus, I was running around trying to figure out where a check went.

I got on campus at 7:30 a.m. I didn’t leave until a little after 5 p.m. Then I realized the rest of my week looked just as hectic (according to my antiquated day planner),  with appointments all week. Today that meant a 9:30 a.m. appointment to renew my driver’s license follow by some work at home, then a 1 p.m. appointment with the eye doctor to check out my contacts.

The DMV appointment went quick, if only because I had an appointment. I got in and out, even after they sent me the form with my name wrong (totally missing the hyphen, incredibly necessary for it to be there since my license is the one piece of identification I care about it being right on).

The eye appointment didn’t go as well. I lost one of my contacts last week after I rubbed my eye too hard. It disappeared somewhere in the produce department at Safeway. I wasn’t even going to try and find it. And I couldn’t see well enough out of that eye to bother looking. Know what’s fun? Driving home (less than a mile) with your left eye closed because your right eye is the only one you can see out of.

Tomorrow, I have a day full of work rewriting CSS and adding accessibility features to a website. On Friday, I go back to the sports medicine doctor to see how my arm is doing.

I’m a little iffy on how to really characterize it.

I’m still in pain. But it’s not that bad. The biggest thing is mobility. I’m still having some issues moving the left arm completely.

This is my right arm:


This photo is the best I can do, but you’ll notice a couple things right off. My arm can extend straight. My wrist is aligned with the arm. I can fully extend, essentially 180 degrees.

This is my good arm. This is the arm I’ve been relying on for everything lately. I can’t lift myself up without it. At the Oakland Half Marathon my husband had to pull me up off the ground with this arm because I still couldn’t bare too much weight on my left arm. I’m calling this my “strong arm” lately.

Then there’s my T-Rex style left arm:


That’s not a huge dust bunny down there. That’s Cassie. She’s taken up Beau’s love of photo bombing my blog shots.

Notice a couple things here different? My wrist is slightly askew. I can’t align it properly with the rest of my arm without getting a bit of shooting pain up my inner wrist. My elbow is also more bent than on my right arm. It still feels vastly uncomfortable to bend it. It also feels uncomfortable to try to force it into a straight position.

I’ve been trying to get it more mobile than it was three weeks ago when I initially went in to see the doctor. He mentioned ordering physical therapy the last time I was in. I’m hoping to avoid that. I think it’s past the threshold set by the doctor initially. Then, I could barely bring it out in front of me. That’s part of the reason I went to see the doctor. I knew something was wrong.

The biggest problem is still the elbow-area, where the radial head is located. I still can’t put a lot of pressure on it. I’m also having some issues with lifting or moving things, even small items.


I figured a visual would be better for an explanation of what type of pain I’m dealing with.

The red lines indicate the areas where I’m still getting shooting pain, which is essentially up my entire radius bone on both sides. The pain comes when I usually try to grab something or forget that my radial head is broken. The pain is just enough to shock me, but it doesn’t stick around. I’d like to think it’s just a reminder to me that I broke a bone and I need to slow down.

The blue rectangle shows my wrist area where I still have some general weakness. Essentially since I haven’t been using this arm all that much, everything I do with it feels foreign and just kind of wrong. I found my list of exercises from when I strained a thumb tendon shooting video that I’m using to increase the strength in that area. It still hurts, though. My grip isn’t very strong. If I’m carrying something, usually small, I hold it close to me because I’m unsure of myself.

The yellow circle is the worst and most uncomfortable of all of the pain, it indicates the area where the pain comes out once pressure is applied to the area, even slight pressure. It’s really hard not to put your arm down on a table or use it to support yourself when doing activities. Have I mentioned how hard it is to put on my running shoes with limited mobility? That elbow area is where I usually get the pain associated with that. Anytime I put pressure or increase pressure on that bone through activity, it hurts.

That’s the type of pain that actually sticks around for a bit. I’ve actually cancelled runs because the pain has become so bad I’ve taken to take an Ibuprofen, which is what I’m using for breakthrough pain.

What I’m not showing is my general mobility. My arm feels very stiff. I was warned around this. My doctor said normally when medical professionals treat these injuries, they put the arm in a sling for a couple weeks, then take it out so the patient can begin regular movement again. I’ve really struggled with that area.

