summer of healing: year 3

My ankles are burning.

How’s that for an opening statement?

I think that’s due to the biking I did this week, in addition to my usual workouts of pilates, yoga, and Zumba Toning. I’m not too worried. I had 16 needles in at my recent acupuncture appointment and still feel that there’s some inflammation, but overall my tendonitis (and whatever the hell else was the source of so much angst and pain between 2013-2016) has improved. Don’t ask me to run or jump, but I can take stairs, up and down, like a normal person rather than one at a time or sideways, and I don’t have to be driven right up to doors while someone else parks the car and meets me later.

I’m way more independent and the pinnacle of this independence was a solo trip to London in April for the Pet Shop Boys’ Teenage Cancer Trust gig.

While I kept these “Tips for Traveling with Chronic Pain” in mind for the first few days, the more I walked around and felt no lingering aches and pains, the more I did each day. Being able to sit on the train or at the theatre in between walking to events helped too. Oh, and the cider, I guess!

First #cider of the trip! #london🇬🇧 #travel 💄

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[NOTE: I totally forgot pubs close at 11pm, so I never had the chance to have more than a couple pints!]

The PSB show was unbelievable, and I met some fabulous UK Petheads that I’ve been keeping in touch with on Facebook. I cannot wait to have another adventure like this soon; however, this summer I’m sticking close to home and working on the research projects I mentioned in my previous post. I’ve really enjoyed reading scholarship again, but need to get more words on the page and get in the habit of doing that everyday. I think a couple of things will be completed before the 4th of July, so that will give me some time to focus on the book-length project, even though I’m still trying to decide how to frame that. My original plan was a “then/now” since there’s a lot that can be said about New Orleanians’ tech use for civic purposes since Katrina, but I think I need to trim the “then” and concentrate on the “now” issues, e.g. crime, education, gentrification, and local politics. Ugh, even that sounds like too much!

Anyway, to return to the title of this post, my schedule for pretty much all of 2017 has been working out in the morning and then dedicating afternoons/evenings to academic pursuits. For June at least I’m able to teach a second Zumba Toning class, and here are a couple of the routines I’ve added:

This one I haven’t modified at all, except for the stomping/side twist move near the end.

In this one, I’ve found that I am still having trouble with single-leg balancing, so I’ve either kept the foot on the ground or changed up the footwork to keep my ankles happy.

This #scholarinspandex has to play it safe!


Happy in Harvey Hall

FB words

See that big “happy” in the center? I had no idea that would show up as one of my most used words. Unless this goofy word generator thing took into account all the “Happy Birthday” posts I received last month?

But what’s funny is that all weekend I had planned to write a blog post about how happy I’ve been. Want to know the main reason? I was told, based on x-rays, that the bones in my right foot looked like that of an 80-year-old woman!

Yeah, that’s right. The tendons are fine, which I have heard before, but the x-rays showed clear signs of osteopenia. Given how sensitive to touch my ankles still are, it could also be complex regional pain syndrome. Don’t be freaked out by the info on those pages though because the treatment is pretty much everything I’ve been doing already. Even if I never fully regain the former folk dancer spring in my step, if I keep strengthening my muscles and weight-bearing, I’ll maintain what I have.

And something about knowing I’m not one step away from tearing a tendon has totally liberated me! I’m already much more active and independent. I’m kicking ass in both my Pilates and Zumba Toning classes, and hope to finally drop a few of the pounds I picked up during my inactive time.

So that, coupled with a new office in a beautifully renovated historic building, has made the start to this new school year amazing!

Here’s an older video that shows a bit more of the process:

And here’s the view from my new office:

summer view

My online classes are going well and my in-person Digital Humanities class has 11 very smart and creative students in it. Speaking of DH, here’s the finished product of the Harvey Hall game.

My program director work is keeping me busy but that’s to be expected. And in one week I should find out if I’ve been awarded a sabbatical.

My 10-min presentation last week went very well, so here’s hoping I’m ranked high enough to earn one of the seven they’re funding this year. Last year it was half of that, so I’m optimistic. And after a couple of years of very low morale on campus and my personal chronic pain depression, that’s major.

