Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Saga of the Toenail


I've had this ongoing....issue.  With my toenail.  For, um, years now.  The fourth toenail on my left foot is...thick.  And it looks like there's something underneath it.  And while it never looked like any fungus I've ever seen, I couldn't imagine what else it could be.  Oddly, it resolved when I was pregnant with Grace, then returned with a vengeance after she was born.  Resolved a liiiitle bit when I was pregnant with Katie, again returned with a vengeance after she was born.  This makes ZERO immunologic sense, as you are immunosuppressed when pregnant and then have a surge of immunity following childbirth.  (This is why pregnant women always have colds.) (This is also documented by people with autoimmune disease, who typically feel fantastic while pregnant and then become extremely ill about a month to six weeks after their babies are born.) So, clearly, this is all very confounding.  Also, like I said, it just didn't look like any fungus I'd ever seen.  I even suspected warts for awhile (you can actually get warts under your nails), but it didn't look like that either.  I was STUMPED...and rather than deal with it, I ignored it.  For years, people.  YEARS.  Because although it bothered me, and although I greatly enjoyed the pedicures I had when I was pregnant with Grace, and sorely missed them when I had to stop, the foot shame was too great to overcome and actually make a podiatrist appointment.

Well, there was pride, and also the fact that if the podiatrist ever wanted to do anything to my feet, I was always either training for something or pregnant, so that wouldn't work.  And also because everything I read about toenail fungus said that it wouldn't respond to oral meds anyway, and here, try these home remedies.  Vicks vapo rub, soaking in apple cider vinegar- both of which I tried, both of which failed.  THEN?!  After the half marathon?  Oh man.  The second and fourth toenails on my right foot started looking...suspicious.  CLEARLY something needed to be done.

So, my mom told me to go see her podiatrist, I made an appointment, she babysat, I went.  The medical assistant who did the preliminary assessment kept asking all kinds of questions about my running habits.  At first I thought she was making conversation, and felt awfully silly about halfway through when I realized she was actually taking a bit of a history.  The podiatrist came in the room, took one look at my feet, and told me I have runner's toes.

RUNNER'S TOES.  I spent all that time avoiding pedicures and applying various ridiculous home remedies to my toes for RUNNER'S TOES (I already told you about the fungus cures.  I have not discussed the wart treatments I attempted, thinking I had one of THOSE).

Runner's toes?  WELL.  Apparently, toenail fungus in young people is unheard of.  Thickened toenails are not the result of any fungal infection, they're the result of trauma.  Whether that trauma occurs from infection, running, or something else, the thickening is just hyperkeratosis (piles upon piles of keratin getting churned out by the nailbed.)  Only 50% of thick toe nails are caused by fungus, and all that fungus is seen in old people.  The rest of us?  RUNNER'S TOES.  But, but, what about the nasty toenails people sometimes get after pedicures?  I started to ask, and realized the answer as I asked the question.  Ever had an aggressive pedicure?  It really hurts.  And it is TRAUMATIC.  You do the math.

But!  It turns out there's something I can do!  He prescribed a keratinolytic that I can apply to the toenails which will cause them to thin out and flake off, and a new, normal nail will grown in.  If it keeps happening, he said I can go up half a shoe size and get a special insert to keep my toes from knocking into the front of my shoes, preventing the trauma altogether.  Yay!!  Pedicures!  ....Boo.  Not sure if it's safe for breastfeeding.  But, you know, I've been dealing with this for, like, ninety years, so I guess I can wait five more months.

And this is all kind of disgusting, I know.  But?  This entry?  Gets like eleventy bajillion Google hits each week, and I think maybe this information would be really helpful to some runners out there, too.  I'm trying to think of the right combo of key words to bring people here and let them know they probably DON'T HAVE FUNGUS.  Like, runner thick toenails?  Runner you don't have fungus?  I dunno. 

(and in case you are here trying to figure out what's wrong with your toes: I will not be posting pictures.  I'm sorry.  I do still have some pride, and seriously: NASTY.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

(Un)Lucky Number Seven

Although you would not guess it from this picture, Katie is SICK.

Ok, maybe not SICK.  But she's sick.  She has her sister's totally gross cold, which means her head is filled with viscous goo.  I know it doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world, but think of it this way: imagine your most favorite activity in the entire world.  Is it sitting on a beach?  Reading a book?  Running?  Sleeping?  Now imagine that every time you start that activity, someone puts duct tape over your nose and mouth.  Not so fun, is it?  Yeah.  Katie's favorite thing in the whoooole wide world is nursing.  When you are suddenly an obligate mouth-breather, that makes it a bit challenging.  It makes it go a bit like this "Ahhhh, heaven...nurse nurse nurse...GASP!  Scream!  WTF?!?!?!  Ok....nurse nurse nurse....GASP!!! OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!?!?"  etc.  ad infinitum.

Poor baby:(  Being suffocated by your favorite past time is no way to spend a birthdate.