Three weeks ago, I couldn’t lift my arm above my head. Even putting on a T-shirt was difficult. I couldn’t style my hair. I actually held off on dying my hair (I’m so gray without it, it’s ridiculous), for a couple weeks so my husband didn’t have to figure out how to help me. It’s not that bad now. In fact, I can lift my arm over my head, but it’s not a fluid motion.

So I’m getting better. It’s healing. But it’s happening fairly slow. I have an X-ray with my doctor’s visit on Friday. Then I’ll see just how my arm is doing.

Luck of the Irish comes into play at 10K


Last year at about this time, I was writing about how this same race didn’t go as well as I thought it would. I’ve never sure how to approach trail races. I used to spend more time running trails. As I started training for one marathon, then another and then another, I moved away from that more leisure-like activity.

I’m joking, of course. It’s not leisurely at all.

Trails mean business.

And this trail was no exception.

It includes 400 feet of climbing in the course of a mile. Then more climbing. The first climb is a series of switchbacks that wreak havoc of every bone in your body on the way up. The first down is a quad destroyer.

The Badger Cove trail isn’t even one of Brazen’s toughest.

Last year, I was over the top anxious about this 10K. On Saturday, I was mostly fine. My husband had to work, so I packed up my belongings and drove myself to Livermore’s Del Valle State Recreation Area. The drive was about 30-minutes. I parked, thanks to a pre-paid parking pass sent over days before via email by Brazen Racing, and headed over to the sign-in area.


There was a lot of green. I normally don’t take photos of people’s butts or backsides for that matter, but this kind of illustrated the sea of green that was everywhere along the trail.

I headed back to my car after using the portable toilet. I warmed up a little, but mostly just looked through my goodie bag. About thirty minutes beforehand, I decided to head back over to the start and use the real toilets, which were a little bit of a walk away.


I walked by as the half marathoners were preparing to head out, 25 minutes before the 10K group.

It was chilly, but manageable. I didn’t need a long-sleeve shirt. In fact, I wore one of my only green shirts, a Nike Dri-Fit Cotton one from the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in 2011. (Does that seem like a long time ago to anyone else? To me, lately, it does.)

It was a peaceful, beautiful morning in general.


That view right there? That’s the reason to do trail runs. You get to spend more than an hour looking at hills and beautiful bodies of water. Plus, Brazen doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for races so you can do so for a good price, with a lot of support. (You can also run the trails for just the price of parking for free, but the support is amazing to have.)

I lined up for the start at about 8:20 a.m.

I held my arm close to me. I was afraid of getting bumped. And right when I thought everything would be OK, a guy walked by me and hit my shoulder. It stung a little. I think if I hadn’t had been so chilled, I would have likely been more hurt by it.

At 8:25 a.m., we took off.

Mile 1: 10:41 — I was worried about my calves cramping, as they have done quite a bit lately. I tried to hold the speed down to not aggravate whatever problems I’m having with my legs. A little bit of an uphill in this mile, but mostly the distance served to take us from the paved park to the trails.

Mile 2: 11:36 — Mostly flat, some small hills. We start the single-track area around here, which always causes some slowdowns, especially when people start to walk on the uphills. No problems here, the surface is getting choppy.

Mile 3: 14:10 — This may seem like a ridiculous pace for a mile, but this one is all uphill. It’s a battle. Switchbacks. Panting. Craziness. And yet, I took about two minutes off my time on here last from last year. I just kept moving. I never wanted to give up. I just wanted to move and keep going. When I finished this mile I was so happy, if only because I knew I had knocked a significant amount of time off that mile from last year.

I started to think that maybe I could come in quicker than last year.

Mile 4: 12:31 — Beginning of the significant downhills here. Normally I’m a little less cautious when descending, but for this particular run I had decided that I was going to take it slow, very cautiously. If I fell, I had no way to really pick myself back up. If I fell and hurt my right arm, I’d really be in a mess. I kept it nice and slow heading down, and then cautious when the hills started again.

Mile 5: 14:05 — One significant uphill here. I noticed the time and was wondering how bad I was doing there. It turns out I wasn’t doing that bad. I ran a 16:05 on that mile last year. I was doing significantly better now. But I didn’t know that then.