Gonna finish 2016 like a boss!


summer of healing redux

Happy belated 4th of July!

Since my last blog post, things have improved with my ankles, although I wouldn’t say I’m operating at 100%. In fact, thanks to my Vivosmart band I know that I’ve upped my daily steps from 4k to 6k. If I ever hit more than that, it’s from steps earned in the pool. And that’s OK. One day I’ll get to 10k! The last round of physical therapy had me doing leg presses and a lot more balance moves. And I FINALLY gained some calf muscle back!

Another thing that’s helped–besides warmer temps–is the Tiger Tail.

[I don’t have any pics of me with it, but maybe I’ll edit this post to include one].

Ragnar Cape Cod #RagnarRelays #TigerTailUSA

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In fact, I’m kind of annoyed that my physical therapists never told me about it. I kept saying [remember I’m nearly 3 years into this pain] how difficult it was to use my big foam roller to work my legs, but no one ever suggested it. I can tell already that it’s saving me, both in terms of recovery time after more active days and in money that I’d typically spend on massage or acupuncture appointments. Score!

So overall, I’m in a much more positive place with my recovery. I’m standing more in Zumba, but still have a chair nearby in case I need to take a break from the weight-bearing. But that’s rare. I’m even adding new songs that I would’ve been too scared and weak to do before. Here’s one:

[OK I don’t do that jumping jack move, but it feels AMAZING to be salsa-ing again]!

I’m also teaching mat pilates every Monday, which has been a fun addition to my schedule. Aquacize and Aqua Zumba are still happening too, so I’m keeping busy.

And in 10 days we leave for Australia! Here’s a pic from the last day of our 2014 trip, taken in the Cairns mall:


I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was slightly worried about the long travel day and not having access to my chiropractor and acupuncturist, but I’m making plans and packing my compression socks and epsom salts. And the Tiger Tail!

Another post to come this weekend about my academic pursuits. Here’s a quick preview:

  • sabbatical application
  • course proposals
  • research agenda [FANDOM FOCUS!]
  • program director woes

tomayto tomahto tendonitis tendonosis

And the beat goes on… with the feet not improving much

Since a rheumatologist ruled out arthritis and fibromyalgia in February, my podiatrist [4th one I’ve seen] thinks my flat feet are the root cause [a mechanical issue] despite my wearing custom orthotics and living a life of limited activity. According to last year’s MRI, there’s not much in terms of inflammation, no tears, and no thickening of the tendons, which would change things from tendonitis to tendonosis. But given what’s described below, I really think this is term I should be using:

Symptoms can vary from an ache or pain and stiffness to the local area of the tendon, or a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the affected tendon. With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and after activity, and the tendon and joint area can become stiffer the following day as swelling impinges on the movement of the tendon. Many patients report stressful situations in their life in correlation with the beginnings of pain, which may contribute to the symptoms.

Swelling in a region of micro damage or partial tear may be detected visually or by touch.

Yet I managed to get another order of physical therapy, and the therapist says that no matter tendonitis or tendonosis the treatment plan would be the same, so this time I’m focusing on calf raises and hip strength. I’ll be honest, though: I don’t see myself ever returning to all the activities I used to do, not even walking. If the tendons haven’t healed by this point…and since all the docs I see are puzzled by how long it’s taking…. Ugh. I just want a pain-free life.

I know I’m repeating myself, but while I’ve been in a good mental place about a “new normal” in 2016, my recent trip to Seattle for a conference [which will get its own post because it was awesome] made me see how limited I really am when it comes to travel. I’m not sure why, other than a beat up pair of Keen boots that perhaps didn’t offer enough support, but I had a major flare up on my travel day and that made me anxious during the entire 6-day trip. Even with my husband traveling with me and knowing I could take an Uber wherever I wanted, the burning ankles drove me crazy since I hadn’t had that sensation in a few months. It’s also feeling like shin splints, and when it hurts more in my strong foot, leftie, I really start to freak out.

I don’t think anyone can really understand how chronic pain feels unless they have it. We’ve all had an injury or two happen, but this is something that I’ve been dealing with since September 2013.