Current viral invaders aside, it's been a quiet month.  Overnight sleep was on the mend recently (though I'm guessing that's set to change until she can breathe thru her nose again), naps are still for the birds.  Food is still pretty cool, according to every part of Katie except her gut, which is still on strike in response to increased demands.  Oh!  But she did start crawling and sitting up pretty well independently.  So I guess there's that.  But you know, it's still mostly army-crawling (although she gets up on her knees and rocks furiously, trying to figure out how to propel herself on those knees), and she still falls over a lot, so let's pretend I didn't almost forget that. 

oh!  and after weeks of Gracie crawling into her tubby and crawling all over her, I finally got her a tub seat so they can take baths together.  It is insane and hysterical and delicious to watch the two of them splash together, but I have no pictures because we just did it tonight for the first time.  Instead you get a picture of Katie after another bath, wrapped in a duckie towel.  Equally delicious.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Differences part I STOPPED COUNTING

When we started giving Gracie solids, I was really careful.  New foods, every three days.  Because seriously, if you've read any medical journal in the last decade: your child WILL have a food allergy.  And that food will sneak into their bed at night and smother them.

Stephen took this picture last night:

That would be soup she's eating. 

Meh, whatever.  Gracie is a super good eater, and I would love to have two of those.  It's a lot less annoying than dealing with a picky eater.  Plus, as Gracie will tell you, soup gives you muscles!

Also: although they appear to nearly be twins, they have very different eye colors.  In person, you can also see Katie's hair getting lighter, and our Sorta Rican daughter is looking a bit lighter in general.  Observe:

Yeah, ok, I really just wanted to post both of those pictures.  Got a problem with that?  You better not.  Gracie will crush you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

K-K-K-Kaaatie, Sleeeepless Kaaatie


Katie used to sleep.  For realz.  She was only waking up once a night, at roughly the same time every night.  It was so clearly habit, I even thought, ok, if I CARE to break this habit (which I did NOT, because I don't want her to wake up at 4:30 every day like another baby I once knew), I bet I could.  Well, maybe.  Katie does not, at this stage, appear to be a tension reliever, she appears to be an escalator, and so I am unsure how we will go about breaking this habit, but my POINT is that it was clearly just habit and not hunger or immature sleep.  Her naps still sucked rocks, but beggars can't be choosers.

And then?!?!?!


This child of mine, with her impeccable timing, chose to stop doing this the night before the half marathon.  Awesome, no?  Awake every two hours.  SUCK.  The next night?  The night AFTER the half marathon?  The same.  Again.  (Meanwhile, next door, her father was working to get her big sister back to sleep, as she had also chosen this week to stop sleeping entirely.) (What could possibly be going on in our house?  I cannot imagine...)  And the next night.  And the next.  She did have one night when I made her fuss it out and she slept until 4:45 the next morning, but the next night she promptly resumed her dastardly ways.

I'm gonna make you wake up alllll night long as punishment for putting me in this laundry basket.

I have a few ideas about what might be up with her.  She got shots last thursday, and after a few really solid nights' sleep, I can see it being rebound.  I think a tooth might be breaking thru her gums- I have zero experience with difficult teethers, with Grace, it was always a shock when we saw a new white little nugget poking thru her gums, so totally nonplussed was she by the entire process. 

Whatever it is, I want her to sleep again.  Please.  Dear God.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Half Marathon Thoughts

I went in to today with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I missed a lot of training time this summer, with the hideous weather.  I also tore the heck out of my feet yesterday, picking up my race packet.  (who the hell thought it was a good idea to make us pick up our packets at Navy Pier on a saturday?  That's like making people pick up race packets in Times Square on New Years Eve.  Except more annoying.)  On the other hand, my long training runs went well.  Like, REALLY well.  I was probably as well-prepared as I'd never been for a half marathon.

I had butterflies as I walked to the car.  My feet really hurt, I was nervous about getting there and finding parking, not getting lost.  I followed the traffic and got swept up in the current that was parking at the  museum.  I thought that was a really sweet score until I got out to walk to the start line and realized they'd entirely remapped the course since the last time I ran this race, and I was close to a mile from the start line.  FAIL.

It was foggy and chilly, just like they'd said it would be.  The green flag was flying, meaning weather was ideal.  I felt a little lonely, being there to run by myself, but mostly I felt really happy about it, because it left me free to run at whatever pace I chose, weaving in and out of the crowds and not worrying about losing a race buddy.

It started out really well, my pace was dead-on, my breathing felt good, and although my hip was sore, it was nothing I couldn't handle.  My achilles, which have both been bothering me on and off since Katie was born, felt fine. 

Somewhere around mile five, I was suddenly sharing a pace with a man who was attempting to clear his throat/cough/shake out a loogie with every. goddamn. breath.  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  I couldn't run any faster, I didn't want to slow down, and he would not cut that shit out.  Eventually he stopped...and someone on the course started playing the macarena through a loudspeaker.  You cannot make this shit up.