This was also the point where I was heading down a hill an suddenly felt like I was losing control. I can’t describe it other that it was like knowing that I had to stop, but not having the breaks to do so. I was scared for a minute. I thought of myself flying straight into a bush or, worse, a tree. If the trail hadn’t had made a quick turn uphill, I thought I would have just flown down a hill. That uphill gave me back the control I had lost.

I stopped and walked for a couple minutes after that. I was kind of scared. And, at that point, my arm had tensed up so much that it really, really hurt.


Mile 6: 11:15 — We start coming down from the hills an back to the flat trail path. I start thinking I can possibly come in a little under. I’m not really paying attention to the exact time, but when I see how far under last year’s time (1:26:53) and I realized it had been an amazing run.

Mile .42: 4:02 — At that point, I really started to push. I don’t know why at that sudden spot I did, but I just wanted to be done. My legs were tired. My arm hurt.


Around the corner and into the finisher’s shoot, where I was handed my very colorful rainbow medal with a badger on it (see beginning of this post).

I walked through a tent area and turned around to see what I would consider a Brazen pot of gold.


All the medals! The rest of these were waiting for other finishers to claim. I thought it was kind of fitting.

My final time: 1:18:13

I can’t even begin to say how proud I am of that time. It’s probably my best trail-run showing to date. It kind of makes me want to sign up for more, but I have a couple marathons I need to finish before I can head back out for the views.

Why am I running better? I don’t know exactly. It could be both mental and physical reasons. I know that I feel a lot better since the gallbladder removal. I know that I no longer have nagging abdominal pain or discomfort when I run. But maybe it’s also because I’m running a lot lighter lately. Not as many worries. A lot more happiness.

There’s a lot of good at the end of my rainbow right now.


I keep surprising myself


This morning I woke up, calm, ready to head to Livermore and do my first official 10K in a full year. I didn’t believe it either when I realized, today, that the last time I ran a 10K was this same race, a year ago.

I’ve a couple shorter distances in that time, but I knew this was the first in a year when I opened the pocket on the water bottle and saw that I had the map from last’s year Badger Cove run tucked into it. I only use the bottle, a small Lululemon for Amphipod one, for 10Ks.

Last year I ran Badger Cover, with all it’s crazy elevation changes and switch backs in 1:26:41. I wasn’t too upset about my time for that one because I knew it would be tough. I also remember the nagging side pain I got during the greatest climb that caused me to keel over on the side of the trail and feel like I was dying.

We know now that was the gallbladder. This year, it’s gone.

And I’m better than I thought I could ever be, even with tired legs and a bit of a dehydration/potassium deficiency as of late. That’s why my calves have been hurting me so much lately. Three bottles of water yesterday and a potassium supplement and this morning I was good to go.

Today, I finished the Badger Cove 10K in 1:18:13, according to the results posted before I left.

When I left my house this morning, my arm felt more stiff than it had last night. I popped an Ibuprofen, for lack of not being able to find a Tylenol, and was out the door. It didn’t take the edge off. At the start line, a guy brushed by my left arm and made me cringe. I’m considering writing “I have a fractured arm” on my head.

But I started running. And I forgot about my arm. At least for most of the race.

I don’t know who this version of me is and what business she has earning two course PRs in less than a month, but something has lit a fire inside me. And I like it.

The best kind of break

I’ve decided that I need to be more upset, at least for five seconds or so, about my arm being fractured.

So here’s my boo-hoo rant: Seriously? Do I need one more problem? Isn’t 2013 already screwed up enough? Isn’t my training cycle for the San Luis Obispo Marathon already damaged enough? Wasn’t it enough my gallbladder had to be removed eight days into the year? WHY? WHY IS THIS ALL HAPPENING? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

End rant.

Now look at Beau.


I don’t know about you, but I can’t be mad or annoyed when I see his little face. Actually, he’s not that little. He’s 70-pounds of dog that likes to plop down on top of me when he thinks I’ve slept in too long. He’s a good alarm clock that way. Lately he hangs with me in my home office when I’m coding websites.

When I get frustrated I sometimes say “ahhhhhhh!” really loud. He just kind of gives me this concerned look. Or this is his “I want your food” look. I’m not really sure. But if I offer him a Peep, he takes it. And he loves it.

That was his face when I got home from my trek to a nearby town for my appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Today, I got lucky, though, I got to see a sports medicine doctor.

Cue divine moment in medical center when the receptionist said: “You’ll need to go down to the sports medicine department, your doctor is based there.”