Think about that.

Nearly 3 years.

Every day I have to put shoes on before I can take one step. Every day I count how many steps I’m taking to make sure I don’t over do it. Every day I need to plan out when I can stretch or eat so I can take my meds and supplements. And I’m not exaggerating when I say every week this year I’ve had some sort of doctor, PT, acupuncture, or chiropractor appointment.

All of that takes time and is mentally exhausting. Even though I know I should “rock what I got,” I can’t help but notice people moving in ways I can’t. Yes, I can typically get through my day with only minor aches and pains [although that’s because I hardly do anything weight-bearing if I don’t have to]. Yes, I have a renewed focus on my academic research agenda and I happily continue to teach Zumba Toning from a chair, but I can’t help but ask, Why won’t my feet heal? Other people with flat feet go about their lives. Why are mine so different?

I don’t know what this is, but I want one! Better yet, turn me into Gazelle from Kingsman: Secret Service!

Blogging about this, of course, helps, and I recently read about the chronic illness support network Suffering the Silence in “The Social Media Cure”:

Social networks “offer opportunities for people without pain to better understand the experience of having pain,” but they also offer chronically ill people the chance to convene with others who understand what they’re going through. They offer relief, if not from the symptoms of pain, then from the burden of explanation. (emphasis mine)

That final line says it all, and might be why my trip to Seattle was so problematic. I had some time to see friends I hadn’t seen in about a year and I know they noticed my lack of progress. Worst of all, some remarked, “You’re still dealing with this?”

With that, I need to end this post. I’m not angry at anyone, and if I weren’t experiencing chronic pain I probably wouldn’t comprehend it either, but I just wanted to give everyone an update.

Given my “day job” as an internet researcher, I know I’ll spend some time looking at the #spoonies, #invisibledisability and #sufferingthesilence hashtags.

P.S. If anyone with SAGE database access can get me full text of The thing about pain: The remaking of illness narratives in chronic pain expressions on social media,” I’d be forever grateful!


hang in there

To keep it short and simple, yes, I’m still dealing with foot pain.

If I had written this post before the Winter Break, it would have been much more negative and anxiety-ridden. My thoughts were consumed with how I would get through the holidays, both physically since there was travel, and mentally, since I knew I’d have to explain my limited mobility to friends who might have read this blog but didn’t realize how slow I have to walk.

Things were going well in October, but then I had another flare up, even though nothing in my routine changed. But I saw my doctor, kept up with the acupuncture, replaced ibuprofen with Chinese herb supplement, turmeric, and b-12, and I’m holding steady.

I’m also “hanging in there” and waiting for an appointment with a rheumatologist. When things get really bad, I feel burning in both ankles, so we need to see if there’s an arthritic issue or something causing joint pain that hasn’t been detected on the x-rays and MRIs. While I’d love some sort of diagnosis and directive for how to proceed, here’s hoping he doesn’t detect anything and it’s just a very long recovery period for my tendinitis. My podiatrist seems to think that can’t be the case since structurally there’s very little wrong with my foot and I have good range of motion, but I truly don’t know what to think anymore. Given that it’s a new year, I’m focusing only on living as pain-free a life as I can. If that means walking slowly and sitting more than standing, so be it.

Speaking of sitting, I’m still teaching Zumba Toning at the gym while seated in a chair and everyone loves it. They say it’s been very easy to follow, and I have another student [who also has gone through Zumba training] up on stage with me showing off the footwork. We’ll be doing a variation of this ab routine tomorrow so stop by!


My #NerdConStories Story


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I’m trying to remember how I first heard about NerdCon, and I think it was via a visit to Rainbow Rowell’s website in late April. I had just read Fangirl and wanted to see what else she had coming out and if she would be on a book tour doing signings. (I was also only a few weeks into my time in that godawful boot cast, so reading and coloring were major stress relievers. Still are, but that’s for a separate post.)

