“You have a stress fracture in one of your vertebrae.”
I’m staring at the X-rays of my back hanging from a lighted metal box on the wall. My ears are buzzing. What did he just say? A stress fracture? What does that even mean? I look back and forth from the wall to the doctor’s face and back again. My bones are so pretty. All lined up in a perfect row. And broken.
-“So, can I run?”
-“No. No running of any kind. No high impact sports. No jumping. No pounding of any kind.”
Gulp. No running. Now you’ve done it Ugly Duckling. How did you fracture your spine anyway?
For a few months now, I’ve been having all kinds of back pain, headaches and hip pain. Every time I ran during training, I was in a lot of pain. Subsequently, I would limp for about a week or two because I couldn’t bear putting any weight on my hip, or else pain would inevitably follow. So I decided it was time to reach out to an expert and find out what was wrong with me.
As I sat in the doctors office, occasionally walking back and forth from the x-ray room – they took at least 7 images from my back – I couldn’t imagine he would say something was wrong. I was already envisioning starting my training for the two races I’ve signed up and paid for in October. I even heard him say in my head “you’re fine, you have nothing to worry about”. But when he blurted out the words fracture and vertebrae in one sentence, something hit me in the gut.
I can’t run. I can’t do the only thing I’ve been fighting so hard for. What else are they going to take away from me? Doughnuts?
So, now I’m looking at – at least – three weeks of therapy, an MRI, a possible herniated disc and God only knows what else. So what? Therapy? Bring it. I don’t care what it takes, I want to lace up my shoes again, safety pin the bib to my shirt, wrap my bandana around my head and pound that pavement. I will look at the Finish line in the face again, and tell it: You’re mine bitch!