Why was that so exciting? Because I’d get to talk to someone who “gets it.” I had a feeling this would be fine.

An assistant pulls me into the inner sanctum of sports medicine and takes my blood pressure, which I’m happy to report is much lower than it was two days ago. I also weigh a pound less, good considering I started a very strict diet at the beginning of the week.

Same questions: Where does it hurt? How did you fall?

“I was running. I turned around to say something to my friend Jennie. I went down. Hard. I couldn’t hear out of my right ear for a couple minutes. Everything went black for a little while,” I said.

What I didn’t say, but wanted to: “Oh yeah, that was two weeks ago. I walked around like this for nearly two weeks before seeking medical treatment. I’m not that stupid usually. Even my students made fun of me for being that stupid. And my husband. My husband hasn’t let up on me for this bit of stupidity.”

In the room, she prepped a small table. My first thought was that they’d already decided I needed a cast. Panic took hold of me. I’m running a 10K tomorrow! I can’t have a cast! NOOOOOOOOO!

I waited nervously.


Shaking my legs back and forth off the table like I did when I was younger at the doctor’s office.

There was a photo of the doctor in on his racing bike, wearing a number. He gets it, I kept thinking to myself. It will be OK.

When he came in, I recounted what happen and how stupid I was for not coming in sooner. He took measurements by degree of my left arm’s mobility. He compared them to my right arm.

Let’s just say this: If my right arm was operating at A-grade proficiency, my left arm would be getting a D. Maybe a D+ at best. Stupid failing arm.

Then he shocked me by saying something to the effect of “if you were to fracture a bone, this would be the best kind to have.” Apparently it’s also one that is easily missed. He showed me the X-ray. I didn’t see anything broken really. Just a faint black area on one film. Then a chip on another.

That stupid chip is what’s causing me so much pain?


He would have recommended a sling for a week when it happened. Now? No sling. No wrapping. No compression. I was stunned. For real? I finally got a break? (God, I hate puns.)


I have another appointment in three weeks where, as indicated above, I’ll get an X-ray on arrival and then proceed up to see the doctor. It’s still very much broken, but it’s one of those “it’s already healing” things too. That’s why it feels better and I can use it a lot more than I could a couple weeks ago.

When I threw the sling of agony in the backseat of my Jeep, I felt victorious. Then I tried to close my car door. And that hurt like hell.

Then I tried to open a store door while running errands. I probably shouldn’t do that either. There’s no sling or wrap, but the bone is still not 100 percent. It’s probably not even 50-percent fine.

I called my husband who said I was the “incredible healing woman” and then muttered something about being glad I was using our new health insurance so soon. The joke in our house is that I’m falling apart (as indicated by so many things lately), and he should trade me in for a new model. I told him we should have had one of those Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes agreements when we got married nearly five years ago. Something that said after five years he could exchange me if I started falling apart. I would have added on a clause saying the exchange would be tall, skinny and blonde. Because I care. I think I should have come with a warranty.

The best part about all of this? I didn’t have to prompt the doctor to ask if I could keep running. I had told him early in the appointment I was training for the SLO marathon.

He just told me I could.

“I was kind of doing that anyway,” I said.

He wasn’t even surprised. He didn’t turn away from writing my aftercare instructions.

See. He gets it.

‘Tell me where it hurts’

Remember when I was absolutely certain that I didn’t have a broken arm? It wasn’t swollen. It was starting to feel better. The advice nurse told me that it didn’t sound broken. To be fair, she also told me to follow up with a actual doctor’s appointment, but I didn’t bother for another week.

That appointment was today.

I had to twist my arm and basically show everyone “where it hurt” like I was a five years old and had a stomachache that wouldn’t go away. But in actuality, I kind of had to tell them a lot since it was so far after the fact.

I left the office thinking that it was exactly what everyone thought it was: a trauma-induced muscle strain.

At 6 p.m. my doctor told me and said it looked like there was a fracture.


I’m officially broken.

There’s supposedly a hairline fracture in there somewhere in my radial bone. I’m being referred to an orthopedic doctor in Stockton at some point in the next few days. (See what happens when I can’t use one of my arms? I have crazy hair. Just absolutely a mess crazy hair. This isn’t even as bad as it was two weeks ago when all of this first happened. My husband had to do my hair. I’ll let you imagine just what that looked like. It was bad.)