Fast forward to the big weekend, which far surpassed any expectations. Actually, I don’t know if I had any expectations other than hearing smart people talk about cool stuff. And getting my Rainbow Rowell books signed:

Thank you @rainbowrowellbooks! #nerdconstories #fangirl #meta

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❤️ @rainbowrowellbooks #fangirl #nerdconstories #40

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She’s awesome and I got to tell her how Fangirl inspired me to propose a course on fandom/fan creations/participatory media. But this isn’t a post about that. Believe me, I’ll update you with those specifics once they are written down in complete sentences. Right now I just have a stack of books, a folder with sample syllabi, and a padlet of ideas.

Like I said, I didn’t really go in to NerdCon with specific expectations, but each and every minute in that MSP Convention Center was beyond wonderful:

  • Podcasters, vloggers, artists, and writers, all of whom are fans of the other podcasters, vloggers, artists, and writers there, spoke about why stories matter, the roles of the creators, the different things communities of fans can do, and the need for safe spaces to discuss this kind of stuff.
  • Hilarious things happened: juvenilia, games, mock debates, musical performances.
  • Celebrated authors like John Green, Pat Rothfuss, Rainbow Rowell, Dessa Darling, and Téa Obreht shared their feelings about writing and the other stuff that comes along once your writing takes off. It’s usually good stuff, but there’s tons of bad advice and frustration too. At one point I felt they needed this panel more than we did!

But I NEEDED this weekend too, and that’s what was most unexpected.

It wasn’t the usual academic mumbo-jumbo with which I surround myself. As a tenured professor of English, I obviously love the academic side of things, but this year has been A BEAST. Personally (cue the chronic pain) and professionally (thanks for nothing, Gov. Walker), it’s all I can do to get through the day. Last week, I sketched out my schedule for the week and even wrote down what hour I knew I’d be home so I could turn my brain off and pause the performance that is Dr. Daisy.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching and I’ve got a great group of students this Fall, but sadly I don’t get to spend a lot of time focused on them. I’m in depressing meetings about budget cuts, writing reports to defend the stuff we need, or trying to navigate the wreckage of mistakenly sent emails since a ton of staff have either switched jobs or took the early retirement deal.

I NEEDED this weekend to remind me that smart people who like to read and write and live-tweet exist. I know I have people in my life and on my campus who also like to do those things, but I needed to be literally surrounded by 3,000 strangers who like those things to remember how great that feels. And that all our stories matter.

However, one of those 3,000 people wasn’t a stranger. She was my Digital Humanities student, Sara. I didn’t see her until the very end of yesterday’s events, but I kept up with her tweets all weekend. This one links to her blog post, “What it Feels Like to Be in Your Element,” and the paragraph below totally inspired me to write this post today:

I go to college and I often get wrapped up in the stress (so much stress) that comes with it, like money and classes and decisions about the FUTURE. But being here at Nerdcon, I’m in such a good mental environment. I’m with my people, and it’s the best mini vacation I could have asked for. I’m seeing my heroes discuss topics that resonate so deeply with me, and I feel so light and great. I’m writing this post to remember that feeling and hopefully find a way to reach it again when I’m stressed in the future.

On Sundays like this I can easily slip into a routine of laundry, house cleaning, and Netflix, which invariably leaves this blog neglected. Today, though, my eyes have not left this laptop screen and it’s been all good. I’ve gained some new followers on Twitter, found some great resources for my PCA roundtable on “Shame, Gender, and Cultural Capital: The Problems of Reading and Writing Fan Fiction” like “Why must we hate the things teen girls love?” and “Mental Health Awareness Week 2015: How to Use Your Fangirl Powers to Practice Self-Care,” and have started a Storify to recap my favorite moments from NerdCon. When I’m done with that, I’ll post it here, but right now I’m going to log off and read a book.


the big 4-ohhhh and the #summerofhealing continues into fall

#bday #bdaygirl #40 #fabulous #kc Best friends ever!

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Since my last #summerofhealing post, I’ve had 4 physical therapy appointments and 3 acupuncture sessions and taken 16 pilates classes, 9 aqua zumba classes, and 15 aquacize classes. Oh, and I turned 40!

