I have been thinking about writing something for quite sometimes but have found it hard – to do anything actually. It’s easy to lose motivation and enthusiasm when what you thought was a little set back (broken clavicle) turns out to be the beginning of a descend into a bottomless hole, along slippery slopes of pain, infections, doctor visits, surgery and antibiotics. Hopefully I have now landed on rock bottom and can start the climb up. Here is a little update on what has been going on in my glamorous life over the past 3 months and my plan moving forward.
Started to just move after the surgery 18thof July and tried my best to adhere to the doctor’s order – not sweat into the wound – which was quite difficult as it was the warmest summer since we started to measure temperature in Sweden. Seven or eight days after the operation the wound “erupted“ during the night and I woke up with a pillow full of blood and “guck”.
Visit to the emergency, new bandages and a 10 day batch of antibiotics later, the wound started to become less painful and swelling started to go down. Started to build up training again and 8 weeks post-surgery I had another x-ray that showed that the clavicle was healing. Finally, the doctor gave me ok to start swimming and I basically had 4 weeks to get ready for Hawaii. After a week of swimming and a few little harder and longer sessions two boils started to stick out at the top and bottom of where the plate has been installed. I went back to see the doctor that looked more concerned than I was. We scheduled another visit with blood samples and x-rays and while I was running – the day before the visit – one of the boils broke and there was no doubt what was going on in there. New tests and we had two days before departure to Hawaii. The doctor said that he was certain that it is a staphylococcus infection that is residing on the plate and that it will not be cured until the plate is removed. Picked up the largest dose of antibiotics I have ever heard of – 200 tablets just for the next 30 days.
I was told that they would contact me in Hawaii and let me know the results but strongly advice against racing with this kind of infection in my system. They actually recommended that we should stay in Sweden – but I would not have the heart to tell my daughter who has been packing her bags for the last 3 months that we are not going.
Still a ok place to be in even if you can’t train and race
Not much to do but to take a raincheck on the Ironman Hawaii race and suffer on the sidelines looking at everyone having fun and racing. But actually – it was not too hard to stand on the sidelines as I really feel sick by the side effects of antibiotics and low energy level that comes from a stomach that is killed by all the medicine.
On the way back to Sweden my doctor calls me up while we are in transit in LA and ask me to come in as soon as we are back. When I come in, she says that the plate needs to come out as soon as possible and tells me that the initial infection has been on the plate the whole time. The staphylococcus bacteria can’t be killed as they attach themselves to the plate and build a mucus to protect themselves from the body’s immune system. She can’t understand how I have been able to ramp up training to around 20hrs / week again with this infection in my system. She also told me that I have been really fortunate that the infection didn’t spread to the heart and/or blood stream. Hearing that I understand why I have felt more tired than normally after the crash and even had to skip a few sessions, not getting the quality I usually would get.
Now the operation to take out the plate is set for 5th November. It’s not ideal as the clavicle is a very thin bone with poor circulation and slow healing and should have the support of the plate preferably a year – but I hope it will hold.
I can only hope that there will not be other complications. Unfortunately they will cut the muscles off to get to the plate and the 13 screws and after the removal they put them over each other which makes them tight and the neck feels like a to tightly strung violin.
I am trying to see what I will gain or learn from this experience , it will take a while before I can. A long while.
I will catch the next one
Do I feel doubt to continuing my quest – yes, have I been thinking about quitting – sure.
Will I be back racing next year – I am planning on it, but first I need to get my health back.
It’s easy to take basic things like health for granted and complain about how your last race was not perfect or the lack of motivation to train when it’s cold and dark outside. Until you are truly down in the hole. Perhaps that is the most important take away. Who knows.
I can assure you that I will appreciate every hour of training that I will get in the future without medicine and broken bone pain – a lot.
Look forward to put on my race suit again in 2019