Sunday, February 26, 2006


I hate holidays. Nobody tells me what I have to celebrate and when I have to celebrate it dammit! Maybe I don't happen to feel very thankful on Thanksgiving day or terribly patriotic on the 4th of July. The flip side of this is that I do like to celebrate things when I sincerely feel the emotion behind it so today is Happy Trails Day. Most days are happy trails days really but some days just feel more joyous than others and today was one of those days-partly because it was my first time on the bike since knee surgery two weeks ago and who knows how long before that, partly because last week we were freezing our asses off with record breaking cold, snow & -25 degree wind chills and today it was sunny & in the 60's, and partly because I freshened up my mp3 player with some new tunes but mostly because it just felt like one of those awesomely special days and I felt like celebrating it. I wasn't on my bike very long, just 45 minutes and a whopping 5 1/4 miles but it was pure heaven on wheels. The doctor gave me a strict talking to about not overdoing things in my recovery or I'd be back in his office sharpish and told me to make sure everything I was doing felt ridiculously easy so I couldn't be out nearly as long as I wanted but maybe that made the time I had out all the sweeter.

We took the dogs down to the Rez. so they could run like loons chasing their toys on the nice soft sand. Strummer is turning out to be a frisbee dog which isn't really a great thing since frisbee chasing is an ACL tear waiting to happen but he's obsessed so I've been trying to throw the thing as safely as possible which is problematic since I suck at frisbee. It was wonderful watching them all run their butts off, tongues hanging down to their knees in the warm sunshine. During the summer months the Rez is shut to dogs so we have to enjoy the beach as much as we can the next couple of months.

Later in the afternoon I took Strummer to a park by my house to practice some agility flatwork and his sit and down stays. I started out having him do simple U-shaped turns then worked on front crosses and luring the turn away from me for the rear cross. I taught Lola rear crosses that way and it worked great, (Cody just naturally understood rear crosses, I never had to train him). Then I tried getting him to do the U turns around a tree which was meant to mimic a jump standard. I 'm hoping to train a lot of basic behaviors away from the equipment so he can be nice & solid with it when I introduce the equipment. First impressions are very important for dogs and I want everything to be easy & positive. I'm still working on getting him to drive really fast to a target before I start his contact training. Right now he's trotting over to the target but I want him really running for it before I go any further.

I pulled my entry fee from the NADAC trial this weekend and I'm very glad I did. I'm in no way ready for that kind of running. I've been to the pool a couple of times for 20-25 minutes and the swimming was fine, I swim with my knees locked anyway so I could barely feel anything in my knee but I could work the other leg muscles. Only problem is I can't push off the wall which makes keeping up with intervals in masters difficult. 30-40 minutes of walking seems to be my limit but my knee improves so much each day I'm hoping to increase that next week. Weather looks great for biking next week so maybe I can sneak a little ride in somewhere. Also going to increase my time in the pool and start physical therapy next week so I can get a better idea of how deal with this rehab. The doctor was good with the cutting and he answered all my post surgery questions well but wasn't too good about providing a specific recovery plan.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Spare Us the Cutter

First off, thanks to all who wished me well both publicly and privately. Even though I knew I shouldn't, it was hard not to get panicky and stressed out as the surgery date approached.

I'll spare you all the gory details of my surgery. I nearly had a client of mine puking on the phone so I don't think I'll go into it anymore. In short, they took out the cyst which the surgeon described as 'enormous'. There was NO meniscus tear and the cartilage damage behind my patella was not nearly as bad as he thought it would be so finally some good news. I haven't had any knee pain to speak of and I can walk slowly, each day seems to be a big improvement from the day before. I went for a spinal instead of general anesthesia and so far I'm glad for that though I have been having some headaches/VERY mild nausea which are normal side effects, supposedly. I'm o.k. when I lie down but working at the computer brings them on so I've been trying not to spend too much non-work time on the box. They seem to be diminishing so hopefully I'll soon be done with that. It's pretty amazing to think I could go through all that and have so little pain. I took one Vicodyn the night of the surgery as a precaution in case the pain hit while I was sleeping but I didn't really need it. Sheesh, I've felt WAY worse after a marathon or even a long training run. Sort of makes you want to rethink your hobbies sometimes.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I Wanna Be Sedated

I actually go to say that today. Mmmmm, drugs are good. Serjuryyy izzz fuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnn!!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cease & Decyst

I can't ever have normal things wrong with me. Turns out I have an enormous cyst on my knee, probably a result of bearing all my weight on that leg for so long while recovering but could be from something else. There's probably a meniscus tear too, apparently the two often go hand in hand, but the cyst is so big it's blocking the view of the meniscus. So the doctor strongly suggested surgery, said that's what she'd do if it was her knee. The other option is to have it drained by having a huge needle stuck in my knee but she didn't recommend it and to be honest I wasn't thrilled with that visual. On the plus side (if there is one here) they're going to squish me into the surgery schedule so I can go in next Monday and hopefully be recovered enough for my agility trial 2 weeks later.