#40 #fabulous #bdaygirl #kc

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My final PT appointment was August 10th and I felt I was on a steady incline with healing. I had a routine and was diligently doing my exercises. The past couple weeks, however, despite that routine remaining the same, the aches and pains have returned. Nothing too major, but enough discomfort to get me upset. Even though my PT’s final words of wisdom were, “Just remember, it’s never as bad as you think, but it’s also never as good as you think,” I’ve been focusing on the negative and wondering if I’ll ever walk normally again. That’s all I want!

I try to convince myself that the aches might be my muscles waking up since my right calf is still obviously skinnier than the left, but then I remember that extra bone and think that it, along with my overused tendons, just keep aggravating each other and will continue to do so for the rest of  life unless I get surgery. That might be the worst case scenario. It might not. At a few of the acupuncture appointments it’s become clear that my awkward walking to “save” one tendon is annoying another. I am moving a lot faster than I was in July, but once again I’m at that crossroads of:  Do I need to stay off my feet all together or “use it before I lose it”?


Way back when this foot pain started, I kept saying to doctors and anyone who would listen, “I just want to be dancing for my 40th bday in September.” Well, on Sunday I did go to a very fun club in Kansas City called FunkyTown, but I sat for most of the night. And my legs from the knee down were throbbing the next day. Thank goodness for my friend’s saltwater pool! And Biofreeze!

Biofreeze To GoNow the semester has started, so I’ll have less time to rest. While I tried to stay seated while I taught my classes today, I inevitably ended up walking around the classroom to talk to students. I find it ridiculous to NOT do that, and I hate thinking of myself as limited, but it seems I will need to in order to play it safe.

I have a doctor’s appointment next week where I hope to get more information and a timeline for how long it takes to gain that muscle back.

Wish me luck!


summer of healing: good days and bad days

OK, so now it’s time for the nitty gritty. (Although I’ve FINALLY had a steady stream of good days, so this post probably won’t capture the true angst I feel on bad days. I know that’s a good thing, but if I do have a bad day I’ll be sure to update this post then!)

Everything you’ve read in my previous two posts is probably easy for you to understand. She has pain, she goes to the doctor, she’s doing physical therapy, and things are on the mend. Well, that’s not the everyday drama/trauma of this “injury.”

You don’t know how badly I wish I could say, “I did ____ and broke/tore ____, which typically takes __ amount of time to heal.”

But since tendonitis is caused by overuse, it took almost a year to get to that breaking point of not being able to walk. I had a slight limp, but I could get around well enough. I was never told to stop teaching Zumba, so I kept at it because it felt good to stick to my routine.

And even though my 3-week trip to Australia last summer wasn’t as carefree as the 2013 one to Greece, I was still able to carry my backpack all over Darwin and Queensland. These days, I can’t even take a trip to the grocery store. (Yes, I’m driving one of those scooters, but you’ll never see a picture of that!)

This article “16 Things People in Chronic Pain Want You to Know” captures everything I’m going through (except #7 since I’m fortunate enough to have a job and health insurance) but I’ll just highlight a few:

