Thursday, August 4, 2011

Where the heck is Christine???

An update from Christine Crawford...    

I thought about writing this for a while and made the decision that it was easier to put it out there in a (long) story rather than repeat it over and over again or have people guess as to what’s going on with me.  Stop reading now if you are not interested.  It’s rather boring. 

I began running ultras in 2000.  I fractured my tibia in the summer of 2007 and wore a cam walker for two months.  It took about four months to recover from that.  I then fractured my femur (hip break) in 2009 and with that came a DVT. Unfortunately, the fracture was misdiagnosed initially and I hobbled around in excruciating pain for two weeks. A hip break at 39 years old is NOT normal considering I eat pretty well and my running mileage was that of a pedestrian in my opinion (45 miles per week average).  The summer of 2009 was a very dark time for me and I’ll spare you the details because I don’t like to think about that time.  My life was filled with doctors’ appointments, injections, blood draws, MRI’s, x-rays, crutches and wheel chairs, I was reduced to nothing but sitting in a chair.  That fracture took longer to heal than the doctors expected.  As my ortho told me, he had 80 year old women heal faster from a broken hip. 

I should have laid low for 2010 to let things heal up completely but I wanted to run ultras.  I dealt with pain for the entire year. It was mostly hip pain but in hindsight, a hip break is a big deal and my body was still recovering from the injury and was worn down from all the trauma and medication.  I sought help from a PT who was outstanding, an ART specialist and thought of running the NF50 – Madison.  I got to the starting line but wasn’t in top shape and was taped from hip to ankle with Kineseo tape.  I joked with my PT that I would come out of the event with a totally different pain and the hip pain would be resolved.  At mile 20ish, I felt a sharp pain in my left heel similar to a bad case of  plantar fasciitis.  I asked my husband to have some shoes ready for me at the next aid station and I thought that might resolve the problem (along with more Aleve – don’t do that, that’s stupid).  I was ready to change my shoes when Tom Bunk told me the second place girl was two minutes behind me; I had slowed up that much due to heel pain.  I didn’t change shoes and walked out of the aid station trying my best to suck up the pain still thinking it was a soft tissue injury.  I finished the 50 and dealt with heel pain for the next month.  I tried running Glacial 50 but the pain was too much.  I felt as low as I did when I broke my hip.  What the heck was wrong with me?  Why does running hurt so much?  Why does it seem that I need several days off between runs when my friends can run without much pain and fatigue?  I spoke with my PT and she told me that it wasn’t PF and that I needed an MRI.  My ortho shook his head when he saw me and proceeded to tell me that I had the biggest file of all his patients.  That wasn’t funny to me.  I had no sense of humor anymore.  I was sent for an MRI and he called me back later in the day.  He hesitated for a moment and then told me that I had fractured my heel and I would have to take more time off from running.  I couldn’t bike, do elliptical, walk or run for exercise.  I could lift weights from a seated position and swim.  He suggested another sport other than running. 

So, there I sat again from November until February.  When I was clear to run, I began slow and easy.  I was able to run Clinton Lake with my friend Don and then Double Chubb in April.  Again, not in great shape, still in some pain but I was running!  After Double Chubb, I had issues with the same foot which I sustained the heel fracture in.  I did a few build up runs for Ice Age but the pain got worse.  Ice Age was out and I found out that I now had plantar fasciitis, lots of edema and…drum roll….a fractured metatarsal. 

I was done with anything fitness related for about two days.  In true Crawford fashion, I was back on board with my fitness plan and thought that I had to find an answer as to what was going on.  My ortho told me he couldn’t help me anymore, my PT had corrected my running form and that was strong, I took Boniva for a year even though it wasn’t truly necessary but it was preventative since I had borderline osteopenia and I had sustained a hip break.  I felt like I did everything necessary to get better yet I was still having problems with fractures.  I called my GP and begged for help!  I needed all of my doctors to talk to each other.  Hello, Dr. X, this is Dr. Y and Z, this is me, Christine. I’m a real person who is confused as hell and just want to feel better.  Now that you’ve all met, figure it out for me.  Really, how hard does one person have to work to get answers!  Let this be a lesson, don’t settle for a lame answer if you feel that what the experts are telling you is not right. 

