Sunday, October 4, 2009

6 Months and a Lifetime

It is Sunday and I just did two slow walk/jog miles on the treadmill. I had not run a step and walked very little in my prosthesis all week; I tried to leave the leg off as much as possible at work to give the blister plenty of air to stay dry and heal. Every time I put on my leg, it would suck a tiny bit of blood from where the blister was healing and I was afraid I'd make things worse by trying to run with it in this condition.

This morning with Jennifer out doing an 11 mile run in preparation for her half marathon; I couldn't stand it any longer. I used a Band-Aid blister block cushion over my blister site; I also have some similar but differently shaped CVS brand blister bandages. These do work well, I have used them in the past but none hold up well to long distance running as they tend to peel off under heavy sweat and friction. Last Sunday the CVS block came off around mile 4 of my walk/run in the pool of sweat in my liner.

I am very glad I will be able to put this meager 2 miles in my run log this week so I won't have a shutout. I'm equally glad the leg tolerated this short run and didn't show any additional irritation. With our first races coming up next month and I have to be able to do some minimal training to go the distance.


I was going to call Dr. Ohlson to get a prescription for Drysol - a high octane antiperspirant - but it is available on Amazon so I ordered a small size to try out. This will go on my leg and should stop if from perspiring. Downside is it has a burning sensation when you first put it on, particularly the first few times you use it. CertainDri did this so at least I know what to expect. I hope it works as well as I've heard. Never have so few worried about perspiration so much.


Speaking of sweaty equity, last week I contacted Comfort Products, Inc. about a sheath that you wear next to the skin under the liner. It has silver strands that are suppose to help keep the leg cooler in summer and warmer in winter. I have some running shorts with this technology but I can't say I felt much like a polar bear in the SC heat. One runner said it helped him run up to 10 miles without a sweat problem so I figured I would try it out.

I talked to Jennifer Fayter of Comfort and she is going to send me a free sample. We had a nice chat; she was very interested in hearing my needs and sent my email along to Matt Perkins of Coyote Design. Matt is the current and four time above the knee world triathlon champion! Impressive credentials indeed. Matt, in so many words, told me to be patient. With all the socks I am wearing at times now my leg is bound to overheat. Once I get to my definitive socket and the leg shrinking as more or less stabilized, the sweating should diminish by an order of magnitude or so.

This was great to hear. I still know sweat is going to be a major problem in my prosthesis, but I feel I am making some progress in learning how to manage it. I still think there must be a real and permanent solution to this problem and hope to find it.


This week I sent a couple of small donations to the Achilles Track Club and Limbs For Life Foundation. Both of these organizations helped me during my amputation and recovery. If you can help them, perhaps during the holidays, would you please consider a donation? A single dollar might be the last dollar someone needs to obtain a prosthesis and walk again. You can be the person who raised someone from a bed to standing, walking, or running again.

Be that person.


Last night I was reading Scott Rigsby's book "Unthinkable" when I read he used a hyperbaric chamber to aid in recovery after the ING Georgia marathon. His post race injuries were way more egregious than my little blister, but the effect is the same; he would not be able to participate in his first Ironman if his legs didn't heal quickly, and I can't run at all. Scott found his legs healed in five days and looked better than ever. I have contacted a local hyperbaric chamber facility and am going to look into services they may offer that can help me in the upcoming years. If I can cut this blister's healing time in half it would be a huge plus for my training.


After my one-mile continuous run last weekend I had a huge outpouring of love and support from my friends and family. It's hard to describe the emotion I felt...damn close to sheer joy. Many times the thought goes through my mind about how I will feel at my first races; I just hope I can keep it together at the end. I hope I don't embarrass myself.

But if I be it.


My 6-month post-op anniversary was last Tuesday. This journey seems longer at times, as if it has consumed my past as it launched me into a new life as an amputee. I never mistake my loss as anything other than what it is, an unfortunate incident. Others face far greater adversity; their very lives are on the line. For them I stand in awe, for them I give my belief that as long as you hold breath, you keep climbing, if not in body then in spirit. There is an eternity we face.

Facing it with the frailty of the mortal part and never giving up, never quitting is the very face of that eternity.

Climb, my friends, climb.

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