So I need to apply ice, wrap it for compression and wear a sling. Then the orthopedic doctor can decide what, if anything, we can do to fix me.

For the record, I’m tired of needing to be fixed. I’m still tired of doctors. Today’s visit was with my third primary-care physician in eight months. I’m not feeling as anxious about this insurance change as I thought I would (we switched to Kaiser coverage with my husband at the beginning of February after four-plus years with a PPO), but I’m still annoyed.

I’m thinking I’m not as apprehensive because I’ve approached the last three months of my life with a “rip off the Band-Aid” quick rule. Make a break. Get away. Be done. Move on. And it’s working, outside of the fact I keep hurting myself and ending up in doctor’s offices where I have to explain everything that’s happened to me since October.

I feel like I’m in a group therapy session: “Hi, my name is Tara and I fell apart in October to the point that I was having nightmares about my coworkers at my full-time job killing me at my desk. I also cried and hyperventilated every time I thought of walking into that place of employment. In January they fired me via email, then let me resign, after I tried to go back to work but apparently became a problem. I’d devoted more than a decade to that company. And yet, when it all went down, I was just glad I didn’t have to walk through those doors again. I’m better now. My life is fuller now. I run a lot more now. My husband says I’m happier. The whole episode made my mom cry. I never wanted to make my mom cry. Questions?”

I think that’s the first time I put that out on my blog. Again, rip the Band-Aid quickly.


In actuality, I’ve been off my anxiety medication since the moment I left that job. I haven’t had any issues with depression since then either. It’s taking a lot for me to write that, especially since there’s such a stigma around mental illness.

If I wasn’t better, I wouldn’t be making fun of it. If I wasn’t better, I wouldn’t be writing it.

Those who were supporting me feel as if it was limited to one particular place, over a period of time. If they knew then what they know now, a concerted effort would have been made to get me out of the situation I was in a lot sooner. I’m grateful for what I learned in the process of losing myself, then finding my way back, but it also made me very aware of the limited resources for dealing with these sorts of problems in my area.

Everybody tells you to “talk to someone.” No one tells you where to go next. It’s not like having a broken arm. You can’t splint it and send a patient on their way.

For months instead of telling someone where it hurt, I was telling someone (an incredibly good therapist) about all the stupid little things that scared me. For two weeks, I couldn’t even put gas in my car because I was so overwhelmed by the motions involved in it. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted anymore. The nightmares were the worst. They manifested as terrors, feeling so real I was afraid to go to bed. When I went back to work the people who were in those nightmares were literally sitting right on top of me.

“This will make you a stronger person,” my running buddy and good friend Jennie once said to me. “Things like this happen for a reason.”

It has. It’s also made me very aware of the signs when someone is falling apart at the seams. I was falling apart. For months. There were people who saw me everyday, my family included, who could have helped. No one knew what to do. I needed an intervention. Instead, I had a breakdown.

I won’t even start on the fact that after four years and multiple emergency room visits it was only this year my medical providers caught my very sick, very angry gallbladder and removed it.

After all that, can you imagine how I feel about doctor’s offices?

But today went fine.

I got in. I had an X-ray. I went back to see the doctor. She prescribed me some extra-strength Ibuprofen. I filled out paperwork to transfer my oodles of medical records from as of late. Then I went home…only to get the call as I was getting dressed to run, all full of myself for NOT having a broken arm and being stupid enough to walk around with it for nearly two weeks.

That’s karma folks. It bites you right in the butt all the time.

I wanted to be upset, but I’m kind of just rolling with it.

Today, when the doctor’s assistant brought me back she told he she had to put me in the “vibrating room.” I looked at her suspiciously. But she was serious. The room sits above the engine room on the first floor. I would have shot video of everything vibrating, all the medical tools and what not, but I kept thinking the doctor would come in.

I did get this gem:


I imagined how many people thought of being a superhero when they saw this drawer. I laughed, out loud, in the vibrating room while thinking about it.

I didn’t know my arm was broken when I left, but I still felt as if everything in the world was set right again after a good visit with the doctor. Even after getting the call and email from my new primary-care physician, I realized it could be a hell of a lot worse.


I’m rejoicing today because, unlike some things, a broken arm can so easily be fixed.