Enter the Nephrologist and finally a diagnosis.  I have a genetic predisposition which, when combined with a change in hormones can lead to something called bone metabolic disease.  I was diagnosed with high blood pressure as well.  Read below for a description of bone metabolic disease.  For now, I need to inject myself once a day with a medication which will stimulate bone growth.  In a nut shell, my bone density is good but the rate at which I repair bones has slowed to the point that my body thinks I’m 80 years old.  Training hard with 80 year old bones is not ideal.  I will see a Nephrologist the rest of my life to keep this disease in check.  I can take the injections for up to two years but then have to stop since it can cause bone cancer.  I’ll have to take BP medication since that is another genetic problem and diet and exercise alone won’t lower it.  I hope the medication works.  As I write this, I see the Nephrologist this week for more blood work.  If the medication is not helping then he will investigate a bit further.  As far as running ultras go, I’m still all in!  I can’t wait to run an ultra again.  I’ll have to dream about it for a while and maybe do some ultra walking.  I’m forever thankful for all of my friends and my family who have helped me through this struggle.  I just have to believe things will get better.  They will. 

Metabolic Bone Disease
Bone, a Living Organism
Bone is made of organic matter and minerals - principally calcium and phosphorus. Bone stores calcium and releases it to the blood stream as needed. The regulation of calcium is extremely tight and is important to many biological functions, such as blood clotting and muscle function. Therefore, healthy bones and adequate storage of calcium in the skeleton is essential.

In addition to its principal role as a supportive structure, the skeleton is a living organ, undergoing continuous rebuilding to remain strong and functional. It takes approximately three months for the body to completely rebuild one bone unit. At any point in time, thousands of bone units are undergoing different stages of rebuilding. Changes in body hormonal status, age, postmenopausal state, diet, alcohol consumption, and other genetic alterations can dramatically affect this process, resulting in changes in bone composition and strength.
Bone Diseases
Changes in bone building can have many causes - certain medications, diseases (such as lupus, arthritis, malabsorption or kidney failure), diet, age, genetic factors, or alterations in hormonal status.
Treatment – Once a day Forteo injection for two years
TeriParatide (r DNA) injection is the recombinant form of Parathyroid hormone (PTH), also known as paratharmone. Parathormone is a protein hormone, containing 84 amino acids, secreted by the parathyroid glands. The recombinant form of paratharmone contains identical sequence of 34-amnoacid sequence from the N terminal, similar to that of the endogenous paratharmone. This sequence of amino acid resembles the active region of endogenous paratharmone, and binds to the paratharmone receptors in the bone cells and stimulates osteoblastic activity in the bone cells. This helps in bone mineralisation.
Teri Paratide(r DNA) is used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Osteoporosis is a bone disorder, which makes the bone brittle and susceptible to easy fractures, due to decrease in bone mass. Paratide r DNA intravenous increases bone mass, thereby prevents fracture of bone in elderly patients and postmenopausal women.
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  1. Christine, I am very sorry to hear this. You have no idea of who I am, but I ran my first Ice Age a few years back and was on your heels for a little while. Being one of my first ultra's, I was so impressed at how awesome you Ultra-Women are!

    Your attitude in this blog has just reaffirmed that in my mind, and I am amazed with your dedication to this sport. Good luck and happy trails!

  2. Christine
    I also have run w you at Ice Age, J Dick and a few other races. I have always admired your skill and persistence in running. You continue to be an inspiration to others. Hope to see you on the trail soon.

  3. Christine,

    We will add crutches to the "getting chicked" ale label.

    BTW... it is in the MN State Fair.... but no labels are allowed.

    Now the guy on that label actually looks like he is 80 years old. Not sure who he is

  4. I think that guy is Wild Red Berry the professional wrestler.