  • Numbers 1 and 8 can be combined for me. During the Spring semester I didn’t have too many early morning meetings, but if I did, it took everything in me to get up and get out of bed. Actually even today I waited until the absolute last second possible to get out of bed because I constantly worry about what those first few steps will feel like. Those steps usually determine whether or not I will have a good or bad day. But returning to number 1, I can tell you that I definitely spent way more time on makeup than usual. Since I don’t have to be on campus very much this summer, this is what totally defines this my #summerofhealing! I have much more time to heal, mentally and physically, and can even explore different workout options like aquacise and pilates. On bad days, as recent as three weeks ago, it probably took me an hour to stop crying and “glue myself back together” as Audrey Hepburn says in Breakfast at Tiffanys. Anyone who saw me that day was given a performance. I can guarantee that the second I was back in my car or back home that I was a weeping mess again, so much so that I denied myself pain-relieving appointments (either chiropractor or acupuncturist) because I knew I wouldn’t be able to answer questions as simple as, “What brings you in today?” or worse, “Got any fun weekend plans?” without sobbing.
    • Why do I cry? Most of the time it isn’t necessarily pain related, but the fear that I’ll never walk normally again. Which in turn means I’ll never travel the way I used to again. I just traveled to northern Wisconsin and got really depressed that instead of camping we were in a hotel and driving everywhere instead of walking around town, not even just the few blocks of their main street. Over the past few months I’ve come to terms with never teaching Zumba again, but if I can’t travel, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I know there are plenty of accessible places I can go, but I’m not ready to think about that just yet.
    • When do I cry? Mainly when both feet hurt. While the trouble these two years has been my right foot, my left foot has been displaying (on and off) the same symptoms since I tried out those damn rigid orthotics last September. The new inserts are better, but I’m still breaking them in, which will take about a month. I live in fear of these hurting more than helping, especially since I now know about that accessory navicular, but I’ll see how things go for the rest of the summer. Still, this week leftie was bugging me so much that at yesterday’s PT appointment we did Graston on that foot more than my right, and we iced both.
  • Number 10. Once again, I feel the #summerofhealing is going so well because I don’t have many in-person obligations, professional or social. I have been working and teaching online about 4-6 hours every day (more earlier in June when I was enrolled in the Quality Matters course which deserves its own post), but I can sit, ice, stretch, etc. at the same time! When it comes to social outings, I’ve always enjoyed “Daisy by herself days,” and because I don’t like to talk academic/campus stuff much, I’ve said “no” to colleague invites every summer! This is actually why I fell in love with teaching Zumba and Yoga at the gym–a whole new community of people I could spend time with, with no discussion of promotion, tenure, publications, etc. This summer, because I can’t walk very far, I’m only saying “yes” to events at people’s houses or to new workouts. I joked yesterday that my #summerofhealing was turning into a full-time job because I had pilates in the morning, therapy in the afternoon, and aqua zumba in the evening. Needless to say, I slept well!
    • Related to the pie-chart in #10, I’ve noticed the way I pack for short trips has changed dramatically as well. I’m now carrying extra sets of shoes, ice packs, prescription naproxen, Tiger Balm and Biofreeze, a foot roller, compression socks, and Epsom Salts. I’ll try to take a pic of this crazy collection before our next road trip!

All in all, I think it is safe to say that I now know what chronic pain is, I wouldn’t wish it on even my worst enemy. (Well, maybe this guy, but that’s another story.)


summer of healing: procedures

As my previous post mentioned, this tendonitis issue has been around since the summer of 2013. That June I took an amazing trip to Greece and after a very long hiking day on Kea I decided to abandon my muddied up Nikes. I wore flip flops for the rest of the trip and didn’t have a care in the world, as you can see from the picture below.

If I knew then what I know now…


Before I get into the emotions associated with chronic pain, which it looks like will have to be a post of its own, I’ve decided to include some pics from the past few months to document what my medical visits look like:

1. Ten weeks ago I put on the boot cast. Only this week can I say that I see a future without it (depending on how long the walk is.) My physical therapist suggested weaning myself off it by not wearing it in the house and that’s been working. I also found out last weekend that when I do go back into the boot for longer periods of time, my foot gets very annoyed.


2. This will be round 4 of Physical Therapy for me. The first three included strengthening exercises and iontophoresis patches, but now that I’ve reduced the inflammation thanks to the bootcast, we have to focus on returning to weight-bearing movements and building up the calf muscle I lost. I’ve been in the pool for aquatic therapy for the past 3 weeks, which has coincided nicely with the Mayo Clinic’s summer offering of Aqua Zumba. All the pool time has been great and, I have to say, having the time to do this over summer break has re-energized me. During the semester it was tough coordinating my teaching, administrative duties, service, and research with various doctor’s visits; hence, the #summerofhealing.


Got Graston? #tendonitis #summerofhealing

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Ultrasound Friday #tendonitis #summerofhealing

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3. Custom orthotics are supposed to be the best for issues like mine and last longer than over-the-counter ones, even though they take some time to break in. Here’s a pic of the plaster fitting I had in May. Powersteps worked for me in the meantime, especially since my new doctor took one look at the first custom pair I had and remarked that other than cockroaches they would be the only things to survive a nuclear holocaust. (Again, booooooooo first doctor for recommending those rigid torture devices!)

orthotics take 2


I received the softer and gentler finished product in the mail last week and just wore them for a few hours today. So far, so good.