Somewhere around mile seven, it went from warm to straight-up hot, with a glaring sun.  I wanted shade.  I wanted a cool breeze.  I wanted to WALK.  "I will not walk, I will not walk, I will not walk," I started chanting to myself.  I had managed seven miles without walking pleeeenty of times and there was no reason to walk.  I chugged along.  My hip gradually went from a dull ache to a nagging throb.  The sun was beating down with no shady spot to ease into.  I passed a gatorade station and it seemed like a good idea- maybe I needed some 'lytes and my hip would feel better.  I took one sip and felt my gorge rise.  Woops.  I dropped the cup on the ground, splattering the person next to me.  I feel pretty bad about that.

I made it to mile ten before the beating sun overcame my will power to keep running.  Well, that and the announcement on the loudspeaker that they were changing the flag from green to yellow- stay hydrated, it's HOT, in other words.  It was all the validation I needed to work my way to the curb and start walking.  I was disappointed and sad, but I just didn't have it in me to keep running.  The second I started walking, I knew it was a mistake.  The nagging throb in my hip escalated to a searing pain that radiated all the way down my leg.  I stepped onto the grass and tried to stretch.  It didn't help.  I was barely able to hobble at that point, and running seemed out of the question.  I tried, and it was not pretty.  I walked again, and by that time, could barely put any weight on the leg at all.  I decided there was just no way around it- I was not going to finish this race.  I needed to find an aide station.  I started to wonder if I had a stress fracture in my hip, the pain was so bad.  I hobbled along, cursing the lack of aide stations in this part of the course, and stepped off again to try to stretch. No help.  Started walking again.  I started wondering if they'd let me call Stephen, because I knew he would worry if someone else called.  Then I started thinking about the girls, waiting at the finish line.  I would have to explain to Gracie why I didn't come across with everyone else. And only finishers get medals.  I wouldn't have a medal to hang on her neck.

Fuck.  That.

And I started running again.  At first, hobbling and keeping as much of my weight as I could on my left leg, but eventually, it loosened up again and I actually felt better.  I tried to tell myself that I could run a 5k under any circumstances, and I should just keep running, but I knew I was going to be walking a lot, those last three miles.  My goal going into it was to make it in 2:15, but I swore I'd be okay as long as I made it under 2:30 (my real goal was to run the entire thing without walk breaks, but that ship had obviously already sailed).  I had been on track for a 2:10 finish, but that chance was gone.  The 2:20 pace runner came up over my right shoulder, and I thought, okay.  I can be totally happy with 2:20.  My new strategy was to get ahead of her, give myself a walk break, then start up again after she'd passed me. 

It worked.  My official finish time was 2:19:02.  Although it was not what I'd hoped for, it's still a personal record.  I can't decide how I feel about it.  I mean, yay and all.  My training went as well as it could.  I can't control the weather.  I couldn't stop my hip from hurting so much.  And I finished!  But not the way I wanted to.  And sometimes I think I'm never going to get my 2:10 PR.  I started running too late- if I'd started when I was 14, I could easily pull out a sub-2hour half marathon- I'm totally built to run.  But I didn't, I started when I was 28, so I'm never going to be as fast as I want to be.  But on the other hand?  When I was training for the full marathon, I KNOW I ran 13.1 in 2:10.  I know I did.  I just need the right weather.  I just need to be healthy.  I can do it.  And both perspectives annoy me, because I haven't done it yet, officially.

At the end of the day, I finished the race, in spite of some wicked pain. I got to hang the medal from Gracie's neck (special thanks to the stranger who let me borrow her cell phone to call Stephen so we could meet up after I finished) (also thanks to Michelob Ultra for their kick-ass refresher towels, washcloths soaked in lemony, cooling water, that were passed out at the end of the race).  And I get to say that I have run four half marathons.  And I still have a 15k coming up in November, another chance to set a personal record:)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Oh, just pee on the floor. See if I care.

Sooooo, I decided I needed to stop being so damn lazy/chicken and re-attempt potty training.  Grace is 100% reliable when she's nekkid, has started asking to be changed the second she's dirty, and frequently informs me when she pees (this last one is my favorite.  The other day we were lying in her bed looking at books and she SO nonchalantly said, without looking away from the page, "I pee in da bed.")

We started today.  She peed in the potty exactly twice- both when she was immediately out of the shower/tub.  The times when she would've peed there anyway.  She went all over the floor, all day long.

Oddly, she managed to drop the Browns off at the Superbowl twice.  The first time, I flushed it for her, and OH MY GOD STUPID.  This potty training business is just a big fat load of TMI, but omg, I stood there in a compete panic for a second, trying to figure out how to undo what I'd just done.

So anyway. We'll give it another day.  If it's as bad as today, we'll have to talk about quitting again, because I really don't know how long we can last at this.

Oh, but guess what she seems to be nearly ready to do?  Give up naps.  OF COURSE SHE IS.