I have to admit, I'm a little freaked out. The doctor assured me it's no big deal but I've never had surgery before. I don't do well on pain med's. and I'm SICK of being in recovery mode. I was so sure the MRI was going to rule OUT surgery not tell me I needed it for sure. I suppose it's not really a big deal, I should just put on my big girls pants and deal with it. And Jonny has assured me that there's lots of ice cream involved in knee surgery recovery.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

In Limbo

I had an MRI done on my knee and I'm waiting to meet with the doctor on Tuesday to see the results. They gave me a disk with the pictures and they're pretty gross but I have no idea what I'm looking at so I'll just have to wait. After meeting with the physical therapist I decided it would be worth it to see how bad the tear is. My insurance is giving me hassle about PT, only agreeing to pay for 4 weeks instead of the 6 weeks the doctor prescribed so I don't want to waste it then find out I need surgery. I'm hoping the MRI will rule out surgery but if I need it for sure I want to know now. So for now, no running or cross country skiing which is driving me crazy because the mountains got slammed with snow again. It's the best snow season they've had in a long time and I'm missing all the fun. My knee is having good days and bad days though so I don't want to make it worse. I went to masters twice this week, had a 2 hour ride on my mountain bike yesterday (easy trails, I avoided all big hills and spun up the small ones), a 1 1/2 hour walk this a.m. with the dogs but that was about it aside from some walking this week with the dogs. Don't know if there's much point logging it all at this point.

The PT appointment was very weird. She did all kinds of strength tests and decided my knee problems are likely coming from a weakness in my S.I. joint in my back that was likely caused from the impact of the car crash. She sold me a brace for my back that supports the S.I. joint and keeps everything in place so the ligaments etc. can heal and I can have some stability to be able to handle the physical therapy exercises. I have to wear this stupid thing all the time even while sleeping and while it seemed to really help the first few days I've become somewhat skeptical. The whole thing's been incredibly frustrating, I'm ready to be done with the effects of this stupid accident already.

On the upside, agility training has been going well. Cody and Lola both did great at course run throughs yesterday. They were fast, focused and having a blast. Cody was dancing on his front feet in anticipation of his turn, very cute. It was a jumpers course and I let them run, ignoring all mistakes and working on the trouble spots in smaller sections later. We had some clean runs and some not so clean runs but it was all a blast.

Strummer had his first agility session today and he loved it. I introduced him to the tunnel, chute, tire jump and Buja Board. Jonny came with to help since Strummer doesn't have much of a sit-stay yet. He held him in front of one end of the tunnel while I teased Strummer with his tug toy then ran to the other end of the tunnel and called him through. Strummer came flying through the tunnel and I'd reward him with a game of tug. A couple of times he didn't go through the tunnel but rather ran straight to me. When that happened I walked him back to the other end and we tried it again with him closer to the tunnel entrance. This rarely happened though, he was nearly 100 percent successful which is what I wanted. We did a similar thing for the tire and chute with Jonny restraining him by the chest on one side and me teasing him and calling him to me on the other. I started with the chute rolled up a bit and held it open for him then extended it all the way still holding it open then started dropping it on him when he was nearly out. He wasn't phased at all and came blasting out looking for his tug toy.

The Buja board was the most fun because I wanted to shape that rather than lure him like I was doing on the other obstacles. I used a clicker and food treats (kibble and pieces of string cheese) so I could get more repetitions in. I stood by the Buja board and waited for him to take in interest in it. When he looked at it I clicked and gave him a treat. He soon was taking much more interest in it, touching it with his nose then his paws, getting a click, treat and enthusiastic 'yay' from me each time he touched it. Soon he was racing over it, banging it with his paws and having the time of his life. The purpose of the Buja board is to get the dog used to his feet moving under him and the noise of the board hitting the ground so he won't be scared when he starts to learn the teeter. Lots of dogs are freaked out by these things and Lola was one of them. It took me a full year to teach her the teeter and it was a painstaking process. Thankfully Strummer doesn't seem to have the same fears so I'm hoping that his teeter training will be easier.

At 10 months he's too young for jump training and I need some more foundation work with him before he can start contact training so that's the extent of his agility training for now but I was pleased with how it went. I also started remembering how much time it all takes. But Strummer's going to be a lot of fun to train so it'll be worth it.