So what’s the prognosis? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m doing all the right things. I’m resting whenever possible, which means saying “no” to lots of social things, and doing all my exercises religiously. I hope and pray to return to campus in September walking normally and not having to explain why I take the stairs sideways (ala an old Hollywood musical) or one at a time.

The best outcome would be for me to be able to say in a few years, “Remember that time my tendons hated me and I couldn’t walk? God, that sucked. Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that anymore!”

I’m cautiously optimistic about that, but a girl can dream…


summer of healing: background

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll see a number of my recent posts hashtagged “#summerofhealing.”

As I’ve blogged here before, over the past couple years my long history as a ballet and folk dancer and more recent work as a Zumba Fitness instructor caught up with me and posterior tibial tendonitis has taken over my life. And that is not an exaggeration. There were times of relief, and I even traveled to Australia last year, but once I was back from that trip ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. I had been fitted for some rigid custom orthotics and those ended up hurting rather than helping, likely because of an extra bone or “accessory navicular” I have.


Look at me! I’m causing you all sorts of trouble!

Since September, I’ve slowed down in e-v-e-r-y w-a-y possible. I stopped teaching at the gym and pretty much stay home whenever I can. I did travel for a quick conference in Denver, to NOLA at Christmas, and recently to Florida to visit a friend, but none of these trips (purposefully) included much walking. In fact, I’ll only consider myself healed when I can go to New York and walk the streets of Manhattan in search of bagels! More in a separate post on how this chronic pain has changed my everyday routine, but first I want to give you a brief rundown about what I’ve learned:

  1. Find a good doctor. Not one whose visits last less than 15-minutes and who doesn’t even touch your foot or ask you to stand or walk. I put up with one guy for longer than I should have, likely because I was scared of bad news. So while the “no news” and tests to eliminate other causes/issues seemed like moves in the right direction, I wasted valuable months of healing time. For example, once we did get an MRI done last November, which showed some fluid in the ankle and inflammation, I should have been put in a bootcast, but I wasn’t until this April when a second MRI proved that fluid was still there and that there was no tendon tear or degeneration. It could have been the #winterofhealing, but instead, here we are.
  2. Get a second opinion. Now this seems obvious, but it was only after talking to friends and family that I started looking for someone else, someone who specialized in sports and dance injuries. Getting appointments with these folks took some time and at one point I had a long 2 months of waiting between appointments, but once I did see them and started to get answers, I knew I could put a recovery plan in motion. In fact, while the aforementioned first doctor interpreted the MRI as “your tendon is fine,” the two new ones (separate practices in separate states) both agreed that the tendon sheath was inflamed. That alone, a name to the problem, put my mind at ease, although it’s still a long road to normal activity.
  3. Try new methods of healing. Other than rest, icing, compression socks, elevation, and ibuprofen (also known as Pills+RICE), I now own a foam roller, a foot roller, tons of Epsom Salts, and have been to countless acupuncture, massage, & ultrasound appointments. Even though there’s no magic fix, these methods have helped me on a day-to-day basis, even if just to get the blood flowing. I know I’ve been so scared of pain or reinjury that at times I freeze and don’t move at all, but that only makes things worse.
  4. Foot pain is the worst! Well, anyone experiencing any kind of pain will say that about their condition, but I truly feel foot pain is the worst because you can’t get anywhere quickly. (Hell, only now am I beginning to feel comfortable standing whereas last year at this time I was teaching 3 yoga classes a week!) Unless you’ve been put in a cast or wheelchair, the feet never truly get a chance to rest. As a professor, I like to walk around the classroom, but this Spring I sat A LOT, although my students totally understood. I was spoiled in having to only be in one building this semester, with a husband to drop me off right at its front door, but going from a super active lifestyle to making decisions based on how many steps I have to take has been eye-opening.

With that final statement, my next few posts will reflect more on the ups and downs of chronic pain, but I hope you’ve learned a little about what my year has been like.